The Scars You See – And The Ones You Don’t
Physical scars can be erased. Emotional scars need to be repaired.
I have a thyroidectomy scar on my neck which serves to remind me about my near death experience more than 12 years ago. I remember the vivid details of that day, as if it had just happened.
I was one day past a complete thyroidectomy to remove a papillary thyroid cancer which I found just a few months earlier. The operation was difficult for the surgeon since there was some tumor on the nerve that innervates the vocal cords. The surgeon was so relieved when my voice was unaffected after the meticulous surgery.
After the surgery, I stayed in the hospital overnight to monitor my calcium levels. In the morning, my levels were low, but not critical. I convinced my doctor to discharge me while insisting that I could have my labs checked first thing in the morning.
Upon awakening at home, I felt tingling in my arms and immediately ran to the bathroom to see if I had a positive Chvostek’s sign. Chvostek’s sign is a clinical sign of nerve hyper excitability due to hypocalcemia. When tapping the side of the face, the muscles on the same side of the face will contract. My husband rushed me to the hospital, but by that time my muscles were in a state of tetany (seizure-like contractions). I received calcium gluconate in the hospital and immediately felt better.
Years later, that memory is still fresh in my mind. Every morning, when I look in the mirror, the scar serves as a constant reminder to me that life is short and to live it with no regrets.
However, for years the scar has also served as a symbol of fear. Fear that the cancer would recur, or that something else would adversely affect my health.
After twelve years of focusing on health and wellness, I am healthy and I no longer need a physical reminder of this experience, so I chose to have a Fraxel laser treatment to remove the scar.
Two more treatments will completely erase the scar, but I will never forget the valuable lessons the experience taught me.
Have you had an experience that made you more cognizant of your own mortality? I’d love to hear about how your life has changed since.