Wednesday, July 04, 2007

More Than A Scar

In June 2005 I had a surgery for cancer that left me with a large U-shaped scar on my neck. Since then I have had the misfortune of being initiated into the world of rude staring. You see, people seem to think it's OK to stare, avoid eye contact, and then dash away. It's not really the staring that gets me but the refusal afterwards to look me in the eye. I know you were staring so why not look at me and acknowledge me too?

On behalf of all of us with scars, here are some tips the next time you're tempted to stare at someone and then look away:

1. We know our scars are obvious. We realize that you're going to see them and be a little shocked. We're fine with that. Look us in the eye, smile, and acknowledge us.

2. Having these scars means that we've either been through something traumatic or had a surgery that saved our lives. We already feel self-conscious enough so please look at us and if you'd like to know why we have these scars just ask. Usually we're happy to answer you and share our experiences.

3. We really are still just like you. We do everything the same as you everyday. We are physically "flawed" is all. That doesn't make us any less of a person or make our feelings any less important.

4. Please don't make awful faces at us. We can see you. We don't want to have these scars. We didn't ask for them and again, we've obviously been through something pretty significant to get them.

5. Be proud of us. Support us. Congratulate us because you see, we are survivors. Survivors of cancer, abuse, accidents, and so many other things. It doesn't matter what happened to make us scarred just that we survived it and now live with these scars. We shouldn't be made to feel ashamed for surviving.

In general, remember that we are still people too and we are actually the ones living with this. I don’t just say this for people who may be scarred but anyone who may seem "different." It doesn't make us less human. If anything it might make us more human because we now understand the pain of others. Show us the kindness you would want to be shown if you were in our shoes. I'd be willing to bet you'll get the same in return.

How do you help your child(ren) understand physical and other differences?

*Originally posted by me at on March 06, 2006. Reposted to LWH because I felt it was worth my newer readers having a chance to read and get to know me better*


Mrs Mac said...

Thanks for re-posting this. I only found your blog today (through playing with the 'next blog' button- blame insomnia!).

I have a scar from a tumour that was removed a few years ago (Benign- big PHEW.) It's under my armpit and spreads outwards so if I wear stuff with no sleeves, yeah I get things said. Why do people think it's their business??!!

Mind if I add your blog to the link list on my doodle blog?

And please visit my Bear's blog too. I hope he makes you smile :^)

Mrs Mac said...

ooops that didn't work!

Let's try again-

my Bear's blog

sorry 'bout that!

David said...

When Eliza was a less than a year old she had to start wearing a helmet to reshape her head. She had flat head. I loved proudly marching her through Wal-Mart watching all the parents panic. "Daddy, what's that?"

"I don't know, come on quick."

"But, Daddy, you know everything."

"Come on!"

Oh, the looks of shock, revulsion, pity and horror at a perfectly happy baby with a little helmet on!

BTW, her head is perfect now.

Crazed Nitwit said...

Did you have your thyroid removed? I think your scar is looking good. Seriously. I had basal cell carcinoma removed from my nose 14 years ago and my scar is barely noticable to those who don't look for it. My glasses do a good job of hiding some if it as well.

BTW your neck looks awesome, very young. If you have read Nora Ephron's newest book then you know what I am saying.

Hugs to you girl.

Jo said...

Helena- lol, well I'm glad the Next Blog button didn't show YOU any daddy fantasy crap (see my post popular for MY experience with it. LMAO). You are more than welcome to add my blog and I have your bear blog open now so I can read some on it. :)

David- isn't it just amazing how the kids are just honestly curious and adults have to make a big deal out of things? I've seen several kids in helmets and I always thought it was cute because they are usually some wild color (the helmet) or have stickers on them. I think I'm an oddball though.

Janice- Have you been to my health blog yet? Yes, I had my thyroid removed due to medullary thyroid cancer, over 90 lymph nodes in my neck that were diseased, and three of my parathyroid one of which was an adenoma that they reimplanted into my arm. I also have seven nice little scars all across my stomach from where they removed my adrenal glands and two good sized tumors there. MEN2a...gotta love it! Ugh

I am off to look up this book you speak of. I think I'll like it!

Anonymous said...

Didn't anyone ever tell you that scars are sexy? Wear it proud girl, wear it proud.
Catherine, the redhead

Christy said...

That is an absolutely amazing post! And the weird thing is that I came here today to congratulate you on being a survivor!

You are one of the first bloggers ever to receive one of my new awards, and I hope you'll like it.

You can find out more here,,

You're amazing and awesome, and all that good stuff!! :)

Anonymous said...

Fess up, you are really the ghost of Marie Antoinette.

Jo said...

Catherine- Sexy eh? Someone once told me I should tattoo a zipper over my scar and then REALLY make people stare! LMAO

Christy- thank you hun, I emailed you thanking you as well. :)

Cecil- LMAO. I seriously spit soda on my keyboard when I read your comment because take a wild guess who I'm reading a book on right now?! Marie Antoinette, I kid you not! That is too funny.

Hmmmm maybe I should start wearing red more. lol ;)

Flutterby said...

Physical differences or even racial differences can make people do or say awful things. My oldest son, who is now 26, was 7 years old the first time he was faced with the *n word*. A lovely elderly couple lived across from us and just happened to be black. They adored most of the kids in the neighborhood and treated them all like their own grandchildren and my son returned that love unconditionally. One day, after some new neighbors had moved in, with a boy who was 14, my son had been talking to "Mr. Smith" and was walking back across to our house when "new boy" asked him "Why do you bother talking to that old *n*?" I heard it, went out, and sent the brat on his way. My son then asked what *n* meant. I told him it was a mean thing to call anyone and that some people just don't like others who look different. He got this really confused, thoughtful look on his face, then said "You mean he doesn't like Grandpa Smith because he's bald?" I was speechless for a few seconds, then laughed, then decided to explain. He got really upset about it and said it was stupid; and I don't know if there was ever something he learned from me or not that people are just PEOPLE, because I honestly don't recall us ever even talking about things like that until then, but I was SO proud of him on that day!

Anonymous said...

Hi I realize this is a older post but i was looking threw google for a blog re: thyroid scar. In november 2006 I had my whole thyroid removed. I went to target to buy my son xmas gifts and as i was walking to the toys a woman id say about 25-30 ears old said to her friend "OH MY GOD THATS DISCUSTING" My scar was gross, I knew that. It was red a little oozie and the Dr. burned me when he closed my neck so i had a big burn on my neck in addition to the scar. ..........did she really need to remind me?