Tell us about your symptoms and treatment experience. Take our survey here.

How I Learned to Embrace My Scars

Learning to embrace your scars is always hard at first. When I had my first surgery scar it was after getting a subcutaneous defibrillator. It was a small slit on the right between the chest bone and on the side of my chest. The second surgery scar is known as the zipper, or the heart surgery scar, that goes in between the chest. That one I got from LVAD surgery.

My whole top half is filled with surgery scars, but I would not trade them for anything. My thinking about my surgery scars was not always something I was proud of. I used to be ashamed of my scars and tried to cover them up, but now I look for clothes that will highlight my scars because I am proud of them.

How I learned to embrace the scars from my heart failure journey

Acceptance and knowing who I am

One of the ways that I learned to embrace my scars is just by accepting that this is what happened to me and reminding myself that the scars do not define me.

I think when we get diagnosed we like to attach our disease to ourselves, well at least that was the case with me. For a long time, I kept saying the things that I overcame, like being a 2-time stroke survivor, but that does not define me. I am also a sister, a daughter, an owner of a home dessert business, and a whole lot of other things.

I learned that I should not be embarrassed by what happened to me because so many people that were in my shoes did not survive.

Understanding my self-worth

Another way that I learned to embrace my scars was to start embracing myself. Realizing that I had worth was very important in the process because I lost myself as a result of my scars. I did not feel like a woman anymore, and felt like an ugly duckling walking around.

I started doing self-care and that meant taking care of myself. Doing things that make me happy like buying myself flowers and candles, taking myself out for a happy hour, getting my nails done, or simply just spending time with myself. That may not seem like it will help you embrace scars but when you have been down on yourself doing things you like can do wonders.

Positive thinking and attitude

Speaking to myself differently, and not listening to the negative voice in my head, helped me embrace my scars. Just thinking positively and speaking to yourself in a positive manner can help tremendously.

I did this through affirmations and the idea was given to me by my therapist. In my first session with her, she told me that I was too hard on myself and that I needed to start speaking to myself differently. I needed to stop living in fear of what will go wrong and start being hopeful about what will go right. The affirmations were to be spoken aloud to me while looking in the mirror. Doing this really helped me.

Not worrying about what others think

Not caring what people think is the last way I learned how to embrace my scars. “Who really cares about other people's opinions?” is what I had to start telling myself. Too many times we care about what people (who do not even know what’s going on in our lives)think about us and let it dictate how we feel about ourselves. Especially in the era of social media where everyone has an opinion.

Embracing my battle scars

I like to call them battle scars because we went to battle for our lives and came out on the other side. These are the ways I learned to embrace my scars.

Do you have a heart failure story? Click the button below to share with our community!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our In America Survey yet?