I was told after my March PET scan that all that remains of my former tumor is "scar tissue". I have a "scar" in my chest.
Since then, I have thought a lot about scars.
I have two scars on my face from two different childhood accidents. Occasionally, someone will ask me what the one on my lip is from. I relay the story as I have been told it happened (I was only two at the time), but I really have no recollection of the event itself. I am sure the emotional trauma of the event falls more on my mom and dad. They were the ones who most likely had to hold me down and listen to me cry as they stitched me up at the hospital.
My husband has scars on his leg. Close to 30 of them from the external fixator device he had in place for nearly six months after a car accident crushed both bones in his lower right leg. And he is permanently disabled (only slightly - and some days you wouldn't even know) as it is impossible to completely restore function after such an injury.
During one of my pregnancies (probably my first, because I am SURE I didn't have time to read after M1 came along . . .) I read in a mommy magazine how stretch marks are "badges of honor". And, I suppose, stretch marks are "scars", too.
I am really grateful to whoever wrote that, because I took it to heart. And it kept me from obsessing (as we in this airbrushed age can so easily do) about something that I had little control over. Especially when carrying a baby that delivered at 9 lbs. 5 oz!
Sometimes a scar is emotional. Abuse. Trauma. Loss. They are invisible, but no less tangible for the bearer. Those I have accumulated in my own life I have found even more difficult to deal with, because there is nothing there for the passerby to note. I don't have a scar on my forehead because I lost a child. I didn't have a bumper sticker that read: "Please drive carefully around me. My husband has been seriously injured in a car accident, and if I am driving a little slow, it is only because I am terrified I will be in an accident and there will be no one to care for my children."
That is one of the reasons why I added the quote to the end of my emails: "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." You just never know what people are going through.
I'm not saying people should have free reign to be rude or drive recklessly or just be disconnected in some way. Just that some times we don't SEE everything.
Add another scar to the list of those life has handed me.
The thing that struck me about scars is that you have to keep on LIVING to get one. If something kills you, it doesn't heal. A scar can only form, over time, after you have SURVIVED an event/accident/injury.
So I go back to what I had read about stretch marks. They are "badges of honor".
This, I believe, holds true for any scar, whether physical or emotional. They are "badges of honor" as well. Because it means you have survived. You have healed. Although you may never be the same or function the same. The scar serves as the reminder.
You can choose to dwell on the negative: the ugliness of it, the disability, the pain. Or you can choose to see it in the positive: I LIVED THROUGH IT! I have survived.
My husband doesn't enjoy having scars from his car accident. But he is glad he is alive to bear them. So am I. And they serve as a reminder of the things he learned over the months he recovered.
I definitely didn't ENJOY having cancer. But I am glad that I am alive to bear the scar.
(Thanks to my "Sassy Scrapper" friends for helping me finally get my thoughts together on this topic! Scrapbooking is therapeutic :) We missed you Robbie and Marie!)
Germany ... and a road trip to Norway
2 weeks ago