Debora Grandison’s heart story spans three decades, starting with gestational diabetes and pre-term labor while pregnant with her son in 1988.
Medication at the time caused her heart rate to triple, sending her to intensive care and keeping Debora in the hospital for several weeks. She was then diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, put on insulin and sent home on bed rest.
After her son was born, her blood sugar levels normalized, but spiked to dangerous levels in 1992, requiring insulin injections.
After a move to Ballwin, Missouri, she shopped for new doctors. She underwent various tests and continued to be treated for mitral valve prolapse, even as her heart palpitations continued.
Debora’s symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath and pain in her left arm continued. Twice the pain was so bad she went to the ER, thinking she was having a heart attack. Each time, new tests would suggest a different problem, and her medication list grew to 13 before learning she had a hyperactive thyroid.
To better control her Type 1 diabetes, Debora got an insulin pump in 2006.She began to fear that her diabetes and unresolved heart problems could prove fatal and decided to get serious about exercise and diet – focusing on heart health in addition to diabetes-friendly foods.
By 2008, Debora continued to struggle with symptoms. The earlier diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse was revised to cardiomyopathy and she was referred to an electrophysiologist, who recommended a pacemaker. The pacemaker made a big difference, and Debora found herself with more energy and motivation to make lifestyle changes to help protect her heart health.
Today, Debora’s heart issues haven’t ended – she was diagnosed with AFib in 2013. But she is more proactive about her health these days, preparing herself with information and questions before health provider visits. When her cholesterol recently surged, she made diet and exercise changes to bring them down.
Debora's faith plays a huge role in her healing. She sees purpose in her journey and hopes that her heart journey will not only empower but inspire others to push for answers and raise awareness about the connection between heart disease and diabetes. Debora truly exemplifies the mission of the #NoMoHeartDisease initiative!