Saturday, January 14, 2012

#62: Count Your Battle Scars

A glimpse of myself in the mirror caught me off guard today. As I removed my layers after a brief walk in Toronto's -15 degree Celcius weather, a tiny dot on the skin in the centre of my chest caught my eye. The half-undone zipper on my huge parka and low-cut sweater opened perfectly to reveal the most lasting scar left by my treatment: my radiation tattoos.

For the first time since treatment, I realized that this scar is probably noticeable to other people most of the time. All my shirts are low-cut (a conscious fashion choice as a result of my swimmer's shoulders), and the one out of four tattoos the radiation technicians dotted my chest with is likely visible to others more often than I know.

Besides the tiny, white, one centimetre scar left by my lung biopsy, I'm fortunate to say my tattoos are the only physical scar cancer treatment left me with. Although I'm hesitant to say this, because my scars pale in comparison to those of my fellow survivors, I am proud of my battle scars.

I'm grateful everyday that my treatment didn't require surgery to shrink the mass in my chest, but I also acknowledge the long journey I went through to get better, evidenced by those four tiny tattoos across my chest.

And I don't care that it's on display for everyone, including strangers, to see. If asked, I'd boastfully admit that those tiny, blue-coloured freckles helped me kick cancer's butt, and brought me to where I am today.

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