Westward view from Dog Mountain in the central Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Tim Graves

By the end of the day my annoyance at the sensations brought on by my healing nerves and tissue crescendoes. Bending my abdomen as I sit in the bed the pain, though relatively minor, lashes out at me. I remind myself that these sensations in my belly are signs of healing and I am able to simply be with the process.

Undressed for my shower I glance at my wounds and my grief response overcomes me. Part sadness and part involuntary repulsion, I pause in the moment visually examining the two tiny laparoscopic scars and the 2-1/2 inch incision site.

I feel less-than. I am scarred, never to be the same. I touch the railroad track scarring above my belly button, pleased at its slowly fading crimson claim to my abdomen. I run my finger along its ridge that rises above my skin.

Reaching the scarring beneath my naval, my fingers gently move the skin on either side of the wound. Gently moving the injured area side-to-side, I note that while there is skin covering the formerly infected area, is not yet firm like prior to surgery. The area inside my belly seems to still be growing back together. Whether accurate or not, I perceive a hole just beneath a thin skin covering.

And I wonder.

I wonder if I will ever be whole again. I wonder if I will ever be comfortable removing my shirt at the beach or poolside. Though I know better, I wonder if my wife is as repulsed by my scarred body as I am. My self-image and sexuality is scarred along with my body.

Though the concerns of the day soon dominate my thoughts, overcoming my feelings of repulsion and sadness, they are not as easily repressed as the physical sensations I experience as my abdominal tissue and nerves regenerate.

At nearly twelve weeks post-op, I am ready for this to be over. Completely. Totally.

Horsethief Butte in the eastern Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Tim Graves
Horsethief Butte in the eastern Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Tim Graves

Diminished into nothingness.

I want the formerly infected incision site to fully heal so that I can imagine I am unchanged. I want to pretend that I never had to open and then keep a hole in my abdomen draining for weeks. I want to be able to pretend that I have a complete colon.

I tell myself that this should be easy for me.  I was not diagnosed with cancer nor do I have to face the inconveniences of a colostomy like others.

If this surgical site would just hurry up and heal, I could get on with the business of repressing my feelings. Heck, I whine if the hair shaved off my body prior to cutting would at least finish its regrowth, it would help.


As I drove through my beloved Columbia River Gorge, my thoughts turned to geology. I thought about the geological upheavals and ice age flooding that created this downright magical land. My thoughts drifted to the rocky scars among which I hike. The indescribable aesthetic of the region regularly brings me closer to the divine.

I thought about the wound inflicted upon Mother Gaia, our very planet, as this land of enchantment was formed. Out of a brutish force, a singular splendor remains and beguiles me. As I ruminated in appreciation at the result of violent scars to the planet, my synapses burst into action.

I made a connection and began to wonder. I began to reflect upon the hypocrisy of seeing beauty in scars on Mother Gaia but feeling revolted by my own. Though I have a ways to go in accepting my still-healing body, my worth, my beauty as a beloved child of God, is not contingent upon superficial perfection.

The same divinity that creates enchantment in the Columbia River Gorge is already in the process of doing the same with my body, mind, spirit, and soul.

For the Lord takes delight in [God’s] people
Psalm 149: 4a NIV


This is the eighth of multiple posts about my experiences of surgery and recovery following a colonoscopy.

Related Posts

God Hides God’s Face From Me! May 20, 2014
Unnatural May 21, 2014
Out of Chaos May 27, 2014
No Big Deal May 29, 2014
Mortality June 3, 2014
Wiped Memories June 6, 2014
Perseverance June 10, 2014
Scars June 19, 2014

Why do I write about this topic?

Following my surgery I had a myriad of feelings. A myriad of web searches to find the stories of others, perhaps to validate my own emotions, left me empty handed. And, so, I write these posts to process my very real feelings and in the hopes that someone else finds them useful following their surgery and recovery.


Leave a Reply