My "Gnarly" Scar.

I have a 12 inch scar that runs from the top of my neck down the center of my chest and ends right below my breast bone. It longer than most open-heart surgery scars I've seen. I had surgery to remove a large cyst (it was benign and would have been pretty much harmful unless I had gotten sick and it got infected) when I was in the 4th grade, I am now about to begin my second year of college and honestly I haven't really learned to deal with having such a large scar. There isn't a day that I don't think about it or a day that it doesn't bother me or make me sad/angry.

I HATE when people stare at my scar instead of giving me eye contact when we are talking. What is worse is when they interrupt the conversation to ask "What happened to your neck?" or "Where'd you get that gnarly scar from?" (Believe me I've heard it described as "gnarly" on so many ocassions) I understand curiosity but how can people be so rude?! Did anyone ever think for a second that I might not want to talk about it right then?! I never make it a big deal I always just act very non-chalant about it and just say "It's just a surgical scar..." But I HATE when people I meet for the first time just randomly ask about the scar but don't ask anything about me! And then they want to know "what kind of surgery?" and I tell them "just a cyst removal." Why are people so nosy?! This sounds horrible but I always wished the surgery had been more serious like open-heart surgery then I might find more pride in the scar as you know..."proof of what I survived" or something like that? But no I just have a really severe scar from a surgery that wasn't so severe. :/

Another major thing that bothers me is finding clothes to wear. I'm a 19 yr old girl who loves fashion but am limited to wearing scarves, jackets and high neck clothes in an attempt to cover my scar. I can't wear v-necks, swimsuits, low necks shirts, and most dresses (I even skipped my high school prom because I couldn't find a dress). I want to but I know if I did I'd just get more stares and more questions than I want to deal with. I'd give anything for the scar to be anywhere else: leg, stomach, back, whatever! But why in the center of my chest?! I struggle everyday with learning to live with being scarred for life.

Sorry about the length of this entry and the negativity. No one ever hears me complain about it but I just needed to get that of my (scarred) chest...

blisslikethis blisslikethis
18-21, F
2 Responses Aug 13, 2009

I don't know why people feel they have the right to be nosy [frequently to an incredibly prurient degree] about other people's Health problems, & scars in particular. However, as you well know - they do. Especially if you are "young"... It really used to bother me (it reached a peak when I was sick a few years ago) too. Now I fend off the occasional rude &/or intrusive remark with the most embarrassing question I can think of back! Only if I think they deserve it ;)<br />
BTW: if people are so lacking in sensitivity & common decency as to "randomly" bring up something so obviously upsetting when first you meet them - at least they have already outed themselves as being jerks & thus saved you the hassle of finding out later! Best of luck :)

I can understand just something of how you feel, as I have a scar from stomach surgery when a newborn (story's on EP too). Being a boy, it was always hard to keep it out of sight during summer, and I love the beach - so I did some pretty crazy things trying when I was a kid.<br />
Now over 60, I've finally grown in confidence and self acceptance, but writing with people with a similar experience has helped a lot. <br />
Your scar is much harder to keep out of the public eye than mine, and the surgery being optional much make it worse for you. Doctors and parents tend to see the issues very differently from us - mine never wanted to talk about my scar, even though it was a life-saver. <br />
Whatever, it's true but tough that our own attitude is the key to the problem. I've read how some people deal with their scar - with humor, brazen flaunting or just a calm answer - but that isn't me... or you, I guess. I always (still) feel an adrenalin rush and face flush, tho it's getting better.<br />
Maybe some of this helps. Best wishes and keep working at yourself.<br />