Six questions from Nancy about my blog

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

I have never had breast cancer, and I don’t write about breast cancer (except rarely). But I noticed soon after launching my 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 at Nancy’s PointWe’ve never met in person, but Nancy 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 2021 Summer Blogging Challenge, I was pleased to oblige one of my favourite bloggers by answering the six questions that she asked about my blog:    .    .   Continue reading “Six questions from Nancy about my blog”

Heart attack symptoms: what women expect vs. what we get

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

I wasn’t short of breath, or dripping with sweat. I had chest pain WITHOUT left shoulder/jaw/arm symptoms or any other signs of illness. I attributed my chest pain to stress.”

This recent Twitter comment from a nurse about her own heart attack raises an important concern:  have we done such a good job of warning women about freakishly weird non-chest pain heart attack symptoms that we no longer believe it’s really a heart attack unless we also have vague symptoms in a dozen other body parts?    .           . Continue reading “Heart attack symptoms: what women expect vs. what we get”

Diagnostic error: will it go away if we just don’t talk about it?

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

As Audre Lorde once warned us:

“My silences have not protected me. Your silences will not protect you. Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

I am exquisitely aware that when I write or speak about the subject of diagnostic error in medicine, some people will feel uncomfortable. It’s difficult to talk about being misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack and sent home from Emergency while somehow making that story sound flattering to the medical profession.        .    .  Continue reading “Diagnostic error: will it go away if we just don’t talk about it?”

Heart FAILURE vs. heart FUNCTION

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

A number of cardiologists seem to be revisiting the warnings of their late colleague Dr. Bernard Lown, who often cautioned physicians against using words that hurt – specifically, the name heart FAILURE * (what he termed “doom forecasting”).  Imagine being a patient hearing for the first time the words, “You have heart FAILURE.”  A terrifying – and worse, often inaccurate – name.  I’ve been told that changing the name of this condition would be impossible. But a recent editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has suddenly offered a glimmer of hope. 

Continue reading “Heart FAILURE vs. heart FUNCTION”

Auricular amputations of confectionary rabbits

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  

Imagine a bright Easter Sunday, back in the mid-1950s. The sun is shining, church bells are ringing, cherry trees abloom, and I and my sister Cathy are decked out in our brand new matching pink Easter outfits. We have been invited out to lunch at the home of our friends, the Moskal family, after Easter Sunday Mass.

We enjoy a delicious lunch of baked ham, deviled eggs, potato salad and – our favourite! – traditional Easter paska, after which the children are dismissed from the table to play while our parents finish their coffee. And that’s when things suddenly go sideways. . .    .       . Continue reading “Auricular amputations of confectionary rabbits”

It’s a BOY!

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by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Wonderful news for our whole family this weekend – my son now has a son of his own! A beautiful healthy baby boy, Zachary David Dunn, was born at 6:46 p.m. on March 27, 2021, weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces – a second grandchild for me (his Baba), a fourth for Grandma MaryAnn, a sweet baby cousin for Everly Rose, and the long-awaited precious first baby for ecstatically happy parents Paula and Ben, who are exhausted but over the moon!  Mum and babe both doing well. I can’t visit them in person or hold my little grandson because of COVID-19 precautions, but I can have a “window visit” from the hospital parking lot today!        .       .
Continue reading “It’s a BOY!”