One of the first questions I asked my surgeon yesterday was “Will my new scar be in the same place as my old scar?”
Nevermind that i’m there to talk about having parts of my insides cut out of me (even if they’re only tumors): I want to know what my stomach is going to look like once this is all over. Will I have lines crisscrossing my belly or will he be able to preserve the now fading Mercedes symbol healing into my stomach? Will he use staples or stitches? Will I ever feel comfortable wearing a bikini again?
Amid talk of blood transfusions and drains and bile leakages and scooping tumors out, it’s just more manageable, more palatable, to talk about something tangible. Something shallow.
Similarly, I’ve heard breast cancer patients debating the merits of choosing a surgeon based on whether they recommend a vertical cut or a horizontal cut. How else does one decide? Sometimes the most shallow-seeming details on the outside are the easiest to weigh.
Surgery is a huge and multi-faceted topic. It’s overwhelming for me to think about pre-surgery, during surgery, and post-surgery at the same time without getting stressed out and scared. Last time I focused all of my energy on not panicking in the days leading up to the surgery, during the pre-surgery prep, and in the moments before I was put to sleep. All of this went well: I didn’t panic But it didn’t occur to me to prepare myself for how I would feel when I woke up and how long and hard and uncomfortable the recovery process would be. I don’t know what I should do to mentally prepare this time around; every time I try to think about surgery I get stressed out and scared.
Maybe if I can just isolate the scar, and focus on being OK with the fact that my scar won’t change. That he will use stitches instead of staples. That because i’m still young my scar will probably heal cleanly again. Then maybe I can be OK with having surgery again.