I read about this woman's ordeal, back in Decemember on this site. When I saw these words, so badly injured that only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left.
I have scars too. Mine aren't so easy to see because they aren't on my face, they're on my left arm and leg. I had extensive skin graphing done when I was about 4 yrs. old because of a birthmark. The birthmark is what's known as a Giant Hairy Nevus. Google it, you'll see pictures. So far I'm the only person to have it cover such a large portion of the body. And from what the doctor told me recently, he's never in his career seen anyone with a GHN that covered the entire arm and shoulder. It made the surgery extra difficult, because they had to remove all the skin from that arm and replace it with new skin. Working with the shoulder took several hours. I was in and out of the hospital so many times that now just walking into one has me anxious and ready to claw my way out. I can remember being held face down, screaming while they shoved a needle in my rear to knock me out. Those images stay with a person.
After the last surgery, mom was told I wasn't supposed to be able to use my arm, because the skin on my shoulder was particulary difficult to operate on. Raising my arm or being able to move it around would be next to impossible for me to do. To add to that I have no fat cells on that arm. The doctor found that particularly interesting and when he saw me recently I could see he was surprised by how much use I've been able to get out of my left arm. I'm left handed and I can use it just as easily as I can my right arm. Although, it does get tired, and my arm will ache after a day of writing. My wrist, elbow and shoulder will feel swollen and stiff. I can't lift heavy things, or the next day I'm paying for it with a lot of pain. If I bump my arm it hurts like crazy because there's no fat to cushion it. If I go out in public with a tank top on, or to a water park with a bathing suit, I get curious looks. Some people frown. I've even heard people say, 'oh gross'. You wouldn't believe some of the things they've said to me.
A picture of me in Maine. You can sort of see the scars, but they don't show up too much in this pic. I normally don't show pictures of me if my arm is visible. Usually I wear long sleeves.
The truth is, none of that even compares to what this woman has endured. Her disfigurement was the result of an injury. And it was her face that was damaged. Knowing the looks I've gotten, I can imagine the sorts of comments she's had to overhear. The frightened eyes of a child, the frowns from adults. The pity.
This woman's quality of life was altered in a way that most of us couldn't even begin to imagine. When I was little I used to resent having this arm. I was called horrible names. I couldn't understand why me, why did I have to suffer? I just wanted to be like everyone else. I didn't want to be different.
Well, this woman's story has touched me greatly. I realize now how lucky I was and good I have it now. When I read that She can eat pizza. And hamburgers. She can smell perfume, drink coffee from a cup, and purse her lips as if to blow a kiss. It blew me away. We take so much for granted every single day and we don't even realize it.
Today I'm thankful for the life I have, for the husband who loves me AND my arm. For my kids, who have had to hear people say nasty things to their mom. For the fact that I had a mother who didn't sit back and treat me like I was disabled. She didn't accept that I wouldn't be able to use my arm and because she thought I could, so did I. Today I'm esp. thankful for those doctors. They changed a woman's life and there's something beautiful about that.