Before her heart problems, Deb was a successful business woman, working as Vice President of Business Development for a publicly traded company. She worked hard and played hard.
However, her world changed when she collapsed while on a trip with her husband in Maui. What began as a migraine headache became a stroke. “In that moment I was completely—and instantly—DEPENDENT,” said Deb. For two years, she went to physical, speech, and occupational therapy. She was told to “accept her limitations.” She worked to improve her health and gradually returned to work.
Seven years later, her heart stopped on two more occasions, once it was for 19.5 seconds. As Deb describes it, “For me … it was a head on collision with reality. No more denial. In those precious 19 and half seconds that could have taken my life, I realized I could no longer treat my health like a business deal.” Deb has since had two pacemakers implanted. She still has high blood pressure, and does everything she can to control it by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and taking medication.
Now, over 16 years after having a stroke, Deb is making a difference by sharing her story with others as a You’re the Cure advocate. She has shared her story at the Maryland Million Hearts Symposium, on Washington DC’s CBS TV station WUSA9, in addition to other venues.
Deb urges women to take care of themselves and know their risk factors and the important “numbers”—blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI. She encourages them to accept and respect themselves as working women, mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.
Deb says, “I am in a way grateful for the 19.5 seconds that almost took my life, because in turn, it taught me to treasure every second I’ve had since, every relationship, [and every] day in my life.”
Visit the American Heart Association’s website to learn more about simple and important changes you can make to improve your heart health.
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