Beach Bod Ready, Cancer Scars and All

Coming to terms with one's scars is never simple. Having to face them with the added pressure the summertime brings can make it even more stressful. But for Taylor, a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, she learned to accept these markings of her war with Cancer. Read more below.

Summertime. A time of heat waves, beach days, and wearing any outfit to help cool off. Now that it's summer, the bikinis, tank tops and flirty dresses are in and any stylish clothing that also functions as covering up my scars is, well...OUT. I can't be "that girl" who sits on the beach refusing the invitation to remove my cover up & cannonball right into the water. From my experience, trust me that there are only so many excuses you can use to hide that you are drowning in your own pool of sweat underneath clothes!

It took me 10 years to accept the random assortment of scar tissue decorating my chest- and i'll admit it's still difficult at times. Having people ask me if the scars are from cigarette burns like I'm "50 shades of grey", or my favorite - asking "Are those removed tattoos?". All of these responses plus more are not only irritating, but they begin to eat at your self-confidence too. The placement of my scars does not help either. All seven scars have decided to make themselves obviously comfortable across my sternum, up my clavicle, & alongside the right side of my neck.

So a turtleneck sweater would be the best option for hiding these pests, right? Or what about a scarf? Let's be real - it's SUMMER AND I LIVE IN FLORIDA - I mean, are these scars really all people see?

To help myself accept these scars, I had to re-channel my energy towards the origin behind them, or their history. As I mentioned before, I have a total of seven battle wounds that developed during my war with cancer. Five were from broviacs/ports and two were biopsies/surgeries. This may all be a bunch of medical gibberish to some, but for us fighting the evil "C" these scars should be seen as testimonies. I know each person has their own identity and will embrace their scars, in due time. The time it takes to accept one's scars varies completely from case to case and no one should feel pressured to make peace with them until the time is right. The placement, size, and story behind each scar can be more painful than the scar itself, and we must take time for personal healing as well as physical healing. These scars should be valued...

We need to ask ourselves, What did we learn from them? How did they make us stronger? How did they "save" us? For me, each one is a reminder of a war that sought to take my life twice; an enemy I pushed through and overcame so that I could be a voice for others going through the war today.

Among all the beach goers, I hope this can inspire others to rip off that cover up or baggy t-shirt with confidence! To take a second look at our scars & redefine the way we view ourselves. These scars (your scars) are reminders to be grateful for each day; to count your blessings, remember your strength, take care of your health and encourage others to do the same. These scars are unique - these scars are beautiful - these scars are your story.

Can you relate to Taylor's experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.