How I Learned to Embrace My Scars to Educate Others

By Mary Holmes
Updated 2024-03-28 17:01:58 | Published 2022-05-17 20:23:47
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The keloid scar that remains from my chemo port has become a significant topic of conversation in my life after treatment. Other than this mark, there are no obvious signs of my past battle with breast cancer. Whenever my scar is visible, it always leads to questions like, Where did you get that? or What happened there? It is a constant reminder of the five months of chemotherapy I endured.

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Initially, I was unsure about how much I should share when people asked about my scar. I didn't want to overwhelm anyone with the details of my entire story. Although I trusted that people's curiosity was genuine, it still triggered memories of everything I had been through. In the beginning, I would give vague answers and try to change the subject quickly. However, as more and more people asked about it – on dates, with new groups of people, at parties – I realized that this question was here to stay. So instead of holding back, I decided to embrace my truth openly and honestly.

One of the most vulnerable moments of my life was when I shared my story with my co-workers in college. It happened during a staff meeting icebreaker a few weeks after my double-mastectomy surgery. Each person drew a question from a hat, and mine was, What is something we probably don't know about you? It felt like that question was meant for me.

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As I listened to others answer their questions, I debated whether to keep it light or dive into something heavier. Ultimately, something inside me pushed me to speak bravely. With tears streaming down my face, I shared everything I had been through in the past few months. The reactions I received that day – the shock, applause, and warm embraces – are etched in my memory. Since then, I have become more confident in sharing my story.

Now, when people notice my scar, I proudly tell them that I am a breast cancer survivor. Initially, their reactions are usually a mix of shock and confusion. I use these moments to educate others about breast health and encourage them to be aware of their bodies. Although my scar may seem like an outward blemish, it has become one of my most cherished attributes. I am grateful for every conversation that starts because of it, and I am excited for the ones that are yet to come. To connect with other breast cancer survivors, join our Breast Cancer Facebook Support Group.

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