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May 17, 2014

Is It A Hidden Melanoma?

As far as I could remember, it was probably December last year when I developed this discoloration on my left toenail. It was a white spot on the leftmost part of the toenail. I thought I'd just let it grow out and cut it off eventually. But though that first white spot reached the edge, I noticed that the white-yellowish spot is spreading and until just a month ago, it has covered about 95% of the nail bed.  

The sick toenail

See how ugly it looks? Yeah I don't exactly have nice feet but that toenail makes it all the more unsightly.  I'm not fond of putting nail polish so whenever I wear open-toed footwear, I put bandage on that toe, so it would seem like I had a wound instead of the ugly splotch.  Doing that, however, worsened things. The middle part of the nail turned somewhat black as you can see.  It must have been due to compression as I wrapped the bandage too tight around my pudgy toe.  

Finally, I've had enough of waiting for it to grow out and temporarily covering it up at times.  Just last week, I did a little research and what I read was alarming.  While some articles say that it's most probably just some trauma to the nail or probably fungus infection, the worst case scenario is that it could be melanoma. Uh-oh... I have seen pictures similar to my toenail and I heard warning bells.  I thought that skin cancer had to do mostly with moles.  I wasn't aware of the hidden melanomas.  I read further and found out it was the cause of death of Bob Marleybecause he refused to get his left toenail amputated.  

Amputation!!?? I hadn't seen that coming.  The warning bells turned into a loud siren.  So to spare myself from over thinking things, I knew it was time to visit the doctor and find out what it really is.

I breathed a sigh of relief when he told me it's not the same as what Bob Marley had.  Great! No amputations, no chemo therapies...whew!  That was a relief.  But I was told that the toenail has to go.  So I was scheduled for a minor surgery.  Yesterday, I had the bloody toenail removed.  Literally bloody so scroll as fast as you can and skip the picture underneath if you're the squirmish type. 

The bloody toenail (ewww..I know!)

That was my first ever operation, and the first time I had to be injected with anesthesia.  Was I nervous?  Of course I was, but I'm not the panicky type that you have to put in shackles lol!  It helped a lot that the doctor informed me the first injection would be painful.  He wasn't lying.  The initial prick on the left side of the toe was painful and few seconds later, the pain grew even more intense.  It felt like the needle went though the other side of my toe but at the same time, it also felt like something was being sucked from the toe! Weird...and painful but I just tried to relax. The doctor said it was okay to kick...just don't kick him lol!

The second injection on the right side of the toe was still painful but not as intense.  I was told to wiggle the toe for a while.  Then the doctor tested for sensation.  He was pricking my toe and I didn't feel a thing, so I assumed he was preparing to use the knife already. He started cutting probably at the side, I'm not sure as I wasn't looking, and just trying to stay relaxed while lying down. I felt a slight pain (that got me a little jittery and nervous), so he added some more of the anesthesia. A few minutes later, he announced that the toenail was finally removed, at least the 95% that was discolored.  He just had to trim the edges of what remained, so that the nail would grow back nicely (in about 4 months, probably).  

Now, this is gory, really.  But I sat up to watch him trim the remaining nail and blood was still oozing.  I cringed a bit at the sight, but there's no pain at that time.  Finally, the wound needed to be cleaned and bandaged.  Without anesthesia, I'd probably scream in pain while hydrogen peroxide is being poured on teh wound.  Glad the numbing effect doesn't wear off in at least about an hour or so.  There you go, my nicely wrapped toe.

After the procedure

I was advised not to get the wound wet for at least 2 days, and also not to walk around too much and avoid any kind of trauma to the area so that it won't bleed again.  No close shoes for the next 5 days or so.  I'm also on pain reliever and antibiotics.  So far, so good.  

Glad it's not skin cancer.  But what I learned from this is that we should be vigilant for any abnormalities in the body, whether they're visible or something we feel inside.  It's better to be just a bit paranoid rather than lax when it comes to health and well-being.  As they say, we should listen to our bodies...and yes, it pays to stay informed.


  1. Welcome back to blogging, Aileen! I have not "seen" you around for awhile. Update us what you have been up to. Glad to know this condition is not melanoma.

  2. I do hope your okay Ms A. Wishing your toe full recovery.

  3. Hi Anne! Aww the toenail is taking forever to grow :-(

  4. Aw! My office mate just got one too but she just did the operation on her own and it was painful, of course without the anesthesia ba naman e. I hope your toenail is okay by now :)

  5. I am the squeamish type and I was cringing as I read about blood oozing out. Yikes! When I had C-section, I dared not look at my wound. Hehe!

  6. This is a good read sis, glad you had the operation early. Hope you're toenail is back in her normal form. :-)

  7. I learned something new! Thanks for posting about your toenail! Hope you're healing well! Following your from Google Julie