Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Today I awoke to discover the nail on my left baby toe hanging on by a thread. I probably would not have even noticed it, were it not for the dot of my favorite red nail polish remaining from my last pedicure… too long ago to remember. What shook this toenail from its bed, I wondered. Would fellow toenails “jump ship,” too, in a show of solidarity, or are they non-union members? I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. By dinnertime, the nail on my left big toe also was hanging on by a thread. My husband, Tony, wrapped a bandage around it to keep it from being prematurely torn off and potentially opening up a path for infection.
Everyone I asked blamed chemotherapy, not cancer, for causing hair and nail damage and loss. While chemotherapy may stop or slow the growth of cancer cells, it also harms healthy cells, causing many side effects, which may or may not get better or go away after treatment ends.
Is this what we have to look forward to… our bodies falling apart piece by piece while we search out one medical specialist after another to put us back together again? With so many players, I don’t always know whom to call first when an injury crosses medical specialties. Do I call my internist, my medical oncologist, my neurologist, my podiatrist, my dermatologist, or my physical and occupational therapists?
Sometimes it’s good to seek a second opinion to review all available treatment options and feel confident about your chosen path. Some hospitals have technology, not available elsewhere, that promises no incision, no pain, no anesthesia, no hospitalization, allowing for a faster return to normal activities. Working with a doctor you like and trust can help you feel more relaxed, speed up your healing process, and lead to a better outcome. The choice is yours.
When all is said and done, the research credits “resilience” as a key factor in determining why some people fare better than others. It is all about striking a healthy balance between the management of an incurable disease, whether PD or cancer, and maintaining the connections and activities which ensure that life isn’t just about the disease.