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nail changes after chemo ended

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    Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 2:16pm
I finished my chemo about 4 weeks ago and have been noticing that my finger nails are just starting to lift up from the nail beds! I thought I was going to escape this side effect!

Has anyone else had changes after chemo ended?

I have been using tee tree oil hoping to help but now feel it is futile....

diane
dx 3/09,lumpectomy 4/09, margin & axil nodes 5/09, stg IIa,grade 3.ACT/avastin done 10/29, rads started 11/30, 12/09 recur vs missed initially. 1/10 bilat mast, rads done 4/10, zometa q3mos now
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 3:34pm
Hi Diane,
 
Sometimes the side effects can linger.  I have had two diagnoses and both times I had nail problems.
Even had a couple fall off but they grow back.
 
Be careful and protective of your loose nails.  Keep them clipped short and you might wear gloves while cleaning or washing dishes.
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
BRCA 1+
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mainsailset Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 4:31pm
Hi Diane, yes I had that too. My nails at the end of chemo looked like they were under stress and I noticed that the base broadened, which a friend told me was an outward sign that the body and the nails were under siege. She was right. I lost both big toenails, I was told to soak them in Epsom salt warm water every day to keep the area clean and it was good advice. I also lost both thumbnails and all my nails became grooved. There was a time I thought I'd lose more.
 
The toenails are still struggling to grow back (it's been 8 months), Pam's right you have to be so protective and careful of the keeping the nails clean. I kept a bandaid on mine all the time. The thumbnails have already grown back and are fine, I still have some neuropathy and I think that bothers me more.
 
Good luck, this too shall pass.
dx 7/08 TN 14x6.5x5.5 cm tumor

3 Lymph nodes involved, Taxol/Sunitab+AC, 5/09 dbl masectomy, path 2mm tumor removed, lymphs all clear, RAD 32 finished 9/11/09. 9/28 CT clear 10/18/10 CT clear
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 4:53pm
I also had nail changes during and after chemo.  I noticed after each chemo I'd have a horizontal band show up on my nails.  It appeared lighter in color under my nails and I'd also develop a ridge.  So after 4 treatments, I have these bands and ridges working their way up my nail.  It looks like the rings on a tree.  I also need to keep my nails short because if I try to loosen anything with my nail, it pulls up the nail and makes it whiter (tip area).  My nails feel much thinner than before chemo. 

Donna
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thinkpositive Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 7:09pm
I had this problem as well, lost almost all fingernails. This was especially hard for me since I was working with the public - at least you can use a wig for your bald head.
 
Tea tree oil is really good to keep your nails from getting infected.  Once I had a thin base of fingernails again I found a great nail technician who was able to build short acrylic fingernails.  I think this actually helped because the coating covered my very thin nail beds. It has been 6 months or more and my own nails are growing out.  I never had an infection - used the tea tree oil at least daily. 
 
 
dx 3/06 stg II 0/7 lymph
bilateral mastectomy 7/06 AC/Taxol lung mets 1/08 Avastin Abraxene 02/08/9/08
Brca neg Avastin Xeloda 10/08
Curagen 2/09 Ixempra 6/09 Lung Mets
Gemzar/ Carboplatin 9/09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LRM216 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 10:04pm
I finished my last Taxotere on 9/10/09 and while my fingernails are ok (still have neuropathy in fingertips and all toes), my toe nails have "thickened" are are very difficult to cut with a toe nail clipper.  They seem to have lifted a bit, and my onc and her PA thought I would probably lose them, they have not worsened, but have remained very thick.  Has anyone else had this happen?  I am still walking around in late November in freaking flip flops and have to work everyday, as I can't but a regular shoe on as it hurts my toe nails.  I can wear crocs, but they look as miserable as the flip flops!  Helpppppppp!
 
Linda
Linda - diagnosed at age 62
Diag 2/23/09 IDC 1.2 cent. IDC right breast,Stage 1, Grade 3,0/1 nodes - Triple Neg
4 DD AC every two weeks, 1 Dd Taxol, then 3 Taxotere every three weeks - rads x 33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unklez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2009 at 11:02pm
Dear Linda,

Hopefully the skin and nails are will soften and settle down soon. Until then, try soaking the nails in tea tree oil. Also try gently rubbing toes in baby lotion and wearing soft socks right before bed.

Wife Dx: Jul/09. Age: 37. Size: 3cm. BRCA: -ve. Lumpectomy: Aug/09. Micromet 1/9 node. Chemo Start: Sep/09. E5103. DD ACB-> DD Abraxane (Taxol reaction). Zometa (S0307). Canadian Fraction Rads.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusanE1104 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 9:27am
My nails are still changing four months after chemo.  Mine have not only lifted but some of them have turned black.  I keep them painted with a darker nail polish.  I lost one big toenail, but the new nail had grown about halfway back under it.  My toenails thickened somewhat, but wearing shoes isn't a problem.  The toenails haven't turned black either.  I haven't any products or taken any precaustions.  I didn't know infection was a problem.  Has anyone developed infections due to this side effect?
Susan 62 1987 Stage 1   1/09 Stage IV bilat. mast. liver mets BRCA1+ Taxol & Avastin
8/09 NED
12/09 liver mets Taxol/Avastin
4/10 liver mets
11/22 Parp Car/gem
parp failed
2/2011 Ixempra
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mainsailset Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 10:55am
Susan, yes I did have an infection in big toenails. I was soaking in Peroxide to keep clean but it wasn't enough and the doctor told me not to use the Peroxide as it stops growth of young cells so I was told to stick with the Epsom salts and they did indeed do the trick.
I am though intrigued by the idea of using nail polish as I would have assumed that it would interfere with the healing process.
dx 7/08 TN 14x6.5x5.5 cm tumor

3 Lymph nodes involved, Taxol/Sunitab+AC, 5/09 dbl masectomy, path 2mm tumor removed, lymphs all clear, RAD 32 finished 9/11/09. 9/28 CT clear 10/18/10 CT clear
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusanE1104 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 11:26am
Mainsailset,
You could be right about nail polish slowing the healing process, but I can't walk around with black fingernails.  I think they are growing out slowly.  Not all, but some of the them have turned black on the parts that had lifted from the nailbed.  I regard it as just a minor nuisance in comparison to the bigger issues.  Thanks for your input.
SusanSmile
Susan 62 1987 Stage 1   1/09 Stage IV bilat. mast. liver mets BRCA1+ Taxol & Avastin
8/09 NED
12/09 liver mets Taxol/Avastin
4/10 liver mets
11/22 Parp Car/gem
parp failed
2/2011 Ixempra
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mainsailset Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 12:05pm
Susan, I agree, I'm in sales and I know the value of good well manicured nails when working with the public. There are so many nasty and semi nasty side effects we go through & I'm always interested in the unique solutions women come up with here. I had at one time thought of wearing very thin lace gloves but then realized I'd spend too much time explaining the reason or just being stared at. I did give up on some and pulled or had pulled the nails that went black then put a band aid over them as they regrew.
 
But you're right, there are bigger issues.
dx 7/08 TN 14x6.5x5.5 cm tumor

3 Lymph nodes involved, Taxol/Sunitab+AC, 5/09 dbl masectomy, path 2mm tumor removed, lymphs all clear, RAD 32 finished 9/11/09. 9/28 CT clear 10/18/10 CT clear
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scared Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 1:14pm
Yes, nails very damaged during and after chemotherapy, but it does get back to normal.  Everything in time and you will eventually be your "NEW SELF".  Your hair grows back, nails return looking normal and just Thanksgiving Weekend my wife was able to shuffle a deck of cards without pain.

We are slowly finding her new self, and it will take time.  My wife's hair used to be straight and it came back curly, now it has a little bit of curl and is coming back straighter.  Your energy levels will return and exercise like walking would be good for you.

Wishing you the best,

Dave
Wife diagnosed 7/08 stage 2B 4.78cm with 3 nodes. 15 weeks of Adriamycin and Cytoxin, Mastectomy, 12 weeks of Taxol, and 6.5 weeks of radiation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kmartin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 10:12pm
Hi Linda,
 
One of my big toes fell off last month...had my last chemo 7/08.  Couldn't believe it after all these months. Along the cuticle a darkness appeared, then the nail lifted off gradually, then was completely separated from the nail bed. Now I wait to see if the new nail grows out normally.
 
My fingernails are fine. They had a white line for each round of chemo, but grew out normally.
 
The only lingering issue is pain on the bottoms of my feet. Not sure it is neuropathy. I don't have the typical burning or tingling sensations...just painful bottoms of my feet, esp. after sitting for a while. I walk like an old lady!
 
Kathy
Found Lump, 2/8/08
Bx IDC, Stage 2, Grade 3, TN
Lumpectomy, axillary node dissection 3/11/08
4/33 positive nodes
TAC x 4, AC x 1
RT x 33-finished 10/14/08
BRCA 1 & 2 Negative
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LRM216 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 30 2009 at 10:39pm
Oh, Kathy, I hear you!  I feel the same way.  My toes are all numb-like, no tingling or pain, but feel as if they should be on someone else's feet!  My onc said that neuropathy takes different forms, and that's what it is.  Sometimes they feel ice cold, and when I touch them they are warm!  Go figure.  My fingernails have the same white stripes and slight ridges, but I can see that is growing out as I clip them short.  The toe nails are just "thick" - I hate that.  I always had such pretty feet and nice polished toenails.  Now I have numb viennese sausages hanging off the ends of my feet and nails that I think I will have to "saw" off with a saw next clipping time!  But I am still breathing, so that's a good thing!
 
Linda
Linda - diagnosed at age 62
Diag 2/23/09 IDC 1.2 cent. IDC right breast,Stage 1, Grade 3,0/1 nodes - Triple Neg
4 DD AC every two weeks, 1 Dd Taxol, then 3 Taxotere every three weeks - rads x 33
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