Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rather be safe than sorry...

About five days after surgery, I was in the shower and for some reason or another my attention turned to my thumb on my right hand.  There was a small, sort of purple, mark on my cuticle.  I figured when they were man-handling me during surgery, I must have banged my hand/thumb on something.  The weird thing was that it didn’t hurt.  If you bang your hand/fingers on something, it hurts!  I’ve slammed my left thumb in a car door once and I almost passed out from the pain.  Within an hour it was disgusting looking and then within a few days, it was even worse.  I had to go to a doctor to have them use that heated needle thing to puncture through the nail to allow it to bleed to relieve the pressure.  It was throbbing pain every single day until I went to the doctor.     

Anyways, I didn’t really think anything of that little line on my cuticle and just went on with life and focused on healing from the surgery.  Last Thursday while showering, again, I noticed my right thumb.  Lately, shower time is the time to inspect my body.  I look EVERYWHERE.  Well, anywhere that I can see while showering.  The purple line on my cuticle was now a brown spot on my cuticle and nail bed, a bit larger than the area that the 'purple line' previously inhabited. 
I’ve done my fair share of research on Melanoma and many of its skin cancer counterparts.  Did you know that Melanoma can begin anywhere there is skin?  It can even begin in your eyes, mucus membranes and intestines/bowels.  It can be on the beds of finger and toe nails and it will typically only affect the thumbs or big toes.  That form of Melanoma is called Subungual Melanoma and it will show itself as a brown/black discoloration on your nail bed (typically it is a linear stripe from the base of the nail to the tip). This form is quite rare with Caucasians; only around 3% of pasties get diagnosed with it. 

One thing that concerns me is that this showed up after surgery.  Recurrence can easily happen at anytime, though within the first two years there is a slightly higher chance.  As I've mentioned, our bodies know how to make the cells; they became good at it.  Part of me is screaming to "CALL THE DOCTOR YOU MORON!"  The other part of me is very calm, quiets the other side down and says to just wait and see what happens.  But I don’t want to wait.  I waited with my back and look what that got me: two brand new BIG scars and a shit load of worrying. 

Another thing that concerns me is that Melanoma obviously affects the melanocytes which are the cells that produce pigment in your skin...and pigment is what makes your skin/moles brown.  Why would the base of my thumb nail on have a brown spot?  I have no freaking clue.  It doesn’t look like much and it's not a stripe/streak like the nail Melanoma typically is, but I can only assume the stripe starts out as something small and people wait until that small spot grows into something larger (such as said stripe/streak) before going to the doctor.   One thing I've learned from all of this: I will no longer allow myself to put my health in the backseat.   I'm sure it's nothing, but I'd MUCH rather be safe than sorry...

Just so you know, the screamer side won.  I called Dr. Surgeon's office and I spoke to a nurse on his staff which she told me to have Dr. Dermatologist check it out.  I've made an appointment for this Thursday @ 9am.  Hopefully it doesn't need a biopsy.  Doesn't that sound fun?  Having the skin UNDER your fingernail biopsied?  JOY!  But, whatevs.  I really don't care what needs to be done.  Take the damn nail completely off, just find out what the heck it is.

The one below is from Sunday afternoon.  My nail isn't purple-ish like the photo suggests, it's the natural light making it look that way. 

And then the one below here is from yesterday morning.  Its from my cell phone, but at least the brown is coming through and you can kind of see what it looks like.
Finger nails are like little windows to your health; any change in appearance can represent a change in your health.  Pay attention to your body, people... 


  1. Hi, what was the result of this brownish growth from the cuticle?

    1. It basically ended up being an 'impact injury'. I think it happened when I was out cold during surgery since they had to flip me around while I was sedated. It ended up growing out and going away (thank god).