I am so glad that I went to see Dr. Dermatologist. He echoed everything that Dr. Podiatrist said, but with a few more details that really helped me to feel comfortable with the discoloration under the nail of my left big toe. He said that sometimes toes detect trauma that might not register in our brain, and that even extreme temperatures can cause weird toe things. He also said that inflammation around the nail bed, such as I had in mid-February, can cause a release of serum into the nail plate, as visualized by discoloration under the nail. Once inside the nail plate, the serum cannot get out. It simply has to grow out until it eventually gets clipped off. Together these sound like reasonable explanations for what happened to my toe because 1) I recall no trauma, 2) the whole thing started with inflammation around the nail plate and only later became discolored, and 3) the discoloration is very slowly traveling outward with my nail.
When a patient leaves the office, doctors often state that the circumstances for a subsequent visit should be a set amount of time or "if anything changes". Clearly as my nail plate serum grows out, there will be constant gradual changes in the appearance of my toe. So I was grateful when Dr. Dermatologist explained other types of changes that should inspire me to make a follow-up appointment: asymmetric, irregular, or sudden changes in the pattern or color of the discoloration. That should be easy enough to spot.
So...I'm officially free of all bodily worries until the next PET scan at the end of May! Huzzah!
I feel surprisingly liberated, even though I had become fairly confident that my toe problem could be explained by non-cancerous phenomena. It is invaluable to have a medical professional officially hand down the reassurance.
This liberation is very timely because I will have a very busy April at work. I am trying to finish and submit a research manuscript, write and submit a review article, hire two people, and attend a mandatory training in Peoria for half a week at the end of the month. I don't like stress or unattainable goals, so hopefully I can actually make this all happen in the next 3 weeks. I might have to take some work home, which is a line I hate to cross because once crossed, it is hard to go back. We shall see.
Time to relax in the fragrance of the lilacs that Ian put in vases this evening. I can't believe it's April 4th and I have lilac blossoms in my house. A treat, to be sure.