The day was filled with doctor’s appointments and I worried about having the energy to get it all done. I was so anxious today, I drove to the old office building for my appointment. Maybe it wasn’t anxiety, maybe it was the trap music I was listening to while I was stuck in traffic for an hour. Did I mention the office is only 15 minutes away from my house? The only appointment I was looking forward to was my HS appointment with Dr. Weisman. She has a way of making me feel like I can rule the world because if I can live with HS, everything else is a breeze. Even though Dr. Weisman knows each and every scar and active place I have, it’s still uncomfortable when you are au naturel in front of your doctor, nurse practitioner and nurse. After she checked in with me, she began my examination. She was so proud of the progress of the healing in places, especially my left arm. Dr. Weisman then asked me if I wanted to have surgery to remove all of the scarring. My first reaction was “umm yeah!” The chance to actually cure HS on a part of my body is what I have been waiting on all of my life. Or at least I thought it was. Just as I was about to have a full blown party in my head, I had some questions about the surgery. Will it hurt? How long is the healing process? Will I have a scar? Will I need someone to stay with me? And again, will it hurt? She told me the doctor would cut out all of the scarring from arm, take skin from my thigh and put it under my arm. There is at least 2 weeks of down time and several weeks of not being able to lift my arm.
I immediately began to weigh out the pros and cons. I wouldn’t have HS under my arm and no more bandages. That was the only pro I could think of. The cons came to mind so naturally. What about work and Gambino? What about the healing time of the place they are removing the skin from? Will the new skin under my arm look like normal skin? Am I just replacing one scar for another? Will this really change the type of shirts I wear? After taking all of those things into consideration, I declined Dr. Weisman’s offer. She was perfectly fine with my decision and told me she completely understood. I thought about all of the new ventures I have coming up, now is not the time to stop. I feel like I am in a chapter of awakening in my life and I am looking forward to what it has in store for me. At this point in my life, I am okay with my scars. My scars are a part of me and they come with the package that is Yolanda. Love it or don’t look.
I thought I had trained myself not to be allergic to Mondays. For as long as I can remember all I have ever said was “I hate Mondays!” Yes I know, I sounded like a kid who didn’t want to get up to go to school. The adult in me insisted I not give a day of the week that much power. Well I was reminded today on why Monday is not my friend.
Take out the trash, drop clothes at the cleaner, find someone to donate the backpacks to, run by the bank and return all the phone calls I received today were all of the things I wanted to get done today. Have a lie down and binge watch Doc Martin is what I actually wanted to do. I decided to take my sidekick Gambino with me to help. Unfortunately this meant I had to put on a bra. I didn’t want to slang and bang all over the place. I put on my beautiful blue tank and started on my journey. As we were going to the cleaners I felt the air blowing on my arm and I realized I had not bandaged my arm before I left. Panic consumed me. I even thought about turning around in 5 o’clock Atlanta traffic to go back home. I knew if I turned around I would not have ventured back out. I decided to keep going and I could hold the clothes with one arm and Gambino in the other so that no one would see it. I looked like a struggling clown trying to juggle an elephant. I basically threw the clothes on the counter and embraced Gambino like he was my shirt. The cashier wanted to play with him, I said we were in a hurry. I did not want her to get too close, nor did I want to put him down. I did not want anyone to see how HS has taken over my left underarm. It’s dark, full of scars and is also active with cysts. What if she asks me what happened? How would I explain? What if she has a look of judgement on her face and then I go the hell off because I am embarrassed? Too much to think about and too much to deal with on a Monday. We made our narrow escape.
I have been thinking about the cleaner caper all evening. About all of the anxiety and shame I had around someone seeing my arm. It really felt good to wear a tank top like a normal person and enjoy the breeze on your arm. I wasn’t able to enjoy it. I was in my own way. Who told me to be ashamed? Who said it was ugly? Who said if someone sees it they will judge me? Moreover, why would I care? It’s the negative self talk we impose on ourselves spilling over into our world making us think that everyone else feels the same way. Not only is it not true, but it’s not fair to us or the people we interact with. Tomorrow is a new day and I am going to try again.
Shame is the most powerful, mater emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough-Brene Brown