Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It's only been 6 months since I've been fully recovered from tuberculosis, and the scars left by the lesions are still evident on my body. I wasn't expecting them to miraculously disappear - I'm not that disillusioned - (although I certainly wouldn't be complaining if the scars had just vanished into thin air), but I still occasionally find myself fretting about the scar that runs across my cheek and spreads out over my nose.

It's not that I feel sorry for myself because of what happened, but rather that it's just such a pain in the big fat bum to have something like that right IN THE MIDDLE OF MY FACE.

For example, here are a list of things I can't do because of that scar :

  • Go to the public swimming pool (because if my face gets wet it will wash off the special camouflage make up and I'll be left with a red nose and cheek, scaring all the other swimmers out the pool and making the children cry.)
  • Answer the door when I don't have my make up on.
  • Leave the house with no make up on.
  • Get out the house when there's a fire until I've put on my make up (by which time I might be burned to a chargrill).
  • Blow my nose in public (because the tissue wipes off the make up).
  • Take off my glasses or sunglasses once I have put them on (because they wipe off the make up where they pinch the nose).
  • Talk about noses without getting self concious about mine.
  • Be in a photo and feel good about myself.
  • Be in daylight and feel good about myself.
  • Feel good about myself .
But then, there are always worse things to happen to you. Like, I still have all my limbs. And I can walk. And it's really not the end of the world. I just wish there was some sort of miracle cream that made scars disappear. Anyone know of any?


Loth said...

I know it will do no good to tell you that you are far far more aware of the scar than other people will ever be, even if it is true, so I will just offer sympathy instead. And if you do find that miracle cream, could you let me know if it would be likely to work on the worst stretch marks in the Western hemisphere? Thanks.

Micah D.L. said...

agreed. i wouldn't have a clue you had a scar until you told us. which means either a) you cover it well or b) all your friends can simply see beyond it.

i have a wicked weird scar on my forehead that is inexplicable and people keep asking about it. no idea where it came from, but it hurts sometimes and it's huge and really, no amount of makeup fixes it. it blows.

but take heart. you are healthy and beautiful and there's probably some FP out there who doesn't even notice any "flaws"...

Zhu said...

Most scars become very beautiful after a while. First of all, they heal, second, they tell a story.

I'm sure I wouldn't like scars on my face either. But hey, I have my fair share of scars and I learned to love them. Besides, we are way too smart to be model, so what's the point to have a perfect body/ face? ;)

Anonymous said...

heal gel works wonders - definitely improved my scar on my chin, and has reduced my make up bill!


Diane said...

I had a friend in high school that had her face sliced open by a broken bottle (wrong place, wrong time) She ended up with a huge deep red scar running along the side of her face. Her doctor told her to buy a bottle of vitanim e gel caps and rub one on it every day.Vitamin E promotes healing and tissue repair but be sure to use the d-alpha-tocopheral form. I wish I could say it went away but it didn't. What it did do was fade considerably. I would consider trying that if I were you and also aloe vera gel. It does wonders for healing the skin.

T.D. Newton said...

Our scars make us unique, even if the diseases and conditions and events that brought them on are common. Scars are something that all of us, if we've actually left the house during our lifetimes, collect. It sounds to me like you're suffering more from the emotional scars than the physical, as you have both people in your life that can see past them as well as ways to cover them up.

A lot of us have image and self-esteem problems, but life isn't a Disney movie where they all magically go away at the end. What we really have to do, as individuals, is see the parts of ourselves that are awesome and fantastic rather than those we don't like. That's why writing has been so healthy for me and, I'm assuming, for you - because it's something we're GOOD at that people NOTICE.

The moral of the story? Stop paying so much attention to the outside - it's just the first layer anyway.

Lis of the North said...

What TD said! Your scar is part of the young woman you have now become. That doesn't mean you should flaunt it with pride, but maybe you can learn to ... not love it maybe, but dislike it less!
I definitely think that as you grow into your life in France (any news on that teaching job?) (which is a new chapter, after some tough times at university), you will grow in confidence. We all define ourselves through aspects of our appearance, our jobs, our nationality and so on. You'll soon start to define yourself through what you do professionally, through being an expat Scot in France, and through your relationship with FP.
As these new facets to you grow, your TB and the memories and traces will be more distant and won't be such big pieces in the jigsaw that makes you up.
What you lived through, the emotions, the hopes and the fears, will always be there. But it will be one brick of many in your wall. And so your scar will fade. Even if it doesn't physically, the image you hold of it will.
Hey, we're all slightly vain and we all worry about how others see us. Who can blame you if you use make up to hide your blemishes (how many women do you know who don't?!).
Crikey this is a bit a ramble. I think what I mean is: learn to love your scar! Give him a name. (Aside, I read Gill Hicks' book about surviving the London bombings; she lost both legs below the knee and as part of her rehab she gave her stumps names.) And soon you won't think of him quite so often.
I hope.
And even if that's all a pile o' shite, you are still loved and the people that count look at you and see beauty. xx

Lindsay said...

Bio oil. I'm covered in scars, my legs are quite badly scarred from years of picking at Crohn's disease related sores (I didn't know that's what they were at the time), and Bio Oil works a treat. Not sure if it's suitable for facial use though, although apparently they do a face cream. I used it for a while on my operation scar, too, and it's barely visible these days.

I also used Palmer's Cocoa Butter, a big tub with "smoothes marks and scars" on it over the summer because that's all they had in Walmart and it worked really well.

However, like everyone said - scars just become a part of who you are. I do, though, understand how self-conscious they can make you feel.

L'oiseau de perles said...

Oh that sucks, but I quasi-know how you feel. While I was in high school I had a couple of months of my facing(particularly my lips) swelling to twice their size and being covered in tiny, painful, puss filled blistered. It was so embarrassing, but luckily I found out nearly a year later and after another incident during orientation at my uni that I am allergic to sunscreen.. Not the same as having permanent scars(which I couldn't tell you had at all!), but you can see the parallel.

As for screams that fade scars, have you tried Clinique's Even Better Skin Tone Corrector or Murad's Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel? I've been using the clinique one and it has worked wonders on my acne scars. My mother, who also has acne scars and discoloration, used the Murad for about five months and her skin looks ten times better.

Zannie said...

Hey love,

Firstly, I saw you a couple of weeks ago without your make up and swear, hand on heart your face doesn't look like it has a scar. I know FP tells you this too!
Secondly, you're beautiful, you were beautiful when you DID have a big scar/lesion on your face and you're still beautiful now.
Lastly, I know me saying all this doesn't actually make you change your mind, no matter how many times Venzo tells me my bum is perfect - it's never going to seem like that to me!! However, if you can't believe you're beautiful yet, please just take some comfort in the fact other people think you are. We know best :p
Can't wait to see you next week!
Kisses, Zannie x x x

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Loth You know what? It actually can help sometimes just to hear that. Even if it is the kind of thing that everyone says. Because I guess when you get caught up stressing out about flaws on your own body you kind of forget that that it really is true that scars are more visible to you than to anyone else, because it's you who knows they are there in the first place.

Micah Well that helps, but you guys do know that any photo I put on the internet of myself is generally a photo that I put there because I think no one can see my scar in? Hehe. Anyway, I think luckily for me, that the people in my life now - even my colleagues - can see past my scar because since I came to France, not one single person has asked about my face (although they have asked about other scars on my elbow and arms...). About your scar on your forehead...are you sure you're not related to Harry Potter? Because it sounds a similar scar and by the way that scar is COOOOOOL! But you do make the most important point there; I am healthy now. And now I have to make a concious effort not to take that for granted!

Zhu I agree that most scars can become very beautiful, but unfortunately my scar is not your average type of scar as it's not a line like most scars are, it's just a weird holey texture on my nose and cheek and I doubt that will ever be beautiful.

Louise thank you, I will check this out.

Diane Och! That poor girl! I will check this out also a s I have heard about vitamin e and the wonders it can do. I'm just wondering if it made the texture of the skin better or if it just faded the colour... For me I feel the colour of my scar will fade naturally over time as it already has done so hugely since I recovered but I'm more worried about the skin texture. :-(

TD Yes, I guess it really is more about the emotional scars than the physical ones. Maybe I need to work on that...But in my defence it's still early days, it's only been six months that I've been recovered and I'm still terrified that the infection will come back. I suppose with time both emotional and physical scars will get better. For now I guess I just need to accept that I have this scar and that it is part of me. And that it's not that important anyway!

But still...for my vanity...I'm going to try some of the creams people have suggested!

Lis Good advice! And I'm thinking that maybe my job is part of the problem. I'm doing a boring, crappy job that really, really does not interest me in the slightest. And in December when that job contract finishes, I actually have no idea what profession I can get into that I will enjoy as the teaching interview I went to turned out to be a disaster and I have realised that the only way I can teach is by doing a teaching course ... except I have no money to do that. And so it's a bit of a vicious cycle with my professional life as one of the only jobs that I feel I could be passionate about (except writing which is my dream but unrealistic for the moment) is out of reach. So I go to work every day knowing that I will probably have to make do with a similar crappy office job once this one is over and I have no identification with the job or job satisfaction. Anyway I've gone off on a tangent so hang on, let me get myself back on track...

Lindsay I shall look into that, thanks! I've seen it advertised in magazines and such, claiming that it helps scars, so I will have a look around for it.

L'oiseau de perles Awwww poor, poor you. I was always so grateful that what happened to me had not happened to me during my time at high school. The other kids can be so damn cruel, I hope you didn't get too much stick for it.

Clinique sounds expensive but I know it's excellent quality so maybe worth it. Thanks!

Zannie awww that's so sweet, thank youuuu! I guess we are all our own worst enemies, we always believe the worst about ourselves and never believe the good things people say about us. It's crazy! Can't wait to see you eeeeeither!

Everyone I'm going to do a little research into all the creams that everyone has suggested. So thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions, I feel less hopeless now!

Kimberly said...

I think you are beautiful no matter what because your writing inspires and uplifts me. Good luck with your scar.

joy suzanne said...

Princesse, I'm late commenting but the "miracle" cream for scars is called Strivecta (once they found out that it was good for wrinkles it's been re-marketed for that), and Retin A for re-surfacing holey, pitty scars like you described. However, I see you in photos and don't see a hint of it, you are such a beautiful girl.

Does no harm to try, though. You may be able to get a good, strong Retin-A cream for free in France. Have you seen a dermatologist here?

Have a great 3-day weekend!

John C said...


Everyone accessorizes when going out of the house, whether makeup or clothing. It's part of each of our own styles.

People remember and see most how you treat and relate to them in being outgoing, funny, and a really sweet person with a sense of humor.

That and the picture of you in a bikini being an 'OMGodess' thing.

We accentuate and concentrate on our own perception of ourselves usually more than others do of ourselves.

That, and you are a survivor, majorly, and an inspiration to others going through the first and later periods of TB.

Warmth and care, kiddo.