Scars…what do they mean?


SCAR=Strength Courageous Actualized Resilience-Kat Campos

Born four months early my heart wasn’t fully developed. Weighing one pound 3 ounces at 3 ½ weeks old I underwent open heart surgery with no anesthesia. The surgical scars along my rib cage and across my upper back to my chest mark my beginnings and chart my growth. I cherish the artfully crafted scars (best tattoo ever) my surgeon, a medical pioneer and beautiful woman, adorned me with. To this day I am grateful for my surgical and neonatal team who were willing to take a leap of faith in providing me with the life-saving surgery.

I didn’t think much about my scars until I began surfing in Hawaii at age 11. People began to randomly ask me if I had been bitten by a shark? I would laugh and simply reply “I had heart surgery when I was a baby”. It was then I began to recognize the significance of my scars and how I cherished the story of survival they represented. I knew that for some removing the scars would have value, but my scars represented to me abiding love and immense beauty.

Over the years my wise and loving surfing teacher and spiritual guide Virgil advised me to respect and feel the water, do not hesitate to get up, hold my space, be one with the wave” and so much more. Riding out the heart surgery and choosing to stay here may have been one of the biggest waves I have surfed to date.

My scars are a story of STRENGTH and COURAGE held by my mom, my family, and my medical team. They are the ACTUALIZATION of hope and represent the RESILIANCE of all who believed.

Take a moment to breathe….. You are strong, courageous and full of actualized resilience! WE are here!

A Shout-Out this February to heart surgery Survivors, Caregivers and the Cardiac Support Resource community at large!

Do you ever think about your scars seen and unseen and what meaning those scars hold for you?


Author: Kathy Papac and Kathryn (Kat) Campos

Kathryn (Kat) Campos: Hello, I am a former 24 week gestation micro-preemie. I lost my twin brother Cruz at birth and encountered open heart surgery with no anesthesia at 3 weeks old weighing 1lb 3oz/0.58kg. I served on the University of Washington Medical Center Advisory Board Neonatal ICU Council from 2013 to 2015. I am passionate about assisting and supporting our Global NICU Community. If your a Preterm Birth/NICU Survivor this blog is dedicated to you, your family, and all members of the NICU Community. Together lets support other Preemie Survivors, Preemies, Preemie families, Preemie Community, Neonatal and related Staff, Providers, Professionals and Facilities. We ALL have stories to share and preemie journeys to help empower! Kathy Papac: Preemie Mom of surviving (Kathryn) and a deceased (Cruz) 24 week gestation twins. Neonatal Womb journeyer, counselor/legal expert with an MA certificate in Spirituality, Health and Medicine from Bastyr University. Passionate Global Community participant. Our goal is to recognize, honor and empower the Neonatal Womb community and shine light upon the presence and potentiality of the preterm birth survivors as vital community participants.

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