The Book

Save 30% by ordering this book directly from Johns Hopkins University Press, using the code HTWN  

My book, A Woman’s Guide to Living With Heart Disease, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, was launched as Amazon’s #1 New Release in the Medicine/Public Health category, and is already in its second printing!*


Thank you so much to cardiologist Dr. Martha Gulati, Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine and Research, and Director of Preventive Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, former Chief of Cardiology at the University of Arizona, former Executive Editor of the American College of Cardiology’s CardioSmart, and author of the best-selling book Saving Women’s Hearts.  Dr. Gulati was kind enough to write the  beautiful and thoughtful foreword for my book.

Here’s a brief excerpt from her pages:   

  “As a woman who experienced a heart attack, was misdiagnosed, and deals with everything that living with heart disease entails, Carolyn uses humor wrapped in practicality and common sense to help women navigate their disease and all the overwhelming emotions that come with this diagnosis.

“Carolyn has given a voice to the female heart patient in a way that few others have been able to. I am grateful that she decided to write this book, because I believe it will improve the dialogue between heart patients and their physicians.

*How to buy this book:

Ask for my book at your public library or local bookshop (if they don’t have it yet, get them to order!) or get it online at:


Barnes and Noble


Johns Hopkins University Press (mention code HTWN to save 30% off the list price!)

♥ Share your opinion! If you do buy your copy of the book online, please take a moment to leave a Customer Review after you’ve read it (Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

♥ Leave your review on GOODREADS!


Read the Reviews

See also:

Parade magazine’s exclusive excerpt from my book: After a Heart Attack: Why Am I So Tired?

May 12, 2018: Featured in the 4th Annual ‘Emerging Local Authors‘ event!

A Woman’s Guide to Living With Heart Disease: my blog-turned-book project!

“Very different from other heart books”:  my Q&A with Johns Hopkins University Press

Read early reviews

Dr. Martha Gulati’s fabulous foreword to my book

“Best narrative I have ever encountered on this topic”, Cardiac Health Foundation

Can’t wait to start reading my book? Here’s Chapter 1!

When an illness narrative isn’t just about illness: the preface to my book

A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease: Interview with Carolyn Thomas, Patient Empowerment Network, by Marie Ennis-O’Connor, Ireland

32 thoughts on “The Book

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  6. Hi Carolyn
    My name is Carolyn too and whilst I’ve not read your book, I’ve recently been diagnosed with Coronary Artery Spasm and am very scared about this. I’ve been hospitalised 3 times since March and because the bloods and ECGs are normal they don’t take my pain seriously. I’m just on pills, I was discharged yesterday and today had 5 episodes of severe chest pain relieved with my spray. I don’t bother with the hospital as I’d be embarrassed. I’m not sure what to do.


    1. Hello Carolyn – I’m not a physician so cannot comment specifically on your situation, but I can say generally that medications are typically the first-line treatment for people living with a vasospasm condition like yours. I’m guessing your spray is nitroglycerin, an effective drug that dilates the blood vessels. A nitro patch is often prescribed for patients with severe persistent angina – ask your physician if this might be an option to help manage your symptoms.

      Meanwhile, your only job now is to become the world expert in your diagnosis. Learn as much as you can about vasospasm conditions. You might try visiting the WomenHeart support group (thousands of women with every possible cardiac diagnosis). Try not to be scared (which just aggravates symptoms) while you are learning as much as you can. Good luck to you…


  7. I just finished reading your book. I could hardly put this book down. You caught me with the first chapter and its cliff-hanger story ending, so I had to keep reading to find out what happened (another cliff-hanger!) and one chapter led to another & then another!! I’m now in my second slightly slower read yello-highlighting as I go and I will no doubt be picking it up many more times as the months evolve on my recuperation path.

    It’s almost like you were eavesdropping on my life during and after my own heart attack!! Congratulations Carolyn Thomas on a book that should be handed out in every Cardiology Ward in every hospital to every female heart patient (but first, to every med student in every medical school for a 1st-person crash course in what it’s really like to be “the one wearing the drafty hospital gown” as you say in your book.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. I just finished reading your book, I read the whole thing in one weekend, I just could not put it down. You somehow described in each chapter just what I was feeling too at different stages following my own heart diagnosis. It felt like you were a friend along the road who has been this way before me. Your book needs to be sent home with every woman before she is even discharged from the cardiac unit, thankyou for writing it for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Carolyn,

    I loved to read your book. It is so honestly written. Although my handle with my heart disease was very different from yours, there were some similiarities according to doctors, who did not take me earnest and laughed me out. It still happens.

    My triple bypass was 1983. Yesterday I had my 34. anniversary. I have never asked why me, or got a depression because of my heart disease. “What does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

    I am wondering how you could write such a good book with your ongoing heart problems. My greatest congratulation for it.

    I hope you all the best and happy Christmas with your loved ones. I have seen pictures of your lovely granddaughter Rose. It was the best for me to see my grandson grow up to a young handsome teen. He is 13 years now.

    Now I am going for my 5 km walk in the snow covered forest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy 34th Heart-iversary, Mirjami! You are a wonderful role model, especially for newly-diagnosed heart patients, of how even triple bypass surgery patients can go on to live long and active lives. I’m sure those long walks in nature have helped a lot (plus watching your grandbaby, of course!) That’s THE BEST! Thanks for sharing your feedback.


  11. Carolyn,

    I just finished your book and loved loved loved it!! I am an RN and also a SCAD survivor and think this book should be required reading by cardiac nurses and cardiac providers everywhere. I emailed my own cardiologist to recommend it. I have also suggested it to many other SCAD survivors. You continue to show us we are not alone.

    You touched on so many important issues in the book, I can’t even begin to discuss them all (in this format).

    I think you are awesome, I love your blog. You are doing so much to help women in our survival with heart disease.

    Stay strong and keep writing!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have made my day, Deb. It means a lot to me, especially coming from a SCAD survivor. Knowing “we are not alone” is a profoundly under-estimated way to help us manage a diagnosis, no matter what it happens to be! Thanks so much for this…


  12. I suffered a heart attack almost a year ago at 37 years old. I had a 100% blockage of my left main (was told it was a widow maker). I needed emergency open heart surgery for a bypass. I didn’t know the symptoms of a heart attack, but I had them all – heartburn, extreme sweating, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, neck pain that traveled to between my shoulder blades. 8 hours later when I finally went to the ER, I started getting jaw pain.

    I’m trying to advocate with the American Heart Association to get the word out and help others as there’s really no medical reason I’m still alive. I later found out I had inflammation due to an autoimmune disease that I never knew I had. I was a ticking time bomb.

    I find it comforting (in a strange way) to hear other women’s experience, and I think it’s great to tell others who have been fortunate enough to not have experienced it themselves. I’ll definitely preorder the book.

    Thank you for raising awareness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, you were so young to suffer what must have been a shocking health crisis! I too think it IS comforting to hear about other women’s experience, mostly because it reminds us that we are not alone. I hope you enjoy reading my book this fall. Good for you for now doing what you can to help raise awareness of women’s heart health!


    1. I hope so, too! The book doesn’t come out until November, so will know more closer to the fall! I’ll announce details here…
      *** Pauline, it’s YOU! My long-ago Hospice colleague!!! How lovely to see your name here! Hope you are doing well and enjoying summer! ♥


      1. Hi again Carolyn,

        I just wanted to thank you again as I was finally properly diagnosed. Will be having an angiogram with certain (says my cardiologist) angioplasty in the near future. Two blockages located. My persistence finally paid off.

        Looking forward to your book!

        Take care,


        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good luck with that angio! Let me know how you make out, okay? I hope that afterwards, you will attend the 7-week Heart To Heart classes (they run all year long for heart patients and their family members at the Hillside Health Centre. (I help to facilitate some of these classes a few times a year). Here’s more on H2H, FYI…


          1. Hi again Carolyn!

            Well I’m finally booked to have the angioplasty this Tuesday, October 17th. Feeling both relief (that it will finally happen) and anxiety re: how it will all go. Do you have any blogposts on pre-procedure angst and prep?

            Your ol’ colleague,

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hi Pauline – great news that you finally have a date. I like to imagine how great you’ll be feeling the day afterwards on Wednesday when it’s all behind you! I don’t have a pre-procedure angst blog post (but here’s one on heart-related anxiety in general) BUT I’d suggest you check out the website which has everything you could ever want to know, plus a patient forum you can participate in for free to share questions/concerns. Best of luck on Tuesday!!! ♥


              1. Well, you were right about feeling better the day after. What a relief to have that behind me! Three stents later, ha, I have hope and promise that life is about to improve considerably.

                I intend to register for the Heart to Heart program, will have to check to see when the next series begins. Just saw the WomenHeart support group info on your blog.

                Finally, I can hardly wait for your book!!! Looking forward to your book launch. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Wow! Three stents! I’m so glad you are feeling better, Pauline. You can now visualize that blood flow happily coursing through those newly revascularized coronary arteries!

                  While you’re waiting for my book (!) please go find a copy of Dr. Wayne Sotile’s excellent book, Thriving With Heart Disease (especially useful for the early days and weeks, post-intervention). I’ve written lots about his work on the psychosocial aftermath of becoming a heart patient, including this 4-part series. You’ve just missed this month’s local WomenHeart support group meeting (which was last evening at RJH) but mark your calendar for November (it’s always the 3rd Wednesday of the month here in Victoria). Take care, Pauline! ♥


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