As cancer survivors and patients, we carry our scars, visible and invisible, with us forever. These scars hold pain and trauma but they are also reminders of how we do heal, how we move through our new world changed but still living our lives out loud.
Whether you wear your scars as badges of honor, gently acknowledge why they are here or chose not to give them the time of day, we commend your choice. You have been through too much to ever feel you need to conform to anything outside of your own comfort.
This post was inspired by community member Christy Chambers and her post, What A Beautiful Mess.
Tiera W – 6 Leeps. 6 biopsies. 1 oophoropexy. 36 rounds of radiation . 5 rounds of chemo. 6 brachytherapies. 3 PET-scan. 10 MRI’s. 2 Bone Scans. 40 Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments. Left Hydronephrosis. 120+ Pelvic Floor therapy sessions. 1 Bilateral Ureter reimplantation. I’m still here surviving and thriving.
Amanda Z – I’ve learned to accept all my scars as badges of bravery. Some are big and some are small – much like the battles I fought during each of them. But each one is a reminder that I prevail. I can and will win. And I’ll keep winning as long as I can. Yes, sometimes I wish I didn’t have them but beauty goes deeper than my scars and I truly try to remember that every day. With scars and a stoma, it’s important for me to remember my victories and use my scars to pull strength from everyday and live my life!
Tammy B – My Laporotomy scar is beginning to fade, but there’s no hiding it. I also have the scars and a lump in my chest from my port. Those things, along with the 50 pounds I’ve gained from the steroids, and my short newly grown hair regrowing since chemo, I don’t look anything like myself. I’m still learning to accept the new person in the mirror.
Dorrie K – When people ask me if I have any tattoos I tell them that I have FIVE but they can’t see them unless I wear the right bathing suit. I’m proud of my tiny black pinpoint sized radiation tattoos – they are my battle scars and remind me of the warrior I was 25 years ago!
Ana R – After 6 abdominal surgeries my stomach is a road map of scars. I wish that when I looked at them I felt strong for all that I have endured, but instead they are a reminder to me of all my body has been through and they make me sad. It took me a full year before I would let my husband touch my stomach after my third major surgery. I hope someday they will be a source of strength to me, but for now, they are just a reminder of the many things cancer has changed about my life.
Sara J – Leep/Cone 2019. Radical hysterectomy 2022. Chemo/Radiation 2022. Chemo 2023. I wasn’t sure how I felt about my large abdominal incision but after my radical open hysterectomy, it’s just one more step I took to help save my life. It shows strength, beauty, and courage.
Leesa J – My scar is my blessing and my nightmare all wrapped up in one. It’s one single scar that represents both birth and death: the birth of my one and only child and the death of any future pregnancies. A birth that saved my life because had I not gotten pregnant, my cancer would have been very advanced by the time it was found, and a death that took my uterus and my ability to grow another life inside of me ever again. I carry my scar proudly and even though it is a painful reminder of all that was lost, all I have to do is look at my son and see the beauty in it.
Rachel S – I am living the new normal being a survivor. I have scars that are visible. The invisible scar was having a cancer nobody could see.
Thank you so much to our community members who shared their reflections on what it means to survive cervical cancer everyday.
Our bodies have carried us through trauma and to the other side of grief. Invisible scars are just as painful as those that change the landscape of our bodies. Do what you need to do to live and thrive with them and despite them.
In case you need a reminder, you are beautiful. Inside and out. You are a Cervivor, inside and out.