Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bibiana Padilla Maltos (50)

Throughout my life, my body has changed and I have several scars to prove it, both physical and emotional.

My first surgery happened only days after I was born. I had an umbilical hernia that I can barely see the scar of now, but when I was a kid it sort of had the shape of the Sun "would you like to see my Sun?" I remember asking my family. My feet didn't have enough arch so I wore little boots (which I loved!) but sometimes I didn't pay enough attention when running and fell, hitting my head, so I have a bulky scar in my lower skull that I showed proudly when, years after, I used to shave my head. Once I had to get a tetanus shot because I got hit with a tennis racket and opened my eyelid, I have a tiny scar for that. Years after I realized how lucky I was, if I had been hit lower I could have lost my eye!

I have a scar in my ankle and my knee for ironing my uniform skirt on the floor (don't ask why, I still don't know what I was thinking). Being asthmatic I'm always concerned about the air flow, the weather, the pollution, and very -VERY- familiarized with hospitals, nurses and blood works. I had oxygen therapy (inhaler therapy?), got poked for blood allergy testing more times that I can count, got pinched with cortisone shots more times that I can count, up to the point that nowadays if I need to I can explain someone how to do it for me and feel confident that they will do it right or do it myself (what a weird comfort is that?). I can also tell the people in the lab which of my veins is the good one, and give them alternate options if they screw up.

I never really check my breasts for lumps and such. I remember the one day that I did check, I couldn't find anything until, wait a minute! There it was!!! I ran to the doctor, and said it was the size of a lentil. We didn't know what it was, so he told me to wait and come back a month after. What if it is? What if it isn't? A month past by and my lump had grown to be 3 centimeters. Surgery was scheduled. My surgeon left me a very fine scar that no one can tell it's there.

I have always had very small breasts, but to me they are beautiful because they are mine. I didn't know what would happen and thinking I might have one removed for good I started making casts of it; after that I started filling them up with silicone; after that I thought I needed to put colored marbles as lumps. Results were back, and it was not cancer. I kept the prototypes, which I can't find now. I was lucky, again.

In my everyday job (you know, the one that pays the bills) I had to do audits. While traveling to visit a vendor, my car got out of control and smacked against a semi-truck. It was a very Hollywoodesque moment. Car and semi-truck got off the road. Car in flames. Legs not responding. Crawling out of the car to ask for help (luckily I was conscious). I had knee surgery. Again, I was not only lucky but blessed, how many people alive do you know who've had accidents hitting semi-trucks? I cannot name a single one. I couldn't walk for months and when I did I got the coolest cane. I have 2 centipede scars in my knee and started to tell people what a bad-ass I was that I even have scars to show (as a joke, of course).

It is funny women don't talk about their woman problems. Once you go through one, a lot of them tell you they've been through the same or something similar. Last year I was pregnant. My first pregnancy-doctors-visit I was told it might be more than one baby. I was huge. I came back the next day for an ultra sound. And there it wasn't: only my heart was beating. And there they were: at least 5 fibroids the size of a grapefruit. I had an obvious miscarriage and got a treatment for fibroids explained to me. I don't remember being sad, I remember wanting to be over all that and ready to go. That didn't happen. I got an injection treatment which was an induced menopause, believe me when I say I cannot wait for NOT to go through menopause again. The five big fibroids got reduced to garbanzo size and were removed in two surgeries. Lost the pregnancy. Lost fibroids. Lost bone mass. Lost my mind. And now I am ready to go.

The last three events have left the biggest scars. I can't even show them, but they are there.