Tuesday, October 08, 2013
I've been thinking about scars. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process.
For a long time after my cancer surgery, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror because it was a person I didn't recognize. I have an ugly where the tumor was removed, an ugly scar where the lymph nodes were removed, and a chemo port that stuck out on my chest like a radio knob. The scars were difficult to see. They were wounds. They meant I had cancer and that was painful.
I have been thinking about scars on my house, too. Every time I go through the curtain to the back porch, I see the little stain from Elliot's chocolate-covered baby hands. There's a nick on one of my cupboard doors where it hits the clock. I have squeaky doors and my furniture has marks that remind me of holidays where plastic trucks driven by little boys hit the legs.
All signs of experiences, not to be avoided or erased, but to be remembered.
Yesterday, I told Mary that when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I couldn't say the word. Couldn't talk to anyone about it. Couldn't read about it. Wanted no part of a support group. Mary said that is not unhealthy and it gave me time to adjust to the diagnosis. Defensive denial she called it.
I didn't want cancer to be my life but it became that way for many months. From November to June, I was consumed with treatments, check-ups, recovery.
There are emotional wounds, and fears, but they are healing. The physical scars may always look like they do today but they don't bother me so much anymore. They're just reminders of my experience.