Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

I would like to share with ever body an experience from last Saturday night.

A bridal shower was held for one of my cousins who is getting married in June. Of course, I attended. The guess were all women, and most of them were my relatives.
I was wearing a nice dress with a low cut neckline. As we know, especially the women, unless we wear a turtle neck our scars are clearly visible. Most of the time people do not have a problem asking about my surgery and I am not ashame to tell the story.
This night, I noticed people staring at my scar and it was difficult to perceive the intention of the stares. Was it pity? Disgust? Nobody was brave enough to make a comment or ask how I was doing. This made me feel uncomfortable.
I came back home feeling some how confused and sad. It made me think about all of us women walking around with Zippers and never been able to wear a sexy dress again. Do people expect us to cover up? Previously one of my friends told me she was very proud of me for not hiding it. I was surprise.
Today I read Kimberly's poem and I totally identified with it.

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Comment by Julia Holley on July 11, 2011 at 14:34
I Have a zipper scar from the hole for the trachy (looks like a misplaced belly button!!!!! down to diaphragm about 32 cms plus one just under my right collar bone 10 cms long.  I have a huge area of strange feeling within the two scars.  Anyone else got this?  Also someone else mentioned being cobbled together with barbed wire.  I can well associate with that.
Comment by Bev Clarke on May 12, 2010 at 23:28
Good for you! I don't have a zipper but if I did, I would not hide it. Let them stare and just be happy to be alive. I would be one of those people that come up to you and say "yikes, that looks like a nasty one, hope all is well now"!
Comment by Kimberlee Jones on May 9, 2010 at 15:47
Your welcome, I'm glad you could relate. I had a thought last night, that your story just reminded me of, I wish the whole world could be like children. It's the adults who stare with disgust or whisper to their friends, children are wonderful, they will ask you! Maybe a little bit of fear in their voices but full of curiosity and more importantly they listen when you tell them! Is it a bad thing I use it to tell them never to
Comment by Maria Trinidad Herrera on May 3, 2010 at 23:05
Thank you every one of you for your support. I am so grateful for this group!
Comment by Richard Deal on May 3, 2010 at 18:03
You only realise how strong you are when you have no other option but to be strong. My scar reminds me of this inner strength, and people can stare at it until the cows come home - nothing changes what has happened, or who I am because of it.
Like both Marion and Graeme have said it is a morbid curiosity that compels people to stare at it... don't allow yourself to be shamed or changed by other people's ignorance. Help them to see past the scar and understand just how blessed you have been. Above all, be proud of what you have survived - thanks almost entirely to the surgeon who made your zipper!
have fun!
Comment by Marion Millington on May 3, 2010 at 17:00
Hi Maria,

My scars from the carotid and sub-clavian by-pass go from the right hand side of my throat to the left as though I have had my throat cut, which in essence is what happen. At first I tried to cover my neck mainly because it didn’t look nice and I had been told that I needed to protect the scar from the sun for the first twelve months to ensure the tissue recovered well. Very soon I stopped thinking about it all together, and still only give it a second thought if like you someone’s eyes linger on my neck slightly longer than is polite, but being graced with a slightly larger chest than most this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I usually bend my knees a little look them in the eye and say “it helps if you communicate with my face”, and laugh, it’s certainly worked for me.

In the first month, I agree with Graeme, the word “dead man walking comes to mind” people are scared, that they might catch something, even if it’s just bad luck, particularly as many of us were invincible characters in the first place, if we weren’t we wouldn’t have survived. Others are definitely reluctant to talk and so at this point we should help them, they will never understand what you have been through but their curiosity will overcome their rudeness and it certainly make a second visit easy.

It not the nice part of human nature, but horror films still hold a fascination for some, and as already said people slow down as they pass road accidents to stare at the disasters that happen to others, and it makes them feel better it hasn’t happened to them, and that is what these people were doing standing in a group staring at the car crash, and giving each other reassurance, and feeling glad it wasn’t them, sad but that is what us humans are like, and actually it was more about them than you, the scar just represents the incident to them and at the moment they can't see passed that but they will, non of this was about how you look, it was about what your scar represents. I've seen the pictures you are a beautiful woman.

It will pass and like the scars the memory of what happens fades for others, so it’s up to us to remain ourselves, so that we don’t become just the person who had that tragic moment, but that tragic moment adds to and enhances our lives going forward.

Graeme’s picture on the main page says it all, those who want to see beauty, will see it in everyone. Be true to yourself, how people live with that is their problem!

Marion x
Comment by Graeme on May 3, 2010 at 15:40

Sadly, irrevocably and basically it's a totally predicable human trait. It's the proverbial 'car crash' syndrome..why people stop and stare at car crashes, people with body or facial deformaties, body scars...etc. On the positive feeling good side my zipper has faded so much after 7 years its impossible to see - as yours will be - particulary with a light tan in the summer.. Others thought processesses..hard to take on it is - its not pity nor disgust.. I call it the it the TGTNM syndrome..(Thank God That's Not Me) Yes.. humans make me feel confused and sad as well....we are so predictable as a race...I call that the 'NIMBY' response..(Not in my backyard...)

You go on showing it off! And keep your head held HIGH! It's a badge of survival and belief in yourself and your will to live. I guess it comes easy from me as a guy to say that but also as a person who has never suffered fools lightly - prejudice can be a great time saver....!!

Finally at the end of the day - you have the strength and conviction in yourself as a person to feel good about yourself - and THATS the most important thing!

Take it easy and keep smiling...



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