Scars... What is their story?

I had spinal surgery last summer. My fear of the procedure kept me from telling most people. I could barely keep myself calm, let alone others who would have expressed concern. It was just too overwhelming. My “inner circle” knew on a need-to-know basis. In the midst of the pandemic, help had to be limited as well.

At first, my patched up neck all drawn upon from surgical notes with swelling and a huge bandage was about all I’d share with a small group beyond that inner circle in the few days. Again, it was all on the need-to-know basis.

After a week, my bandage was removed. The rawness of the incision shocked me. It took me a few months to not see it first thing when I looked in the mirror or participated in a zoom call. Here, 6 months later, the incision has faded, while the skin around it is completely normal. Most people don't even notice.

While talking to my career coach, she commented that it too is part of my story. I’ve thought a lot about that comment in the last few weeks. Spinal surgery, in the midst of a pandemic, resolving months of extreme pain... What could it possibly mean?

For me, it again shows resiliance, toughness, determination and my own constant reminder of all that I am made of. The decision to go through this procedure, as well as the recovery, shows that I will not be held back by what stands in my way. Toughness.... I can handle anything that is thrown at me. Determination... I pushed past the pain to get a little better each day.

Now I look at my scar, proud of it. No longer something I want to hide. I can't explain it, but it is a part of me. It represents a moment in my life and yet the passage of time. In a training program I'm in this week, I stopped to talk to the receptionist. She's a lovely woman who is so helpful to the staff there. She's very warm and welcoming to the newbies. While getting to know her, she shared that she was a single mom with a grown son and how she was so proud of him. She had hardship in her life, but he was clearly her pride and joy. She asked about my story. When I shared only some of it, she told me she saw my strength, determination and fierceness. We had only conversed for about 15 minutes, but she really knew who I was.

So as I look at my neck and the fading scar, I see my resilience; how far I've come… not only from surgery, but in life. So what do your scars tell you about yourself? I bet you could come up with a phenomenal story too!

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