Struggle care: a new way to rethink housework

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Regular readers might recall my story of a bizarre housecleaning ritual that started after my heart attack.  I felt so frightened and overwhelmed by what had just happened to me that I became convinced I would die overnight in my bed – very likely tonight! – from another “widow maker” heart attack.

So pervasive was this conviction that for several weeks, I would clean the entire apartment every evening before bedtime, so the paramedics (or worse! – the family) wouldn’t find a mess when they discovered my corpse the next morning. The curious part was my worry that I’d still somehow be judged by my housekeeping skills – even after death!?  Continue reading “Struggle care: a new way to rethink housework”

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?”

Sharing our health struggles: too much, or not enough?

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

The directors of the 85-year long multi-generation Harvard Study of Adult Development have a new book out called The Good Life:  Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.*   In it, authors conclude that most of us “underestimate the beneficial effects of human connection.”

One of their key findings about fostering these connections seems directly aimed at those with chronic medical diagnoses like heart disease – especially as we get older:       . Continue reading “Sharing our health struggles: too much, or not enough?”

Med School is for doctors, but there is no ‘Patient School’ for us

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters   

Internal Medicine specialist Dr. Ann Hester’s new book is called Patient Empowerment 101 – but its subtitle is “More than a Book – It’s an Adventure!”   The adventure of Chapter 1 includes this:

“While physicians and medical professionals devote many years to studying medicine, patients simply don’t have a comparable Patient School to learn how to effectively navigate the healthcare system.”             .   
Continue reading “Med School is for doctors, but there is no ‘Patient School’ for us”