“The Velveteen Rabbit”

by Margery Williams

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you….

…”It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.”  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off. and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints, and very shabby.  But all those things don’t matter at all because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand…”

I spoke to the oncologist today, about my MRI.  She had really no better or clearer information than the nurse I spoke to Friday.  The harmatomas are large.  There are several.  They might be able to stay, they might not.  She requested the sonogram from April to see if it is worth a comparison.  I will get the CD and the reports and send them along.  I will let the doctors again analyze the same few articles on Cowden’s Syndrome that exist.  I won’t tell them that I have likely read all of them myself too.  I will let them tell me if the spleen stays or goes.

I think it is that conversation, combined with the one I had with Meghan that brought the story of The Velveteen Rabbit to my mind tonight.  As we are buying clothes for school and trying to keep her quickly developing body comfortable and appropriate, she asks about my scars.  There are quite a few, the lipoma in my neck, the partial thyroidectomy, the C-Section, the hysterectomy, but she focuses on the mastectomy. and the scars from the reconstruction.  She asks sometimes to see them even as they are covered.  She asks if she will get to decide when to have that surgery.  “IF” I stress, “IF!”  You don’t know…  But she knows.  She is preparing already for the day it is her turn.  It twists my stomach in a knot.

We have had between us more than 25 surgeries, large and small.  We have scars of all sizes – inside and out.  But we are “Real.”  In a deep, important sense, we are “real” to each other.

I am in limbo… waiting.  But it is ok.  I live in a house where I have become “real.”  And, even on my darkest days, “…once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”