I remember coming out of anesthesia a couple of weeks ago after my surgery, and being told immediately that I’d gotten a little more than I’d expected. I was supposed to get a laparascopic surgery, which was going to leave me with a couple small cuts in my abdomen. Instead, while I was under, they realized they were going to have to instead cut a six-inch long incision in my stomach.
Interestingly enough, one of the first things my family and boyfriend reassured me about was the scar. “It will fade,” they said. “Don’t worry, it could be worse,” they said. They know I tend to be a bit of a diva when it comes to my appearance, and so I think they automatically assumed I’d be devastated at the idea of a giant scar.
At first, I was a little upset. It’s a weird feeling to go under anesthesia and wake up and find that things happened to your body that you didn’t expect. It’s kind of like your body isn’t your own anymore. As I looked down at the giant row of staples along my stomach for the first time, I was like, “Well, crap. This was unexpected.”
And then soon after, I totally surprised myself by not really caring.
I read a post recently from one of my favorite people, Becky Rosty, about her struggle with how pregnancy had changed her body. She talked about how at first the stretch marks and other marks of pregnancy bothered her, but that she had come to terms with them and realized that they were not imperfections but beautiful marks of becoming a mother.
Although there is no beautiful, life-changing event that comes with getting your gall bladder removed, I think that when I looked down at that unexpected row of staples across my stomach, her writing was somewhere in the back of my mind.
My body is never going to be perfect. It’s too late for that. I can’t undo the scars on my knees from childhood falls (and recent falls, I fall a lot) or the scar on my hand from where I burned myself with my flat iron. I can’t undo years of sunburns, awful teenage acne, or any of the other things that have altered my body.
So why care about a stupid stomach scar?
My body is only a super-small part of who I am, and I’m certainly not perfect. I don’t really go around baring my stomach often, but even if I were to, what would be the matter with it being imperfect?
Imperfections only come with living life. I would probably have perfect skin if I locked myself in a padded room 24/7 and drank 12 glasses of water a day. All of the wrinkles and bumps and bruises have come from experiences: from hiking in Costa Rica, from getting too much sun at the lake with my family, and from the random occurrence that was having to get my gallbladder removed.
My body is not separate from who I am; it is a testament to where I’ve been and what I’ve done. And if that involves a bump or two along the road, so be it.
So as I look down at my sad stomach, I’m not one bit sad. I’m mainly just thankful for modern medicine…and the fact I can now eat french fries again. Those french-fry-less weeks were dark, dark times.
Have you had surgery or anything else body-altering? How did it change how you felt about your body?