Writing about hearts – and now roses

by Carolyn Thomas

Regular Heart Sisters blog readers may have recently noticed that the Sunday morning blog posts I’ve been publishing here since 2009 have slowed down.  Well, not just slowed. They’ve stopped. With spring in the air and my new balcony rose garden on my mind, I’m taking a summer break from writing about women’s hearts. Instead, I’m pulling on my gardening gloves and exploring my latest infatuation: is it possible to grow roses in pots out on a balcony?          

And like many writers, the urge to document my summer adventure has turned into a little blog. It’s called The Novice Rose Gardener.  For quite a while, I’ve felt the need to write about the things in life that bring me PURE JOY.  In the final paragraphs of my last published blog post here, for example, I hinted that I needed a wee break to do just that. Although I’ve been an avid gardener here on the west coast for decades, I’ve never been tempted to grow roses – however lovely the photo on the rose tag may be – mostly because of their nasty reputation: high maintenance, short blooming season, black spot, powdery mildew, aphids.  No thanks!

But – something wonderful happened last summer.        .     Continue reading “Writing about hearts – and now roses”

Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

February is our shortest month of the year and also the month officially acknowledged almost everywhere as Heart Health Awareness Month. Then we all turn the calendar page and glide over to March, the official month of Liver Health Awareness, Disability Awareness, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Red Cross Awareness worldwide – and many other causes. My niggling question remains: do these assorted official days/weeks/months of awareness-raising actually help to raise awareness out there?  Continue reading “Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results”

10 years after my mother’s death

                “The Perogy Pinchers” ~ Lesley Lorenz *

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

It will be ten years ago tomorrow that, after hearing the news on the phone, I re-read the chapter called When Your Mother Dies, in Rona Maynard’s wonderful book, My Mother’s Daughter:

“Baby showers herald the transition to motherhood. Roses, greeting cards and invitations to brunch celebrate mothers every May. Yet, despite our culture’s motherhood mystique, no rituals mark the psychological journey we daughters begin when our mothers die.”     Continue reading “10 years after my mother’s death”

Where do those post-stent bruises come from?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

After being discharged home from the hospital following my heart attack, I didn’t know that one of the new heart drugs I was now taking had dramatic side effects:   technicolour bruising. All over!   One day in the shower, for example, I noticed two perfectly round small bruises on my lower abdomen, side by side, exactly the same size. Where on earth had those two distinct bruises come from? It was only much later I figured it out.  Lilly, my fluffy calico cat, would regularly “make biscuits”  before settling down for a lap nap by kneading her little paws into my lower abdomen.  Even a petite 8-pound creature could cause deep purple and blueish bruises!

Here’s why bruising like this is so commonly seen in  heart patients – even those without cats!       .      . Continue reading “Where do those post-stent bruises come from?”

More weird facts about women and heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

You know it’s Heart Month every February when facts and stats about heart disease start flooding our screens. But Heart Month facts and stats are so pre-COVID – when we also learned the truly discouraging results of the latest American Heart Association (AHA)’s national survey.  This survey found that women’s awareness of heart disease actually DECLINED over the previous decade – despite all the inspiring Red Dress fashion shows/awareness-raising/Go-Red-for-Women campaign efforts out there. So instead of repeating more scary statistics as if I hadn’t read that survey’s results, this time I’m simply offering some weird stuff I’ve learned over the years about women and heart disease:    .             Continue reading “More weird facts about women and heart disease”

Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

Since my heart attack in 2008, I’ve been asked on occasion by friends and family (and even people who barely know me) if I now have a “Bucket List” – that Hollywood invention of the wonderful list of important-sounding things we must do before we kick the bucket. Nothing like a medical crisis, it seems, to remind us that life is short, and to shock us into re-examining our priority lists before we head off to that great Coronary Care Unit in the sky. Continue reading “Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?”