Sunday, April 19, 2009

Letting go of turtlenecks

I find myself looking at the weather forecast more lately, hoping it stays cold. I like the winter, always have, but just today I realized that I have a different motive now.

I have spent the last winter wearing turtlenecks and scarves. I have always liked to wear turtlenecks and started wearing scarves last winter just because I like them.

I wore turtlenecks and scarves the past six months mainly to hide my five-inch scar at the base of my neck from thyroid cancer. Yet, at the same time, I said that I didn't mind my thyroid cancer scar. In fact, when I'm at home, I walk around sans scarf if I wore it at work or just out in general.

I truly have a love-hate relationship with that scar. Most of the time, I look at it and am proud, reminded that I did it, survived not one but two cancer surgeries in the past nine months. Other times, I hate looking at it every morning in the mirror as I take my thyroid meds.

A few times I have been in public with my scar uncovered and caught someone's eye looking at it and frowning. I wanted to scream "thyroid cancer" but didn't. But I could see their expression.

This thyroid cancer diagnosis is challenging me to do so many things personally beyond fight against patient as my blood tests and PET scan is just not right and we "wait and watch." Examine my inner self with this scar and how to be comfortable in my own skin with it.

I bought one of those chapstick-looking sunscreen sticks at Target this weekend. More than anything, I need to keep my scar out of the sun for a minimum of six months so it that sensitive scar tissue won't get darker. On a different plane, I need to figure this out in my head, how to go in public with my scar exposed and not examine every single person's facial expression.

Maybe I'll try once this week to not wear a scarf or a turtleneck to work....or maybe the cold will stick around another week.


  1. Trina Wesley (imacutieface on twitter)April 19, 2009 at 10:39 PM

    Thanks for posting this. You are not alone in how you feel about the scar. I have never hidden it. Its nothing to be ashamed of. I didn't get it because I got in an car accident while driving drunk. I kicked cancers ass and of this I am proud. The scar will fade and so will the newness of it. It just takes time.

  2. Charlcie,
    In your own way, this is a brave as the chemo patient who doesn't wear a wig or hat, I am proud of your courage! You did kick cancer's ass, and this is part of the ass-whoopin!

    We love you with or without turlenecks, you know that, so you go girl!

    PS You look great in turlenecks too...

  3. you sure couldn't be wearing a turtleneck today, yikes a hot one! And no scar could even diminish or distract from your loveliness...inside and out. So be proud!

  4. I agree with Curt, and not just because we're married. The people you're around a lot will soon stop seeing it. Anyone else? Screw 'em if they stare.