4 July 2013

Scary Movie

I’m one of those people who watches  a scary movie through my hand. 

Can't wait for the sequel!
I’ll start with a closed hand covering my eyes, and once the screaming stops, I might separate a finger or two so I can see a sliver of the screen.  When I know for sure that the monster has left the room I will probably look at the full picture, but it will still be a few moments before I can relax my hand and start eating popcorn.

So it is with my scars.

When I took my first shower, I covered the mirror with my towel so I wouldn’t have to look.  Some would say that was unhealthy – and to that I would say - I agree! But it’s a lot healthier than being so shocked that buckle at the knees and slam your head into the wall. Which is what happened when I accidentally saw my belly scar.  Now I can sort of look at it, in short bursts, but sometimes I have to turn away.

The breasts are another matter. I only peeked at them once when I was high on morphine and numb to the world. And, if they weren’t attached to me, I would have barely recognised them as my own.  Scarred, bruised, stitched and misshapen, one looks like a hamburger patty, and the other, the end of a football.

However, I truly believe my body needs some loving, and that my little cells need to know that they are in a safe place to heal. They need to be washed, and touched.

So I’m going Helen Keller on this one. Before going into the shower I put a 4’ x 4’ patch of gauze over each work in progress, taped only at the top.  And I put another flap over my belly button which has it’s own scarring issues, as it had to be relocated. (It’s a long story – and not something I would recommend before bedtime). Then I dim the lights, cover the mirror with a towel, and hop in the shower with all the agility of a two-legged pork-chop. Once there I do everything that Helen would do. I gently wash myself, especially those parts of me that need a little tenderness. And I do it all without opening my eyes

Post shower  - in the gently lit bedroom - I peel of the gauze and apply some clean new patches. Same for the 14” belly scar, and button.  Once bandaged, I take a brief look in the mirror, enough to see a sliver. But it is only after I’ve stepped into a clean white cotton camisole that I allow myself to relax and have a full look.
Lovely! And for now, the little monster has gone away.


  1. Good plan ..think your head and heart need that time to process what is your new 'emerging' reality..renewal!
    As you would wisely advise me or any friend. be kind to yourself--
    I'm pretty sure there's no merit ribbon for how quickly you can accept seeing and assimilating this body change?..just like there are the jump off the dock people and the slow waders (me)..I think you should feel your way.
    Last unsolicited 'advise'..time +healing.. I'm no doctor (although I dress their offices on tv) but, you are still early in the recovery--what you see now is not the 'final' result..

  2. Anonymous05 July, 2013

    Me thinks this might be what the caterpiller felt..emerging from the cocoon..