Tag Archives: fibromyalgia

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:

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Dr. Barbara Keddy: “I was pitifully ignorant about heart disease”

23 May

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

heart BehanceI’m very pleased to share this with you, my heart sisters.  It’s essentially the journal of a heart attack. The author is Dr. Barbara Keddy, a teacher of nurses, professor emerita at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and author of the book Women and Fibromyalgia* – a condition that Barbara herself has lived with for over 40 years. Barbara and I first “met” each other online when we both happened to be named recipients of the 2009 Women’s Health Hero awards from Our Bodies Ourselves of Boston that year – she representing the east coast of Canada, and I out here on the west.

I’ve been reading her blog and quoting her wise words ever since (here, here and here, for example). And we’ve been casually emailing back and forth for four years – until one day in January, when I received a terse one-line message from her: she had just survived a heart attack.

Barbara’s experience is unique because she’d already been living with the constant pain of a debilitating chronic illness for decades. What happens when such a person gets hit with the double whammy of a serious heart attack on top of everything else?  Here’s her story, in her own words:  Continue reading

Could ‘goodism’ and self-sacrifice be linked to women’s heart disease outcomes?

23 Aug

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

These days, whenever I tell my audiences about the hours leading up to my hospitalization for a heart attack last year, I ask them to guess what I would have done had those horrific cardiac symptoms been happening to my daughter (or my next-door neighbour, or even a perfect stranger) during that endless cross-country flight back home to the West Coast. Would I have patted her grim, sweaty face and whispered:

“Just try to hang on, honey. We’ll be home in nine hours…”

No, my Heart Sisters, I would have been screaming bloody murder for the Air Canada crew to get help immediately, even if it meant turning the damned plane around.  But since these attacks were happening to me, and not to somebody else, I chose instead the unwise and potentially fatal option of just slinking down in my seat, very still, hour after hour, and trying not to make a fuss.   Continue reading