Scarred But Not Broken | Teen Ink

Scarred But Not Broken MAG

May 11, 2014
By itskatomall PLATINUM, Orlando, Florida
itskatomall PLATINUM, Orlando, Florida
32 articles 12 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - Winnie the Pooh


My father wrapped his arm around my waist and told me to smile. At the time, I was still fascinated with how the wintry London air turned my breath into silver fog. My mother stood behind the camera, struggling to take a photo of me in front of the London Bridge, which, though I was not aware of it at the time, would become one of my most significant childhood memories. I had trouble focusing on the camera; I was very eager to explore the grand and interconnected city of London. My family and I were determined to enjoy the trip, even if what brought us to England was not pleasant.

We went to London after a series of unfortunate medical events. It all started when a doctor informed us that the large birthmark on my left shoulder could be cancerous. I was four at the time. After this shocking news, my parents took me to Spokane, Washington, for surgery the following year. A medical balloon was implanted in my arm to expand the skin so the growth could be removed and the wound closed. A few months later, however, the medical balloon burst. I lost a large amount of blood, and the balloon’s failure resulted in the trip to London, where I was scheduled to undergo another operation.

Strangely, I don’t recall any pain when the balloon burst inside my arm. However, to this day, I am unsure whether it was truly painless or whether my brain has simply erased the pain from my memory.

I also can’t remember being afraid when I was whisked into surgery for the second time in that London hospital. Perhaps I was preoccupied with the hospital’s many oddities. I remember the rubber gloves and the squeaking of shoes on the hospital’s tile floor. Every room smelled of anesthetics and detergent. I was disgusted by the powerful odor of Clorox and cleaning agents, probably used to mask even worse stenches. The most powerful smell, though, was that of misery and hopelessness, not of recovery. It was these thoughts that circled through my head as I lay on the gurney in the operating room and drifted slowly out of consciousness.

“Good morning, cutie.” I awoke several hours later to the sound of my father’s voice and was informed that the surgery had been a success. The growth on my shoulder was no more; it had been replaced with an equally large, though not as repulsive, scar.

This was another factor that distracted me during the picture in front of London Bridge. While absorbed with the tugboats and ferries floating down the sewage-swelled river, I wondered if I would ever get used to the scar. It seemed like a burden, like something that would weigh me down and work against me. I was under the impression that I could never come to love the scar.

Little did five-year-old me know that, eventually, not only would I love my scar, I would be proud of it.

I still am.



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