Sometimes We Don't Want Logic, We Want Compassion

I recently had a follow-up appointment with my dermatologist about my "not, not cancer" spot on my arm.  When I had the procedure done, she told me that I would have a scar, but that the way she was going to sew it was going to leave a fairly minimal scar, one that she could even do some minor abrasion therapy to later on to render the scar virtually unnoticeable.

On the day I left my surgical appointment, I left with the idea that I would remove my bandage, see a minimal scar and a few months later at my follow up appointment, I'd go in and she'd do her magic on whatever was left.

That is categorically NOT what happened.

First off, when I removed my bandage I had a hideously red and very bumpy scar.  It actually looked like someone had sewn an angry, red, fuzzy caterpillar to my arm.  There was nothing minimal about that scar.  So, I called the doctor's office and got what is probably a very commonly relayed "Calm Down" speech.  I was assured that within 6-8 weeks I would be fine, my scar would be fine, the world would not end, and I could someday wear sleeveless shirts again.

Fast forward 6-8 weeks and that is categorically NOT what happened.  My scar was less red, but other than that, pretty much the same.  I decided not to panic this time and gave myself a pep talk.  (Not the Kid President kind of pep talk, but more like the "don't be ridiculous Carol, it's a scar, not an amputation, geesh!" kind of pep talk.)  I also decided not to call the doctor and get another lecture about calming down.

But every time someone would see my scar (I'm not even kidding here people!) they would say something like, "oh my" or they would suck their breath in sharply.  Clearly, a surprisingly ugly scar.

So, when I went in for my appointment, I was ready to take that dermatologist to task over that scar.  It wasn't at all what she told me I was going to get.  It was far, far worse.

I feel the need to tell you that my dermatologist is an incredibly sweet person.  Very soft-spoken.  Very sensitive in her bedside manner.  So when she said to me, "Mrs. Jones.  You're being superficial about this.  You have a small scar.  It's significantly better than death by cancer, which is what you could have experienced had we done nothing," I was somewhat taken back.

And I cried.  I mean like a baby, snotting, sobbing cried.  (So embarrassing.  I am an ugly crier, so there I sat with a red-splotched face and a hideous scar on my arm).  Ugly from head to . . . well . . . elbow.

I said, "I know you're right.  Of course you're right.  My logical mind can tell me you're right.  And then there's my illogical mind that just wants to be pretty."

All that to say, perspective is important.  Of course I understand I'd rather have a scar than cancer.  But sometimes hearing what you already know is still just hard to hear.  Sometimes, we just want a little compassion.  Sometimes, we just want someone to tell us it's all going to be okay.

1 comment:

  1. It probably doesn't help to know this, but my beautiful youngest daughter has over a dozen of those very same scars all over her arms, back, stomach. They keloid too. You have one, you will live and still be beautiful no matter what. Somehow she doesn't let it bother her, maybe because she's so young. I think I would feel more like you too, freaking out about it, maybe because as we age we are so aware of how our bodies have changed and know that we won't have that glow of youth. Take heart knowing that all those years also give you the warm heart and wonderful character that you have, that you earn every wrinkle and spot with your heart and the love you share with others, they are your badges of honor. This badge is one to prove you won and are still here to be a wonderful wife, mom, sister, friend, and eventually grandma! Worth it.


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