A person holding a frame that resembles a folded map over their midsection. Their shirt is pulled up and you can see scars on their abdomen.

Crohn's Disease Surgery Scars

I’ve had three Crohn's surgeries. This is before they could be done laparoscopically. So I have some decent abdominal scars. They have gotten much better with time, of course, but when I take my shirt off I still look like I got in a gang fight.

I try to think of it positively. This perhaps gives me the equivalent of street cred. 2Pac used to brag he got shot five times in the lobby of Quad Studios but survived. Well, I have endured three surgeries, so I guess I’m a bit hardcore in my own nebbish, angst-ridden way.

All that being said, I sometimes get a bit self-conscious about my surgery scars. I suppose that is vain. Silly, too. But when I look in the mirror it’s hard to believe that it's me.

How I got my Crohn's disease surgery scars

One smaller scar is from an appendectomy I had at age 13 (when I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease). It runs horizontally on the right side of my abdomen and is about two-and-a-half inches long.

The other, a longer, more noticeable scar was from two different surgeries I had in the same place. This one runs vertically, from an inch above my navel down to the height of my pelvic bone (about six inches in total).

Dating with surgery scars

None of this is all that terrible. After all, I have a loving girlfriend who is attracted to me (or so I tell myself). Then, too, my overall looks aren’t too shabby.

In fact, in many years of dating, I rarely, if ever, had a woman comment negatively about my surgery scars. It just wasn’t brought up.

So perhaps I shouldn’t be so self-conscious. Perhaps a lot of it is in my head.

Feeling weird about my scars

Still, if I’m sunbathing outside or at a pool in the summer, I can’t help but feel a bit alien. Like I’m some weird creature from the Andromeda Galaxy. This, perhaps, would explain the bizarre carvings on my skin and the fact that I once had a show on public-access TV.

I know others have it much worse. A few little scars are nothing to complain about. I’m not looking for sympathy. Just explaining how I think about these scars and how they’ve impacted me.

And the main thing is, in sum, that I feel odd about them. They are markings from some earlier time, tattoos of spirit, if you will. A cow is branded so you can identify its owner. I guess these scars, then, in a way, are defining characteristics, elements that explain a bit about who I am.

Explaining my Crohn's surgery scars

Very occasionally, someone will ask how I got these surgery scars. I often make jokes. Attacked by a wolverine. Ex-girlfriend was a crazed butcher.

But the truth is there is probably no better answer than the truth: I have a debilitating illness that I have made the best of whenever possible. These are marks that signify the journey I’ve made towards health and wellness, and I hope to never have to get surgery scars like them again.

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