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Finding Beauty in My Scars From Cerebral Palsy Surgery

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“Your scars are beautiful and so are you” is something I have told myself every time I get ready to start or end the day for the past few months. It puts fire in my smile, especially on days that are difficult to understand. I have a muscle and movement disability known as cerebral palsy, so scars are not new a concept for me, but my last surgery left me with at least 12 scars on each leg and pretty much no choice but to learn to adapt to a totally different lifestyle. So this saying is extra meaningful for the time being, and maybe the rest of my life).

The process of moving towards a different quality of life started a year ago with this statement:

“Is it ironic that I spent the entire day yesterday talking about sculptures that were broken in war and represented independence/the beautiful meaning of diversity, while today I went to the doctor and he explained how a surgery that repositions my leg bone is beneficial for my desire of independence? In a few weeks/months my legs will be ‘different’ than I’m used to. They won’t be the same way they are now. The hope is that they will become stronger through this operation. Although I am apprehensive about this change, I believe this will continue my beautiful, different journey to independence.”

A year ago, I made the decision to have both of my tibias and fibulas broken and rotated so I would have less of a chance of injury to my lower body without chance of repair when I got older. Nine months ago Thursday, I went through with the surgery.

As each month has passed I have learned to accept and be grateful for what this surgery has done for me and the hopeful future it brings. I have also understood that it is OK to be frustrated at how my life has changed dramatically. Some days it’s difficult to even put my shoes on, because for my entire life before the surgery crawling and doing everything at floor level was my way to independence. Because rods were put in my legs to hold my new bones in place, I am no longer allowed to get on the floor and have to learn to do everything from a standing or sitting position with legs that already struggle to move due to cerebral palsy.

I am grateful for telling myself  “your scars are beautiful and so are you” because it gives me the extra boost of confidence I need to have on the tough days of learning my “new normal.” These days may be difficult, but I am strong enough to deal with whatever comes my way. I have found that if we are nice to ourselves about what we can control, we have an easier time coming to terms with what we once couldn’t control.

Originally published: August 27, 2018
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