Productive uncertainty: beyond the sourdough

sourdoughby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

At our virtual Toastmasters meeting recently, my friend Uma presented an interesting speech about something I’d never heard of: ‘productive uncertainty’.  It’s apparently a well-known concept in education, but given all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic over the past months, it also fits what I’ve been thinking about lately.  .         .        . Continue reading “Productive uncertainty: beyond the sourdough”

A patient, a caregiver and a doctor walk into a bar…

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Just kidding about that title, dear readers! There’s no bar involved in this story. I couldn’t help myself.  But in this recent heart failure study out of Milan, Italy, a unique story-sharing experience evolved among three distinct stakeholder groups (patients, family caregivers and physicians), each guided by the concept called Narrative Medicine.(1)

The Italian researchers asked participants within these three interconnected groups of people to describe in their own words:

  • What is it like to be living with heart failure? 
  • What is it like to be a family member caring for the person with heart failure? 
  • What is it like to be a physician providing medical care to this person?        .           .

Continue reading “A patient, a caregiver and a doctor walk into a bar…”

Eight questions from Nancy about my blog

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 12.19.19 PMby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I have never had breast cancer, and I don’t write about breast cancer (a recent exception here). But I noticed soon after launching this Heart Sisters blog that a surprising number of women with breast cancer were reading, subscribing and responding to my blog articles on women’s heart disease. One of my favourites in this group was author and breast cancer activist Nancy Stordahl, who blogs about breast cancer over at Nancy’s PointNancy and I have agreed over the years that the traumatic experience of facing a catastrophic diagnosis is shared by many, no matter what that medical condition may be.

So when Nancy invited me to participate in her annual 2020 Summer Blogging Challenge, I was pleased to oblige one of my favourite bloggers by answering the eight questions that she asked about my blog:    .    .  Continue reading “Eight questions from Nancy about my blog”

“Stay home if you feel sick!” – and why we don’t do that

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“Don’t go to work when you feel sick!   Stay home if you have symptoms!”

This sounds like plain old common sense advice when it comes from public health experts during a pandemic. Most people, however, WILL go to work sick if they don’t have employee benefits like paid sick leave. And among healthcare staff, we know that even those lucky enough to have a good benefit package will often go to work when they’re ill.  Here’s why: .     .           . Continue reading ““Stay home if you feel sick!” – and why we don’t do that”

How to tell if you’re as indispensable as you think

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

During my 35+ years in public relations (working in corporate, government and non-profit sectors), I was typically the one tapdancing through the office with my hair on fire, cheerfully juggling multiple deadlines, all due this morning. I was almost always the first to arrive each day, and the last one to leave. I seemed to take a perverse pride in being recognized by all as the indispensable “go-to”  person on any team.

But that word “indispensable” is problematic.    .    .

Continue reading “How to tell if you’re as indispensable as you think”

You can’t pace yourself – unless you plan to pace

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters  

It was only after my heart attack and subsequent cardiac complications that I had to learn the fine art of p-a-c-i-n-g, a skill I’d never bothered to master until then.

In fact, many freshly-diagnosed heart patients tell me that they feel reluctant to embrace the concept of pacing themselves to minimize symptoms or protect dwindling energy reserves. Some prefer instead to focus on returning quickly to “normal”, whatever that is.     .       .   Continue reading “You can’t pace yourself – unless you plan to pace”