But what about the men?

by Carolyn Thomas 

The irreverent Laura Haywood-Cory of North Carolina is, like me, a heart attack survivor and, also like me, a graduate of Mayo Clinic’s WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women With Heart Disease in Rochester, Minnesota (where she’s also attended the Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit, too!)

Her own dramatic heart story is that of an often deadly condition usually seen in young, healthy women with few if any known cardiac risk factors: Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection or SCAD. I’m happy to say she has been making a heroic effort to beat this sucker into the ground – just one year after surviving her heart attack at age 40, Laura completed the Chapel Hill Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon. It’s her unique take on a surprisingly frequent response to women’s heart disease that I want to share with you today:  Continue reading “But what about the men?”

“All the SCAD ladies, put your hands up!”

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Heart attack survivor Laura Haywood-Cory, one of my heart sisters and a fellow “graduate” of the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic, emailed me with great excitement last week:

“The Wall Street Journal interview with Katherine, me and Dr. Hayes is now live!!”

This WSJ piece tells the inspiring story of how heart attack survivor  Katherine Leon, with Laura’s help, convinced a world-famous hospital to launch research on the rare and deadly heart condition they had each survived: spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD. (See also: When Your Artery Tears).  

Continue reading ““All the SCAD ladies, put your hands up!””

Are you the quarterback of your own heart health team?

by Carolyn Thomas

Karla Marburger is a self-described “Type A computer geek”, a Nebraska woman who is also a survivor of both congestive heart failure and acute renal failure at the age of 43.

I first met Karla along with 45 of our heart sister companions when we attended the 2008 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women with Heart Disease at the world-famous Mayo Clinic. Exactly one year after that amazing training experience, she announced:

“Today, I’m going to a bridal shower — my bridal shower. Two weeks from today, I am getting married to John!

When she first met John, she reported that she was concerned about how he would feel about dating someone with heart problems, someone with dietary restrictions that make it hard to go out to eat, someone who sleeps with oxygen every night, someone who is stubborn about protecting her workout time – and someone who was still healing emotionally from this experience.

“After 2-3 dates of watching me order my meals and scheduling our dates around my workouts, John started commenting on my healthy lifestyle. Not yet ready to trust him with the whole picture, I alluded to a ‘major lifestyle change’, but left it at that.”

But as their relationship turned serious, Karla knew that she had to talk to him about the full picture of her heart condition. She explained:

“He handled the conversation very positively. For John, my heart disease is not a blot on my future. Instead, he treats it as part of my life that has shaped the woman that I am today. And, we help each other by cooking and eating right.”

Karla has become a true expert in cooking and eating right, by the way.  Since her hospitalization in 2007, she has lost over 100 pounds as part of her heart-healthy lifestyle makeover.   Continue reading “Are you the quarterback of your own heart health team?”