Battle Wounds

“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.” – Demi Lovato

Recovery continues to be a journey for Genevieve.  The rebuilt Aortic Valve is hidden away in her chest while the scar of her incision is quite visible indicating some of what her body has been put through – some of what she has had to endure.

Since her first surgery just weeks before her 2nd birthday, the scar has been a badge of courage.  It meant that Genevieve was my fighter; that she had survived.  She has small dimple like marks on both thighs where she had a cardiac catherizations at a day old, 14 months old and most recently at 7 years old.  Seeing it when she has a bathing suit on makes me smile – they are not obvious and very few people would know what they are by looking at them.  I know and for me . . . it is reminder of her strength.

On most days, G gives off an air of confidence.  She is drawn to mirrors and any other surfaces where she can see her reflection.  Outside of the “bad hair days” (yes, even at 7), Genevieve will tell you that she is pretty as she dances before the glass.   Her scar peeking out the top of her shirt or leotard never seemed to bother her.  Pre-surgery in January, her previous scar had faded to a white line, it was a part of her as far back as she could remember and it didn’t seem to impact her in the slightest.

This new scar is different – she remembers getting it, it is an angry pink/red line that is healing and there was an internal stitch that looked like fishing line poking out as her body rejected it and she could feel it brushing against her top.  She is aware of this one and she knows the appearance of her chest before and after.  Most days she is fine but her clothes keeps it out of view.

On Sunday morning, we prepared for dance pictures – blue eyeshadow, pink cheeks, red lipstick and hair back in a bun . . . ivory recital tutu with lots of sparkle.  All I saw was my most beautiful girl growing up way to fast.

Genevieve saw something else, with sad eyes, she exclaimed, “Mommy!!! My scar shows in my dance costume!”

In that moment, my eyes filled with tears and my own heart felt as if it was breaking.  “Genevieve, your scar means you survived.  You are beautiful and it is beautiful – be proud of it.”

Slowly, her smile returned and she sparkled in her photos.

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Genevieve all dolled up for dance pictures.

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