A Word on Scars

I’ve been dealing with high anxiety for the past year. It gets better and worse every so often, but lately it’s been getting better. A couple of stellar young teenagers are helping me out by watching the kids for me a couple mornings every week during the summer. I can get up early, go do my work, come home, feed the kids lunch and put them down for a nap/quiet time and continue my work if I want. I needed that. The kids love them and I am a better mom for getting out periodically. Eight hours a week is a blessing to my nerves.

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Dumb.

“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.”- Demi Lovato

Dumb. I don’t even know who Demi Love-a-toe is.

These may resonate to some people but not in my case of scars. One scar in particular (you know who you are) does NOT make me who I am. People say, oh I don’t even notice it on you. That’s a lie. A little kid wanted to draw me with chalk. “There’s your eyes and mouth- and that’s your spot right there.” They had added my scar to the primitive drawing like it was a nose or an ear. It’s actually one of the first things kids ask me about. I have kids so I totally get their non-filtered innocent questions, but believe it or not some adults have been the same way. They mean no harm, but I feel myself shutting down and becoming self-conscious and angry that it’s even a topic of conversation. I think people think I have a great story about my scar, but I don’t. I wish I had a great story about it, like that I saved a bear cub from a bob cat. Or that I had a heart cath because I was donating an organ to someone. I don’t even know if they do heart caths for that.

Next week is a bit of a new chapter for me- for my skin at least. I’m nervous but excited about it. After four dermatologists over ten years, I’m finally getting laser surgery done to the scar on my upper chest that has plagued me and pained me. It’s not life or death, but it has been extremely painful and will continue to grow out of it’s bounds as long as nothing is being done. I have tried every scar remedy in the book. A keloid scar, which is what my body likes to make when I have trauma to my skin, is the worse kind of scar. It is a scar that continues to grow outside it’s boundaries instead of just healing the skin and fading over time. It can happen spontaneously or from a tiny blemish. Which is where mine came from at age 19.

Anyway. I hate my scar. Could you tell? It hurts and burns and itches like I could just scratch it off my body and it’s ugly. It’s what I first see in the mirror. It was there on the day I got engaged. The day I graduated from college. The day I got married. When I had my first baby. My second. Everyday. I have no problem admitting that I’m probably too concerned with how it makes me look.  I guess it’s more so how it makes me feel. I photoshop it out of pictures. And I normally hate talking about it because people point it out in mid-conversation or want to know the story behind it. But I don’t have one. It makes me feel ugly when I’m having a feel-sorry-for-myself kind of day. It angers me every time my kids try to climb on me and end up clawing me accidentally. Try nursing a baby whose trying to pinch and scratch you right there. Covering it with make up only irritates my skin. I can’t fully stretch my arms behind me or around me without pain. Sleeping on my side is painful. A water line from the shower head is painful. Wearing necklaces and high neck shirts- painful. I’ve had countless injections, tape, creams, essential oils, silicone sheeting, you name it. Finally I can try laser surgery. With these scars if you cut it out, it comes back with a vengeance. So we’re coupling the laser with injections of medicine to shrink it and lessen the blood flow to it. My doctor said pregnancy hormones has made it worse. I’m kind of thinking we are done having kids and selfishly this solidifies that decision for me. Every trauma to my skin is a risk of getting a new scar. An abnormal scar.

I’m so thankful I haven’t had major health issues to overcome in my life. My skin, however has always been a battle for me. Obviously I’m sensitive to the sun- burnt to a crisp in 15 minutes or less. I’m allergic to certain detergents and lotions. Like I said, not life or death but a pain in the rear. And trying to make sure I never have another “trauma” to my skin so I don’t keloid is basically impossible. I can only hope that as I get older my body stops making them. I have a small one on my shoulder too but it’s not as bad. Some people have them spanning their body from ear lobe to chin or all across their chest. I’m so thankful it’s not to that extent. I just have to be extremely careful. I am also banned from additional ear piercings or tattoos, all things I can live without and have lived without. So no mid-life crisis tattoo on my lower back. Shoot.

So next week marks the first of many laser treatments and injections- every 4 weeks to a Cleveland Clinic branch in Avon. I am praying for some real relief and real results. And maybe someday my ugly scar won’t be a conversation starter at BBQs. And painless neck hugs from my kids and “mom-jungle-gym” moments. I’m looking forward to that.

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2008- After 5 years

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2013- After 10 years

Here’s to going the opposite direction in the next 5 years!

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