by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ November 18, 2018
What a year it’s been since my book was published by Johns Hopkins University Press one year ago this month! When it was launched, “A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease” became Amazon’s #1 New Release in the Medicine/Public Health category. The book is already into its second printing, and reviews have been truly wonderful (with one notable exception: an Australian reader named Robert who complained in his Goodreads review that there was “a bit too much emphasis on how women are neglected when it comes to heart disease” – and then added: “Happily for me, my doctors, nurses and physios did everything by the book.” Thank you Robert, for helping to illustrate the cardiology gender gap so perfectly!
To celebrate this one-year milestone (and entice you to buy the book for yourself, or as a really useful gift for a freshly-diagnosed woman you care about), here are some random excerpts from my book, gathered from each of the 10 chapters.
Continue reading “My book is one year old! Some excerpts to tease you…”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ September 2, 2018
The ink was barely dry on the book contract I’d signed with Johns Hopkins University Press on the morning I tuned in, as I like to do every weekend, to Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition show on CBC Radio.
Michael’s guest that morning couldn’t have been more appropriate, given the project I was just beginning. A physician-turned-author named Dr. Suzanne Koven was talking about people who write first-person accounts of their health crises, books that Michael indelicately referred to as “sick lit“.(1) . Illness, Michael began, is always more interesting to the ill person than to the reader. But Dr. Koven quickly interjected. Continue reading “When an illness narrative isn’t just about illness”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
In a recent essay published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Suzanne Koven* recalls many conversations she had with her father (like her, a physician) in which he loved to reminisce about his own long career in medicine. But there’s one reminiscence she still bristles at, as she explains(1):
“The story was about ladies – always they were ‘ladies’ – and something he called la maladie du petit papier: ‘the disease of the little paper.’
“They would come to his office and withdraw from their purses tiny pieces of paper that unfolded into large sheets on which they’d written long lists of medical complaints. ‘You know what I did then?’ Dad asked. I did, but I let him tell me again anyway. ‘I’d listen to each symptom carefully, and say ‘yes’ or ‘I see’.
“That’s all. And when a lady finally reached the end of her list, she would say: ‘Oh doctor, I feel so much better!’
“The point is, all those ladies needed was someone to listen.”
The notion that whatever was bothering these silly ladies was all in their heads was once a long held truism within the medical profession. Continue reading “Should you bring that list of questions to your doctor?”