When she’s not winning music awards, she’s winning the race against heart disease. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness has given TC Eckstein a whole new lease on life. These days she’s healthier than ever and her music sounds stronger.
She is known to the music world as Ladii TC Eckstein and she is also an active member of Go Red for Women, a subsidiary organization of the American Heart Association. Since she was diagnosed with heart disease in 2005, TC has been involved with the organization and recently won Nationals. As the national leader of Go Red for Women, TC will share her story and spread awareness through social media and other channels.
“It feels amazing”, says TC about the role, adding that she is delighted to give advice and hope to people around the country. When she was diagnosed, she thought her life would come to a crashing halt. She had lost her father and brother to heart disease at age 55, so now at 53, TC feels the pressure to stay healthy and not succumb to the same fate.
She now lives with a pacemaker and has lost 95 pounds in one year. In 2005 only 25% of her heart was functioning, now it’s up to 55%.
As a performer, TC says her heart problems affected her breathing the most. She soon learned that she should not claim illness, but claim healing. This saved her life and her career as a singer.
Diet and exercise have made a huge difference in her health. According to TC, people make excuses for an unhealthy lifestyle, saying it runs in the family or they don’t have time. She says a lot of it comes down to self-esteem.
“I’ve been there, but I’ve changed my house around, so on days I don’t feel like going out, I’ll work out at home. You’ve got to get your confidence up and just do it. Forget what everyone thinks,” says TC.
TC also represents women of color, whom she believes need to be more aware of their lifestyle choices. She says there are certain ‘stressers’ that can increase the risk factor in this group such as lack of access of good health care, single parenthood and genetics. Cultural differences in diet can also affect a high ratio of these women with heart problems.
However, it is not the end of the world. “There is much life to live after a diagnosis. It can be altered and you can live a great life.”
Preventive measures can include growing your own organic garden, cooking with less fattening ingredients and consuming less sugar. Get moving, go for walks and drink water.
TC’s late grandfather was the great Jazz singer, Billy Eckstein. She believes that he and her father would be proud of her work today. “They’re helping to guide my steps along with God. What I’m doing is for their legacy,” she says.
She wants to let others know that heart disease doesn’t only afflict certain types of people. It’s no longer 90-year olds who get heart disease. It is affecting our youth, and with the obesity problem, it can happen to anyone. Because it’s so prevalent, we need to focus on lifestyle changes. Time to get it right!