• kari alejandre


I’m guessing that some of you maybe didn’t know heart month was a thing. Or if you do know, perhaps you aren’t quite as excited as my family and I are. And that’s ok. Frankly, for us, it’s just one of those fun milestones that we have the opportunity to celebrate. But what is there to celebrate? A whole month set aside to educate about heart disease, as it is the number one killer of women in the U.S.? Well, we celebrate because we are alive to do so! And we celebrate that because of the ongoing research, lives like mine, our mom’s, and millions of others, can be spared.

In 1995, I was a healthy, active 16-year-old. I sure didn’t think twice about “heart month”. I knew February was Black History Month. So many beautiful people to celebrate, so much to learn and set aside the time to appreciate. I knew Valentine’s Day was in there somewhere. Didn’t really care cuz I didn’t really date yet. But that summer, everything changed. No, I didn’t start dating. I got heart disease. So strange to try and put that into words. I “got” heart disease. Contracted. Was blessed with. Came down with. Got my butt kicked by. You get the general idea. 

But there I was, Memorial Day 1995, surrounded by nurses and doctors and a hysterical mama bear. It was the first time I remember being sick since I was a wee lass with asthma. But sick I was. An enlarged heart, abnormal rhythm, and leaky valves. I couldn’t quite breathe, was colorless, heart racing, very confused. 

We were transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital where we would learn a whole lot about my disease over the next couple weeks. A whole lot about how my life would change. What I would do in order to live. And not just survive, but thrive. 

So much has transpired since that pivotal, fateful weekend 24 years ago. If you’re good at math (or at least a 3rd grade level), you’ve noticed that I’m still here all these years later. Can someone survive that long on such a weak, fragile heart? 

Please tune in tomorrow and every day for the month of February to learn more about the heart disease and how it has not only impacted my life, but no doubt someone else you know. 

I have challenged myself to blog and wear something heart related every day for February. Today’s “Go Red” outfit was a little sub-par. Honestly, I’m in my pajamas. And it is 6pm. And I’m talking yesterdays pajamas. And I’m channeling Natalie Wood via Maria in Westside Story singing “I Feel Pretty” right now for reals. So aside from the cozy KC pj shirt, I’ve accessorized with these lovely lovey socks. Complete with a couple-inch scar where my saphenous vein used to live above my left knee.

*watch for blog to come: Scars are Sexy

With love and so much heart,

Kari Alejandre

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