Your Heart, Your Health: two hours in one fantastic picture

7 Jun

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

What you’re looking at is called a graphic recording. It’s live visual notetaking of one presentation – drawn by Vancouver illustrator Sam Bradd. As Sam explains, this kind of on-the-spot graphic recording “helps people remember and care about ideas. It supports interaction, reflection, and seeing the next steps.”  When I spoke recently at the public panel discussion event called Your Heart, Your Health hosted by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Sam started the evening up near the stage with a blank page about 4’x8′ wide.  By the end of the evening, we had what you see here!

Afterwards, I loved being described by event organizers as aknowledge translator along with Sam for our roles both during this presentation on women’s heart health as well as in the ongoing work we do with patients. Continue reading

When you know more than your doctors about your diagnosis

31 May

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

One of my blog readers needlessly suffered debilitating cardiac symptoms for a number of years before she was finally correctly diagnosed (thanks to a second opinion) with coronary microvascular disease (MVD). During those years, she’d read everything she could get her hands on in a desperate effort to solve this mystery. But when she asked her own physician if MVD might be the culprit, he dismissed this diagnostic possibility, adding that he “didn’t believe” in coronary microvascular disease.

Didn’t believe in it?!

Please note, darling readers, that we’re not talking about the Tooth Fairy here.

We’re talking about a woman living with a cardiac condition that’s been well-studied (as in, peer-reviewed studies done by respected heart researchers and published in actual real-life medical journals).

Continue reading

Heart attack explained in 10 easy minutes

24 May

by Carolyn Thomas 

I’m selfishly reluctant to tell you about Khan Academy’s amazing little film that brilliantly explains in about 10 minutes what a heart attack is all about. This reluctance is because once you visit Sal Khan‘s website, you’ll abandon Heart Sisters as well as all other sites you love, and may never come back. His Khan Academy is the thinking person’s version of those addictive cute kitty time-wasters on YouTube.   Continue reading

When babies with congenital heart defects grow up

17 May

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

hands-105455_1280In 2005, it was estimated that for the first time in history, there are now more adults than children living with childhood heart defects. That sounds like good news to me, because it means that due to major advances in medicine over the past few decades, more than 90% of babies born with congenital heart disease are now surviving into adulthood. What it also means, however, is that as these babies grow up, they need continued and careful monitoring as heart patients.

One such baby was Aletha, one of my blog readers in South Dakota, now 36 years of age. Her parents, she says, realized soon after she was born that their newborn daughter had a problem. Pediatric cardiologists diagnosed baby Aletha with a heart condition called Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease (BAVD).  Continue reading

Do you fear change? Then don’t have a heart attack

10 May

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

For the freshly-diagnosed heart patient, the immediate and sudden change from “being well” to “recovering” cuts directly to the core of self-concept and self-esteem, according to Dr. Wayne Sotile. He offers a surprisingly familiar list of seven sudden changes commonly observed after a cardiac event. When thinking back on the new reality of my own early post-heart attack days, I was able to tick off his list, point by point. If this had been a midterm exam, in fact, I’d score a perfect 7/7.  On his list of seven stressors that newbies often face, how many ring true for you, too? Continue reading

“It’s a girl!!”

7 May

Welcome to the world, my darling little grandbaby!  Everly Rose, born at 7:07 p.m. on May 7th, 2015 (which would have been my own mother’s 87th birthday!)  Proud parents are Larissa and Randy – Mum and babe doing “FANTASTIC!”, says the new Daddy. 

Let the spoiling begin!

Everly Rose

Everly Rose napping with her Mum

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

Q: Any words of grandmotherly advice for me?

UPDATE: Everly Rose makes her television debut at age 4 weeks (starting about 1:10)

And a few more photo updates as our girl grows . . .

We decorated Larissa and Randy’s house to help spread the news!

Tiny little feet . . .

So alert . . .

On her two-month birthday (notice the “Happy Birthday Peanut” cake)

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