life is a long and difficult journey…be sure to stop now and then for a little snack

Never be Ashamed…

on May 2, 2013

I can’t tell you how much I love this saying!  Not only because some of our invisible “inner scars”…but our very visible, outer scars, disabilities, etc.

After I got all of my scars through my many surgeries in 2010 (my torso gives Mapquest a run for it’s money), I was very self-conscious of them because they start from my neck down and are very noticeable, as is the lymphedema, a side effect of the tumors/surgeries that without God’s healing, I will have the rest of my life.

My insecurities all started after my first shopping trip and I saw the cashier staring at my chest (and she even asked me what happened to me).  At first, I thought I should take the advice of many who suggested creams and lotions that would help “diminish” their appearance…and of course, no more open-neck shirts for me, no more shorts, or Heaven forbid, bathing suits.  It’s one thing to be able to hide my inner scars, but now, these are right out there for everyone to see.   I always wished I could wear a shirt that said “Yea, I am the only person ever that gained 100+ pounds having a body riddled with tumors and now I am left with lymphedema, so that is why I have the scars and body shape issues”.  How many of us want to wear a shirt that would “explain” ourselves so that we would not have to address the ugly looks, snickers, stares and comments of strangers, even though we know that it their problem, not ours, it doesn’t always make it easy to deal with.

Heart Scar

Where my visible scar starts…

After a month or so, it finally dawned on me that the visible scars on my body from the surgeries should not be something of embarrassment, but an opportunity to (literally) “show off” and tell folks about how God saved my life by sharing the testimony of my tumors!  I was able to share God with people in a way that I have never been able to do before and it was awesome – my own, unique witnessing tool!  I truly praise God all the time for what He’s done for me, my family and others through those tumors!  I no longer wanted to wear “cover up” clothing or miracle creams, etc. because I WANTED people to see them ask me about them!  Actually, I am sad that many of my scars have faded, even with my light Irish skin tone, but the one that is most visible to everyone has remained the darkest, the one in this picture.  I am so happy that God has allowed that scar to be so pinky/purple because I don’t want to lose my opportunity to share with others and SHOW them what He has done for me and give them hope….what tried to kill me only made me stronger and brought many blessings with it.  Go figure.  My hubby, Jon, said that one of the reasons that God allowed my tumor removal/healing to come through the surgeries (and not just merely a snap of His fingers or something) was because He knows what a chatty little chick I am and that I would share what He did for me to help encourage others; I have such a wise hubby.

But no worries, folks…I will still spare everyone the vision of me in a bathing suit 🙂


2 responses to “Never be Ashamed…

  1. Wow! What a testimony, AnneMarie! I am so in awe of your courage and ability to make lemonade from the lemons! Such an inspiring story. So proud of you!!

    I have a scar on my right breast from a skin cancer mole that we removed several years ago. While I’m not ashamed of it because my internal and external scars tell my story, I have at times been uncomfortable when it’s exposed when I wear certain V-neck shirts, etc. Like you, I have not been shy about telling people why I have it if they have asked. You have taken it to the next level and once again given the glory all to Him! So beautiful and so inspiring. Thank you, sister. ❤ Michelle

  2. Ree says:

    Awww – thank you so much, Michelle! For sure, many of my life experiences have forced me to learn the lesson of “making lemonade from lemons” 🙂 I guess that kind of happens when you get to be my age :). But girl, you are doing it too! I am so proud of you; it is hard to get over the hurdle and “put yourself out there” to people, especially when sometimes you just want to look at them and tell them to stop staring and mind their own business. I mean, I would no sooner walk up to someone and ask them the things I have been asked – or even TOLD! Society has become so bold and, at times, I have to resist my inner ugly person and avoid the temptation not to just slap them upside their head…nicely, of course 🙂

    Other than the stares I get (that are clearly interpreted as “you are crazy woman!”), I have older women stop me all the time in the winter and TELL me to put on shoes -and a coat – because I will catch my death wearing flip flops…some days I just don’t have the strength to tell them that my feet, although not as large as some with lymphedema, are too swollen to get shoes on for the past few years and I have no choice but to be a fashion statement and wear flip flops. So instead, I just tell them that my lack of jacket and shoes is because I am having my own person summer moment and smile as I walk away 🙂

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