The Peachfuzz Chronicles

June 25, 2011

Scars Are Stories

Filed under: Uncategorized — by thepluckygastronome @ 11:21 am

I got a text from a former student. She was checking in on how I was holding up with all the cancer hullabaloo and associated surgical procedures.  I gave her a short run down on my progress and her simple response pretty much summed it up.

“Scars are stories, my friend,” she said. “They are proof that you overcame the battles.”

Perfectly put.

In the past several weeks, I’ve gotten several new scars.  As a writer, I have to admit the irony in seeing all this fine new body art has assumed forms of punctuation.  Forget the tats and body piercings! I’ve got  a new M-dash, a couple of quotation marks, and a WICKED question mark going from stem to stern.

When I woke up after the hysterectomy, I got on the phone with my chemo angel Sandy. She is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor with whom I became close during our work together at a private girls school were she is still employed. This wonderful woman is one of the toughest gals I know and she gave me a pep talk the likes of no other.

I’m laying there with cell phone in hand. Mumbling something about feeling like an elephant has stepped on my abdomen.

“Did you see the scar yet?” she asked. “You know you have to take charge and give it a name.” she said.  Truth was, I hadn’t seen it yet.  But I sure as hell knew it was there and was going to be a whopper. The nurses hadn’t yet had the great unveiling for inspection.  It was way too soon.  I was still at the sleeping it off stage.

When I finally gazed upon my new scar. I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified, or  greatly impressed. The doc had given me a large question mark that came up from the southern reaches all the way up around my navel. Surgical staples held everything in place.  I was so…. Goth.  Like Gotham City….  Like Batman!  The new name for this baby came to mind immediately.  I looked at my nurse and said, “I’d like to introduce you to “The Riddler.”

The Riddler has healed up nicely. Every nurse and home health visitor has commented on how nice the work was done on this.  I’d like to think that there are folks out there who would pay big bucks to get such punctuation body art of this caliber.

Two weeks later, I was back to have an IP port installed.  Because my cancer is focused in my abdominal area, the treatment needs to be concentrated in that intra-peritoneal cavity in the abdomen.  I also receive IV treatment as well.  In order to install a IP port, they have to send you back to the OR. One quotation-mark-like incision is made in the lower abdomen where the catheter portion of the port is fed. Then another (M-Dash) incision is made  to connect the two pieces of equipment.

You know how mother’s look at their new baby and the name immediately comes to mind?  Well the same happened for me when I gazed down at my M-dash and quotation mark.  They were “Wallace and Gromit.”

In this case, Wallace is the silent partner.  His function was to simply facilitate equipment installation through the WALL of my stomach.  Gromit, on the other hand, has a more vital role. He is attached to the last rib on the left side of my chest.  Mr. Gromit is the vital port attachment which allows me infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin on alternating weeks. If you’ve ever watched the 1984 movie classic Dune, where the evil Baron Harkonnen (deliciously played by actor Kenneth McMillian), you see a similarity between the Baron’s Heart Plug Valve and my own modest little Gromit.

I always know he’s there. Gromit constantly speaks to me.  He tells me when it is time to roll over and sleep on my right side. Perhaps most importantly, he has given me a six-month reprieve from any wearing of bras. “No underwire shall touch me.” says he.

No bras?  Delightful news! Now that’s a cancer perk I can live with!


1 Comment »

  1. NO support? Girl, you’ll be lining up for a “lift” after all this stuff is done, because otherwise, they’ll be at kneecap level.

    I’ll go with you if you want to get a tat on any of the above when you’re done. I’ve always fancied tattoos. 🙂

    Comment by Marti — June 28, 2011 @ 12:06 am |Reply

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