Embrace Your Scars

Every once in a while, people come into our lives and we instantly know that there was a divine reason for our paths to cross. That is the story of Adriana and me. I met Adriana when I boomeranged back into the hospital with an infection after my J-pouch surgery and she had emergency surgery from a blockage. We were roommates and instant friends.


At some point during our stay Adriana mentioned that she was a photographer. But not only does she do headshots, newborn photos, maternity, and family photos, she also did boudoir photography. I can’t remember if I shared my thoughts or kept them as a “bubble thought” but I remember thinking boudoir photography was something I would NEVER do. As she went on talking about it more, I realized that I was wrong. This wasn’t about impressing somebody else, this about confidence, acceptance, and embracing your body with all its imperfections.


Before I met Adriana, I planned to hid my scars and keep it to myself. Then in an instant, my way of thinking did a 180. I need to show my scars and talk about this disease. We made a commitment to each other that after I recovered from my 3rd surgery (the reversal) we would do a photoshoot.


Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are humbling diseases. They aren’t sexy or often in the limelight, so people often keep quite and suffer feeling alone. When my colon was removed and I was left with a bag. I didn’t know anyone else who had a bag or had gone through this process. My wound nurse told me this was just temporary; I was going to walk this metaphoric bridge and get to the other side. Now that I am on the other side, I often think about the person that hasn’t crossed the bridge and what I can do to help. I suppose the best way I can do that is by speaking up, share my experience and uncover my scars.


My body isn’t perfect- but I’m not broken. I fought colitis hard and it has left its mark on me. I’m okay with that because in many ways it made me stronger and gave me a different perspective on life.  I don’t sweat the small stuff the way I did before. These scars are a reminder of what I have been through, what I have overcome, the person who has yet to cross the bridge, and the fellowship that I found in Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. For all these reasons, I chose to embrace my scars and share them with the world today so I can help someone else out there and they won’t feel alone with their disease.


Photography credit: Adriana Kopinja, adrianakopinjaphotography.com, bostongoddess.com