After a summer spent the small town of Lagos in the Algarve, it was time to face the thought of something I hadn’t done in a while…going home. One of the main reasons for this decision was that I need to ‘sort my life out’ as many backpackers refer to it. Having NHS healthcare in the UK is a blessing and I hadn’t seen my family and friends in rather a while, not to mention the fact that I needed to really focus on this blog.
The scars I’ve been left with since the scooter accident I had in Bali, Indonesia, are a result of a series of unfortunate events. Like Lemony Snicket’s tale, a series of events led to keloid scars, which, I’m told by the plastic surgeon, will never go away.
I’d like to think I’ve developed quite a positive point of view since I started travelling two years ago and I’m thankful for that. There are times when thoughts creep into my mind of “if only I hadn’t got on that bike”, “if only I’d been wearing jeans”, “if only i’d got on a flight home and had my wounds cleaned out properly” but a thousand “if onlys” won’t change the present.
I look back on it the several misjudgements I made but if it wasn’t for those misjudgements I might not have met certain people or gone to certain countries or be in the position I am today. Sometimes we need knocking down a peg or two, to come back with something better. I have a ‘Sliding Doors’ theory- that although it might suck that you missed that last bus or tube, the chain of events that result from that one moment might change the course of your life for the better.
When I arrived home the first thing I did was arrange to be referred to the plastic surgeon at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester. It took a while to get the appointment since it’s the only plastic surgery unit locally, but finally I attended an appointment with a surgeon there who specializes in these sorts of scars. I wasn’t expecting to have a photoshoot of my scars early on a Monday morning, I felt like I was on some sort of messed up magazine shoot. I was sent to “Medical Illustration” (never heard of that department before) to have a variety of shots taken of my foot, with the photographer saying “Now turn your foot to me, I’m just going to take a close up.” Like a photo shoot but without the glamour. Replace the made-up model and the amazing clothes with a gammy foot.
I’m sure many people who’ve had scars and injuries will know what I’m talking about when I say I was hoping he would turn around and say “I can sort this out for you no problem, you’ll be as good as new.” A large part of me knew that was an absurd thing to even think, but it’s what I was hoping whether I was deluding myself or not.
Sensing my disappointment the surgeon said to me, “You’re an attractive girl and I bet your hoping I’m going to get your legs back to perfection again.” He frowned at me. The reality is surgery would be a last resort and could leave me with scars worse than before. Whilst they’ll never go away, I’m having a course of some sort of vibration ultrasound technology to improve the colour of the scars and stop the itching. If there’s no improvement then they’ll start some light therapy, but whatever the case, it means the next three months will be devoted to appointments three times a week to have the therapy. I can’t stress enough…don’t go on bikes in third world countries. I’ve been told I certainly wouldn’t have the scars I do now if I had had them cleaned out properly, and if I’d just been wearing trousers then none of this would have ever happened.
Anyhow, for anyone with scars out there, the plastic surgeon told me that scar creams DON’T WORK and can’t possibly work. I’ve been given some silicone sheets, however, to add pressure to the scars. Above is a picture I took 3 months after my accident and I’ve been taking pictures every few months since then, they’re looking a lot better even since that photo.
As for being back in the UK, I’m surprisingly enjoying it. After 2 years away from home, I can honestly say that I needed a break from travelling- I needed to learn to appreciate being on the road again and I needed to focus on my writing and this blog. Several bloggers have discussed the realities of travel blogging lately and I completely agree whe they say that if you’re travelling, you’re usually not blogging. It’s a time consuming job maintaining a travel blog and many travel bloggers only travel part-time.
The convenience of being in the UK is that I can get to European countries within a couple of hours. This weekend I’ll be travelling to Belgium followed by Paris, so hopefully I’ll be able to bring back some great travel advice on these two places.
For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes I noticed today.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
“If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.” -Norman Vincent Peale