A recent search of the PatientsLikeMe forum reveals that there are thousands of posts that mention the word “scar.” Looking closer, you’ll see that there are discussions of physical scars – for example, from certain procedures or diseases – as well emotional scars.
One moving thread – entitled “A letter to help others understand you and fibromyalgia” – discusses the difficulty of scars and symptoms that are not visible. “I cannot show you a physically open wound to show how much pain I’m in,” writes a patient diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2008. “You won’t see my scars as you would a person who, say, had suffered a car accident. You won’t see my pain in the way you would a person undergoing chemo for cancer. However, my pain is just as real and just as debilitating.”
Can you relate to this patient’s need to write a letter explaining her condition to friends and family? And have you yourself overcome the challenge of getting others to understand your scars and symptoms, even when they are not immediately noticeable? If not, this may be your chance.
Here in Boston, the local NPR radio station, WBUR 90.9 FM, is running a special web series called “Your Medical History in Scars.” Citing the fact that our bodies are a “walking medical record,” they’ve asked listeners everywhere to share photos and stories that illustrate their scars as well as how dramatically medical practices have changed. Scroll through their flipbook for examples and submit yours today to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if your scars are emotional? “Draw a picture of them,” recommends WBUR. It could be your opportunity to finally create a visual that crystallizes your scars for others.