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Bodies, Bikini's and Boats; My Account of Coming to Terms with Scars.

Hello Again!

I've been writing this edition of Shaped by the Sea for a long time now, it's for everyone, body image is something that is rarely talked about in our society openly nevermind with in an industry with unfortunate stereotypes of looking "Perfect".

This is a sensitive subject so if this will affect you negatively stop reading now.

In this post, I'm simply sharing my own experience with body image issues, every individual deals with these feelings differently.

Remember that you are beautiful!

Almost a year and a half ago, I woke up from an emergency surgery with a scar down the middle of my stomach; from my belly button to my Bikini Line. I was incredibly thankful that the medical team in the hospital I attended did a fantastic job, of keeping me alive.

The first few moments of waking up post-anaesthesia are foggy, like navigating in restricted visibility. Once I came through the confusion and disorientation, I moved the bed sheet to see what had happened, I didn't expect to see such a big bandage. A nurse shouted at me in Italian (I'm still not sure what she said). I stopped poking at the bandage until the doctor came and I asked to see the incision and stitches.

I PANICKED, I thought "Bikini body gone forever". I felt like I would not wear a bikini to the beach ever again. "One piece for the rest of time."

The medical team explained that the extent of the complications with surgery meant they had to be fast in their approach, a larger scar is a small price to pay for the gift of remaining alive.

Once, I came back down to planet Earth and travelled home to Northern Ireland after two weeks in Hospital. I got online and ordered some high-rise bikini bottoms from the amazing CUPSHE UK. That makes swimwear for all shapes and sizes.

Not only did the scar change, but how I saw myself in the mirror did, 2 weeks in an Italian hospital in recovery changes your weight, I went from having a small and strong build to a smaller and with no strength in my muscles at all. I was skinny, unhealthy skinny.

2 weeks Post Surgery
2 weeks Post Surgery

Leaving hospital 3kg lighter than pre-surgery.

I was conscious of this and wanted to get my weight back on as quickly as possible so I started working with the fantastic Jamie Lemon Fitness in Northern Ireland in my recovery time who built me a fitness and diet plan and we were on the road to getting my strength back. Also, the clock of medical leave had started to tick and it was time to get back in shape to get back to sailing.

So, with 3 PT sessions a week and a high-calorie diet I was starting to see improvements, less pain around my scar and a lot more confidence that I was healing well. I started to look in the mirror and recognised the girl I was looking at again, with this came the beginning of rebuilding my confidence.

The recovery process took about 12-13 weeks and it was hard work both physically and mentally. It took a long time to be fully comfortable with my new "stomach feature" and honestly some days I look now and I don't see it (Although it is still there).

Writing this post enables me to leave the event in the past, take my scar with me and embrace it, our scars be they on the inside or the outside make us stronger. It also brought me to the realisation that we surround ourselves with people who love and support us, not people who will stare at a scar or question why we haven't had it tattooed over yet.

As Always, Keep smiling, laughing and loving the Sea xo

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1 Comment

An open and honest post - just great your back firing on all cylinders. Looking forward to reading more during 2024.

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