Battle scars have become a part of my life, since I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraine and Degenerative Disc Disease. After several years of IV infusions of DHE to break a status migraine, my veins went on strike. They weren’t the best to start with and only got worse as time went on. I lost count of the number of central lines placed in my neck, PICC lines, then we moved on to the big guns, a port-a-cath. The port-a-cath worked very well for me for a while. I am cursed with skin that really hates adhesive of any kind, if your Port is accessed it has to be dressed, and part of that dressing is a tegaderm, which of course has adhesive. Since I was using the Port to give myself medications at home, I had to go into the clinic once a week for a dressing change.

During one those weekly dressing changes, when the nurse removed the tegaderm, it tore my skin. When she redressed it, she did so with the skin tear under the dressing. Within a couple of days I noticed the skin tear was weeping and called the doctor’s office about it. The nurse told me this normal and not worry about it. When I went in for my Thursday dressing change, the area was infected!! The doctor started me on antibiotics and we left the Port de-accessed. Late Sunday night I realized I was running a fever of a 102, I took some Advil and told my husband if I still had a fever in the morning, I would call the doctor. That is the last thing I remember until waking up in the hospital on Wednesday morning.  

My husband had come home from work to find me unconscious and unresponsive, he wasn’t sure what was going on. Whether I had accidentally taken too much of my medication, or what, I think he had totally forgotten about the Port situation. He called 911 and once arriving at the hospital and being accessed by the nurses, they discovered that my temperature was 105. I was septic, there is no way of knowing how long I had laid there with a temperature that high. Thank goodness I came through that with no lasting physical or neurological damage.

I’ve had two other Ports placed, but ended having to have them removed due to blood clots. Because of these chronic blockages, I now have to have a femoral line placed when I go in for infusion treatment. This is not the norm, believe me, this is just my body being ornery as usual. I’m quite used to it and don’t get overly excited about much of anything these days. I didn’t get the title of the Queen of Weird for nothing!!

I had a Fusion at C5-6 several yrs ago, it was successful at taking care of the neck pain in that area, and the numbness and tingling in my hands. But much to my surgeons disappointment it did nothing for the migraine, I didn’t go into surgery excepting that. He was one of the best surgeons I have ever had, an excellent bedside manner, as well as being a superb surgeon. You rarely get both qualities! He told me that they do the incision horizontally, so it appears naturally with the creases in the neck. He then looked at my neck and said “but you don’t have any creases”! I told him that was the Oil of Olay doing its job!

I’ve had several other surgeries and if I talked about them all, it could take all day. I used to be extremely self-conscious of the scars that lace my neck and upper chest. I would only buy tops, blouses, and dresses that had necklines that would cover my scars. Not anymore, a friend told me recently that she didn’t even notice them. Wow, what a morale booster. I had stopped worrying about it some time ago and started shopping for what I liked, not what would cover my scars!

Each one of my scars is from a battle, fighting back against migraine and chronic pain issues. They are not something to be ashamed of, just the opposite, they are spoils of war! I earned each and every one of them, I may not have won this war yet, but I am never going to stop fighting it. I have HOPE on my side and there is nothing stronger than the strength that hope gives you!

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Ian Maclaren

Live with hope,
Roni