Last Friday the tube that has been a part of Isaac since April (the red tube coming out of his chest) fell out…… just like that – it fell out. Not an unusual occurance, and definitely one that makes us a bit happy, the loss of this tube will hopefully cure some of the infection he has had these past few months.
So, we took a picture of Isaac’s tubeless chest and posted it on Facebook – kind of a “yay the tube is out” picture. I was suprised (though not bothered in the least) when several people commented on the scars on Isaac’s chest. His scars are just so normal to us now, we don’t see them first. Nobody was negative – everyone just commented on the amount of scarring.
I realized that very little of Isaac is NOT scarred. Between scars from surgeries, IVs and central lines, and chest tubes Isaac has them everywhere. He has had two IVs in his head (when he was much younger), if you pull his hair back you can see the first one right in the middle of his head. His hands and feet are full of teeny little scars from the MANY ivs in them when he was tiny. His right and left upper arms bear the scars from cental lines, as do his right upper chest and his right upper leg. On his left leg you can find the scar from his port (which was emergently removed when he became septic and very, very sick a year and a half ago).
Also on Isaac’s chest/neck are the scars from the stretching of part of his esophagus, the progression of it as it moved down his chest. There are also scars from the trachea surgeries he has undergone, and the attempts to start giving him a secure airway and get the tracheotomy out of him.
Then there is his chest/stomach. Isaac has had so many thoracotamies (cuts from the middle of his back to the middle of his chest) we have lost track – I would guess somewhere around 10 since he had two in a one month span this winter. That scar is over a deep crevice where his ribs have been cut so many times they are now deformed. As a result of this deformity (his 4th through 8th ribs are fused together) he has a large lump at the top of his ribcage, that certainly adds to his character. There were a few surgeries that required Isaac’s stomach to be cut open – leaving about a 4 inch scar down his belly. The second time it was cut he developed an infection, so his stomach was reopened and allowed to scar on it’s own – leaving a bit of a gnarly scar.
Aside from his thoracotamy scar are the beautiful scars on his upper back, from the “buttons” used to stretch his esophagus. His esophagus was stretched by placing stitches through the end, pulling them out through his back and stretching them daily. The buttons held the stitches in place – they are responsible for the esophagus. In my opinion, they are his most beautiful scars……..
So, there is a history behind the scars – there are memories for each and every one. Someday Isaac can tell his friends the stories behind the scars (because each part of his life is documented online and in pictures!), or he can make up great stories about them While we have become accustomed to the scars and tend to look past them, they are so much a part of Isaac. He will have us to tell him the stories of the scars (since we hope he will have no memory of the procedures that led to them). Isaac will carry a constant reminder of how incredibly amazing he is, and have the evidence to prove it
Scars can be a reminder of horrible times, but they can also be a reminder of how amazing you are and just how far you have come……..