PSA: The Scar

I have a big scar on my chest. It is still red and expands into a silver dollar-sized circle at the top. I would have to wear turtle necks every single day to hide it, so you are probably going to notice it. That is fine.

Here is what you should do when you notice it:

1. Stop looking.
Okay, you saw it. Not stop being creepy. At this point you are just staring at my breasts.

2. Don’t ask questions.
There are a few exceptions to this one. It is okay to ask about my scar if you are:

  1. a child
  2. mentally disabled
  3. sporting a similar scar
  4. facing surgery that will result in the same scar
  5. an acquaintance I haven’t seen since before surgery (although at this point, that is unlikely)
  6. a new friend

3. Smile and move along.
The smile is optional, but I’m a southerner so let’s assume you will smile.

And done! Now, wasn’t that easy?

Look, it is great that you grandma had open heart surgery, came through it all okay, and has a similar scar . . . but I just don’t care. You are a stranger. Plus, I just told you it wasn’t heart surgery when you so rudely inquired into my medical health. The fact that your memaw* had clogged arteries doesn’t make us bosom buddies.

*It is almost always a memaw when I end up in these situations. Wonder if that is significant?

I tried to take a good photo of my scar to share with you all, but it ended up being mostly boobs and I just don’t want to share that here. I’ll leave you with Tina Fey instead.




  1. I just stumbled upon your blog from the “Introverts” post. I had a thymectomy when I was 9. Where I am from people tend to ask quite frankly if you’ve had heart surgery but they will always make sure to excuse themselves for being rude. I don’t mind the questions. Sometimes I forget I even have the scar, after all, I’ve had it for most of my life. Apart from another post-operative patient I stumbled upon in the doctor’s office after my surgery in ’97, I have never encountered anyone who has had a thymectomy. I wish you a happy and positive healing period, which from my experience, is quite long. Til this day I still feel the tiniest bit of tension along the upper part of my scar when I’m doing push-ups.

  2. Stephanie – Two years ago daughter had to have two Thymectomy done in a fourteen day period and her scar is very prominent. She was offered plastic surgery to lighten up the scar and politely declined. Last year she got married and did not hesitate to wear the dress she wanted to even though you can see the scar in every photograph. The scar has become part of who she is that I never thought to ask her if strangers asks her about it. Something to talk about in our daily phone call :-).

    Until her diagnosis we had never heard of Thymectomy. Now I am aware of two others who have gone through some of the same struggles. Thank you for sharing.

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