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Since my bed is calling my name, I wanted to post one quick question.
First, we all know how damaging melanoma can be. Let's put health reasons aside, melanoma causes us to look at our bodies in another way. While I eventually learned to accept my scars, I did struggle and give in to the urge to wear scarves and hide behind my hair after my surgeries. Even now, I cringe inside when people ask about "the sunken hole" in my neck.
You can really see the indentation in the left side of this picture.
I wrote an article for Everday Health about being The Girl in the Mirror. I said, "Dealing with body image issues after cancer is a common battle for patients. I felt like I needed to hide behind a scarf following my neck surgeries. I did not want strangers to see me as the sick girl. I wanted to keep my cancer completely hidden. I still remember the first night I went out with my girlfriends without said scarf. It was a Saturday night, and we were leaving the boyfriends at home. I pulled my hair up in a fashionable updo, looked at myself in the mirror, choked back a sob, and said, "Let them talk!" I had so much fun that night, and you know what? Not a single person questioned me about my neck."
It was one of those moments I don't think I will forget.
Do you struggle to accept your scars? Or have you finally realized that scars are wonderful things, memories to be proud of, proof that you really are a cancer ass kicker?
"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars.
I was thinking,
Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress?
I thought that would be pretty too,
and I ask you right here please to agree with me
that a scar is never ugly.
That is what the scar makers want us to think.
But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.
We must see all scars as beauty.
Okay? This will be our secret.
Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.
A scar means, I survived."
-from Little Bee by Chris Cleave