This afternoon, instead of working out or walking my dogs or reading to my daughter, I slouched on the sofa for a TiVo-a-thon of, "What Not to Wear". Oh, Stacey and Clinton, how I love thee and your fashion rules. Stacey, how I covet your kitten heels and smart skirts... Clinton, your carefully gelled hair and fitted argyle sweaters... they make me want to scoop you both up ... little figurines to dwell in my closet, advising me against my most heinous of fashion mistakes.
Anyhoo... today's episode (or last Sunday's, I don't pay that much attention) was all about Leslie, a 37 year old woman, born with a congenital heart defect, yet who has defied the odds to live a long and wonderful life... she is a wife, a mother, and, whoo-hoo, a spokesperson for the AHA's "Go Red" campaign.
You know I was totally in her corner.
Because she is a lot like me.
Yea, for survivors! Cue the Destiny's Child soundtrack...
So, Leslie gets a lesson in shedding the "mom" jeans and the boxy sweatshirts and lo and behold, she has a cute little shape and Clinton and Stacey help her find the perfect LRD... little-red-dress.
And, if you follow the show, you know it is now off to that Scottish dude for hair and foxy Carmondy (who is a good friend of my cousin, but that's another story) for makeup.
Her hair is saucily styled and her pretty skin is enhanced and then.
Then Leslie hits me with this -
I want to cover my scar, she says.
Cover your scar?
You MADE it!
Don't carefully blend it away with a little powder... not something that you fought for.
Oh, Leslie, Leslie, Leslie... stick it out there.
Because without it, you would be dead.
It's that simple.
I love my scar.
I wasn't sure if I would because, let's be honest, it is 7" and runs right through my boobs...
But I am proud of it.
And I would never cover it up.
I wear V-neck tees and bikini tops and strapless sundresses and occasionally someone will inquire about my "zipper".
And I say-
I was sick.
And now I'm not.
And I think back to that time in my life when I really didn't know what was going to happen. I think back to my husband, so reluctant to discuss the "what ifs" with me. I think of trying to shove memories down Jake and Jacks' throats... remember me, remember me. I think of my parents who put the ugliness of their divorce aside to support me... I think of my friends who flew up and stayed for days at a time... I think of my aunts and cousins and my mother in law who came to be there for me... some of whom I never saw because I was so out of it.
I think of all those people but what I remember most are the moments right before they wheeled me into the OR... the loneliest moment of my life.
And I remember my first thought when I came to in recovery-
I made it.
So, Leslie... fair warning. If our paths ever cross at some American Heart Association event... well, you know what I'm going to say.