Saturday, March 04, 2006

Scars Unveiled

Well, today I unveiled the Frankenstein-ian site. Yes, I took the dressing off. It was surprisingly hard (from an emotional standpoint, although, come to think of it, the dressing itself was fairly well attached too). There was something so vulnerable about actually looking at the work, and seeing what had happened. Remember that up until now, there had just been a white bandage looking patch. Nothing dramatic, nothing alarming, nothing shocking. Quite peaceful actually, and sterile and neat. The edge of the dressing covered my nipple, so it kind of looked like those adult content pictures where the naughty bits have been blacked over with tape, to protect those with finer sensibilities (turns out, when it comes to blood and cuts, I am one of those types).

Like pulling a Band-Aid off the skin quickly, it smarted and I felt the cold slap of shock simultaneously. A number of things hit me (all at goddamn once).

1) Part of the surprise was just seeing surgical tape. I am not sure why I didn’t expect it to be there, it was there last time too, but last time, with my Drain-O-Vac (I never did record that tale, stay tuned, for those gory details) and my dressing needing changing, I guess I had already seen the tape, so it was not as disquieting. I must have hoped for it to be all healed already, like my matching scars on the other side. Besides the pieces of tape, in their uneven, non-parallel lines look so aggressive, mismatched and broken, almost like a shattered mirror, startled shards strewn about haphazardly. It is some of what fashioned the Frankenstein image.
2) Speaking of disquieting, part of the vulnerability was seeing the surgical tape holding the stitches in place, like the wound had to be contained, or it might just keep going and eventually split me apart. Yikes.
3) Then there was the fact that my body had been changed. It was permanently, irrevocably changed. There is no going back or changing my mind (which, as you know, I dilly dallied with, for instance when Donna and I squared off under the old mammogram machine). I am out the other side and it is done. But I like options. I like the thought of being able to change my mind. So this is hard on me (not as hard as, say, surgery, or cancer for that matter, but you get the point, it adds to the shock).
4) Next there was seeing the bloodied, bandaged mess there, in black and white and red, well, it was like proof. The proof that surgery had actually taken place. Coldly reminding me about my loss of the option to pretend surgery hadn’t happened (a bit like my post on living in denial during this week of not knowing results. Which, by the way, I still don’t know - they expected the test results back in a week, don’t make me laugh, but I digress).
5) It also flooded me with feelings of a loss of control. Like it wasn’t my choice (and, yes, I know it was my choice, but that rational awareness does not change my feelings, as anyone who has engaged in a verbal sparring match with me on this issue is painfully aware) and it wasn’t my doing and there were pieces that I didn’t get to decide (like what freakin’ direction the scar would run! – which leads me to the next point).
6) Why the hell did she cut across the line of the breast? What was she thinking? Firstly, it is more painful in the healing, I notice, as I try each night in vain to get comfortable. And I think this is related to the second point. There is a natural line to the breast, and the shape of the breast. This incision just intersects it. Just severs it with the flick of a blade. Unlike when she was dealing with the 2001 3cm chunk-o-flesh, which has it own natural line (kind of like when a moon gets its own orbit), I assumed that when she is dealing with 4mm she can cut whatever direction her fancy takes her. Tragically, our fancy’s run in different directions. Which, for me, leaves the impending scar ruining the aesthetic line of my breast (how princess-y is that?). Lastly, and somewhat related to aesthetics, I am now going to be able to draw two eyes and turn my breast into a distorted happy face with the scar as the mouth and the nipple as a sort of very big, red Rudolph nose. Be still my beating imagination. I have become a freak of nature. Well, I guess if it is man made, that can’t be the case. But this is woman made, how does that change things. Oh, I’m digressing again; see how back shock is for the human brain.

So there I was, as we have already established, in shock. There was also a quiet little sadness. Sort of a “desperate little voice” part of me, reaching up and out, wanting to be heard. It is the part that wants to be held and told that everything will be ok. Told that I am still lovable and still beautiful, even when I look this ghastly (I don’t actually look that ghastly, but that is the fear, right?). Told that scars are just stories and badges of honour, and, as I like to hold it, evidence of rites of passage. We all have some, whether we carry them on the inside or out (in fact, having collected a few of each now, I find the out ones a bit easier, it marks the spot, and prompts the story and therefore the healing that comes from sharing, sharing the story and the journey). And as I think of this, and write it down, it helps to melt away the last feeling that I had had. That alone feeling, that comes in the moment, when we assume no one knows or understands. Fortunately, thanks to you, being here with me, I do not have to go through that, and thanks to me, being willing to share it, I choose not to go through it, but rather surrender to the folds of your collective, loving embrace.


At 1:40 AM PST, Anonymous Fi said...

Dear Unghastly - you are precious, and loved, and perfect perfect perfect.

Too tired to say much, please feel the love in the white spaces -
xoxo Fi

At 1:42 AM PST, Anonymous Fi said...

P.S. 1:40 A.M.??? How did this happen?? Holy ENFP, Batman - I gotta go!

The first thing I thought about the scar was, a mark of bravery

At 10:44 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Signy!

It's still sad, and requires grieving, that your youthful body has gone through a war of sorts, and now bears the marks of it.


At 2:17 PM PST, Blogger Alda said...

Yes you are lovable and beautiful and precious and loved. And extremely brave. And uniquely, wonderfully Signy. Kossar og knús.

At 9:09 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signy, you're right. You are an accident of nature. Isn't that how all the most precious and beautiful pieces of nature are created? Gemstones? Gold? Mountains and valleys? Gibbons and lions? I think so.

At 7:53 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Why thank you. And to whom do I owe this obscure compliment?


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