The 5 stages of “What the hell just happened to me?”

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

Kathy Kastan’s terrific bookFrom the Heart” was hot off the press when I survived a misdiagnosed heart attack in 2008. Hers was the first book I found that focused specifically on women and heart disease. Here’s how her own story was described on the book’s cover:

“After undergoing emergency coronary bypass surgery at age 42, Kathy Kastan found her world shifting in unexpected ways. Everything – her sense of well-being, relationships, daily routine, even her body image – seemed to change. Doctors helped her recover physically, but she had to find new methods to recover emotionally and create a happy, healthy life.”  

While I read this back then, my own world was crazily shifting, too. Continue reading “The 5 stages of “What the hell just happened to me?””

How helping others can help you, too

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

Fun Fact:  we know that people who volunteer in their community feel generally more hopeful and experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to non-volunteers. This cheery conclusion may make you wonder, as Washington Post reporters did:

“But does volunteering make people happy, or are happy people simply more likely to volunteer?”    

Continue reading “How helping others can help you, too”

Are you a cardiac muggle?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

The term cancer muggle is what many people living with a cancer diagnosis define as “a person who thinks they know anything and everything about cancer, although they have no clue.”  (A muggle, by the way, is a term borrowed from Harry Potter, referring to humans who aren’t part of the wizarding world).

You’ll know them by the frightening tales they found on Facebook about people who died of exactly what you have now, or conversely by their eternally positive platitudes like: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”  Messages can often pretend to be genuine optimism – but aren’t always interpreted by cancer patients as positive.  They can instead feel more like what’s known as toxic positivity (also as dismissive positivity). The unintended implication is that if only you had a more positive attitude, you’d be able to “beat” this cancer.

And in cardiac circles, heart patients can also face our own muggles.          .      . Continue reading “Are you a cardiac muggle?”

Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE”

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

 An Australian study published this month explores two elements that seem pretty darned important to patients and their families following a diagnosis of chronic heart failure (CHF) – yet may often appear to be minimized or even dismissed by healthcare professionals.  In this study, participants were asked to report their lived experience through two key themes:  1. Heartache and 2. Living with Failure.             .
Continue reading “Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE””