Freak’in Hang Nail!

I know there’s a song out there that says “rainy days on Mondays always get me down,”  I need a song that includes “grey, cold, rainy days, in early July with fears of lymphedema and big surgical wounds that won’t heal.”  Is there something out there like that.  Ignore me, I’m having a down day.

I may need a little advice.  So you ladies who have had lymph nodes removed from your arms speak up.  Last week I did the unspeakable for someone with lymph nodes removed.  I chewed on a hang nail and ultimately ripped it off.  It hurt really bad when I did it.  I remember thinking “why the heck did I just do that.”  But it still didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t a good idea in light of my missing lymph system.  So here I am five days later and my finger is hot, red and swollen.  It also hurts.  A lot.  I finally put some neosporin on it yesterday when I noticed it was getting this way.  It also dawned on me that this was probably not a good thing considering my medical history.

So I’ve been tooling around the internet and of course I’ve gotten myself worried.  Here’s an article that says seek medical attention now.  And here’s a lovely little story about how a hang nail turned into cellulitis

I do not feel achy.  My arm is not swollen.  I see no red streaks yet.  Oh, but I’m a watch’in. 

That, and which freak’in doctor do I call?  My oncologist?  My surgeon?  My new family doctor?  I can see it now…..”um, yes, I have a hang nail I’d like you to look at.”  Yea right, they’ll be get’in me right in.  I don’t have much hope in receptionists these days. 

Has anyone had experience with this and do you have any advice for me?


6 Responses to Freak’in Hang Nail!

  1. Adena says:

    This is my suggestion: call your family dr. Say: “I have cancer, and I think I have an infection in my finger. I need to see someone today.” If that doesn’t work, go to the ER. Hot, red, and swollen isn’t good. I would have it seen SOON.

  2. lorri s. says:

    Hey CG…I have both sides lymph nodes out. You can try getting a refferal to a physical therapist that deals with lymphadema.

    I find the heat activates my swelling. I’m working on loosing weight too because I read that at a normal weight, the risk of lymphadema is 6% and at underweight, 0%.

    This is my least favorite side effect of treatment…yuck. Hope you can get it to heal soon!

  3. Dianne Duffy says:

    Hi, CG. I cut my hang nails all the time (I’m a little obsessive) and have never had lymohodema. As a matter of fact, I’ve done almost everything that they’ve said not to, very cautiously, just to test it out. I’ve carried a hand bag, lifted heavy objects, sat in a hot tub, worked in the garden, snagged on a rose bush, attacked by my cat. OK so some not so cautiously. But remember, only 10% of women without lymph nodes get lymphodema. On the other hand, my husband, who has all of his nodes intact, got it one very hot day.

    Keep an eye on it. The moment you notice anything that looks like swelling, elevate your arm immediately. If it starts to turn red, ask for an antibiotic or get some antibiotic ointment on it right away.

  4. clergygirl says:

    I don’t normally worry too much either, but then my finger got red and swollen and hot, so then now I am a bit worried. I emailed my onc about it and she emailed me back with questions. I suppose I’ll hear from her again tomorrow. I think it will be fine. Just having a moment. Thanks for the encouraging words though!

  5. kate says:

    ……in any event, some anti-b’s are probably in order. I was told by the lymphedema nurse to be better safe than sorry.


  6. whymommy says:

    My surgeon sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics, to have with me in case of cuts or burns to that arm. She said that if I ever do get a cut or burn that I should call and get a course of antibiotics immediately … I’m glad you called your onc; your surgeon or primary care might work, but it’s never clear in cases like this.

    I wish all primary care physicians knew a little more about cancer after-care, or that there were a few who did (who we could see).

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