A "Toe"tally Sad Story

Disclosure:  The following story may come across as a joke.  It's not.  It's very real.  With real people, real experiences, real emotion, and downright real-ness.  

I have a thing for feet.  I love them or hate them.  As of 48 hours ago I was in great standing with my feet.  So much so that if I had made a list of phrases/adjectives that represented my affection toward the little size eight feet, it would probably look something like this -->  Nails.  Nail polish.  Nail art.  Toes.  Ten.  Flip Flops.  Summer.  Exposure.  Bare.  Pretty.  Coral.  Eternal love.

However, it is not 48 hours ago.  It is now.  And this is how I feel about my feet -->
Mutilated.  Incomplete.  Nine.  Absent.  Missing.  Unfortunate in appearance.  Closed toed shoes.  Homely.  Sad.  Covered.  Broken hearted.  

Why?  Oh please, let me tell you.  As part of my thing for feet and/or nails, I ALWAYS have my nails painted.  My polish usually correlates with the season and my general mood.  I consider it an extension of my personality.  From this info you can get a little taste as to how important each of my 10 fingernails and 10 toenails are to me.  On top of that, it's summer.  Summer means flip flops.  And...flip flops demand pretty toes.

I do my part to keep my feet in their prime.  My running shoes are the right size, my socks are breathable and not too thin/thick, my toenails are trimmed to the right length, and I am a regular at Holly's Nails where they clean up anything I missed and polish my toes to perfection.  Despite all of these precautions, tragedy struck on Monday night at approximately 10:35 pm.  It came out of the blue. An unpleasant surprise with no signs or symptoms.  I was sitting alone in the hallway of Chipman Hall at BYU, patiently waiting for my wonderful sport's camp girls to go to sleep when I looked down at my toes.  The Horror.  I honestly (as pathetic as this will sound) have never felt so helpless in my life.  My once beautiful, coral painted, left big toenail was hanging on for dear life.  In that moment I felt no pain, just sorrow.  Mini flashbacks of happier times with all ten toenails played in my mind.  They reminded me of what was and what would not be in the next 6-12 months.  

The next two hours were terrible.  My toenail was in transition, not completely off, but so close.  Those around me wrote off my depression as a plea for attention, when, in reality, I was genuinely troubled.  I spent the time in limbo on google, looking for any advice that might help me through my first loss of this kind.  I found comfort in a web series by Dr. Jacoby.  His videos outlined what the healing process would be like, what to expect, and how to behave in the meantime.  While he mentioned that it could take anywhere from 6-12 months for complete regrowth, he offered reassuring words that all would be well again to me and his 6,977 other viewers.  His emphasis on complete  removal helped me to take action, remove the nail, and apply a bandage.  Though I experienced a twinge pain in the process, I knew it was for the best and that removal was not a means to an end, rather a beginning.

While still mourning, I am finding happiness in the little things again and feeling tremendous gratitude for those that were there for me.  In my time of need my dear roommate Anna and some of her campers allowed me to openly express my feelings and struggles to them while they somewhat respectfully listened, laughed, and offered their opinions.  One of the girls went as far as to initial my toenail as a symbol of her support and Anna was kind enough to visit the vending machines to get peanut m&m's for me.  

This morning we (Me, Anna, and our campers) held a memorial service for "Toey".  It was short and sweet, kind of like Toey herself.  I shared some memories, recited a "Toe"logy, accepted kind words from Anna and the campers, and held a moment of silence.  Then, we buried her.  Wrapped in a light blue sticky note adorned with a smiley face, she entered the ground. Anna then led the girls in the first line of "God Be With You Til We Meet Again".  Overall it was a beautiful service.  The next few months will be tough, especially with it still being open toe shoe season, but I have faith that my new nail will grow in stronger, prettier, and hangnail free.  

Please enjoy the pictures of the process below:


Support Group

ello bandage

New shoe of choice

Toey in the grave

Her headstone "Birth-July 16, 2012"

Uncontrollable sobs

Stage makeup or raw emotion?  

My future band aid use is bright and kitty!

There you have it, a toetally sad story.  If you have any advice, comments, or well wishes please contact me.  Also.........the Sport's Hero Day story that I referred to in a post a few months back has been published!  Check out page three of the current issue of BYU Magazine.  

Yours truly -->  Chelsea