Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE”

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

 A small Australian study published this month explores two elements that seem pretty darned important to patients and their families following a diagnosis of chronic heart failure (CHF) – yet may often appear to be minimized or even dismissed by healthcare professionals.  In this study, participants were asked to report their lived experience through two key themes:  1. Heartache and 2. Living with Failure.             .
Continue reading “Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE””

When the person in trouble is your paramedic

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

The history of transporting the seriously ill is one with gruesome origins, as Christina Frangou explained in her compelling Maclean’s piece on emergency medical services (EMS) here in Canada:

“In 1832, a cholera outbreak in the town of York – now Toronto – led to the creation of the first known ambulance service in what would become Canada. The town approved a wooden “cholera cart” to tow sick patients away from crowded areas, sometimes straight to funeral homes. These carters, as they were called, did not provide medical care. They simply carried the dead and dying away from the living.”

Modern paramedics are not, of course, just ambulance drivers.      .    Continue reading “When the person in trouble is your paramedic”

When male and female heart patients play the same game, but with different rules

                                   .        Notice anything unusual about this group of doctors?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

She introduced herself to me as she took her seat – although she, of course, needed NO introduction. I was utterly star-struck to realize that THE Nanette Wenger had just sat down beside me in the Mayo Clinic auditorium hosting our conference on women and heart disease. Between the onstage presentations, she chatted amiably, graciously curious about me, a heart patient/panelist on that day’s conference schedule.  I asked about her early days as a female cardiologist in such a steeply male-dominated field. My take-away from that memorable autumn afternoon:  when a noted medical pioneer who has been a practicing cardiologist for 70 years speaks, you listen!

Here’s what Dr. Wenger recently had to say about a Yale University study – in her no-nonsense editorial published in the cardiac journal Circulation – Sauce for the Goose vs. Sauce for the Gander:  Should Men and Women Play the Same Game But With Different Rules?”          .      Continue reading “When male and female heart patients play the same game, but with different rules”

Must women bring an advocate along so doctors will believe us?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

This week, three books and three bold messages about the problem with male-centric medicine:  In her book Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health, Dr. Alyson McGregor defines male-centric medicine like this: medical research and medical practice based on models historically designed to work in men, while ignoring the unique biological/emotional differences between men and women. In fact, she writes that the male-centric model of medicine is now so pervasive in health care that many of us don’t even realize it exists:

“Women who experience severe pain often have trouble convincing the doctor treating them of how serious that pain is. The more women protest and try to convince the physician, the more their behaviour is perceived as hysterical. This perception can work against them in the Emergency Department.”

If that’s where you are, Dr. McGregor warns: “the best thing you can do as a woman is to bring an advocate with you to explain your symptoms.”         .   Continue reading “Must women bring an advocate along so doctors will believe us?”

How I spent my summer vacation. . .

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

.                                        2007:  My Kiftsgate rambling rose in glorious bloom!

For the first time in 14 years, I took a wee summer break from writing my weekly Heart Sisters posts, and started a small temporary site, The Novice Rose Gardener, in the spring of 2022 – mostly to track my new obsession/adventure:  trying to grow balcony roses. I truly believed this learning experience would bring me joy ( I LOVE LOVE LOVE roses!) – but, just like in real life, I learned that it’s far more about managing expectations. My adventure can now best be described as a horticultural roller coaster!  By the way, to my readers who have been asking when or if I’ll be getting back to writing those Sunday morning blog posts about women’s heart health: I’m unable to say quite yet.  Meanwhile, you can find links to my list of all 900+ articles here.  And for all of you who happen to love roses – or roller coasters – I’m archiving my balcony rose posts, starting here with the first essay:

1.  Right Rose, Right Place – March

My only experience with choosing and planting roses (as opposed to moving into a home that already had roses in the garden) was back in the late 90s when I read an article about an amazingly fast-growing rose called Kiftsgate.  The article said:            .

Continue reading “How I spent my summer vacation. . .”