Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The other one

I have two physical scars. We aren’t talking metaphorical scars here, we’re talking real, on-the-outside scars. One is exactly six inches wide, and runs across my stomach, marking where my stomach is (It’s higher than you think it is. Really. Your stomach is pretty much at the top of your rib cage) and is from an operation I had when I was six weeks old for Pyrolic Stenosis. That operation saved my life.

The second is from a scalding hot coffee burn. I was six months old, and was sitting on my aunt’s lap and pulled the coffee on to myself. Cue weeks in a burns hospital and a scar that runs from the middle of my chest to the middle of my right breast. It also means that my nipple on that breast is squared off, and the breast itself is misshapen to some degree.

My parents always told me growing up that if I wanted those scars fixed up, if I wanted to see if something could be done about them, they would. They made it clear that it was totally my choice, and that if it bothered me I could do something about it.

I never did anything about it. It never bothered me. The stomach scar has been there since I was six years old, and given the choice, I wouldn’t have it fixed. It saved my life. Pyrolic Stenosis is fatal if untreated and mine was misdiagnosed for so long that only the threats of my father got me any treatment for it at all – I was going to die. That scar means I am alive today. It isn't going anywhere.

The chest scar has also had some other damage done to it as a result of a car accident, so there are also areas that are redder than the rest of the scar, and it looks a lot “fresher”

The scar itself doesn’t bother me. It’s been there so long it’s a part of me, and the only time anyone ever notices it is when they touch it, and the only people who get to do that know me very, very well. But the shape? Wouldn’t mind if that cleared up overnight. I certainly never would have done anything about it in the past, but as I get older, I’m thinking there’ll come a time where I will. I’d at least investigate the possibility of getting the shape fixed up, if that’s possible. I’m not self-conscious about it per-se, but I think about it sometimes. I think about how it would be to have both of them look at least similar. I guess if I wasn’t….. overly blessed in that area, it wouldn’t be so obvious to me, but blessed I am. In abundance.

Now, just to be clear, if you saw me on the street, you’d have no idea. It’s not obvious to the casual observer. But I know. And when I take my bra off, so does everyone else. It looks like what it is – a burn. But the breast itself? I can’t even explain the shape of it. But because of the size of it, it certainly isn’t round, like it’s un-scarred compadre.

So, a question. If you had a scar, and it wasn’t obvious to the casual observer, would you get it fixed, 25 or so years after the fact? If it was just you it’s going to bother, would you see the point?

I’d like some comments and some fresh perspectives on this, because I’m thinking about it more and more.

*Please note. This isn’t something that bothers me a lot. I'm not crying myself to sleep. It isn’t something that effects my self-esteem, or worries me in any way more than if a picture is off-balance. I just look at it and think “If it can be fixed, why wouldn’t I?” But this isn’t a breast augmentation thing either. I’m fixing and ACTUAL DEFECT here. Not looking to be Pamela Mark II or anything.

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