Saturday, August 15, 2015

Living With Scars

As many of you know, I was born with a congenital birth defect called PFFD (congenital short femur). It caused my right leg grew at a much slower pace than my left; it would've been around 9-12 in. shorter than my left leg by the time I was done growing. My parents were lucky enough to come across my fabulous limb lengthening specialist, Dr. Dror Paley, on 20/20 when I was two years old and immediately scheduled my first appointment with him in Baltimore, MD. After being told countless times that my only option was amputation, my parents were thrilled to hear that Dr. Paley was not intimidated by my 4 in. descrepency at all and wanted to schedule the date of my first lengthening that day (which would later be postponed a day for his appearance on Oprah... WoWzErS)!!!! We never would have imagined that one doctor's appointment would change my life in such an incredible way. That trip was the first of MANY to Baltimore, and later West Palm Beach, FL (after his big move south). In my 18 years as a patient of Dr. Paley I have had a total of 20 operations on my right leg (3 leg lengthenings and many hip and knee surgeries). I wouldn't change a single thing. My legs have been even for 4 years now, and let me tell you, it's been AMAZING. I have my own leg, I can wear heels, and I can whip out some pretty rad dance moves if needed. How neat-o is that?!

Now that you have the backstory, let's get to the beef of this post. All my life I have been faced with many questions regarding my leg, but a few have always gotten under my skin a little more so than others. 

Don't your scars bother you? 

Have you ever thought about having plastic surgery to fix them? 

My aunt's best friend's sister's daughter once cut her leg on a scooter and she used some cream to make the scar go away, do you want me to find out what it's called? 

And so on.

I totally understand why people ask, scars are an imperfection many people find to be bothersome/off-putting to others, but in my case I am proud to have a leg covered in scars! Hell, (sorry mom) I have EARNED each and every single one of them! Those scars have made me who I am. They've made me strong. They've made me beautiful. They've helped me to build character. And most importantly, they are a part of my story. 

So next time you see someone with some noticible scars, please don't stare or ask why they haven't done anything to fix them. Odds are, if they aren't comfortable about having them yet, you will only make their insecurities worse. It has taken me years to feel comfortable in my body, especially my scar-covered leg. Those questions and side comments I've heard over the years about my scars tore down my self-esteem little by little until I decided that the only opinions that truly matter are my own. I wasted years feeling bad about myself because of what other people thought about one single part of my body! (And undoubtably the coolest part of my body) How ridiculous is that?!!? Don't get me wrong, I have always been proud to be a limb lengthening patient, but lots of (dare I say) normal people just don't understand all the work that goes into getting each and every one of those scars. I am proud to say that I am happy with my scars now, and maybe one day I will decide to get them "fixed", but as of right now I don't feel the need to bump up the surgery count to 21 just to fix my scars.

This quote is for all the PFFD & limb lengthening kids out there:

"Scars remind us of where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going." -David Rossi (yes, I quoted a character from Criminal Minds)

xo. Brooke


Jackie Layne said...

My daughter starts lengthening next week! What an encouragement to read. Thanks :)

Brooke Nicole said...

No problem!! I know my parents and I would have liked to hear more about what life is like after the lengthening process is complete. Best of luck to you and your little girl!