Productive uncertainty: beyond the sourdough

sourdoughby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

At our virtual Toastmasters meeting recently, my friend Uma presented an interesting speech about something I’d never heard of: ‘productive uncertainty’.  It’s apparently a well-known concept in education, but given all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic over the past months, it also fits what I’ve been thinking about lately.  .         .        . Continue reading “Productive uncertainty: beyond the sourdough”

Eight questions from Nancy about my blog

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 12.19.19 PMby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I have never had breast cancer, and I don’t write about breast cancer (a recent exception here). But I noticed soon after launching this 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 about breast cancer over at Nancy’s PointNancy 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 annual 2020 Summer Blogging Challenge, I was pleased to oblige one of my favourite bloggers by answering the eight questions that she asked about my blog:    .    .  Continue reading “Eight questions from Nancy about my blog”

“Stay home if you feel sick!” – and why we don’t do that

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“Don’t go to work when you feel sick!   Stay home if you have symptoms!”

This sounds like plain old common sense advice when it comes from public health experts during a pandemic. Most people, however, WILL go to work sick if they don’t have employee benefits like paid sick leave. And among healthcare staff, we know that even those lucky enough to have a good benefit package will often go to work when they’re ill.  Here’s why: .     .           . Continue reading ““Stay home if you feel sick!” – and why we don’t do that”

Does our narrative identity get better with age?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters  

I’m often moved by the stories my readers share with me here. Most of them start with dramatic cardiac crises, with survival, with the sudden shock of learning what it means to become a “patient”, with the skilled cardiologists who saved them or the ones who misdiagnosed them. Others share personal hardships they’ve been enduring long before their first cardiac event ever occurred. At age 10, for example, Marie sat in her bathtub one day and counted 33 bruises on her small body, all caused by vicious beatings with a wire coat hanger at the hands of both her mother and sister.* In a family defined by alcoholism, violence  and drug abuse, her siblings also suffered terribly. Two of her brothers became heroin addicts and died within months of each other.

Yet what truly struck me about Marie is that she tells her story without blame or resentment or self-pity. She points instead to what has helped her avoid her siblings’ fate. What Marie is quietly demonstrating is how she decided to create her own narrative identity.      .       .      Continue reading “Does our narrative identity get better with age?”

“Crowds lead to more COVID-19 cases, but so will unabated racism” 

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

If you’ve been feeling as stunned as I am by what’s been happening in the U.S. this past week, read this compelling call to action for all physicians and public health experts, originally published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by Harvard physicians Drs. Ingrid Katz and Abraar Karan:       .     . 

Continue reading ““Crowds lead to more COVID-19 cases, but so will unabated racism” “

Does COVID-19 cause carb cravings (or is it just me?)

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I’ve heard it said that some people lose their appetite during stressful times. These people are not my relatives. Indeed, in our Ukrainian family tradition, we love food, and we eat when we’re happy, we eat when we’re upset, and we eat during all possible emotions in between.

So amid the stressful reality of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, stress eating in our family can mean only one thing: carbohydrate cravings.            .

Continue reading “Does COVID-19 cause carb cravings (or is it just me?)”