Under the Knife AND Chart Update

Wednesday’s the big day! See the details and RSVP to attend my public speaking debut at Whole Foods Porter Ranch here!  I probably won’t post again until after it’s over, but come back on Thursday to read all about how it went!


I had a little procedure yesterday.  Yep, I went under the knife.  I finally got the DD breasts I’ve been dreaming about.  No, no, I’m kidding.  No breast implants for me.

I did, however, have a matrixectomy.  That’s a real word.  You can look it up.  Insert your own good Neo/Morpheus/Trinity joke here; I wasn’t able to come up with one.

A matrixectomy is a common procedure where part of your nail bed is removed.  My matrixectomy was performed on my right big toe.

I’ve had a bunch of matrixectomies over the past 8 or so years, because I’ve had serious and annoying ingrown toenail problems.  I didn’t even really know what an ingrown toenail was until the first time I had one, and at the time, I was a complete dum-dum and waited waaaaaay too long to get to the doctor – I waited until the pain was pretty severe, and, as I soon learned, until my entire toe was swollen and infected.  No bueno.

Since then, I’ve had matrixectomies on both sides of both big toes.  You’d think after the first infected, swollen toe, I’d have learned to get to the doctor a little earlier, but nope.  That was a lesson I sadly needed to learn two or three more times.  Now, I make it a point to visit my foot doctor every six months or so for a routine check-up, and, earlier this summer, my foot doctor, Dr. Plotkin, took a look at my right toe, and could tell there’d be trouble down the road.  The matrixectomy was scheduled.

I seriously considered photographing the entire procedure, but decided against it, because while I might be interested in sharing how part of my toenail is removed (and ‘interested’ doesn’t do it justice; I’m fascinated by it), it is a little bloody, and it involves some sharp instruments, and I thought it wise to not gross anyone out.  I don’t wanna be known as the blogger who disgusts his readers.

So, I did the next best thing.  I made drawings!  (If you didn’t know I could draw, you obviously didn’t see my post with the sexy waffle doodles.)

Here’s how the matrixectomy was done.

For reference, a normal toenail:

In my toe, part of the nail was growing into the side of my toe, under the skin.  The dotted line marks the edge of my toenail:

You can see how the ingrown part had a jagged edge, which was causing a little discomfort and a little pain.

The first thing Plotkin did was give me a local anesthetic to numb my toe.  This was administered by a syringe that had a 3-inch needle, and Plotkin poked my toe in about 4 different spots to hit all the nerves, at one point, pushing the needle all the way into the middle of my toe.  This is always the worst part of the whole shebang – not the needle itself (I don’t mind needles), but the pressure from Plotkin squeezing the liquid from the syringe into my toe is quite painful.  “Are you breathing?” he asked me, mid-squeeze.  “Barely,” I said, clenching my teeth.  “I’ll tell ya,” he said, as he poked me in a new spot and continued squeezing, “this was a lot easier when there was more meat down here.”  What’s this?  A weight-loss compliment mid-procedure?  I’ll take it!  That’s right: I’ve lost weight in my TOES.

A few minutes later, Plotkin’s pinching and squeezing my toe, and I can’t feel a thing.  The anesthetic doesn’t take long to kick in!  Then Plotkin went about removing the wayward-growing nail:

The first thing he did was shove a little tool that looked like a little tiny shoehorn above and below my nail to separate my nail from the skin.  He wasn’t gentle – he was shoving it down in there like Elmer Fudd shoving his spear down the rabbit hole in What’s Opera, Doc (go to 1:30 in the video).  I started to bleed, but couldn’t feel a thing.  Then he took what looked like a little tiny tree trimmer, and cut down the length of my entire nail (the bold dashed line in the drawing).  My toenail is thick, and he had to apply quite a bit of pressure.  Once he had made the cut all the way down the nail bed, he took tiny little pliers and removed the ingrown part of my nail in one big piece.  He put it on the table next to my foot:  “That right there is what was bothering you.”

Next step:

Time to kill part of my toenail root (labeled with the skull and crossbones), so the part of my toenail that was growing ingrown doesn’t grow back.  Plotkin did this chemically, with a cotton swab dipped in a chemical and then shoved into the void where that part of my toenail used to be minutes before.  Then my whole toe was gauzed and bandaged, and I was sent on my merry way.  The whole thing took 10 minutes, and when the anesthetic wore off a few hours later, it throbbed like a sonofabitch.

By today, the throbbing was gone, and while it’s not painful, it is tender.  But I didn’t let this little procedure disrupt my exercise plans.  Last night, about 7 or 8 hours after the procedure, I did 54 minutes on the exercise bike in the little gym in my building – I picked the bike because it’s no-impact and no weight or pressure on my feet.  Then, today, I did 45 more minutes on the bike, including 30 minutes where I was doing intervals of a variety of upper-body exercises with 10-pound weights in each hand.  Tomorrow, depending on how my foot feels, I may venture and do something else besides the exercise bike, and by Thursday night, I should be able to dance again at Slimmons.  I didn’t attend tonight’s class on account of my foot, but since it is Tuesday, I did step on the scale, which means…

…it’s time for a chart update!

Last week, I updated my chart for the first time in three weeks, and I was down two pounds.  How did I do this week?

I stayed the same!  No loss, and no gain.  I held steady at 232 pounds, which is a weight loss of 170 pounds.  I’m not disappointed nor surprised – it turned out that I missed a few workouts last week.  Monday of last week was a planned rest day, since I was traveling from Michigan back to Los Angeles, and I was planning on that being my only rest day.  But then I somehow let Wednesday get away from me without a workout, and the same thing happened again on Saturday, when I spent a good part of the day at the baptism in the hills.  That means from Sunday 9/11 – Saturday 9/17, I only worked out 4 of 7 days.  My standard weekly goal is 6 workouts a week, with 5 being acceptable, so last week fell into the ‘unacceptable’ range.

But you know what?  OH WELLThere’s nothing I can do about it now, except to get back on track, and I’ve done that – I’ve worked out every day since my rest day on Saturday.  I’m back on track for 6 workouts this week.

Another reason I’m fine with my weigh-in this week:  I was looking back over my chart, and over the past 9 weeks, I’ve lost 7 pounds:

That’s pretty awesome.

Keep it up, David!


12 Responses to Under the Knife AND Chart Update

  1. Alyssa says:

    Ok, I totally dig the toe nail illustrations. I’m also fascinated by that type of stuff!!!!!

  2. Janet says:

    When part of the toenail is killed, does it actually stay dead? You mentioned you had it done several time, I guess at several different toes, right. Hope you won’t have to endure such procedures in the furture!!!

    • David says:

      It should stay dead. I’ve had matrixectomies performed twice before on the same area, because if the first one was done when my toe was infected, than the doctor can only remove the nail, and can’t do the chemical assassination part, due to swelling and inflammation.

  3. Cindy says:

    You are a wealth of information on this blog 🙂 I learned something new today about toenails and I agree that you are a very good illustrator!

  4. J. says:

    i for one am thankful for the lack of real pictures, and the drawings were neat (w/o being gross).

  5. Heidikristen says:

    Ha! I would have swallowed the red pill (a la Matrix) and imagined that my toes weren’t real in the first place!

  6. Amanda says:

    Ugh! I’ve had the toe proceedure before (but never knew the proper name). I’m NOT ok with needles, and even felt a little queezy reading your drawn description. I’m such a baby!

  7. Collin says:

    Okay, I think this is my new favorite post. It’s kind of yucky, but hilarious and demonstrates what an amazing writer you are. You really (toe)nailed it on this one.

  8. Neo: I know kung-fu.
    Morpheus: Show me.

    My favorite line in the Matrix! hehe

  9. s says:

    I’m mgoing to have the same procedure done. And I know that I shouldn’t have searched on the internet! I’m just getting more nervous now haha. I’m kind of worried about the needle, the rest of the procedure doesn’t worry me, actually. What a weirdo huh?
    Hi from Spain 🙂

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