Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Check out The Scar Project:  and on youtube:

I can hear a couple of you asking, "so what does this make you feel?" (or something along those lines).  Well, it makes me feel lucky.  My understanding is these women had/have cancer.  Sure I have an extremely high risk of cancer, but I don't actually have it actively trying to kill me.  I don't have to go through radiation or chemo and be sick and have pain from the treatment and lose my hair.  I'll have recovery from the surgery, and I'll have my scars, and that's it - I'm lucky.

My cousin mentioned one day that she intended to comment to one of my posts something about scars telling a story.  I've thought about that a lot, and determined that whatever she was going to comment (which she never did) was probably profound and something I'd like to elaborate on.

We all have scars.  I'm not sure about you, but I know I've had at least a couple experiences with comparing scars and telling scar stories.  And now that I've really thought about it... the scars have stories, but the scars also do tell part of the story about us.

I have 2 distinct scars on my forehead from when I had chicken pox as when I was 2 years old.  I've always hated them and been self conscious about them.  But I remember when I was sick and the daycare had me in the office waiting for my mom to pick me up and I played with a little box that mooed when I turned it over.

I have a little scar on my hand where my grandmother accidentally burned me with a cigarette when I was probably around 6.  She used to save bags of coins that she would give to my brother and I.  She gave him the nickles (because he was older) and she gave me the pennies.  She just happened to be holding the cigarette in her shaky hand when she was handing me the bag.  I remember that her room smelled like cigarettes and old lady lipstick.  I still find the smell rather comforting.  When we'd spend the night there I'd sometimes sleep in her bed and she'd sing "You are my sunshine"

I have a scar on my knee from when I was 8 where I fell off my bike down a hill in some gravel and some stranger carried me home.  I was a free spirit in that little town.  I went everywhere and I was fearless.  I was tough.  I have a picture of me  wearing my swimsuit later that day with my friends, my knee was still bleeding - no band aid!

I have stretch marks (which are scars) on my stomach and my breasts and my hips and my thighs and even my calves from when I gained an incredible amount of weight in my first pregnancy.  My young body just wasn't prepared to stretch that way (and I probably ate for 4 instead of 2)!  But I got a beautiful (large) and healthy baby girl out of the deal.  Those stretchmarks remind me of both the childhood I gave up as well as the child I was blessed with.

Then there is my c-section scar.  I had a dream shortly after my second daughter was born via emergency c-section where I was in a room with my mom and my exhusbands wife and the 3 of us were comparing our c-section scars, and it felt like a ritual of some sort to bond us in our motherhood.  Like we've experienced the same thing, we are mothers, we had our bodies cut open to deliver/save our babies, we understand each other.   That scar reminds me how scary it was to think I could lose this life inside me.  It reminds me what a gift it is to give life and how precious and fragile that life is.

So then there are my mastectomy scars.  They are yet to be seen, but what I hope for is that they'll remind me how lucky I am, and the story they'll tell is that I said "NO!" to Cancer.  I was given a gift from those who tragically didn't have this opportunity.  They gave me the knowledge and thus the opportunity to empower myself and hopefully stop it before it even starts.  They gave me the opportunity to see my children grow up, and live my life, and someday be a crazy old lady telling stories about all these scars on my body!

1 comment:

  1. Just like your mom and dad's road trip that she posts about each day, the scars tell the story about where we've been and can also help point the way for others making the same trip. And by being able to tell the story of the scars means that we have survived whatever it was that caused the scar in the first place! Scars are a visual sign of what makes us unique. In your case, however, we will take your word for it, you do not need to "prove" your story by your scars. :)