Debra's Heart Story

Jan 22, 2021
“Remember to Take Care of YOU”

Debra Stubbs (far left) is shown with a friend and some members of the cardiac rehab team.
With Heart Month in February fast approaching, taking care of one of our most vital organs is top of mind for all of us. In this Q&A, Debra Stubbs, a recent cardiac rehab graduate at Princeton Baptist Medical Center, shared her story and why heart health is important to her and her family. In a time of COVID-19 and stress levels being at an all-time high, Debra, a fun and energetic line dance instructor, shares some important and practical information many of us need to hear about taking care of ourselves first.

What led you to needing care at Princeton Baptist?

Debra: In July 2020, I woke up early one morning and I didn’t feel right. My arm didn’t feel right and my chest was hurting. It was scary. I do suffer from some anxiety and was under a lot of stress, so I couldn’t tell the difference between that and what was happening to me. I later learned I was having a form of a heart attack and would need a stent. (Debra is a patient of Dr. Thomas Cawthon, cardiologist at Princeton Baptist Medical Center.) When I was in the hospital for my stent, the cardiac rehab team came by and shared a flyer with me. Given I had a lot of questions and needed some education on how to move forward, I decided to join the cardiac rehab program.

Tell us more about the cardiac rehab program and how it helped you on your road to recovery.

A photo from one of Debra’s line dancing classes before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team members were real down to earth, but very professional. They answered all of my questions and were very thorough with anything they did. They helped to encourage me and remind me that I would get through it. The team members also were very intentional about checking on me and seeing how I was feeling. It was also very beneficial to be around other people that were going through the same thing. That helped me to build some comradery with the other patients.  

Since you recently graduated from cardiac rehab, have you been able to get back to teaching line dancing?

Debra: Due to the pandemic, most of us have been doing Zoom. We are trying to get back on schedule. But, I will say that the rehab helped to build my stamina to be able to teach.

What advice would you give to women on why heart health is important?

Debra: It changes your whole life when you have something life threatening happen to you. You just can’t take your health for granted and you need to take care of yourself. As I have been learning to do, I would encourage others to watch your cholesterol intake, have a good diet and follow an exercise regime.

When something like this happens, it’s very scary especially if you are not famailar with it. I had become stressed when caring for my husband, but I soon learned that before I can take care of someone else, I had to first take care of myself.