Walking away vs. trying harder: quitting revisited

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

When gymnast Simone Biles made the shocking decision to opt out of the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics, blowhard pundits (like the insufferable Piers Morgan) declared that there is “nothing heroic or brave about quitting.”

Simone explained that she needed to “focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being”.  Even for narcissistic blowhards, Morgan’s response to her decision was out of line. Sometimes, walking away can be the wisest and most thoughtful choice we could possibly make.      .      .       .              . Continue reading “Walking away vs. trying harder: quitting revisited”

Good anxiety: is that even possible?

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters   

There’s anxiety, and then there’s ANXIETY.  When Dr. Wendy Suzuki wrote about anxiety recently in her Globe and Mail essay, she wasn’t talking about clinical levels of anxiety requiring medical treatment, but what she calls our everyday anxiety:  

You would think that, after 18 months, we might feel better prepared to manage the continuing effects of the pandemic, but instead, our recent history seems to have simply added to our collective anxiety.”

She views this “everyday anxiety” as a new approach to understanding anxiety.       .   Continue reading “Good anxiety: is that even possible?”

Precarity: the perfect word for our times

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters   

I learned a terrific new word recently. The word is precarity, meaning the state of being precarious, unpredictable or uncertain. Any woman who is freshly diagnosed with heart disease already knows the precarity of life following a cardiac event – a reality that suddenly feels precarious, unpredictable and uncertain as we try to make sense of something that makes no sense. And after 19 months of navigating a global pandemic, we now know yet another kind of precarity.       .          .  Continue reading “Precarity: the perfect word for our times”

Women’s misdiagnosed heart attacks: the COVID long-haulers of cardiology

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Ed Yong, my favourite Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer over at The Atlantic, wrote recently that, when he first started reporting on the medical phenomenon called “long-COVID” (meaning ongoing debilitating COVID symptoms that continue far longer than eight weeks), few scientists or physicians knew that it existed – and more importantly, many even doubted that it did:

“Some researchers still hesitate to recognize long-COVID if it doesn’t present in certain ways; they’re running studies without listening to patients. Long-haulers are growing frustrated that what is self-evident to them – that their condition is very real and in need of urgent attention – is taking a worrying amount of time to be acknowledged.”

That paragraph beautifully captures what women whose heart attack symptoms were initially dismissed have described as well – that sense of not being listened to during a heart attack that was “very real”.    .     .    .

Continue reading “Women’s misdiagnosed heart attacks: the COVID long-haulers of cardiology”

Post-COVID handshakes: dread or delight?

hand-shake-4092737_1280by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

  • the COVID-19 variants
  • our record-breaking heat wave
  • devastating forest fires
  • air quality (see: forest fires)
  • the deer eating my zinnias

Okay, that last one may seem trivial (but I was TOLD that deer won’t touch zinnias – which is apparently FALSE!)  I have also noticed that my cardiac symptoms don’t even make that worry list these days.    n .        .   Continue reading “Post-COVID handshakes: dread or delight?”

My year of living COVIDly

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

In Italy, where my sister Bev and her husband Marco live, the government ordered a nationwide lockdown on Monday, March 9th last year. The country’s COVID-19 count there had exploded  from under 10 cases to over 9,000 within weeks. On the same day, we here in Canada recorded our first confirmed death. Three days later, hockey-mad Canadians were stunned when the NHL cancelled the rest of its season.

Suddenly, this was really happening.        .     .   Continue reading “My year of living COVIDly”