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Patients Heal Through 'Scarred For Life' Portraits

STUDIO CITY (CBS) — It's been said that art is personal. This goes even deeper because behind each of these paintings is a painful moment in the lives of these men and women, and the healing that has come from it. Susan Vedel's story will soon join the others in a series of prints called "Scarred For Life."

In the downtown Los Angeles art studio of Ted Meyer (site contains some adult content), Vedel stands bare. Her scars are the result of ovarian cancer and a preventative double mastectomy.

Vedel's scars are being covered with paint, printed and then detailed by Meyer. She has known him since high school and appreciated his art, but she never imagined she would be a part of it.

With each stroke, with each careful touch, this is a labor of love for Meyer. He was born with a genetic disorder that affected his joints and organs. He endured countless surgeries as a child and has been in and out of hospitals. But, this story isn't about him.

"I document the upheaval of people's lives. I document the moment where their life changed from a car accident or being healthy and being operated on. The record of that is the scar on their body. So, I'm documenting that exact moment when their life changed," Meyer said.

There are more than 60 prints, and Meyer said he will keep on adding to this collection for the rest of his life. It travels to museums and galleries, but he said one of the most important things he does is talk to patients, medical students and doctors.

"They need to know they've left an inedible mark on these people and not just from their cutting skill, but also because of their bedside manner. Those scars will remind people of the doctors and the care they got for the rest of their lives," Meyer said.

Terry Ellsworth's print is also part of the series. His scar is from a heart transplant.

"I fought for this scar, it's like a medal. It's the resiliency of the human spirit. It's miraculous," Ellsworth said,

Ted Meyer considers this project a part of who his is, and the message he was meant to tell.

"I want everyone to know you're not the only one that has a big scar down your stomach or down your back or up your leg. Everyone has some sort of disfigurement or marking, and it's just the way it is. You should really revel in being alive and that you've made it. If you've made it through one of these situations, you're a winner," Meyer said,

It's exactly how Susan Vedel feels, and now her scar, her art, stands among the rest. "It's my journey, It's my journey."

For more information on "Scarred For Life," contact, or visit Ted Meyer's twitter or facebook pages.

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