Monday, February 16, 2009

what's in a scar?

my nephew bemoans the fact that scars aren't as dashing as they might have been in an earlier, more romantic era. like, perhaps, the days of sword duels over fair maidens. he has quite an amazing scar from the recent thyroid cancer surgery. although unlike mine, which are hidden, my nephew's scar will tell a story to everyone he meets, whether he wants it to or not.

everyone feels differently about their scars, just as they do their bodies. how i feel is this: i am not loving the scars on my breasts. the old, old one from eight years ago is quite faded and runs along the curve of my areola. no one but me and doctors trained to see such things ever notices it. that one doesn't bother me in the least. but the frown-shaped scar from just one year ago, it floats out in the area above my areola and is impossible to miss. not as tidy and pretty as my first surgery's scar. the ends have softened, but the middle has a dent, a funny stuck place. that bothers me, and it has become even more pronounced with a 15-pound weight loss. i am sure being cut twice in rapid succession contributed to the issues.

i wonder how much worse it will get. or how much more i can accept it. i wonder if i can ever stop seeing it, or start loving it. some people claim to love their scars.

can i?

my most recent scars on the other breast are still red and grumpy looking. i fear for them, i want to protect the area in any way i can. i fret over them. i wonder if i had done more with my scar from last year...would it look better now? i feel as if i gave it my all, with months of massage. but that was after radiation treatment ended. perhaps all bets are off when you zap a tender incision with radiation.

the body can only take so much.

truly, it boggles the mind, what we can heal from. how wonderful and mysterious our systems are. i think the mind is the hardest area to heal, the slowest to bounce back. yet, the mind also shows amazing flexibility. i have seen mine grow and stretch to accept new things. i have also seen my mind hold on to hurts and raw feelings for years.

at this moment, it seems a very long stretch to look upon my scars as beautiful. true, i am obsessing over details. right now, the details really matter to me.

this healing tests my patience. i want it faster, better. i want results. but the body takes its time. the work is steady but slow. although perhaps my cells working 24-hours a day think it is all happening very quickly, that the work is looking splendid!

i stumbled on this collection called the scar project, by photographer david jay. it is both beautiful and humbling.

image by nikki farquharson. thanks to d. sharp for the link.


PetalsYoga said...

To be honest, I still hate my mastectomy scars too. So much so that I can't even move forward with having nipple reconstruction or tatooing. It just seems so pointless when they are sooooo butt-ugly. I know how you feel and I think it's healthy that you are feeling it instead of ignoring it which is what I usually do. I'm thankful you are such a brave warrior woman willing to share your scars with the world because it gives the rest of us hope and strength.


Tay said...

Thanks, Jan. I know you understand. I am honored that my sharing is of use and inspiration to you. Sometimes talking about me-me-me seems so selfish, its helpful to know that others are gleaning something...