Tag Archives: Dr. Barbara Keddy

Good news: your story is not yet locked in

18 Feb

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    February 18, 2018

I’ve been thinking about storytelling lately. I encounter a lot of patient stories from my Heart Sisters blog readers here, as well as from the women who raise a hand during my Heart-Smart Women public presentations. (I’ve learned that even the briefest of questions often hides a story behind it). I also tell stories – both my own, and other women’s. A heart patient’s story often kicks off with a profound this-can’t-be-happening-to-me sense of disbelief as we try to make sense out of something that makes no sense at all. Telling the story to others helps us do this at first. “How did this happen?” demand our worried family and friends while we lie there, overwhelmed, and thus our storytelling begins.

I’ve also learned that the way we tell that same story to ourselves and to others changes over time. And as NPR broadcaster Glynn Washington (of Snap Judgment) said in a recent interview, when you start changing your story, you change the storyteller:  Continue reading

“Very different from other heart books”: my Q&A with Johns Hopkins University Press

3 Dec

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by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

At some point during the two-year adventure of writing my new book, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease, an author questionnaire arrived from my publisher’s marketing staff at Johns Hopkins University Press, including this request: “Sometimes a conversation is the best way to introduce a book/author. Please answer the following questions:”

Q: What were some of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching this book?
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Living with both fibromyalgia and heart disease

5 Nov
by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

     Dr. Barbara Keddy

In her latest blog post, Dr. Barbara Keddy quotes my new book in this statement: Coping with a chronic illness is work” – an understatement coming from somebody like her.  She is a Professor Emerita at Dalhousie University in Halifax, a retired teacher of nurses, a respected author and blogger – but more importantly to this discussion, she has spent five decades living with fibromyalgia, and more recently, almost five years as a heart attack survivor. With her kind permission, I’m sharing her blog post here: part very personal essay, and part book review:

Continue reading

I don’t want to talk about it…

30 Aug

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

When you get together with your girlfriends, are there any conversation topics that you believe are not open for discussion? Any that are off-limits? Any personal stories that you think are, well, just too personal to talk about to those women closest to you?

No, me neither.

Nowhere is this communication openness more visible than with our health. We generally like to share our medical news, updates on that medical news, and our opinions about each others’ medical news.  Health topics appear increasingly popular as we age (and thus have way more medical news to discuss).  It’s what my friend Dave likes to call “the organ recital”.  But when it comes to serious health conditions, do you ever wonder if all that sharing is necessarily a good thing?  Continue reading

Feisty advice to patients: “Get down off your cross!”

5 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I’ve never met Debra Jarvis, but we’re practically neighbours, separated only by a few measly miles of Pacific Ocean coastline and an international border. She’s a writer, breast cancer survivor, hospital chaplain, and ordained United Church minister from Seattle – a city I can see from the shore here in Victoria. Oh, wait. That’s the city of Port Angeles, Washington. Still, I can see Seattle in the Sarah Palin sense of the word “see” . . .

I first encountered the “Irreverent Reverend” Jarvis watching her poignantly funny presentation at TEDMED 2014.  And like so much in life, when smart people tell good stories, their messages can be meaningful no matter what they’re talking about.     Continue reading