by Debbie Woodbury, WhereWeGoNow
Life leaves scars. From skinned knees to surgical wounds, we all have a scar (or two, or three…) And that's not counting the emotional scars we've earned in the trenches.
How have your scars made you who you are? I'll share first:
1. My father grew up in New York City playing stickball in the street. Our generation lived in suburbia with backyards and grass. One day, he tried to teach us and I fell on the asphalt and gashed my knee open. I don't have many good memories of my father. Strangely enough, that scar represents one of them.
2. After two miscarriages and years of infertility, my husband and I finally connected with a wonderful infertility specialist. He performed my first abdominal surgery – a laparoscopy to treat endometriosis. It left a small scar under by navel. That scar brought me my daughter, as did the larger caesarian scar which replaced it when I gave birth to her. Neither of those scars ever negatively affected my body image. Instead, they represented the triumph of doing whatever it took to accomplish your dreams and constantly reminded me how very much I wanted both of my children.
3. Years later, the caesarian scar was replaced by a TRAM flap reconstruction scar. (Why do they have to keep getting bigger and bigger?) In an earlier post,"What's the Real Story Behind Your Cancer Scars?" I talked about feeling "diminished." I no longer looked at my abdominal scars and felt like a life-giver. Instead, I felt that age, disease, surgeries and cancer were robbing me of life. I was becoming less of me, not more.
Today, I don't feel diminished. But, I have to say I'm ambivalent. My body is healthy. I'm exercising. I have a flat stomach and two rebuilt breasts. I look good and feel good (except for the TRAM flap pain.) But, I never forget the price I paid and still pay. I guess it's a lot more complicated having cancer than having children.
The bottom line is that our scars speak volumes about our lives. Factually, they evidence life's traumas. But, their real story is in how we interpret those facts, what we read into their very existence. And that can change daily. We have good days and bad days and some days we're ambivalent. It's all real and it all makes me who I am.
Writing this post, I realized I've written a lot about my scars, which means they are on my mind as well as my body. Are your scars on your mind? I'd love to read your comments and thanks again for sharing with me.
Survival > Existence,
Originally published on WhereWeGoNow
ABOUT: Debbie Woodbury is a volunteer with the Cancer Hope Network, a patient educator with The Connection's Pathways Women's Cancer Teaching Project and a member of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center Oncology Community Advisory Board at Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ. She is the founder and editor of WhereWeGoNow, an interactive online community for survivors creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy. Join her today at WhereWeGoNow and sign up to get her newsletters and your FREE copy of the "WhereWeGoNow Manifesto – 20 Intentions for Your Inspired Survivorship." You can also find Debbie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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