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A Mother’s Day without my mother

14 May

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Based on a post originally published here on May 13, 2012

As Christopher Buckley wrote in his memoir, Losing Mum and Pup, when the last of your parents dies, you are an orphan. This is poignantly true if that parent is your mother.

“You lose the true keeper of your memories, your triumphs, your losses. Your mother is a scrapbook for all your enthusiasms. She is the one who validates and the one who shames, and when she’s gone, you are alone in a terrible way.”

This month marks both the occasion of my mother’s birthday (she would have turned 89 on May 7th, which was coincidentally the second birthday of Everly Rose, the adorable great-granddaughter whom she would never meet) and yet another Mother’s Day when I didn’t send my Mom a card and flowers. I’m getting used to that reality by now. She died five years ago on February 21st, 2012.  Continue reading

The Martha and Carolyn Show!

22 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-00-02-amDr. Martha Gulati is an internationally recognized expert on women’s heart disease. She’s Professor of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology at The University of Arizona in Phoenix, where she is creating a centre specifically for Women’s Cardiovascular Health. The best-selling co-author with Sherry Torkos of the book, Saving Women’s Hearts, Dr. Martha is also the Editor-in-Chief of the American College of Cardiology’s CardioSmart, a Scientific Advisory Board member of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, and a board member of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, the Phoenix American Heart Association and other notable organizations.

She is, in short, one of the rock stars of women’s cardiology.

Continue reading

The Christmas truce – 1914

25 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Christmas Truce 1914As World War I raged on in the trenches of Europe in 1914, Christmas Eve arrived cold and bleak. But German soldiers put up Christmas trees decorated with candles, on the parapets of their trenches. Although their enemies, the British soldiers, could see the lights, it took them a few minutes to figure out where they were from. Could this be a trick?

British soldiers were ordered not to fire, but to watch closely. Instead of trickery, however, the British soldiers heard the Germans singing carols and celebrating. One young soldier wrote home about this remarkable event:    Continue reading

How not to be an audience troll

26 Jun

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I’ve had a number of opportunities to witness this kind of audience question oneupmanship first hand, especially when speaking to large audiences. As the chart above suggests, sometimes the audience member who raises a hand to ask a question of a guest speaker doesn’t actually have a question at all – but instead seeks to interject his own story to shift all eyes towards himself.  To find out if you are in danger of becoming “that guy”, consider this flowchart question, for example:    Continue reading

My open letter to “Patients Included” conferences

6 Mar

different red chair

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Dear medical conference organizers,

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your conference later this year. It is a real honour to be asked to help represent the patient voice at your prestigious event. I know that inviting patients alongside your impressive international roster of well-respected physicians is new to you. So congratulations on your interest in the  increasingly important “Patients Included” movement sweeping through medical conferences. By the way, here are the five qualifications your event requires in order to meet those Patients Included criteria.

But as I once wrote to patient blogger (and conference speaker) Carly Medosch:

“I can no longer afford to be ‘honoured’ by any more medical conference invitations.”

Allow me to explain:
Continue reading