Lupe Romero, pancreatic cancer survivor

Editor’s note: Pancreatic cancer survivor Lupe Romero shares why the scars from her Whipple procedure and related surgeries are a form of empowerment for her and something she is proud of. She states that physical scars from surgery, or even emotional scars left by the difficulties of cancer, should be a testament to the hope and the personal strength that can come from going through cancer.

Before my diagnosis, I was my own worst enemy.

I paid attention to every imperfection. But now, I see my body in a totally different way. I have learned to absolutely love my body.

I used to camouflage my “imperfections.” Now I embrace them, especially my scars.

I’ve had three major surgeries. The first was a failed Whipple in February 2012, where a chevron incision was made in the majority part of my abdomen, along with drainage sites. I had a port placed in that same year.

In January 2013, I had a full Whipple where I was cut open in the original surgical site a year earlier, with an additional drainage area.

In March 2017, I had to have a bypass due to changes from the Whipple. I was cut open at the same surgical area but only on one side this time. The doctors and I were pleasantly surprised at my recovery time from the surgeries and the tolerance to chemo, initially.

I owe the strong recovery and excellent tolerance to chemo to being in great physical shape prior to my diagnosis.

And I LOVE my scars. They are my war wounds.

I’ve fought tough battles and wear my scars as badges of honor, strength and hope. On a daily basis, I very gently run my fingers over my scars and feel gratitude for them.

I belong to a Whipple Warrior (social media) group where we all agree that whenever we share our journey with a total stranger, we cannot resist showing off our scars.

We have earned the right, and we wear them proudly with honor.

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