Tag Archive | scars

The Road To Recovery

As I drove home from an unsuccessful cardiac rehabilitation session, I was reminded how many times I have been on the road to recovery. With more than 15 plus surgeries, you would think I would get used to the fact that I am never ‘normal’ and whatever is ‘normal’ when someone is recovering is probably not going to be my experience because of the many different circumstances that I’ve endured. I’m complicated and therefore my recovery requires tweaks that aren’t per the usual.

I don’t know why I would assume things would go smoothly this time around when they haven’t ever really been that way in the past. But I did, which probably explains the tears of frustration on the ride home from what should have been my first ‘workout’ since the open heart surgery to replace my deformed aortic valve.

Long story short, due to my lymph node removal from the breast cancer surgeries, taking my blood pressure requires that it’s done on my leg and not the usual arm. But the cardiac rehabilitation people weren’t used to doing it that way. I encounter this often, so I am used to teaching them how to put the cuff on my leg and taking my blood pressure. But for whatever reason, every time they took my blood pressure it was sky high – once it showed 208/117 which if you know anything about blood pressure, this is super duper high. Because during the rehab session, the nurses need to take your BP a total of 4 times, this wouldn’t work since I couldn’t even get a decent reading to begin any type of exercise.

As any breast cancer survivor who has had many (or all) lymph nodes removed in both arms, blood pressure readings can’t be done in the usual way on your arm because of the threat of lymphedema. Therefore it’s taken on your lower leg. But I’ve learned that when you take the BP on your leg, the numbers are usually higher. Cardiac rehab requires your blood pressure to be under a certain number in order to begin the workout. Mine, as you can imagine, is not within range.

I get a certain ‘white coat syndrome’ every once in awhile when I’m going for my twice yearly tumor marker check up with the oncologist and my blood pressure can spike, but after the blood draw, it usually subsides. I’m not good with blood draws or needles of any kind. I tend to almost faint which isn’t fun. Not for the clinician, nor for me. You’d think I’d be used to it by now being that it’s been part of my routine for over 20 years, but my body has her own mind and does what she wants. Now that I know it’s a heart thing, there’s not much I can do about it. Just ride the wave…stay afloat and keep going.

I was trying on fall clothes the other day with my sister. The scars on my chest are very visible as any open heart surgery survivor knows. Perhaps they’ll soften over time like the others, but in the meantime, they’re raised, angry red and obvious. Much of my clothing is v-necked which shows my latest scar. She was baffled that I would wear something that might show a bit of my scar instead of covering up to hide what’s happened to me. But it’s all a part of me. The tracks of my tears, my experiences and I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to help. I want to be comfortable being me.

Perhaps people will find it ugly to see my scar. That’s ok. Because lucky for them, they’re not me. They don’t have to live with it or the constant pain. But me, well, I’m on the road to recovery…one baby step at a time…

Why Do We Blog?


There’s no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.

~ Zora Neale Hurston

I think we blog because we all have a story inside of us.  Some of us have quite a few stories within us ~ inspirational moments that turned failure into triumph, sad stories that show our resilience and tidbits of how we’ve had to change to accommodate a new normal in our lives.  By sharing, we can connect with others so that they can see that they are not alone in their strife.  Bonding together we can hold hands and move forward towards the light.

But to keep our stories hidden is an option that some of us choose.  We do this for many reasons.  We hide our strife, our shame, our sadness and put on brave faces to the masses.  We don’t choose to open up and be seen as vulnerable for fear of repercussions.  It’s hard to hold it all within ourselves but over time, the pain becomes familiar like putting on a pair of jeans that may not be flattering, but they are comfy because we have worn them so many times.

Making the choice to open up and to tell our stories can be agonizing.  Crossing that bridge of fear causes many to never open up and thus find a way to heal the stories in our heads.  It takes bravery to be vulnerable for there is strength in speaking your truth without shame.  To share is to run a risk that many don’t choose to take and I understand that feeling.

One must be choosy when we bare our stories for there are those who do not care to understand.  I get it.  But here, I want you to know that I welcome your stories.  I welcome your sharing and I will hold your hand and heart gently as you write.  You are safe and protected here.  Tell your story.  Gently take off the bandage and let’s clean the wound so that you can finally heal.  Open your heartlight and be free!  There is love her for you.

Shine On!



Hugs for you!


Hugs are quite useful.

They provide stretching exercise to short people & bending exercise to tall people.

My blogging buddy Ray posted this morning  here  and as always, he inspired me.  I have tried repeatedly to imbed the video which Ray posted, but to no avail.  Please, if you have a moment, click on Ray’s link above, say hello to an amazing fellow and watch the video.  You’ll find it when you click on  Can You Imagine? on his blog post.

We are all here in this journey called life ~ we make connections with others through empathy and sympathy.  We can connect through our words, our actions, our inactions ~ even a simple meeting of the eyes can speak volumes.

We all have difficulties in our lives, some of us have hidden scars and some of our scars are outwardly displayed.  There are few who are unaffected by trials and tribulations in life.  It’s what we do with our experiences, how we reach out to help each other by connecting, that we make the life experience more fulfilling ~ deeper, richer and more meaningful.

So day as you go out about your day, perhaps you can take a step out of your comfort zone to simply smile at a stranger, to hold the door for someone, to thank someone who does it for you.  Many times we are too busy in our heads to really see those around us.  By reaching out to help, we help ourselves as well.

Please watch the video and let me know what you think…it’s quick, but powerful!

Big hugs to all of you from me!

Shine On!


To Infinity and Beyond!


Pink Post! *Thanks to CSB for the great photo!

I have lots of scars on my body.  I have scars from 2 c-sections, carpal tunnel surgery, torn meniscus (knee) surgery, one on my face from childhood, a scar from my port insertion (for chemotherapy), scars across the backs of my thighs where tissue was harvested to make my newest set of breasts and of course, there’s a plethora of criss-crossing RR track-like scars across my breasts and under my arms.  The scars have never fully gone away in 10+ years.  They are still noticeable and remind me daily of what I’ve endured.  They are my scars of honor shall we say ~ they show the 14 surgeries I have endured in order to stand before you.  (Actually sit before you, but you know what I mean!)

The scars that don’t show on my body are there as well ~ the ones that run deeper than the skin that holds my flesh together to my bones.  Those are the ones that are harder to talk about ~ the ones that are hidden under scabs which have grown over the festering sadness which once accompanied my painful cancer journey.  For the most part, I have picked away at the scabs, allowing a fresh look at life and the healing that goes along with talking about my journey through breast cancer that has made them much smaller for the most part ~ almost undetectable to others at this point in my life.

Because if you met me on the street, you wouldn’t know what I had endured in my life.  You may meet me and think that I have a blessed life (which I most certainly do and for which I am eternally grateful), but you wouldn’t know of the suffering, the baldness, the buckets of tears which I have cried.  You wouldn’t know of the pain, both physical and mental and emotional trauma which has plagued me for years.  You would hopefully see a happy woman who seems carefree because that’s who I want to be.

I don’t hide my breast cancer past if I think I can help someone, but I don’t go around telling everyone about it either.  It’s a part of me that I share when necessary, but there are plenty of people who know me who have no idea of what I’ve endured.  They don’t know that behind my smile sometimes lurks a few tears.

So the next time you meet a stranger on the street or a casual friend, I want you remember that we all have hidden scars that can also be called experience.  Your experiences shape your presence in this lifetime.  Perhaps you weren’t able to control your experiences, but you can surely control your present moment, your present thought and your present attitude also known as your presence.

Greet the day with gratitude that you are here and present in this moment!  Greet others with that same beautiful smile that shines warmth, love and enjoyment in living.  Sometimes you may find that it’s just too difficult to be that way ~ and when that happens, remember you’ve got a friend in me.  I”ll lend you my smile, I”ll hold your hand and I’ll sit with you for awhile, lending you my strength until you can take another baby step forward for yourself for together we can make it better.

“In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete, I no longer choose to believe in old limitations and lack, I now choose to begin to see myself as the Universe sees me — perfect, whole, and complete.”~ Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life book.

Shine On!