When you ignore pain because you’re used to it…

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    June 23, 2019

I can’t be completely sure, of course, but I’m betting my next squirt of nitro spray that I am a world-class stoic when it comes to putting up with pain. I survived a ruptured appendix and a near-fatal case of peritonitis that kept me hospitalized for a month as a teenager. I popped out two babies the old-fashioned, drug-free way. I suffered a broken bone in a bicycle accident while commuting downtown, but still somehow climbed back on that bike in order to show up on time for the meeting I was heading to. 

And I put up with two long weeks of increasingly unbearable symptoms (including being unable to walk more than five steps at a time) after being initially misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack with acid reflux.

So I sat up and paid attention when I happened upon the Despite Pain blog post called The Problem with Being Used to Pain or Illness.  
Continue reading “When you ignore pain because you’re used to it…”

Failure to inspire

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    January 20, 2019

Blogging sometimes feels like a cross between therapy (writing about what I’m obsessing over at any given moment) and planning a classroom lecture (getting my own thoughts in order about very specific subjects). 

But if you’ve been here before, you already know that one of my favourite parts of noodling away on this blog is the interactive response from my readers. This is always a two-way street. Your comments make me laugh, they make me cry, they almost always make me want to respond. My favourite kind of reader comment: “I thought I was the only one who felt this way. . . “

But what some of you may not know is that sometimes, readers can also make me feel tired and cranky.    Continue reading “Failure to inspire”

What to get the heart patient who has (almost) everything. . .

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters     December 9, 2018

Oh, sure, you can do last-minute Christmas shopping for another scented candle, or a lovely piece of pottery that might end up on the yard sale table together some day. Or you can decide to shop for a truly useful gift for any women in your life who have been diagnosed with heart disease. Here’s why, in my admittedly biased view, that gift should be A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) – along with some simple and painless ways for you to make that happen in time for Santa’s arrival: Continue reading “What to get the heart patient who has (almost) everything. . .”

My book is one year old! Some excerpts to tease you…

 

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters    November 18, 2018

What a year it’s been since my book was published by Johns Hopkins University Press one year ago this month! When it was launched, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Diseasebecame Amazon’s #1 New Release in the Medicine/Public Health category. The book is already into its second printing, and reviews have been truly wonderful (with one notable exception: an Australian reader named Robert who complained in his Goodreads review that there was a bit too much emphasis on how women are neglected when it comes to heart disease” – and then added: “Happily for me, my doctors, nurses and physios did everything by the book.” Thank you Robert, for helping to illustrate the cardiology gender gap so perfectly!

To celebrate this one-year milestone (and entice you to buy the book for yourself, or as a really useful gift for a freshly-diagnosed woman you care about), here are some random excerpts from my book, gathered from each of the 10 chapters.
Continue reading “My book is one year old! Some excerpts to tease you…”

When an illness narrative isn’t just about illness

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters     September 2, 2018

The ink was barely dry on the book contract I’d signed with Johns Hopkins University Press on the morning I tuned in, as I like to do every weekend, to Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition show on CBC Radio.

Michael’s guest that morning couldn’t have been more appropriate, given the project I was just beginning. A physician-turned-author named Dr. Suzanne Koven was talking about people who write first-person accounts of their health crises, books that Michael indelicately referred to as “sick lit“.(1)  . Illness, Michael began, is always more interesting to the ill person than to the reader. But Dr. Koven quickly interjected.  Continue reading “When an illness narrative isn’t just about illness”