Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Never be ashamed of a scar

I’ve always hated getting new scars.  I burned my arm on a cookie sheet that I pulled out from the oven about 4 years ago and I was sooooo bummed.  My poor, little, pretty forearm.  Nooooo!!!  Now that I think of it, I have the same scar from a damn cookie sheet on my stomach.  I know, it sounds weird.  I pulled out the tray from the oven, leaned over the counter to grab something and my stomach touched the tray.  It burned like hellfire, I sucked my stomach in and backed away and the tray straight up stuck to my stomach.  Apparently I have issues with cookie sheets. 

When I first had the biopsy, I didn’t want to show it.  I guess primarily because I was walking around with a band aid on it for a little over 2 weeks.  Even after when it was completely scarred up, I still didn’t want to show it.  It looked like child abuse at its finest – like a cigarette or cigar was put out on my back.  A bright pink, circular scar.

My bright pink, circular “cigar” scar is now a giant line down my back.  It was originally supposed to be diagonal across the left side of my back because of the looseness of the skin in that area, but instead I awoke to a vertical line.  I think they went that way to take out another mole that was in that area, which is completely fine by me.  Take those little fuckers out – I don’t care.  I don’t want them growing up and taking over like the last one did. 

The incision on my back is around 5 inches long and pretty sensitive.  The skin is SO tight.  The incision under my arm is the one that hurts the most out of the two.  The one under my arm is almost 3-4 inches long, too – which is much larger than I thought it would have been.  Dr. Surgeon said that they had to make it bigger because they were having a hard time finding the nodes.  I’ve got some nice bruising going on from them digging around in there.  Ugh, it’s sore and hideous.  It’s not like purple bruising (although there are touches of it), but more like the yellow/greenish tail-end of bruising.  I can’t wear a bra because it’s too sensitive.  This morning while getting ready for my first day back at work I was testing the mobility of my arm which I am thinking wasn’t such a great idea; I’m kind of paying for it now.    Again, I can’t reiterate this enough – I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but definitely not this.  Numbness, pain, tingling from the nerves growing back and overall tension from my skin being pulled tight in conjunction with a little bit of swelling…it’s completely bizarre.  

I like the scary, the ugly – the not so pretty part of situations.  It’s the scary that makes people worried – scared for themselves or loved ones; worried they will have the same thing happen to them.  It’s the ugly that opens people’s eyes.  My eyes have irreversibly been opened.  I hope the ‘no-so-pretty’ scars on me make people think twice before going to a tanning salon or even leave the house without sunblock, especially if you have a family history of skin cancer (I have a family history of skin cancer in general, though I am the first one in my family that joined Club Melanoma). 

Once the wounds heal and become scars, I will proudly show them and tell anyone that asks how the scars came about.  I will never, ever be ashamed of them.  I will embrace the soon-to-be pink, jagged lines.  If I am feeling particularly feisty that day, I may make up some heroic story.  Although I am beginning to believe that my story is completely heroic enough as it is…

I am bigger and stronger than some silly, little mole.  I am bigger and stronger than you, Melanoma.

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