Sunday, June 10, 2018

Fingernails, toenails, have stories to tell

This morning, when doing my nails, I thought about how my fingernails have stayed strong while the rest of me was falling apart. People have noticed. One of my healthcare providers pointed it out during cancer treatment.

I don't know why they're strong. I don't mess with them much...except when I occasionally go crazy and pull the skin off the side of a fingernail or tug on a dangling cuticle. As for the nails themselves, maybe, like a plant that is not overwatered, they are happy with benign neglect. I let them get a little too long, notice they don't look so great, cut off the tops, and file them into a curved shape.

When I did them, I had a flashback to when I was so weak that I couldn't do them. That was during my three and a half month residence in Brigham and Women's Hospital after my fourth bone marrow transplant. Diane did them for me. She knew that I liked them curved. She knew a lot of things.

Only occasionally do I get a manicure. The longer lasting gels don't seem to me to be good for your nails, plus you have to return to get the gel off, and the regular polish wears off so quickly.

When I go out to the garden with gloves on, I somehow end up with them off. The underside of my fingernails looks gross. The late Jean O'Connell, who when I knew her was the food writer at the Union-News, had a thing or two to say about dirty nails. They showed the type of person a person was. Also, their shoes.

I'll never be a hand model. I'm not happy about the way that little skin cancers and pre-cancers have messed my hands up. But my nails have not let me down.

Pedicures are welcome but not a regular indulgence. At one of our local places, they said that if you run around a lot, like I do, you should get them as part of good foot care. Maybe. Sometimes I do my own toes. I'm not bad at it. And I can even reach.  I do this more often than not, because of the money, or I keep the nail polish on so long that it is a half moon on the top of the nail.

But the whole pedicure experience is pretty relaxing. I'm half proud and half embarrassed about my partially blackened right big toenail. It definitely looks better when covered up. It got damaged during the 10-mile run I did in preparation for the Hartford half marathon. That was in October 2002, so, five months before my AML diagnosis.

Pulling the toenail off when it was loose enough, I felt like I was collecting my runner's badge of honor. (No, I didn't keep it.) A strip along the toe bed seems to be permanently damaged. As in, black. So if I'm going to wear sandals, I really need to cover that toe up. The rest look OK, but doing one would look silly.

It also is affected by the remnants of a toenail fungus. One time, a podiatrist gave me a medication for it. I had to have my liver checked. Looking back, I realized that probably wasn't a necessary drug to take.

At a recent pedicure, the woman cutting my toenails noticed from the shape that I had had ingrown toenails surgically removed. This was no fun, but it fixed the painful problem. They never grew back. She said I was lucky, because that's not always the case.

I liked the dark blue-gray color I got in Costa Rica. It stayed on for a long time.

When I was in Boston this week, Diane had the fun idea to get a pedicure together. I would have gotten the Costa Rica color, but the salon had a lighter version for spring. We both got the same color. Kind of when we used to wear the same outfits, only this time it was just our toenails dressed up.

1 comment:

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