Appropriately confident: what are YOU really good at?

21 Oct

 by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    October 21, 2018

It all started with a little post on Twitter by San Francisco OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter, urging this call to action:

I was hooked when I read an early response from a pediatrician, who (on top of everything else a pediatrician might feel self-confident about) mentioned that she does the New York Times crossword IN PEN. Now, that is true confidence, my heart sisters. . .

I decided to bite, tossing aside all that ‘aw shucks’ false modesty that women are so often socialized to embrace. Here’s how I responded about myself:
Continue reading

Little video, big questions on women’s heart disease

14 Oct

A big “Thank You” to Robyn Unwin Media and her enthusiastic film students who interviewed me about my heart attack and women’s heart disease in general – and particularly for asking important questions like What Needs To ChangeThe crew then turned my answers into this short film, a project that was written, shot and edited by students of the Film Industry Training and Skills course offered by the S.T.A.R.T.E. program and Beacon Community Services here in Victoria, BC.

Well done film students, and special thanks to Rob…  

(P.S. Love that cool Heart Sisters animation the crew came up with!)

Heart Sisters: Heart Health for Women from Robyn Lee Unwin on Vimeo.

Oh, great. Another cardiac risk factor to worry about…

7 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    October 7, 2018

There are lots of cardiac risk factors that increase our chances of developing heart disease one day. Some are beyond our control (like having a family history) and many are not (like smoking or a sedentary lifestyle).

Some other risk factors are less familiar, so are often overlooked. Until two years after my heart attack, for example, I didn’t know that having pregnancy complications (like the preeclampsia I was diagnosed with while pregnant with my first baby) can mean women are 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease years later. But here’s a cardiac risk factor that was new to me until I learned about something called the ACE study. And this is a big one. Continue reading

Is ‘being nice’ hurting women?

30 Sep

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    September 30, 2018

Imagine the reaction from Emergency Department staff to the woman I met at my Mayo Clinic training, the one who had been sent home from Emergency three days in a row despite her complaints of increasingly distressing cardiac symptoms. Each time she arrived there, she clearly declared the following to the Emergency physician, who continued to repeatedly dismiss her concerns:

“I don’t care what you say. SOMETHING is wrong with me!”

What a royal pain in the ass, staff may have muttered about her, sotto voce.

On her third visit, the physician recommended anti-anxiety medications. But on the fourth visit, on that fourth day, she was taken directly from the E.R. to the O.R. to undergo emergency coronary bypass surgery. Continue reading

The bumpy road between diagnosis and getting better

23 Sep

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    September 23, 2018

bridge-2490738_1280You probably already know that it can be a scary road indeed leading from the moment you hear that initial diagnosis until the day you are able to start thinking of yourself as a person first, who just happens to be a patient. Until then, it’s a bumpy road with often more downs than ups, as I’ve written about here, here and here, for example. But researchers in Spain now suggest that there are actually four distinct stages that are predictably common among most patients on that road. Continue reading