Top 10 tips from the author of ‘How To Be Sick’

by Carolyn Thomas @HeartSisters

Ten years ago this summer, law professor Toni Bernhard and her husband flew from their home in California to Paris, planning to immerse themselves in Parisian culture for three weeks. But on the second day there, Toni became very sick with what appeared to be an acute viral infection. She spent most of those three weeks in a Parisian bed. And ten years later, Toni is still sick.

Despite being mostly bed-ridden, she wrote a book she called How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers and she also blogs at

To mark her 10th anniversary milestone, the medical website ran Toni’s list of 10 lessons she has learned about being sick. Here is a sampling of those tips, remarkably useful for those of us living with heart disease, too: Continue reading “Top 10 tips from the author of ‘How To Be Sick’”

“After The Diagnosis”: two books, same title, one hope

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥  @HeartSisters

A never-married Catholic priest offers marriage counselling to couples. A childless shrink spouts advice on how to raise toddlers. Oprah Winfrey talks about money problems. “You have no clue!” – I want to scream at them. As a heart attack survivor, I now tend to gravitate towards those who are able to practice what they preach based on actual personal experience – not what they have learned at arm’s length. Clinical psychologist Dr. Elvira Aletta, for example, has been diagnosed with not one but two chronic diseases. Dr. Stephen Parker is a cardiac psychologist who is also a heart attack survivor.

And recently, I’ve come across two authors of books on coping with chronic illness that, ironically, share the same main title, After The Diagnosis:

  • Kidney specialist and Harvard prof Dr. Julian Seifter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was a young medical intern.
  • Dr. JoAnn Le Maistre received her PhD in clinical psychology, delivered a baby daughter, and learned she had multiple sclerosis  – all within a few months.

What these authors have to share with heart attack survivors and others diagnosed with a chronic illness is quite profound. Here’s why: Continue reading ““After The Diagnosis”: two books, same title, one hope”