I love my scars. And I have lots of them. I look at them as tree rings, etches that indicate age and experience. And often poor coordination.
I have a scar on my left knee that marks when I had my knee cap realigned. I have scars on both ankles from when I had my ligaments tightened. (The wrong operation, as it turns out. Lesson learned: Get a second opinion.) I have one on my right knee from when I ran through a rose bush at age eight during a game of hide and seek, and another on my left leg from when I executed a tether ball jump shot and got hooked on a nail sticking out of the pole. I have them all over my fingers and hands. I’m a real klutz in the kitchen.
But my favorite scar is the one that slices me straight down the middle, from above my belly button to my … well, let’s just say it’s a seven-inch vertical scar. This is my badge, my purple heart that proves I did battle with stage 3 colon cancer and won. At least so far.
I thought I was weird for loving this particular scar, for wanting to lift my shirt, unzip my pants and show it to my friends and family, especially when it was fresh and cherry red. I also love its partner scar, the one on the upper right side of my chest where doctors slipped in the chemotherapy port and then slipped it back out when my treatments were finished.
It turns out others love their colon cancer scars, too. In fact, there’s a calendar to prove it. The Colonder is “produced by The Colon Club, a New York-based non-profit that educates people about colorectal cancer,” according to the Chicago Tribune, where I learned about the calendar. The 12-month calendar features people—all under 50 (probably why they didn’t ask me to pose!)—who were diagnosed with colon cancer and lived to show off their scars.
I did as my doctor instructed and got my colonoscopy at age 50. Like those in the calendar, I’ve got the scar to prove it.
What scars do you have–internal or external–that prove you’ve got a little life under your belt?