by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
Whether we plan to or not, we often end up re-creating ourselves after a significant health crisis. Researchers like Dr. Kathy Charmaz call this phenomenon “the loss of self“, a type of grief experienced while we’re learning to somehow adapt and adjust to an unfamiliar new life.
Nothing is as unfamiliar to us right now as the profound changes introduced by the COVID-19 virus. And just as Dr. Charmaz identified in those of us with chronic illness, we can also experience this loss of self during a global pandemic. . Continue reading “Unlikely companions: grief and gratitude”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
October (also known as Pinktober in corporate brand marketing circles) is the annual holy month of breast cancer awareness-raising, a month of feel-good retail branding opportunities, bathed in a pretty cloud of pinkwashing, a campaign once described by author Barbara Ehrenreich (a breast cancer patient herself) as the “cult of pink kitsch”. You’ve seen these marketing campaign ads:
“For every _______ (insert name of the company’s special pink product, e.g. a pink-labeled can of Campbell’s soup or a pink-handled Smith & Wesson handgun) that you purchase this month, we’ll make a donation to help raise breast cancer awareness!”
As the late Barbara Brenner reminded us: “If breast cancer could be cured by shopping, it would be cured by now.” Continue reading “What heart patients can learn from Pinktober pinkwashing”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ July 14 , 2019
Let’s say you’re a woman recently diagnosed with heart disease who wants to know if it’s “normal” to feel crushing fatigue every time you take a shower. Or you’re a woman living with rheumatoid disease who needs advice on which shoes are best for people who suffer joint pain like yours. Or you’re a woman diagnosed with breast cancer who is trying to make sense of the new emotional extremes you’re struggling with.
Who you gonna call? Continue reading “The questions you don’t ask your doctor”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ February 10, 2019
I absolutely loved the questions that Nancy Stordahl recently posed to her Nancy’s Point blog readers:
“Do you associate certain things with certain events in your life? Is there something that always takes you back to that time or place – a piece of clothing, an item of food, a scent or smell, a vehicle or even a piece of furniture? What is a trigger that reminds you of your diagnosis, treatment, or ‘that time’?”
Nancy went on to tell a touching story of getting rid of her much-loved blue leather sofa and matching chair, and the association of those items with her breast cancer diagnosis and recuperation, among many other important family events, both happy and awful, over many years. Inspired by her nostalgic recall of such associations, I answered her questions by describing a piece of furniture in my own home that still reminds me of what it was like when I first became a patient. Continue reading “Recuperation and a red leather chair”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ August 12, 2018
My blogging friend Nancy Stordahl, author of several books about breast cancer, including (best title ever!) “Cancer is Not a Gift and it Didn’t Make Me a Better Person”, as well as the excellent breast cancer blog Nancy’s Point, sent me a little nudge this week. Perfect timing for an invitation to participate in her 4th Annual Summer Blogging Challenge. It’s hot outside, I’m cranky, I’ve attempted writing half a dozen blog posts this week yet abandoned all of them – maybe Nancy’s challenge will help me feel unstuck.
Her invitation: just answer the following 12 questions about being a blogger (or about the blogs you enjoy reading). Feel free to accept her challenge yourself. Continue reading “The 2018 Summer Blogging Challenge”