Monday, December 20, 2010

The scars to prove it

I love my scars. And I have lots of them. I look at them as tree rings, etches that indicate age and experience. And often poor coordination.

I have a scar on my left knee that marks when I had my knee cap realigned. I have scars on both ankles from when I had my ligaments tightened. (The wrong operation, as it turns out. Lesson learned: Get a second opinion.) I have one on my right knee from when I ran through a rose bush at age eight during a game of hide and seek, and another on my left leg from when I executed a tether ball jump shot and got hooked on a nail sticking out of the pole. I have them all over my fingers and hands. I’m a real klutz in the kitchen.

But my favorite scar is the one that slices me straight down the middle, from above my belly button to my … well, let’s just say it’s a seven-inch vertical scar. This is my badge, my purple heart that proves I did battle with stage 3 colon cancer and won. At least so far.

I thought I was weird for loving this particular scar, for wanting to lift my shirt, unzip my pants and show it to my friends and family, especially when it was fresh and cherry red. I also love its partner scar, the one on the upper right side of my chest where doctors slipped in the chemotherapy port and then slipped it back out when my treatments were finished.

It turns out others love their colon cancer scars, too. In fact, there’s a calendar to prove it. The Colonder is “produced by The Colon Club, a New York-based non-profit that educates people about colorectal cancer,” according to the Chicago Tribune, where I learned about the calendar. The 12-month calendar features people—all under 50 (probably why they didn’t ask me to pose!)—who were diagnosed with colon cancer and lived to show off their scars.

I did as my doctor instructed and got my colonoscopy at age 50. Like those in the calendar, I’ve got the scar to prove it.

(Written for Women of the ELCA's blog.)


Anonymous said...

I am 44 and currently have insurance, tomorrow might be another story. I am having my first colonscopy done next week. My mother had the "cancer" at 46 and my grandfather had the "cancer" at 49. I googled colon cancer blog and landed on yours. Glad you are from Nashville (so am I) and glad you are still with us 3 years later. Happy New Year and many more to come!

Laura Thomas Hall said...

Our scars tell the story of who we are.
I love your blog - Keep the faith and the fight!

Sunshine - said...

I am a colon cancer survivor with scars of me being alive and enjoying life!! Enjoyed reading. Continue to write! I am new to blogging and I love it! Come visit my site!

Sunshine - said...

Forgot my site:

Terri said...

Good luck to all; I'll check out your blog Sunshine.
Thanks Laura!
Anonymous, I don't know who you are, even though you are from my home town because you didn't leave a name. Good luck though.