Always Real

Scarred, For Life

Featured In The 2007 July Issue of Good Housekeeping!

 You may keep your Mederma — I like my scars. I don’t try to hide them because they tell the story of who I am. My many scars are evidence that I have not spent my life on the sidelines and that I am an “experiential learner”- which is a polite way of saying that I have to learn things the hard way. My scars remind me that God built me with the will to persist and overcome and heal and be the better for it. They remind me that the story of my life is still unfolding and that there will undoubtedly be more scars to come.

Scars of Inexperience. The first scar that I ever got is one that I don’t even remember. It runs from the base of my middle finger on my right hand and around to the front stopping just short of my knuckle. My mom tells me that when I was two, I was carrying a glass and fell on it. The glass broke and nearly sliced my finger off. Now that I am the mother of a two-year-old myself, it’s not hard to imagine what a day in hell that must have been for her. That scar makes me appreciate what it must have been like for her to try to parent a child who was oblivious to her own limitations.

I have another “learning” scar under my chin that I got when I was a teenager. It came as the result of a very bad spill I took when I was figure skating. That scar hides in a little fold that is promising to become a double chin. When I pull stubborn little hairs out of it, I am reminded of a hard won victory of mastering a difficult jump and the satisfaction that was the reward for persistence.

Scars of Stupidity. I have a three-inch scar that runs down my right thigh. When I was 16, I had a job at a drug store. My job was to remove the old price stickers with a razor blade and replace them with new price stickers. No surprise, the razor blade slipped and sliced cleanly through my pants and into my fleshy upper thigh. I still remember the look on the pharmacists face when I came hobbling towards the back bleeding profusely out of the side of my pants.

I also have a scar that runs around the tip of my left index finger where I nearly cut it completely off with a pair of pruning shears while doing yard work. I remember the hand surgeon saying incredulously, “You mean to tell me you did this to yourself?” Those scars remind me that there is no limit to my stupidity and it’s probably only a matter of time before I end up on one of those videos.

Scars of Misfortune. I have a three-inch scar that runs horizontally at the base of my throat where a surgeon relieved me of my cancerous thyroid when Sean was about eight months old. My mom came to Texas and took over for me with Sean while I went through the long recovery and isolation that is required with radiation. I also have a one-inch scar on my groin where a surgeon, whose face I never saw, extracted my badly misbehaving appendix. This happened not too long after I had been widowed and was alone. A girlfriend physically carried me to her car and took me to the hospital. When I woke up the next morning, she was sitting next to my hospital bed praying over me. Those scars remind me that life can come crashing down on you in the blink of an eye and that a friend can make all the difference.

A Scar of Blessing. And then there is the mother of all scars – the one that put an end to my bikini days but was the beginning of a life far better than any day at the beach. When I look at it, I recall the day that Sean was pulled from the safe haven of my body and into this world where he would begin the story of his own life. And collecting his own scars.

23 thoughts on “Scarred, For Life

  1. That’s great – thanks so much for the link. It really hit me when you said “I have to learn things the hard way.” Our oldest son turns 21 on Saturday. He is sweet and precious as can be, but I’ve always said he’ll learn everything in life the hard way. He has made positive changes lately, but I have had so much anxiety concerning this birthday. Glad to put a fresh perspective to “learning things the hard way.” Blessings to you.

  2. That’s beautiful, AM. For some reason, my favorite scar is when you tell about your friend taking you to the hospital. That really touched me.

  3. i think you write exactly what my heart feels – only on paper. You are gifted, in your approach to life and your love for Sean. I love your blog, it is an uplift in a hectic world.

    Great article!

  4. Okay, just so you know Rugrats and Dirty Rugs has been inspired to share about her scar, and so have I after reading both blogs. Hop on over check ’em out

  5. AM – I was reading GH on my way to Alaska about 2 weeks ago and almost screamed when I saw the article – “HEY!! I read AM’s blog! How cool is this??” But I didn’t want to scare the other passengers so I just chuckled to myself instead. Congrats! By the way, I enjoyed the article, too.

  6. I meant to tell you in my email…
    I was reading GH at WM the other day. My husband asked me what I was reading. I said, “I’m looking for my friend’s article.”
    I hope you don’t mind me calling you a friend. I feel like I’ve known you for forever.
    I do appreciate you so. For sharing your life and your perspective on varying subjects. You are so very talented. I’m happy that GH saw that too!

  7. You had me laughing so hard with your post today (July 2) and now you having me crying!

    You certainly are a gifted writer and mommy! He looks just like you!

  8. I had never considered scars in that way before. They are like little permanent reminders of life’s adventures. I’ve been traveling down memory lane here looking at all of mine….glad noone can see me from my computer : )

  9. I have just stumbled upon your blog. You are a wonderful writer! I’m not a mom to young children, my two boys are 24 and 18, I’m not in the “market” for your type of blog but I like your writing and you are at least somewhat close to my age. I have a scar I am particularly proud of. I have a tiny scar on my knee where I cut it whilst climbing through a broken window to get into the Beatles concert early. The FIRST Beatles concert, waaaayyyy back when. When WAS that? Well anyway, I was maybe 12. My girlfriends and I thought it was a great idea to climb thru and see if we could actually FIND the Beatles in their dressing rooms. All we found were security guards who escorted us out, but it’s a scar I’m very proud of! With a son, you will learn to love scars. My older boy has a huge one from a tree limb that ripped open his thigh as he fell out of the tree his grandpa told him was fine to climb. The inside of a thigh is disgusting to look at.
    Enjoy your little guy. Boys are the best. I’m so glad you were able to have him after all you went through. And widowed so young. I, too, am a widow, fairly recently. Am dealing with that in my blog. Take care.


  11. Thank you for the great article in Good Housekeeping. I really like the way you deal with life; looking through negatives to find positives. I, too, was diagnosed with cancer, last year. I am 43 years old, (currently Dancing with Ned -(n)o (e)vidence of (d)isease) have two kids, a husband, a job and alot of scars. But I try to find the good amongst the bad, somehow, it’s always there. You are a gifted writer, I’ve enjoyed your site. Keep plugging away!
    Krissy Martin, Southgate, MI

  12. Hi, I read you article at Good Housekeeping Magazine and I was touch at your insights. It is true that some people see their scars connected to bad memories. But the way you have written about it, just opened my eyes of how these scars remind me of the things that happened to my life, of how God helped me overcome and learn from these experiences.
    I was most touched by the scar of blessing. I din’t have cesarean section when I had my two babies but I developed stretch marks which are as bad (or maybe worse, because I have a lot) as a scar from c-section. And truly my life changed since then, and I would not trade any of my stretch marks for anything. I am proud to be a mom and for the life that passed through me.
    Keep writing because you open people’s eyes like mine. It is a blessing from God what you have this talent, it is a gift. May God continue to bless you and your family. Thanks a lot!

  13. I, too have conquered Thyroid Cancer. It took me a very long time to accept the scar as merely a part of me (it became infected and I had to have another procedure above the thyroid incision to remove a large infectious granuloma that formed shortly after surgery). Even though the Thy Ca is gone, it took me quite awhile to accept that I now have the word Cancer in my medical history. Since my surgery in 1/07 I have also had a mole removed that was Melanoma (very early and non-invasive) and having gone through the thyroid issues, I have had no problem with the 2.5″ scar from the Melanoma removal. Mederma & Dermablend does not exist for me with either incisional scar. I tried both and stopped both.

    Thank you for this wonderful article …

  14. I too am a thyca survivor, since December 2006. I use to hide my scar wearing scarves the first couple of months after surgery. Then I decided, if I had a scar on my head, the world would not expect me to wear a brown paper bag to cover it. So I now wear my scar as a badge of honor telling the world that I’m a thyca survivor.

  15. Having just had my thyroid removed 5 days ago myself, the worries of the scar on my neck are fresh, very fresh – and frightening. I have this thought that people will no longer see me, but instead this nasty scar. Your writing has brought new perspective and I appriciate it in more ways than you’ll ever know. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Ah, yes, the scars of experience! I have my fair share as well. My favorite is the 2-inch scar on my right foot that I got when I was 7. I was building a diving board for my swimming pool (which was all of 8 inches deep) out of bricks. My dad saw me and told me to stop carrying bricks because I would hurt myself. I told him I would be fine, then I turned the corner and dropped the brick on my foot.


    Anyway, to Darla – I have the thyroid scar, too. The only people who notice it are those who have the same scar. It is kinda like joining a club, really. I see the same scar all the time, and I don’t even comment, I just make a little mental note that she and I are in the same club! Pretty cool, really.

  17. Beautiful.

    Just the other day I was reading an advert that claimed to ‘minimise’ Caesarean scars and I wondered – why would I want to hide something I am actually proud of? I have no desire to make my C-section scar or any other scar disappear – I am glad that there are other people who think this way too.

    Love your blog.

  18. Really good article. I like your reflections on the scars what you learned from them. I also have many scars, and I found that Mederma doesn’t work all that well anyway. I have a huge one on my left hand from when I was hurrying with lots of coffee cups and other car detritus, and I tripped. I got a concrete burn on that hand and my left knee. People stare at this scar which is still purple and ugly after over six months. They look at it and glance away embarrassed. Oh well, it is a reminder to slow down and stay in the moment. Blessings, Dee

  19. I read your article in Good Housekeeping and finally made it to your blog. . . . What a blessing it has been to read of your journey to motherhood and the day to day joys and trials in the trenches! It has been great to “meet” another mom of like faith also.


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