5 People On How They Found Strength in Their Scars

Everyone has a special relationship with their scars. While some individuals see theirs as a narrative to be instructed, or a badge of honor—others need to keep theirs a secret. Wearing your scars proudly takes braveness and it may be a journey. We chatted with 5 individuals who have labored to search out the wonder and power in their scars.

Cristina Beltran, Co-founder and CEO of ESTAS and cardiac arrest survivor

On how she acquired her scar…

“When I was 24, I went into sudden cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. My family was told I had a seven percent chance of survival. Thanks to my incredible doctors, family and friends, I survived. The following year, I continued to have heart incidents. I was rushed in and out of the hospital a number of times, having six stents placed in all. During my last stent procedure, my doctors realized the only way to keep me alive was to perform triple bypass open-heart surgery. Hence, the six-inch scar down my chest.”

On how she felt about her scar at first…

“When I was told I’d need open-heart surgery, the first thing I asked was, ‘Am I going to have a scar?’ I was so worried that I would have a permanent mark that showed the world that I was sick, that something was wrong with me. I was scared of being ‘that girl with the scar.’”

On how she feels about her scar now…

“Today, I’m very proud of my scar. I wear it like a badge of honor and feel a connection anytime I see somebody else with the same one, or any scar for that matter. It’s part of my story, a reminder of what I’ve been through and the strength it took to survive. I will forever be grateful for my scar, it’s the reason I’m alive today.”

On how her scar impressed her enterprise…

“When it got here time to look after my scar, I used to be pissed off with the shortage of luxurious skin-care merchandise devoted to scarcare. [My scar] was a part of the inspiration behind ESTAS, which stands for Every Scar Tells A Story—my line of luxurious skin-care merchandise for scars, rooted in the idea that scars must be cared for and celebrated. I began it with my buddy and enterprise companion, Alejandra Thompson, who additionally has a variety of scars. 

I discover the wonder and power in my scar throughout my scar-care routine. That’s why ESTAS is so essential to me. Alejandra and I need anybody who makes use of ESTAS to get the seen and emotional advantages of utilizing our merchandise. In caring in your scar, you’ll be able to create a relationship with it, begin to really feel extra comfy with it and hopefully even study to see the wonder in it. I additionally suppose sharing your story helps loads too.”

Jen Rozenbaum, boudoir photographer, breast most cancers survivor and oophorectomy affected person

On how she acquired her scars…

“In 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, which is breast cancer, and I had a bilateral mastectomy. I’ve had four reconstruction surgeries and I also had my ovaries removed recently so I have scars from all of it.”

On how she felt when she first noticed her scars…

“The first day I had my ovaries removed I asked my doctor, ‘Can you take a picture?’ She said, ‘Are you sure you want to see it? Are you ready?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know.’ But I wanted to at least have the option. So she took a picture, and I looked at it, and she was kind of waiting for my response. And I said to her, ‘it’s so badass.’ And she was like, ‘oh, that’s not a response we hear every day.’ I’ve always had a really good relationship with my scars from day one. I feel like they are not a reminder of the trauma but a reminder of strength.”

On how she feels about her scars now…

“I had some prior surgical procedures in my life as nicely. I had an ectopic being pregnant that ruptured. I’ve had some traumatic issues occur to me prior. I suppose I’ve at all times type of admired different individuals’s scars. So every time I had surgical procedure that gave me scars, I by no means checked out it as one thing that was ugly. I at all times type of noticed it as character or, you realize, storytelling, so it didn’t actually trouble me. I used to be really actually pleased with my scars. I want I didn’t should cowl them up on a regular basis as a result of I believe that it’s so attention-grabbing. 

I’m a boudoir photographer, so I’ve seen lots of people’s our bodies. I’ve an expression: ‘Shed your clothes, shed your inhibitions.’ Between everyone, there’s this layer of clothes, proper? That actually hides a lot of our story, and I simply want I might present my scars as a result of it’s only a focal point, and it connects individuals whenever you begin speaking about ‘oh, how did that happen?’ Or, ‘wow, that’s a cool scar. What’s the story behind that scar?’

Voluntarily going to the hospital and saying, ‘Please cut my breasts off’ is the toughest factor that you are able to do, so for me in my life, every time I’m confronted with one thing tough, all I must do is look down and see my scars and go, ‘Oh, I’ve accomplished exhausting issues. I can do that too.’”

Gillian Stollwerk Garrett, founding father of Gilly’s Organics and pores and skin most cancers survivor

On how she acquired her scar…

“I had this pore that was bleeding—it was very, very small. It regarded as if I had popped a whitehead, and it was just a bit bit bloody however nothing loopy. It was not therapeutic. I lastly went to the dermatologist, they usually took somewhat biopsy. They had been like, ‘Hey, listen, it’s basal cell carcinoma. Don’t fear. It’s not that harmful. You simply should get it eliminated.’ I say ‘great, no problem’ not figuring out.

They inform me to go to the Mohs surgeon, so I’m going considering that’s what I’ve to do. I’ve no clue what’s coming subsequent as a result of this factor was so small. I’m considering they’re going to take like a half of a pencil eraser off of my face as a result of it was the tiniest biopsy. They took actually a silver greenback. I used to be devastated. I used to be sporting a patch on my face. I used to be in ache. If you take a look at these footage of day one, day two, anybody could be depressing in case you noticed the way in which my face was sewn up. 

It was traumatic. It’s a part of what my face seems like now. I nonetheless look the identical, primarily. If you didn’t know me you wouldn’t be like, ‘oh the girl with the scar on her cheek,’ however in case you knew me earlier than, you may discover it. It’s actually not loads, particularly if I put on make-up, however as a result of it’s avoidable, I’ve turn into an advocate, not just for Dr. Markowitz however for alternate options to Mohs.”

On how she felt about her scar at first…

“There was a lot of time where I looked at it, and I got really sad. It got better. I did all the things they said to do, like massage it, press on it and put silicone on. But when I first looked at it, I definitely was traumatized. I was almost annoyed at myself that I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

On how she feels about her scar now…

“I nonetheless really feel that I’m lovely. I don’t really feel prefer it’s made me ugly or scary,  however I want I had my previous cheek again. It’s turn into a part of my model now. I don’t take a look at it the identical approach. It took a while to have a look at the scar and suppose, ‘my scar is beautiful.’ It took work.

I used to be working with a coach on the time as a result of I had a enterprise coach and a part of her work is therapeutic work. She made me meditate on healing the scar and sending it love. I grew over time to like my face once more. It was extremely traumatic, and now it’s not traumatic, and I’ve been ready to have a look at it as like, yeah, it’s a part of who I’m, and I adore it. I’m not completely in love with it, however do nonetheless look in the mirror and go, ‘Oh, you look great.’”

On the silver lining…

“There’s a silver lining at all times to the whole lot. I’ve an natural skin-care line now. For the primary 35 years of my life, I used to be a solar worshiper and Eastern European and [skin cancer] is frequent in my household. So my message is ‘You really have to know your history. You have to take care of your skin. You have to get checked out. You have to use sunscreen,’ issues that I by no means did. I’m now a part of an advocacy.

I really feel that it’s a part of my model now to speak about it and be open about it. That vulnerability has helped lots of people. They write me, they usually say, ‘oh my god, thank you so much. I went to Dr. Markowitz, and all she did was zap me, and she saved my nose.’ It makes me really feel so good.”

Jason Fazio, former firefighter and burn scar survivor

On his restoration…

“I had misplaced an ear on my left aspect, it acquired burnt off, and Dr. Assadi reconstructed it. Then he began doing a laser on my arms and again to loosen up the scar tissue. The laser regenerates the pores and skin and smooths out the scars. I’ve been going to him for over eight or 9 years already. He additionally did some fats grafting—they take some fats and inject the scars to loosen them up. The scar bands are extreme. The fats grafting was accomplished on my arms. I lastly have a standard ear that he had reconstructed from utilizing my very own pores and skin, and it actually got here out good. He’s actually been my angel by this entire course of. It’s the longest restoration. I’m nonetheless going to laser as soon as a month with the machine as a result of your pores and skin is at all times rising and tightens up, and when he lasers my pores and skin it loosens it up, and it helps the curing course of.

I used to be 47% burned throughout my physique, third diploma. Every month I’m going, and I really feel so significantly better after I depart there. I’ve graphs on my head. He assigned me to a spot that’s like a hair membership for males to cowl my scars. So I acquired hair simply to guard it. He did eyebrow plugs on my eyebrows as a result of my eyebrows had been burnt off, and he had somewhat little bit of hair that he had discovered on the underside of the again of my head that he regenerated simply so I can look considerably regular going by life.”

On being a burn survivor…

“When you’re a burn survivor, you’re in a league of your own. It’s up to you how you take care of yourself. I’m energetic, and I’ve really come through a dark time in my life. I have a great attitude. I’m positive.”

On how he feels about his scars now…

“They’ve smoothed out over the years with treatment. I’m not self-conscious anymore.”

Jason’s spouse, Barbra, on his journey…

“Jason was in a coma for 3 months after which inpatient rehab for an additional three. Just a few individuals had been referred to Jason to speak to them about his restoration as a result of he’s some of the optimistic individuals who’s survived one thing like this. His humor didn’t change. His character didn’t change. He doesn’t have heavy bouts of melancholy. He has his moments, however he’s additionally one of many few burn survivors that’s not medicated, doesn’t take painkillers, doesn’t take anti-depressants. He is actually anyone to look as much as if you need to survive one thing as horrific as burns, particularly in your face, your arms, your arm, your head, your eyelids. But Jason could be very humble about it.

Family assist is essential. But I don’t deal with him in another way. There aren’t any excuses. It helps normalize the individual once more and the state of affairs. There’s no strolling on eggshells or tiptoeing round. Does he have sure limitations? Yes,  however in normal, now he can stroll, speak and breathe and see, thank God.”

Heather Nagle Johnson, pores and skin most cancers survivor

On how she acquired her scar…

“I had a small mole removed, and it unexpectedly turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. I then had to go to a Mohs surgeon who removed more skin to make sure that all the basal cell was gone. I was left with about a dime-sized hole in my chin. I went to Dr. Preminger to close it. In order for it to heal well and not change the shape of my lip, she ended up cutting a pizza wedge out and then sewing it up, which left me with a scar through my lip and down to my chin.”

On how she feels about her scar now…

“I feel more thankful now when I look at my scar. It represents successful cancer removal. I really forget about it most of the time. My kids are still interested in it and still ask me if it hurts and want to know about it. I think it was probably somewhat traumatic for them as well to see me after I first came home.”

On discovering magnificence in her scar…

“When I look at the scar, I’m first thankful that it has healed well,  that I had an amazing doctor, and that I’m healthy. It reminds me how lucky I am to have had all the resources I needed to heal well—doctors, supportive family and friends and a job that allowed me to take some time off.”

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