Last Thursday, I invited Mandy - my future daughter in law (in 1week!) to join me for the afternoon. We were to get our nails done together and have lunch. It sounded lovely. My son James brought Mandy into our lives back in 2005 (can it really be that long ago?) and since then I have welcomed her not only into our home, but into our hearts as well. I love her. Maybe not quite the same as I love my son, but pretty darn close. I am excited to witness the ceremony that in essence makes her "adoption" into my family complete and legal.
We went to a place where she had gotten her nails done before. She planned for them to do her nails for the wedding. Well that's fine because it's important to note...I had never gotten "nails" done like this before. Back in August of 2012, the day before I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy I went to treat myself with a manicure/pedicure. That was an experience in itself...My phone got dumped into the foot bath. They quickly fished it out and assured me "no worries, we fix" You know what? They did. I did not have the horrible cell death by drowning. They whipped out heat lamps and air brushes and they got it dried out in no time. I was hesitant to fire it up and ever so happy to see the little green Android guy, But this manicure was with MY nails. It was a shaping, buffing and polish kind of thing.
This experience last week was a whole different enchilada. I was getting pink and white acrylics. The weekend prior, I ripped a nail off at the nail bed of one finger. Several other nails had chunked off on the corners. I keep my nails at an active length and use a rounded corner square cut to shape them. But it never fails that I go through periods where they are just not holding up well. And wouldn't you know it would strike 3 weeks before a wedding. So I had the one nail that wasn't there, and 2 that needed some repair work. So I nearly had a coronary when before I could suck in my breath, the technician had taken tiny little scissors and zip zip zip...my nails were GONE. She cut them off! I later learned it's easier and pricier to use tips instead of overlays. So a lot of shops do it without asking. I was told later by my hair stylist, they should always ask what shape and whether you want your nails cut. Mandy noticed my near heart attack.
Frankly I don't know why nail salon stylists don't have lung problems or maybe they do and they just don't know. The heavy chemical smells made it hard to enjoy the experience. It was NOT a spa like atmosphere. She brought a little dremel type tool....a grinder to roughen my nails. Apparently you get better adherence if they rough up the nail. I know that my nails are strong but aren't that durable. It took them FOREVER to grow out the chemo marks. I was still having palpitations over the fact she CUT mine off. (see? Still having to emphasize that) I looked around kind of nervously but saw they were doing the same thing to everyone else's nails. I kept thinking...where is the spa experience. Everyone talks about a manicure being this wonderful thing and this was HURTING!!
It was interesting to watch the stylist adhere tips to my nails....but I thought "look lady, I could have bought fake tips at Walmart." Then she got out this extremely smelly liquid and some white and pink power. She dipped a paint brush (it was a little one) into the smelly stuff and then into the powder and start painting it onto my nails. Okay that was kind of impressive. She completed all the nails with the white and then went into back fill them with the pink. Okay, that I could have also bought at Walmart I have seen the kits. But I could not have done this and make it look nice. As it was even hers looked horribly messy. She had my hands sitting under a pretty blue light and I spoke to myself "I hope this thing doesn't sunburn my fingers!"
Then out came the grinder again. This time she was grinding across the top and along the sides and I was having to physically restrain myself from jumping up and running away! Who's idea was this anyway? I thought this was supposed to be relaxing, but I found myself traumatized. The heat from the grinder was uncomfortable and the dust it was creating was making me want to sneeze, but SCARED to death to do so for fear she would grind away a knuckle.
Just when I thought it wouldn't get worse, out came the file. Let me preface this by saying I have on more than one occasion got a little too vigorous with a new file and cut my fingers with the file. My nail chick was NOT holding back. She had that white file whipping back and forth like a whorly-jig. She scrubbed the tops and along the edge and when she came scrubbing up along the sides and into the cuticle, my bottom clinched up and came off the chair! She was creating heat against my fingers and I kept watching for blood. Now I know why oncologist tell us to not "get nails" during chemo.
Finally she got everything sanded down to her satisfaction and added some kind of topping and sent me over to sit with a light on my nails. Finally I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew. I had a spot I thought was a bubble and I pointed it out to her. She came and sanded some more
and re-topped it. The spot was still there. It is STILL there now. But she said, "no, you nail fine."
I discovered that I am a perfectionist. Who am I kidding? I suspected it before. I always want details knocked out, ironed out and nailed down. Even when I polish my own nails, I would remove polish that wasn't perfectly smooth and start over. So the spot I thought was a bubble is still there and it appears to be a particle of acrylic dust. One nail has a rough top when she didn't buff it enough. But they do look good. I have gotten several compliments on them.
On Friday, it was raining like a cow peeing on a rock. I wasn't going anywhere in that mess. But in the afternoon, it had stopped and a weak beam of sunlight was braving the clouds to render it's luminescent over my part of the world. (Isn't that a purty sentence?) So I called to see if my local salon had an opening for a highlight job. They did if I came right over. So I buzzed on over and this I enjoyed. A new stylist was working and she was very pleasant and accommodating. Then I found out the owner of this little salon had been an instructor at Merrill university - a beauty college nearby. So I told her of my harrowing nail experience. They tutted, and gasped and grimaced as I went over that was done to my nails. Then they gave me advice on where THEY get their nails done. (Good to know) But they also gave me tips. 1. The stylist is supposed to ask if you want your nails cut. They cut them because it's less work but more expensive to just add tips. So I need to be proactive and tell them I want my nails left alone and OVERLAY put on them. 2. They tell me I could have told this stylist to slow down on the filing. That it was NOT supposed to hurt. Like I said, this was a new experience for me and I just thought you were supposed to hurt a little....kind of like a wax job on the eyebrows. Some may claim it's not supposed to hurt but it does anyway. You just decide the pain is worth the result. 3. I needed to tell the stylist how I wanted my white tips shaped. I didn't know. Now I do.
|This is what I wanted...the half moon shape of the white tip.|
|These are my nails.|
I think for the most part the nails are fine. For me it is the appearance that appalled me. And for a reason that most of you won't get. The way my nails are done with the white tip straight across and over half way back on the nails is exactly how my nails looked at the end of chemo. Many people are unaware that you can also lose your fingernails along with your hair. I faithfully applied Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails formula. Several friends sent me a number of colors. When the last chemo treatment was over, I stopped applying the Hard as Nails. I thought the chemo threat was over. So it was with dismay that I picked up my shoes one morning about two months after my chemo was over and had a shot of pain across my finger tips. Upon examination I discovered my nails...all of them had lifted at least half way back. And let me tell you that flesh under you nail is mighty sensitive to anything...body wash, shampoo. I wore gloves to wash dishes. I was slapping multiple coats of Sally on my nails on a daily basis. It stopped the lifting but it was a good 3 months before that grew out, and another 4 months before the last of the chemo spots and ridges were gone. When I complained about my nails, my oncology nurse explained that chemo stays in the body and effects you for an entire year after your last treatment. So that is what my disapproval of the actual appearance of the nails is all about. They look like my nails did during chemo. And anyone how has had chemo knows, we don't like to revisit that experience. It's one thing to talk about it. It's another to experience something that reminds you of it.
I do have to say that so far I have been pleased with the strength of these nails. They are handling typing just fine and I'm using gloves for doing the dishes. My hands already thank me for that. Although Dawn claims their hand therapy detergent actually softens hands...your hands will tell you different.
I'm happy to report that my highlight job went very well. They actually colored parts of my hair to make it darker. So it made my naturally silver threads look like the highlights and the color is my highlight. I was very happy, Here is the results of that.
|That's me in my new Rosy shirt. :)|