Heart attack? Who, me? Couldn’t be!

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I had no idea that heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide- until my own heart attack in May of 2008.

I really wish I knew long before then what I’ve learned since.  But my hope now is to share what I’ve learned with other women – from the unique perspective of a survivor of a misdiagnosed heart attack, and a 2008 graduate of the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women with Heart Disease at the world famous Mayo Clinic.  You can learn more about my public presentations on women’s heart health here.

Stay along for the ride with me . . .  


(This was my very first – and shortest – post on April 5, 2009, the day I launched my Heart Sisters blog. At that time, I’d spent almost a year doing my free “Pinot & Prevention” community talks about women’s heart health since completing my Mayo training. I wanted to launch a little 3-page static site to help readers book one of my talks. I gradually began adding longer articles in response to the many questions the women in my audiences were most frequently asking.

Since then, this site has had over 19 million views.  In 2017, my book A Woman’s Guide To Living With Heart Disease (based on 700+ Heart Sisters articles over the years) was published by Johns Hopkins University Press. You can ask for it at your local bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon or order it directly from Johns Hopkins University Press. Use their code HTWN to save 30% off the list price).


5 thoughts on “Heart attack? Who, me? Couldn’t be!

  1. To say that I am happy to have found this site tonight would be a gross understatement. I had triple bypass 11 months ago at the age of 46…..without having a heart attack. Yes, there are many people grateful (including me) but puzzled about the long chain of events that took me to the emergency room that day and found a doctor that would believe my subliminal symptoms.
    Then today I had one of those days where I just didn’t feel right. Something was wrong that I couldn’t put my finger on. It finally passed after several hours and I spoke with my cardiologist. I am feeling much better now and believe it was not cardiac related. But in those moments, those hours I found myself petrified, again.
    All of the groups I have found are predominatly male and over the age of 60. To have found a group like this is close to making my cry. I am planning on lasting another 30 years. I hope I can find some advice on how to face that without the fear.
    To all of the women on this site……..have a wonderful day! It truly is a blessing.


    1. Hello Lynn and welcome – it’s great that you found this site! I’m so glad you spoke to your cardiologist today – but I hope that if/when other symptoms hit that make you feel ‘not right’, you will not hesitate to get immediate medical attention. Women are excellent at talking ourselves out of acting on our symptoms! Ask yourself what you would have done today if these troubling symptoms had happened with your child – would you say: ‘Let’s just wait several hours to see if you feel better later!’ ? I don’t think so!

      Another helpful resource you might also like is the WomenHeart online support group – you can log on through the WomenHeart: National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease website at http://www.womenheart.org



  2. Carolyn – what a pleasure to look at your website and enjoy all you have written there. What a teaching tool! You are an inspiration to us all.

    I don’t think that I’ve enjoyed anything as much as I did our Mayo Symposium. I wish we had had time to talk to each other more and shared more of our stories. Even for women who are so experienced with the disease as we are need those contacts as much as the “newbies” do. Connecting the depression and heart disease is so important, and that is one of the items that I really stress in my presentations. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing what you will be posting in the future.


  3. Carolyn, Thank you for setting up this site. It is so useful and will continue to be so. One thing as I look back at the symposium would be to have more women share their experiences. Even run a typical presentation with us. Various ones so we get the feel of what would best work for us. Mainly I love how you have posted your presentations. It helps us all. Your skills grow our skills. Thanks dear heart sister!


  4. This is wonderful! You are doing such a fantastic job. Glad to hear that all is well for you. I am doing very well too.
    Your Heart Sister,


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