shallow questions

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.

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6 Responses to shallow questions

  1. Debbie says:

    So sorry u are having to go through this surgery thing….again. Once should be enough. You strength, your youth and skillfully doctors will get you through. I wish you a magic wand to make you better, a pair of ruby slippers so you can click them three times and get Back home quick and when u get home I hope all the frogs you kiss turn into a Prince!

  2. Matt says:

    Believe that whatever ya’ll decide to do
    is exactly what you need!

    A brave woman that I know was in a clinical
    trial for breast cancer…she was not able to
    complete the series of treatments because
    they were driving her into congestive heart

    We talked about it & decided to believe that
    she got exactly what she needed to get well.

    That was 2005.

    She is still laughing & loving!

    You are in my thoughts & prayers..

  3. Michael says:

    “Sometimes the most shallow-seeming details on the outside are the easiest to weigh.” That line nearly brought me to tears. Good luck Lindsey, I’ll keep you in my prayers. Please keep us updated.

  4. Worrywart says:

    I have been following you for a long while now, and I think what has intrigued me most is that you are a liver. I love that about you, and even though we don’t know each other, I am so happy that you are a part of my life. I love the mark you have made on me.

  5. Keren says:

    Don’t be scared of the scar. It’s proof you’re braver than any of the rest of us. And you want something shallow to think about? Think about how great the drugs will be once you’re admitted. You won’t be able to even remember to be worried.

  6. Red says:

    Shallow: I occasionally get bummed that I no longer have sufficient balance to wear high heels (I’m 35 with MS) but remind myself that, hey, I could be unable to walk. But I still get jealous of women who can still wear heels. I danced for 22 years – I have damn good legs. But they don’t look as good in flats.

    The thing is, I know that being able to walk in flat shoes with a cane is way better than the alternatives. But as Scarlett O’Hara’s mother tells her, “It’s only natural to want to look young and be young when you _are_ young.”

    I don’t think the bikini thing is shallow. YOU are not shallow. As others have said, you’re a brave young woman. It sucks that you have to deal with this. I’m glad you’ve come through the surgery. I’ll pray for you.

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