Mr. Pete is a great guy. Truly.
But if I had had a thing for feet, I wouldn't have married him. Besides having feet that are long and flat as pancakes, he had toenail fungus. That is something that plagued him even when he was a teenager! It got so bad that he had to have one of his nails pulled in his senior year, (but went on that night to march as the drum major at our high school football game!)
But I loved him anyway. Interestingly, for our first 20 or so years of marriage, my toenails were perfect! I took modern dance classes in my bare feet, I wore sandals that showed off my polished nails, and I never thought a thing about it.
All that changed as I hit middle age. Within one year I had a stillbirth, lost a tooth, and started noticing some discoloration in my toenails. I think that the changes that came with approaching menopause and hormone levels had something to do with all three of those things. But by the time I gave birth to my last child, my toenails had really thickened and discolored.
There wasn't a lot that I could do about it. We didn't have any money to do anything about it. So I started covering my feet, finding sandals that covered my toes, and I never ever let anyone see my nails. I even had to turn down an invitation go a spa that I got for my birthday because I was afraid that someone would see my unsightly toenails - so of course a pedicure was also out of the question.
Eventually Mr. Pete's dermatologist urged him to start an oral treatment for his nails and it cleared his fungus right up. But because of my auto-immune problems with ulcerative colitis, I was reluctant to take any oral medications. I feared taking something orally might change the normal flora in my gut and bring on a flare up of the colitis, something I definitely didn't want to go through again.
For the most part, I was resigned to live out my life with ugly toes. But they did hurt sometimes - really bad if someone accidentally stepped on them, or if my shoes irritated them. One of the nails even fell off on its own.
Then one day, about a year ago, I was sitting on the couch by myself, barefoot, reading a book when Mr. Pete came and sat down beside me. We were chatting about stuff when he looked down at my feet and said, "When are you going to do something about your toenails?"
Well that did it. I wasn't the one that brought a fungus into the marriage! But it also bothered me that my appearance bothered him. So I started to do research.
I was really drawn to laser therapy. The idea is that the doctor goes over the nail with the laser and kills all of the fungi living under it. That seemed reasonable to me.
I found a very nice podiatrist who was willing to work with me. He was very upfront about the charges and I had to pay him about $1000 to even start. For that I would get three laser treatments spaced about two months apart. I also had to purchase an ultraviolet (UV) Shoe Sanitizers , and use it on all of my shoes before I could wear them. I had to be meticulous about washing and drying my feet and wearing clean socks. There was some type of oil I put on my nails in the morning and an antifungal topical ointment to brush on them at night. I also kept my nails trimmed as short as possible.
After the first treatment I did notice a difference - the nails looked lighter in color to me. But after the second and third treatments they didn't seem much better. So my doctor prescribed Jublia to use daily. He also had me come back for laser treatment every two months and only charged me the rate for an office visit.
My podiatrist supplied me with a number to call and order the Jublia and my prescriptions were sent by UPS. I had no co-pays for the first four prescriptions, but my latest one had a co-pay of $40, so that's probably what I'll end up paying until I'm done using it. The results with the Jublia and the laser together were remarkable. I did not have any of the side effects that they warned about, and I never had to worry that I was damaging my colon or liver because these treatments aren't internal like the older oral medications for treating toenail fungus.
Last month, I went to my podiatrist and he pronounced me cured!
Bacilliform via Flickr licensed cc
I have to use the Jublia daily for one more month and then once a week for a preventative.
I also continue to sanitize my shoes and I wear flip flops in the shower.
It took about a year and it was a substantial investment, but I'm not embarrassed any more about my feet, and my toenails don't hurt. I can wear just about any shoe and not have to worry about being in pain. Just for my general health, I think it was better to have them treated. Since I'm established with this podiatrist, I also can go back to him for a quick laser treatment immediately if I get a re-infection, but I am working diligently to avoid that. I think cutting sugar out of my diet might also help prevent re-infection.
Works for Me!
See the link up over at Giving up on Perfect for some great tips and ideas!