Nail-biting is a tough habit to kick. However, this cautionary tale may convince you to quit the compulsion for good.
According to The Sun, Courtney Whithorn, a 20-year-old from Australia, had been chronically chewing her nails for years due to stress from being bullied at school. At one point, the habit got so bad that she bit off her entire thumbnail in 2014. When the nail eventually started to grow back with a new paper-like texture, Whithorn noticed her that her nail plate was turning black. At that point, she opted to see a doctor to fix the nail for cosmetic reasons.
She visited two plastic surgeons. They could tell something wasn’t right, so before they performed any surgery, they did a biopsy of the black skin, just to be safe.
After several biopsies and tests, Whithorn’s doctors determined that she had Acral Lentiginous Subungual Melanoma, a rare type of skin cancer. The doctors believe it was caused the damage from Whithorn’s nail-biting habit.
Since Whithorn’s diagnosis, the doctor’s performed four surgeries in an attempt to save her thumb. The surgeries were followed up with more tests and PET scans. After the results from one of the surgeries came back showing that the melanoma was one the verge of spreading, the only option left was to amputate Whithorn’s thumb above the knuckle.
Whithorn is still recovering from the removal of her thumb. The surgery has had a large effect on her life, especially her passion for writing. She said, “The thought of not really being able to write for a while is definitely a big change for me.”
Whithorn also had to take a year off from college because she currently cannot write. She was on track to graduate next year, but now that won’t happen until the year after. Though Whitmore is expected to come out strong, she will still have to go to routine check-ups over the next five years to make sure there isn’t a reoccurrence of cancerous cells.
Let this be a lesson learned for all you nail-biters out there. Although the habit can provide some temporary relief from stress, it’s not worth potentially losing your fingers over.
What do you think? Is this just a case of the perfect storm descending on one poor girl, but it had nothing to do with nail-biting? Or did the nail-biting at least make the issue worse? Let us know what you think in the comments below.