A tweet from Ceri got me a thinking - are scars beautiful? Or more important, are MY scars beautiful?
I'm not talking the one on my lip when I went over my handlebars as a child.
I'm talking about my appendix scar mainly. The one that had me on a journey taking me from a 15 year old girl labelled an "attention seeker" to a 25 year old being offered methadone for pain. And the operations in between.
It's be a journey with more downs than ups. Until about 2 years ago that is, when a lesser known NHS department took me in.
My appendix operation itself was a traumatic on for a 13 year old girl: in pain with no explanation. Admitted to hospital at 5am, not operated on til 5pm. About 30min later, and I wouldn't be here now, as my appendix had long since burst. It didn't heal properly. It had to be 'packed' with Iodine soaked bandages (for those who have always wondered, fat looks like jam sandwiches). This went on for about 4 weeks.
And so should have been the end of it. Nope. 2 years later, in year 10, I was in a lot of pain, over the site of my appendix scar. Most thought it was attention seeking behaviour, or a cry for help due to the bullying I was experiencing on a daily basis. After a ultrasound, my Dad and I were called into the consulants office, and told I had two ovarian cysts - one 25cm, one 15cm. I remember looking at my stomach and wondering where I was hiding these HUGE things. Go on, get a ruler, measure them? Yeah, hard to imagine isn't it? We spent a fitful night worrying what the next day would bring. Then when we were ushered into the same room again, we didn't know what to expect from this batch of news. "Erm, we've reviewed the scans again - it turns out the department missed out a decimal point - they are 2.5 and 1.5cm, which is perfectly normal".
This was to be the best thing about my experience with the NHS in 1999 - it got me a referal automatically with Gynae, and a lovely man called Mr Jones. A Welshman (so my Dad was happy) who wanted to know why this girl was in so much pain. A gung-ho surgeon, possibly, but a surgeon who discovered after a laposcopy (you know, where they inflate the stomach, and use cameras to see what is going on, so they don't have to cut you open massively) that I was riddled with scar tissue, which was wrapping itself round my insides. Cue another operation, whereby he tidied up my original scar, and put our minds at rest.
This post could last forever, but I think I'll draw the line here - enough to say I've had 2 laposcopies since, but additional scars as they then 'divided' adhesions while they were in.
The scars have faded, but the 7 years (and counting) of living with chronic pain (for that is the label they've given me), with neopathic pain (where the nerves at my scars are confused and are often cold in the Summer, and hot in the Winter, feel pain when there isn't any, and feel pleasure when there should be pain) and "deep" pain, they show the journey I've been on. I've passed a degree, qualified as a teacher, and had a major career change, all on 40+ tablets a day.
My scars are my medals.
Much love my lovelies,