Thursday, July 10, 2014

What the Heck is Up With My Toenails? Makin' Em Curl


Good morning!  I’ve decided to use my blog not only to writing, music, and other facets of entertainment, but, also to share my journey. I’ve had significant health problems for almost two years. Initially, my rheumatologist diagnosed me with systemic lupus (SLE) on June 19, 2013. However, the medication wasn’t working and I kept getting worse and developing new symptoms. So, after second, third, and fourth opinions, my neurologist believes instead I have fibromyalgia. 

In April 2014 I visited yet another rheumatologist who I hoped would be familiar with autoimmune disorders. Following an extensive intake during my initial appointment, I found a place where the doctor also listened to me. Based upon my blood work, the doctor believes I have Sjogren’s Syndrome. She also made the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and pre-lupus. I’ve never heard of pre-lupus, but, hopefully it stays in the “pre” category.

Thank you for listening, each week I will have a new installment chronicling my journey- Which is now more frustrating than ever. I test positive for ANAs in my blood, but, the lupus tests are negative. There are several varieties of autoimmune disorders, with different caveats and health variations. Learning to live with the unknown has become my routine.

MAKING MY TOENAILS (AND FINGERNAILS) CURL         

I know people search far and wide for the ONE, you know that one person who will make their heart flutter and tummy drop. That one sexiness that will literally make their toes curl…we’ve been there. That toe cramp that inexplicably happens at the peak of a very fine orgasmic interlude.

This isn’t about that.

I’m talking about the irritating nail curl.

Thirty plus years ago, I used to bite my nails. I ran around so much in barefeet that my toenails didn’t grow very long either. It didn’t help that my mom was the militant nail cutter. So, when the dirt packed under my toe or fingernails, they had to go. She clipped those things down to the lowest point possible.

I still shudder when I hear the nail clipper, or maybe that’s misophonia…but, that’s another day.

When I got braces as an early teenager, I couldn’t bite my nails but, I still kept them rather short. I could outrun my mom at this point, so, she couldn’t attack me with the clippers. When I was in my early twenties, I decided to grow long nails for nice manicures (usually cheap polish because I was a starving college student.) I noticed my middle fingernail always grew curved inward and down on one side. It drove me nuts. However, I never had an explanation, just that’s how it was.

In the meantime, my toenails began to see the light of day as well and when it came time for pedicures (the rare and far between), my toenails frustrated me. My baby toenail grows thick, but, is so very tiny. The next two toenails grow curved upward from the tip when it gets much out from the quick.

The only toenails I have that grow somewhat normally are the big toe and the one next to it.

I’m not kidding.

Recently, I stumbled upon articles about nail growth and auto-immune disorders and it immediately intrigued me. There are at least 23 conditions associated with irregular nail growth, i.e. curved nails, discolorations, thickness, brittleness, etc. Not all conditions are auto-immune. However, nail growth can indicate problems with thyroid, circulation, diabetes, lung problems, iron deficiencies, connective tissue diseases, and a host of other conditions.

Now that my conditions have been diagnosed and I’m on the proper medications and vitamins, I’m curious to see how this might affect my skin and nails. I have Sjogren’s Syndrome, and I’ve read other folks with Sjogren’s shared experiences of strange nail growth patterns.

Take a gander at your unpolished tootsies and be aware of clues your body is sending you. It’s sometimes the most bizarre things that lead us to answers.

 

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