Where do those post-stent bruises come from?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

After being discharged home from the hospital following my heart attack, I didn’t know that one of the new heart drugs I was now taking had dramatic side effects:   technicolour bruising. All over!   One day in the shower, for example, I noticed two perfectly round small bruises on my lower abdomen, side by side, exactly the same size. Where on earth had those two distinct bruises come from? It was only much later I figured it out.  Lilly, my fluffy calico cat, would regularly “make biscuits”  before settling down for a lap nap by kneading her little paws into my lower abdomen.  Even a petite 8-pound creature could cause deep purple and blueish bruises!

Here’s why bruising like this is so commonly seen in  heart patients – even those without cats!       .      . Continue reading “Where do those post-stent bruises come from?”

More weird facts about women and heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

You know it’s Heart Month every February when facts and stats about heart disease start flooding our screens. But Heart Month facts and stats are so pre-COVID – when we also learned the truly discouraging results of the latest American Heart Association (AHA)’s national survey.  This survey found that women’s awareness of heart disease actually DECLINED over the previous decade – despite all the inspiring Red Dress fashion shows/awareness-raising/Go-Red-for-Women campaign efforts out there. So instead of repeating more scary statistics as if I hadn’t read that survey’s results, this time I’m simply offering some weird stuff I’ve learned over the years about women and heart disease:    .             Continue reading “More weird facts about women and heart disease”

Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

Since my heart attack in 2008, I’ve been asked on occasion by friends and family (and even people who barely know me) if I now have a “Bucket List” – that Hollywood invention of the wonderful list of important-sounding things we must do before we kick the bucket. Nothing like a medical crisis, it seems, to remind us that life is short, and to shock us into re-examining our priority lists before we head off to that great Coronary Care Unit in the sky. Continue reading “Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?”

#JOMO: it turns out there’s a name for my life

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

You’ve likely heard of FOMO (the “fear of missing out”). Whenever you observe a group of friends or a family out spending time together, except every one of them is staring down at their phones – that’s a symptom of FOMO.  (What if something far more important than what I’m doing now is happening out there?!?)  But until recently, I hadn’t heard of the term JOMO – the joy of missing out. There’s actually a name for how I tend to live my life now.             . Continue reading “#JOMO: it turns out there’s a name for my life”

Dear Carolyn: “After 19 months of daily discomfort, my pacemaker was replaced”

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

             .     Clayton & Linda Vardy

As part of our occasional “Dear Carolyn” series of personal patient perspectives shared by my readers, today I’m introducing you to Canadian heart patient, Linda Vardy, a retired high school math teacher. You might expect that Linda’s experience of undergoing triple bypass surgery at age 61 (after being told for almost a year that all of her cardiac test results were “inconclusive”) would be a dominant theme in her story – but that part is for a future post.

Ten years after her surgery, Linda was told that she now needed a pacemaker implanted. And that’s when things started going sideways. While I was reading her story, I couldn’t help wondering if Linda might have been treated differently had she been a male heart patient.  Read her story and let me know what you think. . .       . Continue reading “Dear Carolyn: “After 19 months of daily discomfort, my pacemaker was replaced””

When heart disease isn’t your biggest problem

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters  

I did not see this coming.   I’d always thought that it would be heart disease that would do me in.  A year ago, when I noticed a deep pain at the base of each thumb, I figured I must have somehow injured (both) hands at the same time. When the pain got so bad I could no longer push-and-twist open the child-proof caps on the bottles of my cardiac meds, I asked my pharmacist to use easy-open caps for my drug prescriptions from now on. It took a while before the gnarled finger joints of both hands began to swell until they now resemble those of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I remember looking at my outstretched fingers one morning and wondering, “Whose hands ARE these?”       .    Continue reading “When heart disease isn’t your biggest problem”