Scars and Modesty...

You know as a a heart patient, a PH patient and now a transplant patient and just a regular visitor to hospital you lose all modesty it is something that generally gets left at the door the second you walk in a hospital or a GP or any sort of medical surrounding. Growing up in hospital you learn that you don't have the time to be shy and in fact life is a million times easier if your aren't, so saying that I've never really been afraid to whip my top off when asked (by the right people that is.) I'm not afraid to be topless in front of 10 to 20 doctors which has actually happened, when a nervous student doctor asks you to take off your top and bra and if that's okay and you just laugh because it's hilarious that they're even nervous about it. Transplant brought a whole new not caring about all that stuff to me. Firstly there was the catheter, the grimmest thing ever and was in fact one the things I was least looking forward too and then there was being bathed by nurses and there's absolutely no way to protect any sort of modesty you have in that scenario. After a transplant you are basically a child again but the nurses definitely made me feel better because they were saying to me how they literally don't even think about it, it's what they are there for and they aren't judging you they just want to make you feel better and get you clean so that kind of made any awkwardness I had go away. People will tell you that I really have none at all because I literally take my bra off in hallways before x-rays just to save time.

Why am I saying all this? Well the thing is, it's my scars. Or more specifically my main scar. It's not that I'm shy about people seeing it or reserved about it I just don't like it. It's one of the things I knew I was going to have to get used to and the thing is the majority of my clothing is low cut and you will obviously see the scar. I don't like it and I don't like how much people immediately know about me because of it. I mean they may not know initially that I had a transplant but they can at least guess that I had a major operation probably heart related and can probably guess that I'm ill or was ill. I really don't like the idea that someone I've never met can know that much about me just from a glance at me. It's one of the things I hated about my IV line in my chest and wearing oxygen out in public because they were just massive neon signs that said "ILL GIRL." 

The problem is people aren't "allowed" to mention that they don't like their scars. I've seen people ask how they can reduce the redness of their scars and be bombarded by people saying "Why would you want to hide it?" "It shows that you're a fighter" "You should be proud of your scar" etc. etc. etc. I'm not proud of my scar at all, my scar didn't do anything, I did! I'm proud of me. Honestly if you say anything remotely bad about your transplant scar it's like you've said the most heinous thing on the planet. It's a self confidence thing as well we go through so much and even before transplant we are littered with scars from various things and for me at least they're reminders and sometimes I just don't want a permanent reminder on me, you know? Or a big bold sign saying "This girl went through something!" The thing is it's not that I want to get rid of all of it but sometimes I just want to be able to erase the top of it, the bit that people see because I really don't care about my drain scars because very few people see them and then my scars from all my IV lines you really have to be paying attention to see but I think even when my main scar fades it'll still be visible so ideally I'd just like to erase the first 2 inches of it. 

As always, thank-you for reading guys and chat soon


  1. I think you are brave to talk about this. I think I would feel the same way. Yet I wouldn't be surprised if you have people telling you how "lucky" you are to have the scar (because you got a life-saving transplant.) Of course that's true, but you didn't ASK for your illness or do anything to cause it. Now that you finally have a chance to live a normal life, I'm sure you hate having a scar "announcing" your history to strangers before they even know you. Plus, you are a young woman, finally rid of things like oxygen and lines or drains. I'm sure you just want people to see the pretty young woman in front of them and not your scar and your story.

    I don't know what to say to make you feel better about it. I just wanted to say that I understand where you are coming from. I also think you are very brave to say it and acknowledge how you feel about it. No one wants a scar and no one wants to be sick or to be known for being sick -especially now that you are well. I hope you find some people who help you and some ways to feel somewhat better and less self-conscious about it. I'm sure you've heard this enough to make you sick of hearing it, but maybe since we are heading into colder months, some pretty scarves can occasionally be a way to hide your scar (not that you should - it's about how you feel) for certain days/times that you will be around "new" people. It's certainly not the permanent solution, but maybe could give you a break from feeling self-conscious about it occasionally.

    Thank you for being so honest. It helps all of us feel like we are not alone with our own issues. Despite the scar issue, it is a true delight to see your posts and see you healthy and living your life! Cheers & fight on, Stacie!

  2. Firstly, *hugs*, you are an absolutely amazing person and I've finally come out of my long-term lurking status to tell you this.

    Secondly, I'm a Paediatric Cardiac ICU nurse (yey?!), I will back up what your nurses told you in that we really don't over-think what we're doing! I once had relatives of a patient exclaiming in disgust whilst I casually crouched down and proceeded to milk both catheter and drain tubing; it's contained in plastic, I'm not waving it around, plus I warned you what I was doing! I'm more interested in reading the levels than sitting and debating the contents of the plastic tubes... But I digress from the point of this comment (apologies ;))

    Scars are such a personal thing, don't beat yourself up about disliking yours! Shout it from the rooftops that you hate it if it would make you feel any better. Chances are you won't, and your neighbours would think you odd so possibly not the best advice I've ever given. (Sorry!) Most of my patients are tiny babies who possibly spent less than a week scarless, I'm here to tell you now, they do fade, spectacularly (although you probably know that already). I have spent hours chilling with my patients (the awake, talking ones obviously, babies just coo) debating what they should call their scar. The boys are easy, it's their Superman/Batman/Spiderman costume access. Sorted. Some even call them shark bites!

    Girls are different, like you say, we want to wear the low cut tops without something visible at the neckline. But there isn't a big neon sign pointing to it! No flashing lights saying 'look at me, I'm Stacie's scar, hellooo!!' Chances are, people aren't paying the blind bit of notice to it. If they are, then get used to staring them out...! It's ok to hate it, honest. Please, PLEASE don't worry what other people are thinking! You're a beautiful person, inside and out, your scar does not define you, your medical history doesn't either!

    I rambled on, sorry! But I hate to read about you feeling so down. Chin up!! Don't other think what others are looking at/assuming. Chances are they're checking out your *ahem* assets anyway ;) I hope this cheery up attempt from a completely random stranger has helped somehow. Keep smiling :)


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