This Little Piggy Can’t Get His S#*T Together…

It’s now been exactly one week since I had the nail of my big toe surgically removed for the THIRD, and hopefully final, time.

Let’s back up a bit, so I can explain….

This Little Piggy Starts Squealing

The year was 2010, and I was a bright-eyed undergrad student at the beautiful University of Victoria, working a part-time job at a high-end fashion store where I was, understandably, expected to dress up a bit. As such, I had a decent collection of high-heeled shoes, some of which were less practical comfortable than others. As you can imagine, this lead to many nights after work spent nursing sore feet on my sofa.

One morning, the big toe of my right foot still hurt from working the day before, especially when I put pressure on the toenail. I figured my shoes were too tight, and made a mental note not to wear those shoes anymore (a mental note which I quickly forgot). This happened on and off for the duration of my time in Victoria, but it never seemed cause for concern. It was only after I moved back home, after University, that things took a turn for the worse…

This Little Piggy Meets Dr. Abao


One morning in March of 2011, I awoke to excruciating pain, radiating from the big toe of my right foot. I couldn’t move my toe, I couldn’t stand on that foot, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to attempt putting it into any sort of footwear. My Sherlock-like deductive reasoning concluded that something was most definitely wrong, and I probably needed to get it fixed before going to work that night. I hobbled into my parents’ kitchen and typed “Langley foot doctor” into Google, because I didn’t yet know such a thing was actually called a Podiatrist. The first result was for the “Langley Foot Clinic”, so I called them and made an appointment for that afternoon.

The owner of the clinic was Dr. Marissa Abao– a very sweet young woman who didn’t look like she could be beyond her late twenties, but probably was. She had an assistant with a wickedly strong eastern European accent, who always called me, “Pretty Girl” instead of using my name, and spoke in broken sentences that made her sound like Ulla from The Producers. I liked her.

This Little Piggy Gets Butchered

I’m not sure what I expected would fix my problem, but never, and I mean NEVER, did I anticipate that I would leave that walk-in appointment with NO TOENAIL on my big toe! Unfortunately, Dr. Abao’s examination determined that my pain was caused by a build-up of unexplained cartilage under the nail, which was pushing the nail further off my toe as it grew. The only way to immediately relieve the pain, was to surgically remove the toenail. And I’m sure you can imagine what that sort of procedure entails!

Oh, you can’t? You mean you’ve never had a toenail surgically removed? Well, lucky for you, I have photos of my fist “nail avulsion”!

Dr. Abao Working on My Toe

The Lovely Dr. Abao with my troubled toe! The yellow you see is iodine, but I have no excuses for the rest of my complexion- I’m just that pastey…


Somewhere out there is a factory that makes toe tourniquets… Weird, eh?

Basically, my toe was shot up with enough anesthetic to freeze hell, and then, after some poking tests to make sure it was sufficiently numb, a scalpel was used to cut back the skin surrounding the nail. A little tool with a spoon-like end on it was (rather forcefully) wedged under said nail and used to pry it from it’s cozy little bed. Once up, Dr. Abao traded in the little spoon thing for some more plier-like equipment, and proceeded to yank my nail from the cuticle of my toe.


Behold! My toenail, sans to

Afterwards, as I sat in the waiting room while my mom filled out some paperwork, I became aware of a dull throbbing in my now nail-less toe, indicating that the anesthetic was wearing off. When I voiced this observation, Dr. Abao hurried my mom’s completion of the paperwork and handed her a prescription for Tylenol3. It’s no mystery why she did this, since by the time we got to the car, the dull throbbing had escalated into something much much worse. Are you familiar with the Hyperbole & a Half Pain Chart below?

In the time it took to walk hobble from Dr. Abao’s office to my mother’s car, I shot from Pain 4 to Pain 7, and within a block, I was careening into 8. I can’t even adequately describe how much it hurt to regain feeling in a toe than had just had it’s nail yanked off. It was the kind of crippling pain that so overwhelms your senses that you forget to breathe and end up desperately gasping for air between agonized screams. And believe me– I screamed. I screamed, I cried, and I swore like a sailor the whole drive home. We stopped only long enough for my mom to run into a drug store to get my T3 prescription filled.

Unfortunately, this actually turned out to be the time I discovered that I was allergic Codine- a key ingredient in T3s. Rotten luck, eh? On the bright side, the resulting sensation that I’d swallowed a capsule of acid which was slowly burning a hole though my stomach did effectively distract me from the pain of my toe for a bit… To this day, I can’t decide whether the worst pain I’ve endured was that drive home post-nail avulsion, or taking the T3 afterwards. Safe to say, I did not end up going to work that night.

This Little Piggy Gets His Picture Taken

A few weeks later, Dr. Abao sent me to get some x-rays in an attempt to find out what had caused the mysterious cartilage growth that had necessitated the nail removal. The results weren’t good.


It might not look like much to the un-trained eye, but on the end of my big toe, there is a white dot. That dot is actually a bone spur, which had been growing vertically off of my toe bone, and pushed up into my nail bed. The mysterious cartilage was actually my body attempting to protect this rogue bone! Why did I have this bone spur in the first place? We don’t know. Bone spurs show up at random, like those uninvited assholes at a party who drink all your drinks, insult your roommates, and puke on your couch. He needed to go.

This Little Piggy Meets The Drill

We had to meet Dr. Abao at a specialty clinic out of town for my bone spur removal, as the procedure required a device that was terrifyingly named a “Bone Drill”, which Dr. Abao didn’t have. I was awake, but didn’t see, hear, or feel any of the procedure, thanks to lots of anesthetic, a carefully placed TV screen, giant noise-cancelling headphones, and a blue curtain across my waist, prevented me from seeing around the screen, if I’d had the desire or strength of stomach to do so.

Of course, that’s not to say I wasn’t sitting in constant, white-knuckled terror that I might hear, see, or feel something, and as such, I have absolutely no idea what movie was playing. But my terror didn’t prevent me from instructing my mother to take photos for me!


Only the awesomest doctors wear Spongebob and Patrick!


My leg is extending towards the bottom left corner of the picture. You can see how well-protected I was from witnessing the horror going on.


Removing the nail…. again.


I’m so glad I couldn’t hear/see/feel this…


All the bone/cartilage that was removed


The resulting toe crater

This Little Piggy Goes on Vacation

197521_10150447732215221_1408085_nIn stark contrast to the emotionally scarring experience of the first procedure, I don’t remember much of the recovery from this one, which leads me to believe it wasn’t as bad. They gave me some non-codine pain killers, which helped immensely.

I also had an added incentive to not succumb to my pain, because I had just turned 21 and already had plans for a trip to Vegas! Despite Dr. Abao’s reservations about the likelihood that I’d maintain proper post-operative care while travelling, we went anyway. I even took a picture of her handy-work hanging over the Grand Canyon for her! I thought I’d give it to her as a final thank you, since I wouldn’t be seeing much of her, now that my bone spur was removed.

Or so I thought…

This Little Piggy is Retarded

It became clear in the months that followed that my toe would never look the same, but I’d been warned that removed nails often grow back different. What I had not been warned about, and what none of us had anticipated, was that my toenail would come back retarded, and having completely forgotten how to be a toenail. It grew back completely curved, and began growing into my toe.

I went back to Dr. Abao to see what could be done, and she said the best option was to remove the edges of the nail, and burn the nail bed with a chemical to prevent those spots from growing back. This sounded downright awful, so I put it off for months.

This Little Piggy Gets Cooked

I put it off until last week, when the pain in my toe began preventing me from wearing close-toed shoes. I knew I could delay it no longer. I made an appointment for a Saturday, to allow myself lots of recovery time.

It took FIVE injections of anesthetic to freeze my to, a phobia-activating experience which drained every drop of colour from my face, and had me terrifyingly close to puking all over Dr. Abao’s sterile equipment (but I didn’t!). As a result, I was thoroughly frozen for quite a few hours after the procedure, so the recovery was more of a tolerable throbbing than an excruciating pain. Akin to a bad headache, but in your foot… if that makes sense.

So now, since my toe and resident nail just couldn’t get their shit together enough to function normally, we’re all doomed to look like this for the rest of our lives (minus the redness/whiteness of the healing burn sites):


The red polish stands as a token from what was probably the last pedicure I’ll get without being totally self-conscious about my stupid toe.

And that’s the story of how I came to need THREE “nail avulsions”, as they are formally known!


A word on Burning Man. And why it should be compulsory.

I’ve tried many times to write a post that accurately conveyed my experience of Burning Man 2011. This one comes close.

Squelch & Whimsy

So my first real piece of writing for the year has to be about Burning Man. No questions. Why? Because this is easily the most inspiring thing to have happened in my life, ever. This piece has been percolating in my head for well over a year now, so well past time to spit it out. Not just due to my apparent ability to excel at procrastinating over writing, but also because it’s just so bloody difficult to capture the burningman-ness of it all and craft it together into a piece of prose that doesn’t end up making you feel frustrated that the person reading it still doesn’t get how incredible it is, AT ALL.

BM (10 of 1) Love is all I got

The first glimpse of the Playa, 2012

It certainly seems that most of my friends and family still can’t wrap their heads around this thing that I do, this going and…

View original post 3,110 more words

TIL There’s a Hilarious App You Need to Download!

After reading some comments on a Reddit Thread last night, Boyfriend and I downloaded a game called SpaceTeam. You need this app.

SpaceTeam is a multiplayer game available for iOS and Android devices, which uses Bluetooth/Wifi to connect players within the same room onto a team of up to 4 people (“a SpaceTeam!”). Together, they must work together to repair a failing spaceship as it attempts to outfly an exploding star.

Each teammate’s phone shows a different control panel, as well as an instruction along the top. The trick is, the instructions you receive,  usually won’t match the control panel you see, so you’ll have to shout out the instruction to your teammates, until the person with the matching control panel fulfills the instruction.

The more levels you beat, the less time you have for each instruction.

Part of the hilarity of this game, is that you end up shouting absolutely ridiculous things, like “WIGGLE THE GIGGAPLEX!” and “FLUFF THE PILLOWS!” I imagine the game would be even more fun with more people.

One of the great things about this game is that Android users and iOS users can play  together, on the same team, as long as they share a Wifi connection. This would make a hilarious icebreaker at a party, or even as a team-building game for a company.

Click Here to Download for iOS or Click Here to Download for Android and don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts once you’ve played it!

I’m Officially 24!! Yay?

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 12.40.36 PM

I turned 24 this most recent Wednesday. Despite enduring many birthdays of friends and relative making jokes about how “old” I’m getting, this is the first birthday on which I actually feel older. I think it has something to do with a “Letter to Me at 25” that I wrote in elementary school. I recall predicting that by age 25 I’d be married and have two kids (one boy and one girl), and I’d be a successful Veterinarian.

Alas, here I am just one year away from that benchmark, and I’m neither a mother, nor a wife, and I gave up my dream of being a Veterinarian when I was 12, after learning how much schooling it would take. Don’t get me wrong– I’m doing really well and I’m happy with my life, but I can’t help but feel that Child-Me would be disappointed.

I wasn’t actually even planning to celebrate– not necessarily because I didn’t want to, but having your birthday on a Wednesday is kind of awkward when you work a 9 -5 work week. As it turned out though, my bosses had tickets to see a Vancouver Canucks games with a business associate that night, but scheduling conflicts arose which prevented them from going. I ended up receiving four free tickets (in great seats, too!)!

535422_10151490968890221_523139178_nThis was especially cool for me because, not only was the game on my birthday, but I’ve never been in the audience at a live hockey game. Ever. I always watch the big games on TV or in local sports bars, but I’ve never been able to go or afford tickets. I even have this awesome Canucks dress that I designed two years ago, which I wear for every game I watch. I made it from an XXL men’s jersey, and I really don’t get to wear it as much as I’d like.

The game was really cool. I love crowds and always find their energy intoxicating (which is good because the $9 beers sort of hinder my ability to get otherwise intoxicated). Between the second and third period, the row of incredibly drunk Aussies behind us serenaded me with a slurred rendition of Happy Birthday, which was pretty awesome. And of course, WE WON! The Canucks defeated the St.Louis Blues 1-0! Thanks for the birthday win, Canucks!

Tonight, I’ll be going for dinner with my Father at The Keg, as per our birthday tradition, and I’ve planned a pub night with friends for later. I’m thinking we’ll go to the Fox and Hound Pub in the next town over– it’s entirely underrated and doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. The food is great, the decor is the best I’ve seen, and the service is usually really good too! If you’re ever in Aldergrove, BC, I highly encourage you to check it out!

Thoughts on Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Creation Debate

If you missed tonight’s debate between Bill Nye and Creation Museum founder, Ken Ham, I highly encourage you to view it on YouTube HERE. I watched it live and also took some time to flip through the ocean of #CreationDebate, #KenHam, and #BillNye tweets that flooded the Twittersphere during, and immediately following the debate. Here’s what I’ve walked away with:

Summation: you cannot, and will not, change the views of a devotedly religious person by showing them facts. Ken Ham made that pretty clear. However, this debate garnered a HUGE audience, and if Nye succeeded in making just one skeptical youth question the religious indoctrination of their parents, then it was a success.

Amidst all the heated debating, I was however, happy to see there was one thing everyone agreed on…

Ribbet collage

Bill Nye vs Creationism: LIVE TONIGHT!

As someone who grew up watching, and loving, Bill Nye the Science Guy (“BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!”), I get pretty excited every time his name pops up in the media. This was especially true of the following image that appeared in my Facebook Newsfeed this afternoon:


THAT’S RIGHT! Tonight at 7:00pm EST (aka 4pm for us Pacific-ers), Bill Nye will be doing a live debate with Petersburg Creation Museum founder, Ken Ham. The debate will take place at the Creation Museum, and will be live streamed HERE.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the backstory behind this is that a few months ago, Bill Nye posted a YouTube video that went viral, stating that Creationism shouldn’t be allowed in schools, and isn’t appropriate for children. Ken Ham made a response video, which also went viral. Now, the two will publicly meet to defend their cases!

I’m really excited about this, and have no idea how it will end. Perhaps it will just reach it’s time limit and be forced to close. Either way, it will surely be worth watching!