What started as a salon visit ended in her worst nightmare.
As she sat in the hospital waiting room, she stared at the small black mark on her nail. How on Earth had it come to this?
Trouble At Home
Melissa Benson was on her way home from work when she found herself pulling over to the side of the road. She wasn’t quite sure what made her do it, but things hadn’t been great at home, and she didn’t want to get into it with her husband after a hard day, so she turned and headed to the salon.
If only she’d known it wouldn’t be the relaxing experience she’d hoped for.
Bad To Worse
When Melissa arrived, she asked to see Sergio, her regular nail technician. But as she expected, her bad luck struck again – he was sick that day.
Lisa Williams – who was new at the salon – offered to step in. Melissa has really hoped to get some things off her chest with Sergio, but she also felt like she needed some pampering, so she sat down with Lisa. But the new technician was making her feel very uncomfortable.
“I’d like a darker color than usual, please,” said Melissa. “I’ve got this black line from when I shut my finger in the door and I’d like to cover it.”
“Right,” replied Lisa, apprehensively. Melissa was getting a weird vibe. Maybe she should just come back when Sergio was feeling better. But Lisa wouldn’t let her go.
“So you said it happened in an accident?” Lisa asked, trying not to worry Melissa as she got to work on her other nails.
“Yes,” Melissa replied, wondering why Lisa was so curious about the mark. She’d already told her what happened. “But it was a while ago now. Is it… something I should be worried about?”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. It could just be a calcium deficiency that’s hindering the nail’s recovery,” offered Lisa, in an attempt to calm down her client who she’d clearly worried. “Impossible,” said Melissa. “My doctor told me I drink too much milk.”
“In that case,” said Lisa reluctantly. “I think there’s something you should hear.”
“I think you should get it checked out by a doctor,” insisted Lisa. Melissa had already had the worst day. What with her marital difficulties and work worries, her anxiety was already brimming over. This was supposed to be a relaxing visit to the salon to decompress, but now she was more stressed-out than ever.
Before she knew it, she’d passed out right there in the salon chair.
Rushed To Hospital
As she drifted in and out of consciousness in the ambulance, Melissa tried to make sense of how her day could have ended so badly.
She could hear the paramedics reassuring her that everything would be all right, but she couldn’t help but fixate on what Lisa had been saying about her nail in the salon. Then, everything went black.
‘Where Am I?’
Melissa woke up in the hospital. The doctors told her that she’d had a severe panic attack that had caused her to faint.
Before long, Melissa was feeling well enough to get out of bed and check out of the hospital. But before she could leave, the nurse informed her she had a visitor. It was Lisa, and she didn’t come with good news.
Caught It Early
Lisa had informed the nurse about Melissa’s black nail and they gave it a look while she was in the bed. And in the nurse’s opinion, it didn’t look good.
After making sure Melissa was comfortable and not at risk of another panic attack, a proper analysis determined that Melissa had cancer. But the really scary thing was what caused it.
Subungual melanoma – “subungual” is the medical term for “under the nail” – is caused by injury or trauma, not by the sun like other visible forms of cancer.
A black line, nail cracking, bleeding, and brittleness can all be signs of this rare type of cancer, which is hard to differentiate from normal nail bruising.
Luckily for Melissa, early detection stopped the cancer from spreading and thanks to Lisa, she was later given the all-clear.
Do you have a dark nail or other anomaly on your body? Don’t panic, just book an appointment with your physician and get yourself checked out as soon as possible – especially if you’re over 50 or have darker skin.