This documentary film pulls no punches!

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     July 15 , 2019

The important documentary film called A Typical Heart is a triumph.

It’s about the deadly disparity in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes among male and female heart patients. It packs an incredible load of unforgettable facts and quotable quotes into just 22 short minutes.     . Continue reading “This documentary film pulls no punches!”

How to tell if you’re as indispensable as you think

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

During my 35+ years in public relations (working in corporate, government and non-profit sectors), I was typically the one tapdancing through the office with my hair on fire, cheerfully juggling multiple deadlines, all due this morning. I was almost always the first to arrive each day, and the last one to leave. I seemed to take a perverse pride in being recognized by all as the indispensable “go-to”  person on any team.

But that word “indispensable” is problematic.    .    .

Continue reading “How to tell if you’re as indispensable as you think”

You can’t pace yourself – unless you plan to pace

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters  

It was only after my heart attack and subsequent cardiac complications that I had to learn the fine art of p-a-c-i-n-g, a skill I’d never bothered to master until then.

In fact, many freshly-diagnosed heart patients tell me that they feel reluctant to embrace the concept of pacing themselves to minimize symptoms or protect dwindling energy reserves. Some prefer instead to focus on returning quickly to “normal”, whatever that is.     .       .   Continue reading “You can’t pace yourself – unless you plan to pace”

Does our narrative identity get better with age?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters  

I’m often moved by the stories my readers share with me here. Most of them start with dramatic cardiac crises, with survival, with the sudden shock of learning what it means to become a “patient”, with the skilled cardiologists who saved them or the ones who misdiagnosed them. Others share personal hardships they’ve been enduring long before their first cardiac event ever occurred. At age 10, for example, Marie sat in her bathtub one day and counted 33 bruises on her small body, all caused by vicious beatings with a wire coat hanger at the hands of both her mother and sister.* In a family defined by alcoholism, violence  and drug abuse, her siblings also suffered terribly. Two of her brothers became heroin addicts and died within months of each other.

Yet what truly struck me about Marie is that she tells her story without blame or resentment or self-pity. She points instead to what has helped her avoid her siblings’ fate. What Marie is quietly demonstrating is how she decided to create her own narrative identity.      .       .      Continue reading “Does our narrative identity get better with age?”

When cancer treatment damages your heart

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

It seems a cruel irony: the very thing that may have saved your life after a frightening cancer diagnosis is the same thing that can ultimately endanger your heart. I first heard of the known link between cancer treatments and later heart disease when I was a text editor of the palliative care textbook called Medical Care of the Dying.1  I learned about patients with end-stage heart disease caused by their cancer treatments, sometimes decades earlier.  .   .
Continue reading “When cancer treatment damages your heart”

“Crowds lead to more COVID-19 cases, but so will unabated racism” 

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

If you’ve been feeling as stunned as I am by what’s been happening in the U.S. this past week, read this compelling call to action for all physicians and public health experts, originally published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by Harvard physicians Drs. Ingrid Katz and Abraar Karan:       .     . 

Continue reading ““Crowds lead to more COVID-19 cases, but so will unabated racism” “

Does COVID-19 cause carb cravings (or is it just me?)

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I’ve heard it said that some people lose their appetite during stressful times. These people are not my relatives. Indeed, in our Ukrainian family tradition, we love food, and we eat when we’re happy, we eat when we’re upset, and we eat during all possible emotions in between.

So amid the stressful reality of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, stress eating in our family can mean only one thing: carbohydrate cravings.            .

Continue reading “Does COVID-19 cause carb cravings (or is it just me?)”