Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters posts from 2021

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters  

Looking back on what I wrote about here during 2021 was a reminder to me that, in the world of women’s heart health, I seem to be all over the map. And I rarely write about regular heart stuff like cholesterol or drugs or heart-healthy recipes (because people above my pay grade write far more efficiently elsewhere about those things!)  Here, for example, are the Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters articles during this past year:

Continue reading “Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters posts from 2021”

How could YOU – of all people! – have a heart attack?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

I’ve come to learn that a common reaction to a heart attack is others’ utter shock that this could happen to “YOU, OF ALL PEOPLE!”  Women in particular report reactions like this because, generally speaking, we’re used to being the strong glue that holds our family life and relationships together.

How dare we get sick. . .      .          .          .     Continue reading “How could YOU – of all people! – have a heart attack?”

The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

As Bruce Springsteen once sang, “You get used to anything. Sooner or later it just becomes your life.”(1)  Bruce was right. Since being diagnosed with heart disease in 2008, I’ve observed a bizarre and surprising change in my ability to adjust to ongoing cardiac symptoms. My symptoms have not changed. But at some point, I just got better at adjusting to them.

In fact, I suspect that the chest pain which just feels “normal” to me by now would make most other people head straight to the Emergency Department.      .       .      Continue reading “The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self”

Choose your listeners carefully

 by Carolyn Thomas    @Heartsisters

I once heard the late author Dr. Leo Buscaglia tell a conference audience his story about how he grew up equating caregiving with love. When he was a little boy, for example, his own mother seemed cold and distant  – except when he was sick. During those times, she would sit at his bedside, stroke his fevered brow, spoon-feed him homemade soup, fuss over every painful twinge, listen carefully to his every word, and become the kind of loving mother he rarely knew when he was healthy.    . Continue reading “Choose your listeners carefully”

Six personality coping patterns that influence how you handle medical crisis

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

As regular readers already know, I like to include the work of cardiac psychologist Dr. Wayne Sotile on this site, mostly because what he writes about the psychological challenges of heart disease and recovery rings so true for me since my own heart attack.

His 1992 book Heart Illness and Intimacy: How Caring Relationships Aid Recovery looks at the profound emotional impact that the stresses of heart disease can have on patients, spouses and children.

I was especially intrigued by the chapter called The Personality Factor: Can We Change? which explores how our personalities and coping patterns can often determine how we’ll react to a life-changing cardiac event.

Based on the 1987 pioneering work of Stewart and Joines on Transactional Analysis, Dr. Sotile outlines in this chapter the six basic coping patterns that seem to drive our perceptions, our behavioural choices, and our corresponding emotional reactions to both everyday life and to a chronic and progressive diagnosis like heart disease. He explains:

“These six personality drivers become especially influential in shaping our reactions during stressful times like a serious illness.”

I was surprised to recognize myself in more than one pattern on this list. How many of these six personality coping patterns seem familiar to you? Continue reading “Six personality coping patterns that influence how you handle medical crisis”