Despite the popularity of her health-inspired blog Carolyn Thomas initially declined the offer to write A Woman’s Guide to Living With Heart Disease.
A heart attack survivor, speaker and blogger at myheartsisters.org, in 2008, she became the first Canadian ever invited to attend the prestigious WomenHeart Science & Leadership training at Mayo Clinic.
“I learned so much during that five days at Mayo Clinic and most of it was shocking to me,” Thomas says.
“The book is based on my Heart Sisters blog where I’ve written over 700 articles ever since my own heart attack in 2008,” the Oak Bay writer said. That blog boasts more than 14 million views from 190 countries. Based on those, her writing style and content, Johns Hopkins University Press approached her about a book.
“My first response was no because I know how much work writing a book can be and I’m a heart patient with ongoing cardiac issues,” she said. But paired up with a brilliant editor, and two years later the book launched in November 2017.
The 70,000-word highlight reel of the blog articles is in its second printing.
“I tried to include the kinds of questions that I had when I was a freshly diagnosed heart patient,” Thomas said. “It’s not about cholesterol and medications and how to prevent a heart attach. It’s really about what happens on the day you come home from hospital.”
While it touches on risk management, she leaves much of that to the cardiologists.
“My dream reader would be somebody who is still in the hospital… this is the companion they can bring home with them and feel like ‘oh somebody’s been on this road before,’”she said. “This is a book written by a patient for other patients.”
Equal parts a memoir about a misdiagnosed heart attack, a guide to the predictable psychological stages of recuperation, and a patient-friendly translation of important science-based findings about women’s unique heart issues.
A Woman’s Guide to Living With Heart Disease is among this year’s Greater Victoria Public Library Emerging Local Authors Collection of 129 books published between 2013 and 2017. It includes self published, independent and small press works as well as ebooks.
Each spring, GVPL launches a new series of books submitted by emerging authors in our community. Applications are accepted in the fall for the next year’s collection.
The print books in the Emerging Local Authors Collection are on display at the Central Branch in the rotunda for one year. The ebooks are showcased online through BiblioBoard. For more information visit https://www.gvpl.ca/virtual-branch/emerging-local-authors/
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