Ruby Hope- A story of survival
Since having my heart attack three years ago, I count each day as a blessing. Although I have spent my career working in health care, I have not always made my own personal health the priority it should be.
Although I have a strong family history of heart disease having lost both my mother and brother to heart attacks, I didn’t realize how sick I was until I started feeling better.
It’s been a long journey to get this point. In 2010, I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease after an emergency room visit caused by shortness of breath and chest pain. I was prescribed medication for hypertension and began to make lifestyle changes that were both good for my heart and my type 1 diabetes.
When I learned I was in severe kidney failure in 2012, and was disqualified for a transplant because of my weight, I knew I still had a long way to go.
I worked hard and lost 50 pounds. My getting serious about diet and exercise meant that I no longer needed a kidney transplant, which motivated me to continue to lose weight and take charge of my health.
However, by 2014, staying active became a challenge. I would get winded just walking up the stairs and began to take shorter and shorter walks until one day, I had to call my husband to come get me after only walking a block.
My arm was heavy and I had a feeling of doom. I put off going to the doctor and instead rested on the couch.
When I finally made my way into the doctor’s office, I’ll never forget what he said, “Tell your husband to bring your lipstick, because you’re not going home.” Hospital, tests confirmed I had a heart attack and needed a quadruple bypass.
I now listen to my body and am passionate about encouraging others to do the same by taking the time to know their numbers: blood sugar, weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
I’m so used to pushing through. I work when I’m sick, and I make everything and everyone else a priority. I had to learn that it’s okay to take care of myself because then I’ll be able to care for others.