“It’s no hobby. It is a vital service.”

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by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

Hobby: häbē/ noun. an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. “Her hobbies are reading, knitting and gardening”

I’m guessing that those of us who have ‘graduated’ from the WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium For Women With Heart Disease (a training program held each fall at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) rarely consider our volunteer contributions as a “hobby” in the birdwatching/jewelry-making/focaccia-baking sense of that word.

We already know that our Mayo training gives us ‘street cred’.  The days we spent experiencing world-class “cardiology bootcamp” in Rochester opened doors that allow us to share what we’ve learned as community educators, media spokespersons or heart patient support group leaders. So far, over 600 WomenHeart ‘champions’ in the U.S. (and two of us here in Canada) have been trained to be “the boots on the ground” in the fight against women’s heart disease – our #1 killer. According to WomenHeart, 45% of the women who graduate from this annual training at Mayo have been credited with saving someone’s life.

But sometimes, we are smacked upside the head by those who simply have no clue about the difference between a volunteer and a hobbyist. Take, for example, this story from my heart sister, Leslea Steffel-DennisContinue reading ““It’s no hobby. It is a vital service.””

Looking good for your doctor’s appointment: oui ou non?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

I remember that moment very clearly. I was sitting in my kitchen, staring at the wall clock. At the time, I was in the throes of a dark and debilitating depression following my heart attack, struggling with frightening daily cardiac issues that had resulted in being ordered off work on extended medical leave while my cardiologists tried to solve the mystery. I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor that morning, and at that moment, I was having a very hard time trying to decide whether or not I should wash my hair.

Normally, shower/hair-washing is just part of my regular daily routine – not something to be decided at all. But on this day, some part of me knew that this might be the third or fourth or maybe even the fifth day in a row I’d gone without bothering to shower, and maybe I shouldn’t let my doctor see me like this. 

Wouldn’t want her to see how bad things had become for me. Wouldn’t want her to see me without my perfect pasted-on happy smile/make-up/clothes/hair. Continue reading “Looking good for your doctor’s appointment: oui ou non?”