Mangled?

I have Graves Disease.

And it’s a nuisance.  Like having a perpetual gnat buzzing around your head that won’t go away no matter how many times you swat the crap out of it.

It’s an ugly disease.  It does terrible things to your body.  And it doesn’t go away.  Ever.  Because there is no cure.  Only treatment.  Lame-ass fucking treatment.

I haven’t blogged about it at all (even though it’s one of the reasons I started this blog), about how it’s changed my life, until now anyway.  I’ll share more about living with Graves Disease…eventually.

But today is an important one.  An anniversary really.  It’s the day that Graves Disease changed my life, again.  Six years after being diagnosed.

On this particular fall day, I underwent major surgery to have my thyroid removed at an excellent hospital in Virginia, with three very special people supporting me.  My awesome Aunt, my Dad and my Polish Princess.

It was my mistake that I had just assumed that the boy would have been there too, but it turns out that the cad dropped and ditched to go to the gym, do some shopping and relax at home, all while I underwent major surgery for the better part of five hours, not including several hours in recovery, before being moved to a private room for the next 30+ hours.  This was information I didn’t find out until after the break-up and it made me feel like such a complete fucking loser; but I’m not going to go there (I will insert an appropriate eye roll here though; and maybe a middle finger).

After the surgery I immediately started to photo document my recovery and healing.

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This picture was taken two days after the surgery and the day after I was released from the hospital.  My neck was quite bruised and swollen at the surgical site and down my chest.  From coughing, the edge of my sutures gave out and I had a little bleeding.  It looked more ugly then it really was.

For the most part, the steri-strip was quite resilient and was to stay in place for the next ten days.

On the 29th, nine days post-op, I returned to the Surgeon’s office to have the strip removed.  It was the day of the great reveal and I was ready for the strip to come off because the itchiness was driving me nuts!

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(Above:  the final picture before seeing my newest scar.  The bruising is virtually gone and the swelling reduced immensely.)

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This picture would be the first look I get at my new scar.  The Doctor didn’t have a mirror in his office, so after he removed the steri-strip I did my best to take a selfie of my neck.  I thanked the Doc and left with my next follow-up appointment scheduled.

Once I was alone in my car I looked at the picture.  I’m not sure what I was expecting to see.

Maybe a smaller, cleaner incision site?  Or something bigger?

I wasn’t upset.  Or sad.  I didn’t think it looked terrible, just different now.

The logical part of me knew my body would eventually heal the scar and I knew what measures and products I needed to use to meet the healing.  I felt positive and ready to get on with a healthier, happier life now that my diseased and sick thyroid was no longer a part of my endocrine system and causing serious problems.

It wasn’t until after I texted this very picture to “him” and received a response I would never have anticipated, that I saw my scar differently.

“Why does it look so mangled?”

Yup.

He really said that.

Verbatim.

What could I say?

How do you respond to that?

I was dumbfounded.

I honestly don’t remember my response.

Just those shitty-ass, insensitive, six words.

“Why does it look so mangled?”

I’m pretty sure that would not EVER be my word choice to say to someone I loved.

It was a damaging statement at worst.

And enlightening at best.

And from that point on, I was embarrassed.  I felt like a weirdo.  Awkward.  Especially around “him”.  I didn’t want people to see my scar; to stare at my mangled neck.  So I wore scarves everywhere I went, or band-aids over the scar.  Sometimes, both.  Even when I was training clients.

It would be many months before I felt comfortable uncovering my neck.

Like six of them.

But the words were always with me.

Mangled.  Mangled.  Mangled.

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(A week after the steri-strip was removed.  The scabbing has resolved, but the scar is still raised and red – November 10th, 2014)

Life goes on.  My body healed.  My scar changed in color and size.  I moved back to NY and then eventually to Florida.

And here I am.  Two years later.

How does my scar look now?

Pretty muthafucking good!

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(October 20th, 2016 – Two years since surgery)

Most of the time, people can’t even tell I ever had surgery or notice my scar.

But I always know it’s there.

I see it.

I feel it when I rub my neck; the slight bump at the corner where the scar tissue has accumulated under the incision.

And while I’m proud that my body was strong enough to bring me through a very serious surgery, strong enough to heal an angry scar, strong enough to get and keep me moving every day that I fight against my body and Graves Disease until a cure is found…

…I still catch a glimpse of my scar in the mirror and hear those words…

“Why does it look so mangled?”

…and I think…

Fuck you! I’m not mangled, I’m amazing and beautiful!

Until next time…

Love, Jeni ❤

 

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