I got my first scar when I was probably about 8 years old. I fell over a dog’s chain and fell on to rocks and cut my knee open. I had to get stitches. I never thought much about it. Then there was the time a few years later that my friend’s dog bit my hand. I didn’t need stitches then but there is a very slight scar on my hand.
So, when many many years later, I had gall bladder surgery and then hernia surgery (Man, I sound like a mess!) I didn’t really care about the scars. It wasn’t like I was showing off my stomach to anyone at that point. It just didn’t matter much.
About six months ago, I noticed that one of my finger nails was growing in strangely. My Mom had fingernails that had ridges. This was not a ridge. This was more of a crevice. I thought that I must have damaged the base of the nail somehow and it would heal and then grow out just fine. That didn’t happen. The crevice grew so that it was as long as the whole finger nail.
Along about this time, I wrote a post as the “foot blogger chick” about feet and skin cancer. Did you know that foot melanoma is the most deadly form of melanoma? Not because it can’t be cured if caught early enough but because it generally is not caught early enough. We tend not to look too closely at our feet. The other thing that I learned was that you can get skin cancer under your nails. So they recommend that you go without nail polish (especially on your toes) occasionally so that you can tell if there is a spot under your nail that doesn’t move when your nails grow.
This made me start wondering about my fingernail. It certainly wasn’t getting better and it was not right. I broke down and made an appointment with the dermatologist to have him look at my finger. Don’t ask (as many did) how I determined that the dermatologist was the doctor I should go see. It just felt right to me. I even had a backup plan in case he told me I was an idiot and that it would heal itself. (I was going to have him check me for skin cancer.)
Lo and behold, I was not an idiot. It seems that I had a tumor growing under my nail bed (no, it was not visible). The doctor suggested that he should take a biopsy to make sure that it was not cancerous. The chance that it was cancerous was very slim but he advised that he thought it should be checked. So I told him to go for it. He did tell me that there was one thing that I needed to know before he did the biopsy. He told me that my fingernail would probably never grow right again. I would always have the crevice.
In the context of making sure that my finger doesn’t have cancer, the way the finger nail looks is inconsequential.
So, he did the biopsy. After TWO weeks, (they got to be kinda long) the results came back. It was benign. At that point I could proudly hold up my finger and say benign. Yea!
I know this is going to sound shallow BUT my fingernail is a mess. First of all, when he took the biopsy, my finger bled. The blood got embedded in the crevice. At this point, as my sweet, loving husband pointed out, it looks like I have a galloping case of fungus in my nail. I don’t but it looks bad.
I have found a product that claims to fill in ridges. It is like nail polish. The idea is to fill in the ridges (really put a lot in the crevice to try and fill it) and then put on nail polish. Seems like a lot of work just to hide the crevice but at this point, I need to do it.
No one likes a fungus looking fingernail.
Are you wondering why I am telling you about this? There are actually two reasons. The first is that I was a bit freaked about the skin cancer on the foot and I wanted to share it with you. The second is that I am feeling like a pretty shallow person about my fingernail. Who cares, right? I don’t care about the other scars but the fingernail bothers me. I am glad that I had the biopsy done and that all is fine. I guess the lesson is that even if you feel shallow you should get it checked out.
I think I will go do my nails now.
Thanks for reading!
That’s a relief. Sorry about your weird looking finger, though.
I’m glad it was benign. Sorry about how it affected your fingernail though! Maybe keep a face on that one?? xo
Great news that this was benign. Who would have thought a person could get skin cancer underneath the nails? I didn’t. As a cancer survivor I thank you for sharing your experiences because information does help others.
That was a really good catch on your part. Glad it was benign and you are typing away as usual!