Survivor: Barb’s Stylist Journey

by rubyribbon-blog
Barb Ruby Ribbon Stylist

Welcome to Cami life, a window into Ruby Ribbon’s vibrant community of stylists, hostesses, customers, and staff. Thanks for stopping by!

This February, we are focused on heart health and the fight against heart disease

Meet Barb, a Ruby Ribbon Stylist who won her fight with Heart Disease

Hi! My name is Barb, I’m a full time hairdresser and Stylist with Ruby Ribbon.

When did your experience with Heart Disease begin?

In May 2007 my day was like any other day. That morning I volunteered to speak at a local cosmetology school. During the class I had an overwhelming feeling like heartburn that started in the center of my chest and radiated outward followed by the feeling of something stuck in my throat.

After the class I came home and took an antacid. I went about my business at home. I had no relief from the “heartburn” and I noticed my sternum felt bruised and very tender. Still, not concerned, I got in my car and while driving I noticed the left side of my neck was hurting. It felt like a gland was sore but there was nothing enlarged. It was at the stoplight it dawned on me it could be my heart. I pulled into the first immediate care I passed. They sent me to the main hospital ER.

After several hours I asked if I could be released. I was somewhat embarrassed, thinking that I had wasted everyone’s time. About that same time, I heard over the speaker “STAT bed 17”. I was in bed 17.

They told me I had indeed had a heart attack. My BNP was over 6000 and my ejection fraction was 15. Those numbers are heart transplant numbers.

Did you have any warning before your heart attack?

At the time I was 42 years old. My cholesterol was freakishly low. I was running marathons, cycling, lifting weights. By all measures I was at the healthiest point in my life.

Barb- Ruby Ribbon

During my heart catheterization to place stents the doctor discovered my arteries were clear. No stent needed. I thought that was good news. It turned out my left ventricle was failing.
The cause? Stress. I was diagnosed with atypical ballooning syndrome also known as broken heart syndrome. Stress had caused my left ventricle to be overworked and it was like a balloon that had been blown up and wouldn’t spring back.

I was put on a regiment of medications, fluid restriction, a very low sodium diet, and rest. After 6 months I recovered from congestive heart failure.

Fast-forward to August of 2008. During my first triathlon, my heart failed again. Not realizing what was happening I finished the race but I was struggling. In the last quarter mile, I realized what was going on. I crossed the finish line and went directly to an ambulance.

How has this changed your life?

It’s been 13 years and seems like a different life. I’ve worked hard to reduce the stress in my life. I’m still trying to find ways to keep my stress manageable. I had become quite sedentary in the last few years so finding Ruby Ribbon has been the boost I needed to get me moving again!

The cute leggings and sport demiettes are so comfortable, it’s fun to get back out on our local trails and show them off! And the fun I have as a Stylist with Ruby Ribbon is keeping my stress levels in check too! It’s so fun meeting ladies! Not to mention the extra income, has been a relief too.

Stress is no joke! Keep things in perspective. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Show yourself some love ladies!️

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