The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Wow, now *that's* a catchy blog title - sure to reel all you readers right in, eh? Well, that's the way it is sometimes. But I will definitely win *spot-on* points for accurate topic titles (if such a thing exists outside the world of middle-school English homework). But, to my point...

Chemo-therapy does all kinds of wonderfully toxic things to a person's body and mental condition. As I have mentioned before in several blog postings, there is nothing quite like the intentional poisoning of oneself to get you to notice your physical and mental state on a regular and ongoing basis. That said, I recently re-noticed the ridges that formed in each if my fingernails during chemo. At regularly spaced intervals (about a millimeter or so?), there were clearly defined ridges that I assumed would directly correlate with the periods of my infusions. The ridges would define the normal growth of my nails between treatments and the valleys would be the times when the oxaliplatin/fluorouracil combination were inhibiting growth of any and all fast-growing cells. Academically, this is kind of cool - getting to actually *see* the intended effect of the toxics on my very own self.

But, why re-notice that again now? It's been three whole months since my last treatment, right? Well, the two treatments before that one were spaced about five weeks apart and that means there is a larger gap between the last two valleys on my nails. But I have also noticed something else. The close-ridged parts of my nails are very brittle. They break off unexpectedly, and on my thumbnails are kind of "delaminating." This makes them catch on all sorts of things, so I have been trying to keep them trimmed very short. Guess-timating based on the distance between the quick (isn't that the name of the source of your nails?) and the last valley, my fingernails should completely grow out by June or so - almost exactly one year after the chemo-therapy began.

That's almost poetic, in a fingernail growing sort of way...

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