• kari alejandre


Day 2 -

Sure. Why not? I mean, nothing says beautiful like a mark of janky, damaged tissue where a wound used to reside. Not. Not when you’re 16 and barely had as much as a couple dainty pimples in your whole life. So when I found out I had very serious heart disease and made a comment that I didn’t want to have to have surgery some day, my nurse at the time said “scars are sexy”. She showed me her 3-4 inch scar where her pacemaker was inserted. Please don’t get me wrong. I was not so vain and superficial that I literally detested scars. It was more about what would have to take place in order to receive that scar. And for me, the future was uncertain as far as scars (aka surgeries) would go. 

So moving forward, my team at Children’s Mercy Hospital and my parents and I managed my health care. My 3 brothers helped in their own way, too. We really dug in and learned all about my cardiomyopathy and mitral valve prolapse, along with my on-again off-again relationship with atrial fibrillation. Medication sustained, cardiac rehab strengthened, and cardioversions shocked. And that all worked well. Until it didn’t. In the fall of 1997, a few months after I had graduated high school, my heart started growing weaker. So much so, that I was transferred to an adult hospital to be worked up for a heart transplant. I didn’t know what all that would entail, but least of my concern was what size scar I would have. 

Once I was officially listed, I only waited a couple months for my heart. I later found that it came from a darling 13-year-old named Keely. When I woke up with a beautiful heart and a fresh start, cheeks warm and pink, I felt great. And in so much pain. But truly so alive. I was 19 and my story didn’t have to end then. And neither did Keely’s. I didn’t know Keely, but I loved her. I love her still. And I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and fall in love with her family. Their gift to me has increased my capacity to not only live, but to love SO BIG! 

Ultimately, I also fell in love with this giant scar down the middle of my chest. It is a good thing, because as the future unfolded, it became apparent that I would have start quite a collection of scars along the way. I may be little, but a very special little dude said that I am a “different kind of strong”. I don’t know about you, but I’m with him. Shake the worlds image of what strength and beauty are. And if scars can be sexy, then scrawny can be strong. Bring it!

Love wins pj’s and my kinda strong for day 2 of heart month challenge. Oh yeah!



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