- the sore or
- a scar on a plant indicating the former point of attachment of a part.
We all gather scars, some more visible than others. They mark the various knocks and scrapes we encounter as we make our way from childhood to old age. The grazed knee in the playground, the cut finger in the kitchen, the gashed hand in the garage – each serves as a reminder of our calamities and mishaps.
Yesterday the dressings protecting my newest wound were removed. It isn’t pretty. Long and red it sports uneven edges, rough scabs and is filled with medical grade superglue. Around it lies a fair amount of swelling and bruising, some blue-black, some yellow. Tell-tale holes at the side of my rib cage (a modern vampire bite if ever there was one) signpost the point where the drains used to be. The complexity and scale of this surgery is easy to underestimate.
Once settled and healed I’m confident the reconstruction will be a good match for it’s opposite number. That scar has now faded to a straight, flat, thin white line. Little more than six or eight centimetres from end-to-end it is reasonably unobtrusive given it’s calamitous reason for being. Like the forty year old scar from a fall in the playground or the one in my heel (from treading on broken glass at nineteen), each cicatrix has its own story to tell, a series of events that led to its appearance and some lessons learned along the way. An up close and personal experience of cancer isn’t something any of us wants to learn from so prevention is definitely better than treatment as Angelina Jolie will no doubt attest. Surgery is a radical option but for some of us it’s the best thing science can offer right now.
I’m not a huge fan of Picasso’s art but one of his sayings is useful when reflecting on this experience: “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” Being covered in permanent cicatrices, deconstructed and reassembled – none of it is pretty – but cancer and the chaos it creates is much uglier.