by Marg Sooley
Scars come in many shapes and sizes and can invoke many different types of emotions. My scars may be hidden from the world, but I see them every day. Some make me sad, some happy and some both.
My oldest and smallest scar is on the right side of my abdomen. It invokes feelings of being scared, lonely and ridiculed.
When I was twelve years old, I lived in a small rural community in Newfoundland. At that time, we didn’t have electricity or phones and very few automobiles.
It was on a dark, stormy, Saturday night when I developed a severe pain in my right side. When it didn’t abate, my mother started to worry, my father was away working in Labrador City and she didn’t have an automobile. The nearest house was half a mile further down a lonely road. She had to bundle up my two younger siblings and coax them to walk out that dark road with only a flashlight to light their way. Our neighbor drove us to the doctor in Deer Lake, seven miles away. The doctor told my mother that I required surgery for appendicitis. Our neighbor had to return home so my mother hired a taxi to travel another forty miles to the nearest hospital in Corner Brook, where I had the surgery.
I spent the following two weeks in the hospital. They put me in the women’s Ward with six other women. At that time they used Mecuricome (a dark red topical antiseptic containing mercury), to disinfect before surgery. It emitted a repulsive odor. The women on the ward made fun of me, telling me to stay on my side of the room because I smelled. I never felt so lonely and rejected in my life. I was not used to this kind of treatment. I had grown up in a home where I was loved.
Because of the distance she had to travel, my mother only came to visit me once. The only good memory I have of that scar was when I got to stay home from school for another two weeks with my mom spoiled me.
My second oldest scar made me even sadder. It was my first pregnancy and we were so happy We had spent hours putting the crib together, painting the nursery yellow and accumulating way too much baby clothes. I had complications from a caesarean section and two hours later my baby boy died in my husband’s arms I never got to hold him. One of the hardest parts was the sad feeling I got when I got home and realized that someone had removed the crib and clothing. The room seemed so empty
God took one little angel from us, but he gave us another. One year later we adopted our daughter. She has grown into a wonderful, beautiful, strong woman and gave us three beautiful grandchildren and a wonderful son-in-law. This scar makes me happy and sad at the same time.
Lying next to that scar is an identical scar. I had a second caesarean section, but this time, it was a happy scar. My second son was born healthy and happy and we were able to bring him home to the beautiful yellow room waiting for him. He has grown into a wonderful successful man and has blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren.
Shortly after my second son was born, our Dr called us into his office and told us that due to severe complication during my caesarean sections, he strongly advised us not to have another pregnancy. At first we were devastated, We had wanted at least two more children. Then one day we looked at our two beautiful, healthy children and realized just how lucky we were. Many people are not lucky enough to have what we have.
So two years later when I looked down at my scar from my tubal ligation surgery, it gave me a feeling of acceptance. That feeling still lasts to this day.
My newest, biggest and brightest scar is across the top of my abdomen, overlooking the others. This one caused me much grief, sadness, and hopelessness. Four years ago I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. My first thought was; this is it, I won’t make it!! My Dr assured me that with surgery, chemo and radiation, I had a great chance of recovery. After the surgery, whenever I looked at the scar, I was so scared.
During the year that followed, I underwent chemo and radiation. Even though my scar is fading, the memories of that year will never fade. I still remember been nauseated and so tired most of the time; my food tasteless: losing my hair and having diarrhea all the time.
Now that I am nearly four years cancer free, I look down at my scar and get a very happy feeling. I know I’m going to make it. I feel lucky I found out in time to have the surgery and treatments This scar is a reminder of how lucky I am to be alive and hopefully have many more years with my family.
My scars come in different shapes and sizes and they cause many different emotions I think of them as a roadmap of my life.