“A Typical Heart” – this documentary film pulls no punches!

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     July 15 , 2019

Just launched on July 15th, 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 factoids and quotable quotes into just 22 short minutes.     . Continue reading ““A Typical Heart” – this documentary film pulls no punches!”

A tumor? In my heart?!?

.
Paula is a “youngish 60”, as she describes herself, recently retired after a long career in public relations and marketing, and very active. A couple of years ago, for example, Paula and her husband hiked 530 miles together across northern Spain on the famous Camino de Santiago trail. So, definitely “youngish”.
.
But this past spring, Paula was admitted to the hospital after a week of chest pain, shortness of breath, jaw pain and crushing fatigue. Her initial diagnostic tests suggested she was NOT having a heart attack – but what was discovered after that was something very rare.  .

The importance of planning for everyday joy

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

When my mother was already showing early signs of her vascular dementia and had to move into an assisted-living apartment, she hated it. The staff reminded our family that “having something to look forward to” every day would help her feel more settled. They were so right. The move had been scary and overwhelming for Mom, but even knowing that after lunch she’d be playing cribbage or watching a favourite movie could bring a smile to her face.

We didn’t call it this at the time, but what Mom was doing, in the middle of all of her angst and fear, was planning joy.    Continue reading “The importance of planning for everyday joy”

Life before diagnosis: not as perfect as we recall?

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  September 1, 2019

Like most of us, my time on this earth has been bookmarked by a number of important “before” and “after” experiences: the way I lived my life before key events occurred, and the way my life changed after they occurred. Before and after I got married. Before and after I became a mother. Before and after I ran my first half-marathon. But one of the most profound changes has to be before and after the fateful day in the ER when a cardiologist told me,“You have significant heart disease”.

Many of us living with a chronic and progressive illness like this often view these periods of life as two parts: the normal and wonderful times before the traumatic diagnosis, and all the not-wonderful days that have been happening ever since.     . Continue reading “Life before diagnosis: not as perfect as we recall?”

Choose your listeners carefully

 by Carolyn Thomas    @Heartsisters    August 25, 2019

I once heard the late author Dr. Leo Buscaglia tell a conference audience his story about how he grew up equating caregiving with love. When he was a little boy, for example, his own mother seemed cold and distant  – except when he was sick. During those times, she would sit at his bedside, stroke his fevered brow, spoon-feed him homemade soup, fuss over every painful twinge, listen carefully to his every word, and become the kind of loving mother he rarely knew when he was healthy.    . Continue reading “Choose your listeners carefully”

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful…”

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     August 17, 2019

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

This reminder about the amazingness of life from author L.R. Knost has always rung true for me.(1)  And so do these words of a local Kindergarten teacher who tells her kids: “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset!”

But we do get upset. Really upset. Especially when we observe that we’re getting not nearly enough “amazing” and way too much “awful” . Continue reading ““Life is amazing. And then it’s awful…””

“A Typical Heart” Film Screening/Panel Discussion September 7th

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     August 11, 2019

.UPDATE: This event was  FULL with a WAITLIST. Thanks to all who attended its first public screening in Canada! You can watch this film here.

“A Typical Heart  is a short but powerful documentary film about women’s #1 killer. Heart disease, in fact, will kill more women this year than all forms of cancer combined. Yet until very recently, cardiac research on diagnostic tools, drugs and procedures has been done only on (white, middle-aged) men.(1)  Even the lab  mice used in early cardiac research were exclusively male animals.(2 ) No wonder many women still consider heart disease to be a “man’s problem”.

.
This remarkable documentary was the brainchild of paramedic and researcher Cristina D’Alessandro of York Region Paramedic Services north of Toronto, who first asked the profoundly important question:
.
If women make up over half our population, why are our heart attack symptoms still called ATYPICAL?”         Continue reading ““A Typical Heart” Film Screening/Panel Discussion September 7th”