After Ed Fieder underwent brain surgery for an aneurysm in 2015 he was left with a huge scar on the side of his head.
The family was “freaked out” at the time, said Ed’s son, Edward Jr.
“We were told at one point to say our goodbyes,” he says, but three years on, Ed has fully recovered.
Some people would cover up such a huge suture, but Edward Jr, a personal trainer and freelance photographer in Georgia, USA, wanted to take a photo.
The Fieder family has a good sense of humour and, being a huge fan of James Bond, Ed, from Alabama, agreed to pose as a villain, even adopting the name ‘Stitches’.
This week Edward Jr spotted a photo of somebody else’s stitched head after surgery, posted on social media site Reddit, so he decided to respond with the portrait he had taken of his dad.
Within a day, Edward Jr’s post had been upvoted 86,000 times, spawned several jokes and photoshop replies, and begun a conversation about recovering from serious surgery.
Both father and son found the responses “incredible” and “astounding.”
“It’s been a humbling experience” Edward Jr says. “We’ve enjoyed reading survivor stories, and we’ve been reaching out to some of them, although it’s been impossible to reply to everyone.”
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Amongst the good wishes, there were also comments about the state of the stitches.
One user described it as “the gnarliest staple job I think I’ve ever seen” which would leave an “absolutely insane scar”.
Describing the incision as “nuts” one poster, who claims to be a neurosurgery employee, hoped the operation went well, and praised Ed’s look.
Despite the look of the stitches back then, Ed, who is 63 years old, said he was still in awe of the dedication and skill of his surgeon and team: “I am truly one of the lucky ones to have recovered as well as I did, with no side effects.”
Unsurprisingly there have been some humorous remarks about Ed’s alter ego, Stitches. Some compared him to Sandor Clegane from Game of Thrones, while others asked where his cat was to complete the Blofeld-esque look.
And Edward Jr has been posting some of his favourite responses.
Although the family embraced the funny side of Ed’s scar, they are fully aware of the seriousness of the surgery and how appearances can also psychologically leave a scar.
Contrary to the imagery of Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, or Heath Ledger as the Joker, Ben Roberts, of the British Film Institute, recently confirmed it will no longer fund films which feature villains with facial scars.
Ed’s scar is less prominent now and both he and his son have found it useful to see the progress people have made after their surgery.
“Being able to relate to others has a lot of power behind it. We’d like this photo to bring hope to others, not freak people out,” says Edward Jr.
“The resilience of the human experience never ceases to amaze me,” adds his father.
Written and interviewed by Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News
Source BBC News