For years now, I haven’t been able to see my toenails. I have cut them by touch, but I often cut them so short they bleed, or so jagged that they tear holes in my socks. I have felt ashamed of my feet and ashamed to ask for help with grooming my feet; it feels like just one step up from having to ask someone to wipe your bum. I would leave cutting my toenails for weeks until the nails cracked or were stabbing my husband in the night as I rubbed my sleepy foot against his leg. I finally had to ask for help and it was one of the hardest things I have had to ask for since my RP diagnosis.
I know, it seems silly; isn’t giving up driving and having to ask for rides everywhere worse than having to ask for help with cutting your toenails? Not for me. I felt so sad and so ashamed the day I finally asked my husband for help. It wasn’t because I feared his reaction, it was because I was having to admit that a simple grooming activity that almost all people can perform was no longer something I could do.
When I asked my husband to help me, he of course agreed and then I broke into tears and explained how humiliated I felt and how it was yet another thing that RP was preventing me from being able to do. I hang onto as much independence as I can and hold onto it with a very firm grip; feeling the loosening of that grip is like loosing parts of yourself and your life bit by bit. It is a devastating reminder of what the future may hold.
My husband was so understanding of my feelings and he now makes sure that we have the money every month so I can get pedicures. For some people, going to the nail salon is a luxury, but for someone with RP, it becomes a necessity. At least I get pretty painted toenails every two weeks.