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Today while showering, I looked down at my body, saw the scar on my belly from the pyloromyotomy (operation to widen the pylorus) and thought, I’m fixed! I don’t recall that I’ve ever felt such jubilation–or happiness of any kind–when I’ve looked at my scar in the past. Over the years, I have come to a greater place of peace with it, coming to see it as a mark of altruism and love, but the joy I felt was exciting, spontaneous, and entirely new.

Why have I felt such an aversion for my scar? Let’s face it: the scar ain’t prettty. It mars my body. The illness, represented by the scar, disrupted my relationship with my mother (I was hospitalized for weeks without visitors). My illness/the scar fragmented my family and forever changed the way we interacted. The early trauma–the fact that I was dying and then saved–made me feel different in a negative way, consequently, isolating me from others. The scar reminded me that I was weird, a unique species. The scar represented deep self-doubt that I have felt most of my life. There’s more, but need I say it?

To hear the words “I’m fixed!” when noticing my scar was thrilling! Of course, I’ve known intellectually that my body had been repaired, but feeling fixed is a different experience. I am finally getting that deep down, I am whole. This knowing is a kind of soul-knowing. It has to do with spirit and emotion. For most of my life, I harbored the unconscious, gnawing, pernicious fear that I was broken in some irreparable way. Well, now I can operate in a new fashion. Make way, world. I’m fixed!

p.s. (and I don’t mean pyloric stenosis!) Check out my new Memoir page post–an excerpt about my scar.

"A spell is broken."

These words were spoken to me by my partner in one of our small group exercises. I just got back from the Medical Narrative Workshop at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and in one of the workshops directed by Rita Charon, the task was to think of a difficult… Continue Reading