I have a scar on the upper left portion of my collar/chest area. It is no longer than maybe an inch or two, but it’s there. If I wear clothes that show this area of my body, it is highly noticeable. Sometimes people ask about it. Sometimes they just stare. One time, while buying tickets for a movie, the guy working the booth said to me, “I’m so sorry for asking, but is that a scar from a port?”
I was taken aback. Not by his question, but by his accuracy. Very few people recognize my scar for what it is. The guesses I’ve received as to its origins are laughable. But this young gentleman was spot on. My scar was indeed caused by a port, or port catheter. It’s a small thumb-sized device with a tiny “tail” of tubing that connects to a vein. It sits underneath the skin and allows for easy blood draws and drug injections.
I told the young man behind the counter that it was indeed a port scar. He smiled and slipped his starch white shirt to the side to reveal a scar that was eerily similar to my own. “Lymphoma,” he stated simply. “I’m a little over 2 years out.” My eyes lit up in an immediate kinship as I instantly supplied back, “Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I’ve been cancer-free since 2005!”
Meeting someone with a similar life story to me was thrilling. There is something instantaneous that happens when you find someone who understands you. But there are other scars, deeper, more hidden, that leave no mark on the outward appearance, yet are as undeniable as the scar that mars my outward body. I like to think of these as “soul scars.” We all have them, they just vary in cause. But, like me and the movie theater employee, when you find someone who bares a matching soul scar, it is an instant connection and understanding.
What scars are you wearing today? Are they on the outside or the inside? What (or who) caused them? Do you know anyone else who wears a similar scar? What’s your scar story?