Between Bill and me, we’ve had a lot of surgery in the past decade. As a matter of fact the picture shows the “gingerbread patients” we’ve delivered in appreciation to Bill’s surgeon’s staff following a surgery a few years ago. The white indicates the placement of his bandages.
A few days before Christmas I had surgery for skin cancer. I have skin cancer on both sides of my family. So this diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise even though I’ve worn sunblock religiously since I was 20, wear hats and SPF clothing in the sun and have brown hair and brown eyes (which is thought to reduce risk compared to those with blond hair and blue eyes). The squamous cell carcinoma was over my right eyebrow.
The surgeon took great pains to explain to me how he would sew up the incision to reduce the visibility of the scar on my face. Redness in the scar would be the final stage of healing and take the longest so he scheduled me for laser work which would speed the recovery and reduce the appearance of the scar. They even gave me this silicone sheet to wear over the scar at night to flatten the skin to the scar will be as flat as possible.
But here’s the thing: it’s the scars you can’t see that are the real problem for most people. It’s the broken homes, poverty, suffering, lives cut short, illness, addictions and general heartbreak that truly need the lasers and silicone sheets to flatten them out. If the scars on our hearts were as visible as the scar above my eyebrow, might we each be a little more kind and little more patient with each other?