Why you must stop saying “Well, at least. . .”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“Well, at least . . .”   It’s the innocuous start of a perfunctory platitude, offered up when we don’t quite know what else to say in the face of another person’s loss. Here’s why saying those words can feel so unhelpful during a health crisis:      .      .    Continue reading “Why you must stop saying “Well, at least. . .””

Most-read Heart Sisters posts from a crazy year

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

I’ve often been surprised by which of my Heart Sisters blog articles attract the most readers. Sometimes, the most obviously brilliant of my posts just sit there, ignored, while the ones I almost didn’t write (like that article on pacemakers! Who knew?) attract ongoing attention. The all-time most-read post ever, with a total of over 2.8 million views, is 2009’s “How Does It Really Feel to Have a Heart Attack?  Women Survivors Answer That Question.”  I could have retired from blogging right there.

And this year’s final tally of the most-read blog posts of the past year continues to surprise me. Here’s how the numbers people rank the Top 10:    .      . 

Continue reading “Most-read Heart Sisters posts from a crazy year”

Have I been a closet introvert all this time?

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Except for those blissfully naïve months of January and February when we had no clue what was about to hit us, 2020 has seemed like a dumpster fire called All-COVID, All-The-Time. Everything we knew and loved changed in ways few of us could have ever predicted. But I’ve noticed another big change overall – and that’s been in me.

The more I hunkered down inside my little apartment this year, the more I began to like hunkering.     .           .      .
Continue reading “Have I been a closet introvert all this time?”

The Christmas Truce – 1914

Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks between German soldiers and Royal Welsh fusiliers    

by Carolyn Thomas        @HeartSisters

As World War I raged on in the trenches of Europe in 1914, Christmas Eve arrived cold and bleak. But German soldiers put up Christmas trees decorated with candles on the parapets of their trenches. Although their enemies, the British soldiers, could see the lights, it took them a few minutes to figure out where they were from. Could this be a trick?

British soldiers were ordered not to fire, but to watch closely. Instead of trickery, however, the British soldiers heard the Germans singing carols and celebrating. Here’s what one young soldier wrote home about this remarkable event:     Continue reading “The Christmas Truce – 1914”

Stroke survivor Sharon Dreher: “Don’t use a 1-10 pain scale on women who have delivered a baby”

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters 

.      Sharon Gilroy Dreher

She said that her headache pain during her stroke was so bad, it felt like “someone had blown a hole in the back of my head”.  But Sharon Dreher’s doctor told her that she was likely just “fighting a virus.”  The article she later wrote about her misdiagnosed stroke experience was written two months post-stroke, “back when I thought a recovery meant I’d get back to normal”. 

But five years later, as Sharon Dreher has learned, “normal” can be a moving target for many women.  

When I first watched the video of her story at the 2019 Canadian Stroke Congress, I almost fell off my red chair. Unlike most stroke patients, Sharon’s symptoms did NOT follow the typical F.A.S.T. model (short for: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services).        .     .   Continue reading “Stroke survivor Sharon Dreher: “Don’t use a 1-10 pain scale on women who have delivered a baby””

All I want for Christmas is not in a gift box

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters 

My family tells me I’m “impossible” when it comes to picking out a gift for me. I am rarely able to offer even a single helpful hint. Instead, I plead with them most years not to buy me “more stuff”.  I don’t want stuff. One only has to visit the average yard sale to witness the inevitable future graveyard of all that stuff. Bread machines. Crimping irons. Chia pets. Any kind of candle. Aside from absolute necessities of life (like groceries or my crafting supplies!), there are few things I now need, or even want.

Well, there are things I need and want, but hardly any come from a store or in gift boxes. Here’s what I really truly want Santa to bring me this year.     .        .      Continue reading “All I want for Christmas is not in a gift box”