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et_blackbird did a post answering other LJer's questions and one of the questions dealt with not recognizing yourself in the mirror, scars, and so on. This made me think about my mom and my favorite scar.

While I have little experience with not recognizing myself in the mirror, maybe a due to an extreme haircut or color. I do however have lots of experience with scars, though I’m not going to relate about my own scars which are mostly undetectable. My mom however has constellations of scars. Most of you know my mom is not in the best of health, but really she never has been. I figure it’s time I spill it all out on the table, get ready for all the medical info on my mom you never even knew you didn’t want to know.

When my mom was born she was sick, she was constantly throwing up and making nasty that most babies don’t. Back in those days there was an experimental procedure the doctors assured my mom’s parents would fix her right up. They bombarded my mom’s head and shoulders with radiation therapy that would later cause her to develop lots and lots of cancer. It did not cure her illness. She didn’t find out why she was sick for over 16 years. Eventually she was diagnosed with celiac sprue which is an auto-immune disease where your body attacks itself if you eat wheat or gluten. So since before my birth my mom was on a low carb diet! Growing up mom couldn’t eat cookies or cakes or brownies... Need I go on. That is why I always get mad at her for portioning out all the goodies I find for her. Celiac is so common in the UK that most Sainsbury's have a gluten free section like vegetarian sections in us grocery stores. In San Francisco there is a decent sized gluten free section in Rainbow Grocery but my mom refuses to buy more than a few cake and cookie mixes.

Before I was born my mom started getting surgeries for the skin cancers the radiation at birth caused. She would have over 70 surgeries on her head and shoulders before I turned 21 and has had over 100 at this point. Growing up it was completely normal for me to come home from school to my mom bandaged up. It was such a common occurrence that normally I didn’t know she was going to have surgery until it was over and I saw the bandages or stitches. Most of the scars she got soon faded in my vision because all I saw was my beautiful mother. Still when I look at her I don’t really see any of the scars unless I am looking for them, that is except the one scar that I have always loved.

A few years ago I was talking with my mom and was talking about how I couldn’t believe that she wasn’t put under for most of these surgeries when I told her how much I loved the scar on her neck. She was completely shocked, she hated it, it couldn’t be covered by makeup and why could I possibly love it. My mom has always been the sweet nurturing June Cleaver mom who will go mama bear on any who threaten her cubs, I always saw her as angelic. On her neck where men would have an adam’s apple she has a diamond shaped scar that looks like the sun through slightly opened eyes. The way your eyelashes make it into lines bursting from the center like artist use behind saints to illustrate the holy power of Jesus or Mary. To me this was my mom’s inner light made visible to me. As a small child I would lay my head in my mom’s lap and stare at my mom’s light and enjoy the the warmth and safety. I hope someday she will let me photograph her scar that she hates so much despite my love for it.

The health issues she has been battling late are completely new and only slightly related. If you have one auto-immune disease for a long period of time it is likely you will develop another. About six years ago she started getting weaker and weaker as if her muscles were just fading away. Eventually when she couldn’t get up from the floor by herself she went to some specialist to see what was causing her to become so weak. She was diagnosed with Polymyositis, a even more rare disease that thinks your own body is a virus that needs to be destroyed. Luckily doctors have a treatment but it’s not 100% and it definitely has it’s faults. She is taking very high doses of prednisone a steroid. When I first heard this I thought maybe my mom will finally bulk up! But that’s not really the effect it had on her. It made her crazy, she totally lost it. She still has a frightened timber in her voice that was never there before. The drug has also really aged her. The skin on her arm looks like the skin of a 80 year old and her face has grown a little puffy. But unless she is pointing it out I don’t even notice, I just see my mom who I love with all my heart.

Halcyon - Chicane - Behind The Sun


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad my mom is not so bad that she can't even touch gluten... that would be horrible. but the way I like to explain it is, she can only use one brand of soy sauce because the rest all use a wheat thickener... and people usually respond "soy sauce is so thin, they use a thickener?"

She has been on the steroids for about two years now, they keep decreasing the dosage and she seems a lot more like her old self now that she is taking so much less. They still aren’t saying when she will be able to stop taking them... I sure hope she doesn’t have to take them for the rest of her life.
Apr. 6th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
Oh Mr. Eric,

how i wished i had known all of this. i knew she was sick the last few years but hadn't really pressed it with you. i think you know that my mom has been sick for most of my life too, and being so close with you at times-i can't believe we never talked about it. i have a favorite scar on my mom too-we call it "her slug".its the place where they put in a portcat(not sure how its spelt) for her chemo treatment. i've known you since i was sixteen and did not know these things about you. its amazing what our moms go through but look like everything is peachy on the outside.i love you eric and even though what you and your family has gone through is nothing new for you-being the first time i have really heard you talk about it....well i am thinking about you tonight:)

love love love
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Ohhhhhhh
it's crazy the stuff that goes on in all of our lives and yet we never talk about them. gosh we really have known each other for a long time. I'm almost 31! You both will have to come to the party on the 23rd in LB! last party on Monlaco... I need to come up with a fitting theme!
Apr. 6th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Monkey.
So sorry your Mom has had to deal with this. I remember when my mom went through the operations, radiation and then the chemo treatments. No matter how much pain she felt or how sick she would get she would always try and be strong and have a smile on her face. Mom's are awesome.
I know it's difficult for you but I feel your possibly the most important thing to her.


Apr. 6th, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: *hugs* Monkey.
Thanks for the hugs. hugs right back at you, I think you've had it a lot harder than I ever did.
Apr. 7th, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)
Re: *hugs* Monkey.
I thought that was a beautiful story about your Mom's scar. It really touched my heart. Mom's are wonderful. I really believe you are very important to her. Your part of her strength.

Allan always tells me how his family changed after they met me. No, not in a bad way. But that they never hugged and never said "I love you" to each other. Now they do.

*Hugs* and "I love you"s are not just for special occasions anymore.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )