Saying the word “misdiagnosis” is not doctor-bashing

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   
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Before my cardiac symptoms forced an early retirement, my entire adult career was spent in the field of public relations, in corporate, government and non-profit sectors. Which is to say I’ve had decades of firsthand experience speaking publicly on behalf of all kinds of people. I was paid to both defend the indefensible stupidity of certain industry presidents, and also to pitch engaging human interest stories to help promote good causes.
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But it was only when I started voluntarily speaking out on behalf of other female heart patients that I encountered any real backlash – and that came from the most unlikely sources.       .          .  Continue reading “Saying the word “misdiagnosis” is not doctor-bashing”

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”

On Call With Dr. Dave: my interview about women & heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters   

You can tell from watching this interview how much fun it was to chat with Dr. David D’Agate about women’s heart disease. Dr. Dave is a preventive cardiologist in Long Island, New York,  board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and nuclear cardiology – and probably best described by this personal testimonial from one of his heart patients: “extremely knowledgeable, kind and funny.”  My favourite kind of physician.         . .           .          . Continue reading “On Call With Dr. Dave: my interview about women & heart disease”

The “handlebar gripping” cardiac symptom

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

When the Emergency Department physician misdiagnosed my “widow maker” heart attack as acid reflux, I actually felt relieved at first.  I’d much rather have indigestion than heart disease, thank you very much. His confident misdiagnosis meant I was temporarily willing to ignore the obvious cardiac symptoms that had propelled me to Emergency that morning: central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain down my left arm.

Even I knew that arm pain is NOT a symptom of acid reflux, yet somehow that first plausible answer seemed preferable to the far more serious real answer I would receive much later.      .      . Continue reading “The “handlebar gripping” cardiac symptom”

“The doctors want my symptoms but not my stories”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Marilyn Gardner, in her 2014 book called “Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging“) wrote about a compelling conversation she once had:

Yet our physicians aren’t trained to embrace our stories, but instead to ask right away, “What brings you here today?” to kick-start a brief Q&A that can most efficiently solve the diagnostic mystery sitting across from them.      .     .    Continue reading ““The doctors want my symptoms but not my stories””

Is it finally time to change the name ‘heart FAILURE’?

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

When McMaster University cardiologist Dr. Harriette Van Spall asked her Twitter followers recently to offer topic suggestions for the upcoming Heart Failure Summit, I responded with a suggestion of my own:

“Please please please can we STOP calling this condition heart FAILURE?”    .

Continue reading “Is it finally time to change the name ‘heart FAILURE’?”