I have a funny story about my first phone call with Tracy.
She wanted some pictures of the dance team and we were trying to go over things on the phone. I was in San Diego shooting a wedding and had time to relax on the beach the day after the wedding. So I gave Tracy a quick ring while I was sun tanning on Pacific Beach. She gets on the phone and I tell her lets meet up when I’m back in town. I tell her I’m currently in San Diego. She responds “I’m in San Diego too! Where in SD are you?” I tell her I’m in PB- she says she is also in PB! Weird… then she asks if I see a brown condo building. I am literally standing right in front of it. She tells me to look on the top floor- and I see her way up there waving her arm around. How crazy is that?! We are literally less than 50 yards away from each other thinking we were both in Montana when we first jumped on the phone. Such a small world!
Anywho… back to why we’re here now. Tracy is a wonderful woman with lots of great stories. She loves her family and is passionate about teaching dance.
Tracy had what was literally called “Broken Heart Syndrome”. Read her story below… it’s wild. Thank God they caught it and it reverses itself!!
- Before personally going through something related to heart health, did you know much about it?
- Have you ever lost anyone due to a heart related health issue?
- If you answered yes to the previous question and you’re comfortable answering- what happened? And to whom?
My birth mother died from heart complications when she was 42.
- Why do you want to be a part of this project?
This project is so wonderful because it makes women aware of the different heart problems and the more we make people aware it might save lives.
- What do you want people to know? What’s your story?
In 2014 I almost lost my life because of a heart problem. I told my husband that I wasn’t feeling well, had him drive me to the ER, dumb on my part I know! Should have called an ambulance. Within 15 minutes of arriving there I stopped breathing, was on a ventilator and being rushed for an angiogram. My heart was only pumping at about 16 percent, if had a flash pulmonary edema and they couldn’t figure out why. My arteries were clear. Lucky for me one of the top heart specialist was on call that night. He diagnosed me with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome. It’s a sudden and acute form of heart failure. It can be caused by stress, a major surgery (I’d had parathyroid surgery two days before) but they never figured out a direct correlation to anything. I spent 3 days on a ventilator (worst experience ever!) Most people with Takotsubo start a spontaneous process of recovery within hours or days but some take longer for the heart muscle to improve. I was very lucky and after a week in the hospital was able to go home. They started with exercise therapy right after that. The PTSD was probably the worst side effect as I was afraid that it would happen again. Only about 10-15% will have another episode. I have truly tried to cut down my workload and stress level and now I treasure each day as the miracle it is.
- How has this all changed your life?
I don’t take anything for granted especially my husband who had to witness the entire thing.
- What’s the most important thing in the world to you?
My family and my faith.
- If this was your last week on earth, how would you live it?
I would take all of my precious family and friends to my happy place, the beach! I would tell each and every one of them how very much they are loved.
- What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about my family and their faith and happiness. My family is absolutely my heart. Life is precious everyday because of them. I’m also passionate about my coaching. I love my dance team and feel very blessed to be called their coach.
- What do you love about yourself?
I love my adaptability. If life throws me a curve ball I always try to dodge it and think of plan B…or C… sometimes it takes the whole alphabet!
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Oh gosh, I’ve had so many! My friend Rita took care of my sweet husband when I was in ICU, brought him meals, sat with him! He was pretty shell shocked and I appreciated that so much.
- Anything else you want to add?
Don’t be afraid to call for help if you think there’s something wrong with you! It’s better to be safe than sorry. If I would have waited another few minutes I wouldn’t have made it to the emergency room! God put me in the right place at the right time!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Tracy! So glad you are here to share with others to help spread awareness. You are amazing, and so beautiful!