Episode 074 -- Rehab or Ripoff?

Snakeoil or Revolutionary Treatment?

New treatments for stroke related conditions are coming out all the time. And with the deficits some folks live with, we desperately need them. Unfortunately, that also means there are a lot of scam therapies out there, too.

Or even if they are not scams, there are still treatments that just don't work. The research doesn't support them and for many people the represent a waste of time and money.

How do you tell the good from the bad? This is the framework I use.

First, who is recommending it? Is it your doctor, therapist, or other member of your care team? If so, there's likely some validity to it. They have a vested interest in recommending safe and effective treatments to you, and they want you to get well.

Or is it a random poster in an internet forum or a YouTube video? Those could still be good, but it pays to be skeptical. You need to go deeper into the scientific research or talk about it with your doctor or care team.

Second, will insurance pay for it? If your insurance will pay for it, then it's pretty likely the data shows the treatment is effective for many people because the insurance companies don't like throwing away money.

If insurance won't pay, well that doesn't tell you too much. They might be stingy or the data might show it doesn't work. or there might simply not be enough data yet.

Third, Is it FDA approved (or approved by the appropriate standards body in your country? If so, that a positive sign. If not, then it likely hasn't been shown to be safe or effective and you ought to be cautious.

So when we have that data, what else should we consider?

First, look at the therapy to see if it's safe. What does the research show? Often this is the first phase of research. The recent Stanford study on stem cells, for example was about determining if it was safe, not determining if it was effective. We talked about this research last year with Dr. Nirav Shah.

Second, is it effective?

Has the research demonstrated scientifically that it is effective? Does it actually work for more than one or two people and how often does it work? Earlier this year, I talked with Dr. Michael Bennett, one of the world's leading experts in Hyperbaric Medicine. This is a therapy that is known to be safe, and it's effective for lots of other conditions, but the research does not demonstrate that it is effective for stroke.

But if it's safe and only maybe effective, isn't it worth a shot?

Maybe. But that brings us to the question of Opportunity Costs.

Few of us have unlimited funds. And none of us have unlimited time. Spending time and money on one therapy means not spending time or money on something else.

The traditional therapies like PT, OT, and Speech Therapy have evidence showing they are effective. Skipping them in favor of an unproven therapy can actually delay your recovery.

So go into new and alternative therapies with a clear view of the risk if you opt to pursue them They may not work.

A Day in a Life with Spasticity

A few months ago, the American Heart Association reached out to me about participating in a video about tone and spasticity. I initially talked about tone and spasticity way back in Episode 3 -- Tone 101.

You can see the new video here or just play it below:


Share it with other folks in your life who might want to learn about spasticity.


A member of the Strokecast community sent me a private message on Twitter politely taking me to task for something I said last week. 

When I talked about "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" I initially referred to Jean Dominique Bauby as a victim. I ought to have referred to him as a survivor.

Language matters as we rewire our brains. If you have had a stroke, and you're reading this today, you are a survivor. You are not a victim. Victims are folks who did not survive their stroke.

Now Bauby ultimately passed away due to complications from his stroke nearly 2 years later. In that time, he learned to communicate despite his locked in syndrome and even wrote a book by blinking his eye. He seems to have lived well beyond the victim stage.



Spasticity Video


Episode 048 — Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy with Dr. Michael Bennett


Stem Cells on Strokecast


Thought on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly


Tone 101


Strokecast Facebook Group


American Heart Association



Where do we go from here?

  • What alternative therapies have you tried? Did they work? Let us know in the new Strokecast Facebook group or in the comments below.
  • Check out the spasticity video from the American Heart Association.
  • Help a friend, colleague, or relative subscribe to the Strokecast for free in their favorite podcast app.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 118 — Quit Asking for Permission with Logan Rena

2-Minute Tip: Mine Social Media for Stories


We talk a lot about the importance of storytelling in talks. And I’m sure many of us have seen speakers who have a story for everything. How do you do that?


Review your social media. We tell stories throughout our day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a variety of other platforms. Then we often forget them.


So next time you need a story go ahead and mine your own social media to find some good ones. It’s likely filled with moments you wanted to remember and share. And those are the good stories.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Logan Rena


Logan Rena Headshot

Logan Rena is just overflowing with energy, enthusiasm, and self-discipline.

Her approach to life is about not asking for permission. But it’s not in a reckless manner. In fact, it’s highly disciplined because once you no longer ask for permission then you become responsible for your actions at a much deeper level.


Logan Renā is the Chief Creative Director of The Logan Design Project Affirmation Clothing company and author of the #1 New Released book, Never Ask For Permission Again. Logan’s heart work is taking women on a journey of self-love, self-awareness and self-care through speaking engagements, The Logan Rena Show on YouTube and through the SoulKation podcast.




Logan’s website


Soul-Formations List


Logan on Instagram


Logan on Twitter


Logan on LinkedIn


SoulKation Podcast


Never Ask for Permission Again


SoulKation TV with Logan Rena



Call To Action


Check out this episode!


Episode 073 -- Movies and #JusticeForJoe

Sometimes art can help our friends and family understand our lives when we cannot. We're all too close to our own situations to adequately explain them. I'm gradually working my way through a list of stroke related movies. It's not always easy to watch them, but they are often rewarding. This week, I talk about 2 of them.

My Beautiful Broken Brain

This film chronicle the life of film producer Lotje Sodderland in the year after her stroke. We see her struggle with language, improve, decline, and generally come to terms with her new way of seeing and communicating with the world.



The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This film is "based on a true story."

It's based on a book written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former editor of Elle magazine in Paris, and it's his memoir.

Bauby suffered a stroke while at the peak of his professional life. When he woke from a coma, he had Locked-In Syndrome. He had all his cognitive abilities but he couldn't speak and he couldn't move. He couldn't communicate with the world outside his body.

Eventually, he was able to communicate by blinking his left eye. And that's how he dictated his book.




A few weeks ago, I spoke with Joe Borges from The NeuroNerds on this show. You can hear that episode here.

Recently, Joe shared the story of his care at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, CA. Basically, when he was a patient, they lost him.

The administered significant narcotics to a brain injury/brain surgery survivor and ignored him. Completely not in his right mind, Joe got up in the middle of the night, got dressed -- sort of -- wandered by the empty nurses station, and eventually encountered a security guard who ignored Joe's fall-risk bracelets, obvious head wound, and told him to leave.

Joe wandered the streets of Van Nuys in the middle of the night for hours with no memory of what he did or what happened to him. Eventually, his sister found him.

Joe has significant post traumatic stress from the incident and the hospital is convinced they did nothing wrong.

Check out the full story here or just play the episode below. And let Valley Presbyterian know your thoughts. (Twitter: http://twitter.com/VPHCares)



Hack of the Week

Hemiparesis can make it hard to shake hands. The cane is in my right, and there not a whole lot I can so with the left one yet.

The fist bump is a great alternative. I find I can do a right-handed fist bump while holding my cane. I can do a left handed one if I concentrate.

It's a nice, simple way to engage in social protocol despite my disabilities.

Where do we go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 117 -- Understanding Audience Needs with Kim Baillie

2-Minute Tip: Practice Breathing


Breathing is, of course, an essential step in speaking. After all, it's how we make sounds. But it's more than that.


Getting adequate air into our lungs calms us down. It helps us counter act the nerves many speakers experience. It ensures our brain has the oxygen it needs to stay on task. And it enhances the volume and confidence with which we speak.


To practice breathing:

  1. Place 2 hands on your chest so your fingers barely touch.
  2. Inhale deeply until your fingers separate.
  3. Exhale
  4. Repeat 4 more times


Do this exercise 5 times a day for several weeks and your body will get used to breathing in a way that  maximizes effectiveness in speaking


Post Tip Discussion:  Meet Kim Baillie



Kim Baille fell into public speaking, like many of us do,  by simply not hating it. In many fields, being willing to speak means that colleagues will ask us to speak


Kim lives in Australia where she acquired her 30 years of experience coaching engineers, architects, senior executives, and now floral designers in public speaking. Her focus is combining their expert knowledge with practical tips to increase their impact as presenters of information.


Kim cohosts the Inside-Exec Podcast with Fulyana Orsborn, a former Citigroup Executive and wealth management expert. Together they help today's corporate executives learn from managers outside the traditional corporate world.


Pre Speech Warm-Up


Kim talked about doing vocal warmups before going on stage. This is probably more common among singers and voice actors. It's helpful for speakers, too, because you still need to tune your instrument.


To me the real value, though, is in how it shifts your mindset. It puts you in a position to go out and speak. It's a ritual that helps you refocus your mental energy on the speech you are about to deliver.


And when it successfully does that, it has the added benefit of knocking down the nerves


Inside-Exec Podcast


Kim talked about one of the most popular episodes of her podcast.


That episode is called "What are the similarities between elite athletes and executives?"


Kim and Fulyana interviewed triathletes Josh and Krystle Hockley. You can listen to the episode  here.




Call To action


  • So check out Kim's site Talking in Public to learn more about her programs.
  • Explore Kim's Podcast, Inside-Exec in your favorite podcast app.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, or relative by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Kim
  • Don't get best…get better

Check out this episode!


Episode 072 -- 5 Lessons from Stroke Recovery

This week began with my 2nd 2nd Birthday. June 3 was 2 years since my stroke. I shared some thoughts earlier in the week in Facebook live here. In this episode, I expand on those concepts and share 5 lessons I've learned about stroke recovery.

5 Lessons on Stroke Recovery

  1. Repetition is important to learning.
  2. Life is full of puzzles.
  3. I am responsible for my own recovery.
  4. [YAWN] Sleep is under appreciated.
  5. Stop and celebrate the wins.

Jim Boggia

I was listening to an interview with Jim Boggia on Meredith Harper's Ukelele is the New Black podcast. If you're not familiar with Jim's work, check out these videos. He is an amazing ukelele and guitar player whom I've had the pleasure of seeing many times on the JoCo Cruise.

Meredith let me share a clip from her interview in this episode where Jim talks about doing the work to learn to play the guitar as a kid. It was about trying and trying and getting a little closer until one day you can do it.

That story reminded me a lot of what we do in stroke recovery. We work at it again and again to build new connections in the brain until it finally happens.

You can find the whole interview here.


You can find Ukulele is the New Black in all popular podcast apps.

And here are some examples of Jim Boggia's work






Hack of the week

My conversation with Gianna Rojas from a few months back is the gift that keeps on giving. This week, we share Gianna's strategy for clipping and painting the finger nails on the one hand that has fingers.

Instead of trying to move a fingernail clipper, she keeps it on the counter, and squeezes it with her other arm.

She uses a similar strategy to paint her nails. Instead of bringing the polish to her fingernails, she brings her finger nails to the polish.


Strokecast Facebook Group


Strokecast on Instagram


Jim Boggia on YouTube


Ukulele is the New Black


Strokecast with Kristen Dingman


Strokecast with Gianna Rojas


Where do we go from here?

  • Continue the discussion in the comments below or in the new Strokecast Community Facebook Group at http://Strokecast.com/FacebookGroup
  • Follow the Strokecast on Instagram by searching for Bills_Strokecast or just visit http://Strokecast.com/Instagram
  • Find Ukulele is the New Black in popular podcast apps.
  • Celebrate the important milestones in your life.
  • Don't get best…get better

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 116 — Comedy, Speaking, and Podcasting with Phil Johnson

2-Minute Tip: Cross the Screw It Line


We can prepare and prepare all we want, but at a certain point before a talk, we’ve done all that we can do.


The anxiety we may feel in going out on stage is less helpful on stage.


There comes a point, where we just have to say to ourselves, “Screw it.” (Or a less family friendly version of that). At that point it’s time to go execute. You’ve done everything you could to be ready. Once you get to that line, you have to trust that you’ve done enough.


And if not? Well, screw it. You’ve got a job to do.


Post Tip discussion: Meet Phil Johnson


I like talking with comedians because they are not just interesting people to chat with. The one-on-one conversations may not be the laugh-fest you might think, especially considering how many are introverts.


But I really like talking with them because comedy is such a precise craft. It involves understanding language, timing, and storytelling at a deep level.


Most public speakers understand these topics at a basic level, but we can be successful by wielding them in broad strokes — almost clumsily. Sometimes we can land our points and message like we are using a paint roller.


Comedians however, can’t use a paint roller. They have to use a fine tip touch up brush because their success relies on precise timing, wording and even emphasizing the right syllable. So there’s a lot we can learn from them.




Phil Johnson, a guy with long hair sings or shouts into a microphone with a guitar strapped across his chest.

Phil Johnson is a man who gets mistaken for a woman, but only by those not paying attention. That revelation kicks off a battle for self-awareness where comedy and music are the weapons of choice. It’s a battle that has taken Phil to such esteemed festivals as the Edinburgh Fringe and Sundance Film Festivals and the Top 8 Finals of the World Series of Comedy.

“I’ve always been the guy who isn’t quite what people expect,” says Phil. Using that experience, Phil pokes holes in the medical marijuana argument, discusses being a white guy at a hip hop show (and the innocent gestures that can get him in trouble), and reveals why Hawaii isn’t the paradise we think it is.


From Shakespearean bees to redneck vampires to anthropomorphic cell phones with weight issues, Phil Johnson fills the stage with quirky characters that combine social satire with absurdist flights of fancy. Then the guitar comes out and kicks the show into an even higher gear with songs about the bright future (and dark past) of babies and what he would do if he woke up one morning as an actual woman.


On stage, Phil’s playful humor and likeable, endearing manner allow him to shake things up without antagonizing the audience. In the end we can only be who we are, try to understand others, and hope they understand us.


RA Curtain CallRoadside Attraction comes from leader Phil Johnson’s twin careers in music and comedy. “The idea here is songs that are musically interesting and challenging, but also funny, and understandable by a casual music listener,” says Johnson. It’s more eclectic than Stephen Lynch, funnier than Prince, and more palatable than Frank Zappa, though influences of all three abound.


“Afrodizzyac” is their take on Blaxploitation film themes. This one is about an international super spy (Afrodizzyac) saving the women of the world from his archenemy, Left Nut. “Brown Ring Around The Collar” is a happy tirade about the stupid people we meet every day. And “Hella Good Day” is Phil Johnson’s own musing on what would make his perfect day. “I wrote it during a really bad day and it helped cheer me up. I don’t expect people to personally relate to each lyric. But I hope it will make them think about what would make them happier.”


Two of the greatest forms of release are live music and a hearty laugh. And Roadside Attraction delivers in spades as evidenced by the audience of young and old, and every ethnicity you’ll find in the audience. Roadside Attraction play by their own rules, and doing everything they can to help you loosen up.


Phil’s Upcoming Tour Dates


Here’s where you can see Phil in June 2019.


June 2019 Tour Dates for Phil Johnson 06/07/19 Clovis, CA DiCicco’s United States Add Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $15. Age restrictions: 18+. Address: 408 Clovis Ave. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/08/19 Clovis, CA DiCicco’s United States Add Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $15. Age restrictions: 18+. Address: 408 Clovis Ave. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/13/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $18. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/14/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $18. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/14/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 9:30pm. Admission: $8. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/15/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $18. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/15/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 9:30pm. Admission: $18. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/16/19 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino United States Add Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $18. Age restrictions: 21+. Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Headlining! BUY TICKETS 06/21/19 Benicia, CA First St Cafe United States Add Time: 8:00pm. Age restrictions: 18+. Address: 440 1st St. BUY TICKETS 06/22/19 Oakland, CA Comedy Oakland United States Add Time: 9:30pm. Age restrictions: 18+. Address: 1628 Webster St. BUY TICKETS 06/28/19 Burbank, CA Flappers Comedy Club – Yoo Hoo Room United States


For more appearances, check out the list on his website here.


Phil in Action


These videos highlight Phil’s comedy. You might not want to play them loudly in your office.





Other Conversations with Comedians

Way back in Episode 3, I talked with my good friend Jon Clarke about his experience as a musician, comedian and advertising creative.


You can find that here.


In Episode 62, I spoke with British comedian, host, and podcaster Iszi Lawrence about the power of storytelling.


You can find that episode here.


Trina Talks Podcast


I had the privilege of being the first man to appear on the Trina Talks podcast.


Trina Talks is a podcast with inspirational talk based on wisdom gained through Trina’s life experiences for women who want motivation and inspiration to go to the next level in their lives, whether personal or professional. Trina L. Martin is a motivational speaker, leader, and cyber tech expert.


I share my stroke story and journey as we talk about the challenges, signs and causes of stroke, and some of the specific challenges women face. You can listen below or subscribe to Trina Talks for free in your favorite podcast app.





Phil’s website


Phil’s Tour Dates


Under the Crossbones — Phil’s Pirate Podcast


Phil Interviews Anne Chambers about Grace O’Malley


Phil Johnson on Facebook


Phil Johnson on Twitter


Phil Johnson on Instagram


Phil Johnson on YouTube


Phil Johnson on Spotify


Lynn Ruth Miller


2-Minute Talk Tips Episode 003 — Meet Jon Clarke


2-Minute Talk Tips Episode 062 — Tell A Story to Add Value and Meet Iszi Lawrence


Call To Action


  • To learn more about Phil, his comedy, his Pirate podcast, and more, visit http://www.RoadsideAttraction.com or check out the links above.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, or relative by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Phil
  • Subscribe for free to 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don’t get best…get better.


2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Episode 071 -- Where Are We Now?

This article was sponsored by NeuroLutions for the benefit of the stroke community.

A Break from the Journey

Recovery from stroke is a marathon, not a sprint.

You've probably heard or read that before. It's a journey. It's a unique one because every stroke is different, and every stroke survivor is different. We are all on our own trip. But we're not doing it by ourselves. Many of us are lucky enough to be joined by our caregivers and medical teams.

Plus, while our journeys are different, they do intersect. As we go down the road of recovery, we meet other folks on their own journeys and at different points in their journeys.

At these way stations, we share tips. We share laughs. We share experiences. And we just share.

In this episode we have one of those chats as we sit around the proverbial road side camp fire with 3 survivors at different points in their journey.

As of June 3, I am 2 years into my recovery working to regain motor function.

I'm joined by Peter and Ria. Peter is about 21 months into his journey working on his cognitive and emotional skills.

Melia and Kerry also join us. They been on this road longer than the rest of us. Kerry is now about 5 years along his voyage as he and Melia work on his cognitive and motor skills.

So take a short break from the road and join us for the largest panel on a Strokecast episode to date as we ask and answer, "Where are we now?"

Melia and Kerry Wilkinson

Melia and Kerry Wilkinson stand outside a houseKerry Wilkinson had a hemorrhagic stroke 5 years ago in 2014. Melia, his wife, became his primary caregiver and aggressively drove his recovery ensuring he got the medical support he needed. She's been sharing her insights in blog posts on the Strokecast website.

Melia grew up in Maryland and has a degree in economics, which she has never used. Immediately after college, she spent a year in Japan teaching English and learning that she didn’t want to be a teacher.

She and her husband met on the East Coast but eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest for his job in computer games – and for the great coffee!

While knowing very little about strokes, neuro recovery or even blood pressure, Melia quickly became an expert and an advocate and has strong opinions on how we can better help caregivers and fine tune and personalize therapy for stroke survivors.

She and her family are lifelong nerds enjoying Emerald City Comic Con, Doctor Who and anything to do with a super hero. Watching her husband thrive and her daughter prosper does allow her to see the real heroes in her life and makes the hard days better.

We met Melia in Episode 64. You can also read her blogposts at http://Strokecast.com/Melia

Peter and Ria Evans

Peter Evans HeadshotPeter Evans had his hemorrhagic stroke in the fall of 2017. Ria, his wife, became his primary caregiver and together they navigated the new emotional landscape of post-stroke life. They've candidly shared their story of mental health and emotional struggles with us in prior episodes and blog posts.

Like many others, Peter first came to LA hoping to break into acting in film and television, and it was that which brought Peter and Ria together when they worked together on her cable public access TV show and a feature film they both produced on the set of which he says they fell in love. “She may have stolen my heart,” he says, “but what she gave me back in love and support over these past 20 years, on balance I feel like I’m a millionaire—Definitely feel like I came out a huge winner on that deal, the day I met Ria!”

Ria Evans HeadshotPeter continues to this day contributing on-line content for Stroke resources and putting his years of Project Management to good use, paying it forward to all his fellow stroke survivors.

We heard from Peter and Ria in episode 60 and episode 67. You can read Peter's blog posts here.

Discovering New Deficits

Another thing that we touch on that I want to call attention to is the idea that as we recover, we discover new deficits. As I mentioned in the conversation, I've recently discovered I don't have ulnar or radial deviation -- I can't move my wrist left or right. It's not that I've lost any capability. Just the opposite in fact. As I've recovered bigger things, I start to discover things that previously flew under the radar.

That's a good thing.

Power of Hobbies

We also got into a conversation about hobbies -- 3D Printing and older computer challenges from the 90s. And as we started to go into that rabbit hole (I did cut some of it) it wasn't so much about stroke or disability. Just about stuff we are interested in.

And that's important because while it does have a big impact on our lives, our lives are still so much more than just stroke survival. I don't talk too much about the rest of my life on the show because the show is specifically about stroke world. But it's so important for survivors to get involved in other things they are interested in. And the added benefit is the aid a bobby can be in recovery. Just look at Kerry's experience with 3D Printing.

And for caregivers, too, it's important. Caregiver are still must still be able to have their own life and hobbies.

And if you can't imagine doing stuff after stroke, talk to the OT. Talk to Rec therapists. Talk to other survivors and caregivers. There are an amazing number of unexpected solutions out there.

Trina Talks Podcast

I had the privilege of being the first man to appear on the Trina Talks podcast.

Trina Talks is a podcast with inspirational talk based on wisdom gained through Trina's life experiences for women who want motivation and inspiration to go to the next level in their lives, whether personal or professional. Trina L. Martin is a motivational speaker, leader, and cyber tech expert.

I share my story and journey as we talk about the challenges, signs and causes of stroke, and some of the specific challenges women face. You can listen below or subscribe to Trina Talks for free in your favorite podcast app.



More Social Channels

I mentioned in the previous episode that I've launched a Facebook Group for the Strokecast community. So if you're on Facebook, come over and join us to talk about the latest episode or your own or your loved ones' strokes. Or just pop in and say, "Hi!"

You can find it at http://Strokecast.Com/FacebookGroup

I've also just launched an Instagram channel for the show. I'll be sharing more quotes from the show, images from other survivors, stuff about my own recovery, and other things relevant to folks who listen to the show.

You can search Instagram for Bills_Strokecast or just click here: http://Strokecast.com/Instagram


And on a personal note, I'm recording this bit on the morning of June 3, 2019. That makes today my second, second birthday -- my 2-year Strokeaversary. I'll be talking about that in greater detail next episode, but for now I'll just say I'm grateful for all the support I've gotten over the past 2 years, for the progress that I've made, and the future that is yet to come.

You can hear some of my thoughts in this Facebook Live video I shot in the afternoon of June 3, 2019.

In summary, I'm happy to still be here.


Hack of the Week

Stand off center while doing dishes.

When I do dishes, I tend to make a mess and get water on the floor and the counter. Granted that happened before the stroke, too, but it happens even more now. And I splash myself more as I do this one handed.

I'm used to standing in front of the faucet, centered on the sink. But really, that's a legacy of the days when I used to do dishes with 2 hands, and both had to have access to the sink.

I recently realized I don't have to do that anymore. Now when I do dishes, I stand a step to the left. That means, my right, unaffected arm and shoulder are now centered to the faucet.

The one working hand has full access to the sink. The weak left is out of the way, and I don't splash my clothes nearly as much anymore.

Part of living with disabilities is figuring out what I used to do to accommodate two hands and that I no longer need to do that in the same way.

Where do go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 070 -- Identity With Annie Smith

Last summer, Annie Smith was featured in the Stroke Smart magazine, sharing a story about stress and how that stress ultimately led to her stroke on December 22, 2015.

I'm thrilled the folks from the AHA were able to help me connect with Annie this week.


Annie Smith sits at a counterAnnie Smith is an Ischemic stroke survivor.

2015 was a life-changing year for Annie; her husband of 38 years died unexpectedly, her first grandchild was born; and she suffered a massive stroke.

On December 22, 2015, she fell to the floor and couldn’t get up. She suffered left-side paralysis and was in a wheelchair for several months before learning to use various canes. After months of physical therapy in a hospital and at home, she regained mobility, relearning to walk and drive a car. Annie returned to her full time job eight months after the stroke, but couldn’t perform all the responsibilities without the help of her daughter who went to work with her.

Consequently, she had to take an early retirement.

Currently, she has weakness on the left side of her body, has some imbalance issues, and suffers from chronic pain.

Professionally, Annie was an educator for two decades.

She was a college professor, teaching educational psychology and introduction to teaching; prior to earning a doctorate, she worked as an academic counselor, high school English teacher, a literacy counselor, and author.

Annie grew up in Mississippi and moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2005 to work at a university.

She hopes to inspire others to live their best lives and become aware of how stress and diet affect our health.


Annie talks about figuring out who she is now that the stroke has changed all her plans for the future.

A lot of times, survivors talk about how a stroke doesn't mean life is over. It does mean that life will be different. Changes to the brain can alter our priorities, our temperaments, and even our personalities. It can lead us to look at life in a more positive or a more negative manner. This is an internal change in identity.

There are also external changes in our identities. When someone really loves their work and identifies heavily with it, it can be extra difficult to adapt if they can't return to work after a stroke. It's not just their livelihood and financial future that's turned upside down, but also the entire way they see themselves.

A stroke can lead to new life plans and new goals. Family structure can change. And there are myriad other ways the way we see ourselves changes.

Of course that's without even getting into the physical changes we may see in a mirror or through mobility aids.

Annie is going through that process now of figuring out just who post-stroke Annie is.

And she's doing that while working through her recovery, working through depression, dealing with a lack of confidence, and mourning the loss of both her husband and pre-stroke Annie.

And it's fantastic and a testament to her compassion and caring that she invited the rest of us to be part of her journey.

Annie's Story on YouTube


Facebook Group

I've just launched a new Facebook group for the Strokecast community. Stop by, join, say Hi, and share your thoughts on recovery after stroke or about the show.

Hack of the Week

Meditation can be a great tool to control stress. Controlling stress is important for the rest of the things we need to do to stay healthy and avoid stroke -- sleeping well, eating right, and exercising.

So folks are uncomfortable with the idea of meditation, for a variety of reasons, but it doesn't have to be a big deal. Many traditional medical establishments are now promoting "Mindfulness" which provides many of the benefits of meditation without the cultural baggage.


Where do we go from here?


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 115 — Less Doing with Ari Meisel

2-Minute Tip: Textiful


One way to avoid overwhelming and stressing your audience is to make resources available after the fact and to let your audience know those resources will, in fact, be available.


Ari Meisel recommends Textiful for this. With this tool, you can tell your audience to text a key phrase to a specific number. Now you have an automated dialog with the audience member. You can automatically email them your slides, add them to a newsletter mailing list, or set up other follow-up activities.


When you tell your audience about this at the beginning of your talk, that helps them focus more on understanding and thinking about you content instead of just trying to retain all the details.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Ari Meisel


Ari Meisel speaks around the country about being an Overwhelmologist and helping founders replace themselves in organizations. Regardless of your role in an organization, though, there is a lot of wisdom in Ari’s approach.



Ari Meisel in a black T-Shirt sitting on an outdoor couch

Ari is the best-selling author of “The Art of Less Doing,” and “The Replaceable Founder.”He is a self-described Overwhelmologist whose insights into personal and professional productivity have earned him the title, “The Guru’s Guru.” He can be heard on the award-winning Less Doing Podcast, on international stages speaking to thought leaders and influencers, and for those who prefer the written word, Ari’s blog posts on Medium offer immediate and actionable advice for entrepreneurs seeking replaceability.


Teach Your Audience to Listen


Ari starts off his talk by explaining three things.


  1. He speaks really fast to pack in a lot of information, and he encourages his audience to slow him down if he goes too fast.
  2. He likes to be interrupted so he doesn’t want folks to wait until the end of the talk to ask questions.
  3. At the end of the talk they’ll be able to get the slides and notes via textiful, as described in his tip.


By explaining these items, he teaches the audience how to listen to his talk. Giving folks the ground rules means folks don’t have to wonder if it’s appropriate to ask questions, if they have to take detailed notes, or if the talk is going too fast for others.


When we know the ground rules and set the appropriate expectations, we can focus more on the content.


OAO Methodology


Ari mentioned the core methodology of OAO.

  1. Optimize
  2. Automate
  3. Outsource


Those 3 elements are key to making yourself replaceable.


You first need to know which processes you can make more efficient. That’s not just about being faster. It’s about making sure they are built in the right way to deliver the results you want fastest and at the lowest cost.


Once you optimize your processes, how can you automate them? Are there tech tools that will deliver the same result with less involvement from you? A text message autoresponder like the one Ari talked about in his tip might be one example.


But it’s not just as about tech tools. Are there ways you can set up an automated process that triggers actions from you or members of your team in such a way that you don’t need to spend much time thinking about it? Preserve that brain energy for things that matter and make a bigger difference in your business.


Finally — outsource. Once your processes are optimized and automated for your business or role, is there someone else who can take that over? Maybe it makes sense to hire another company or contractor to execute that task for you.


TedX Talk


Ari mentioned doing a TedX Talk as one of his earlier speaking endeavors. Here it is.



Managerial Economics 101


I mentioned the Manager Tools description of Managerial Economics 101. Here is their explanation of the concept.



Other Lessons for Speakers


There’s an important lesson for speakers here. At one level, it’s about how a speaker or trainer runs their independent business, or how we do the rest of our job if we have a role in a corporation.


At another level, it’s about the content of our talks. It’s easy to fill our talks with too much stuff — with too many details. We might do that because we want to share all the details. Or prove how knowledgeable we are. Or because we’re afraid to leave something out.


We sometimes do the same thing when crafting slides. We put too much on there because we love our content. Or we want to make sure it’s complete. Or because we think we should.


In reality, putting too much in a talk or too much on a slide is just as counterproductive as doing too much non-core work in our business.


If we overwhelm our audience we are less likely to land our actual message or point. If we don’t do that, what’s the point?




Ari’s Website


Ari’s Intro Course (The 3 Keys To Becoming Replaceable)


Ari on Twitter


The Art of Less Doing


The Replaceable Founder


The Less Doing Podcast


Ari on Medium


Ari on LinkedIn


Ari on Instagram


Ari on Facebook


Ari’s TedX Talk


Aris Talks to Jordan Bellfort




Managerial Economics 101


Genius Network



Call To Action



2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Episode 069 -- Retired NBA Star Charlie Ward Shares his Stroke and Lifestyle

In this episode I talk with Heisman Trophy winner and retired professional basketball player Charlie Ward about his experience with Stroke last June while on a church mission trip to Mexico.

Charlie and I talk about the things in his life that led up to his stroke and the life style changes he's made to give himself the best chance to live a long, healthy, and stroke-free life.

After a spectacular multi-sport college athletic career, Charlie graduated in 1994 and joined the NBA. He play professional basketball from 94 thru 2005 when he retired due to injuries. He transitioned into coaching and now coaches basketball at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The big lesson that comes out of this episode is that we have to take care of ourselves. We have to manage our diets, exercise more, and keep our stress levels under control. It's not complicated or fancy; we just have to do it.

And that's easy to forget until a crisis hits. Ineffective habits sneak up on us when we're not looking. We may plan to deal with them tomorrow because it doesn't feel like a big deal.

Remember, high blood pressure doesn't hurt; there's no pain. There's just damage until it's too late.

It often takes a crisis to move us to change, and even that's not enough.

Charlie's encounter with stroke in Ensenada Mexico was enough to drive that change. He got more consistent with his workouts. He changed his diet. He worked to reduce his stress while he takes his message and story to athletes and others around the country.

5 Things Charlie Teaches Athletes and Others

  1. Develop good eating habits.
  2. Always do your exercise.
  3. Minimize the stress in your life.
  4. Learn to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke (BE FAST)
  5. Get regular check ups to stay on top of your health.

Stroke symptom graphic


His Twitter Bio describes him simply:

Man of integrity. Heisman Trophy winner. Retired NBA athlete. Motivational speaker. Philanthropist. Coach. Mentor. Lover of One Woman.

Charlies web has a little more detail.

From CharlieWard.org

A waist up view of Charlie Ward as he stands in front of a city skylineCharlie Ward, Jr. is a husband, father, mentor and coach who embodies the principles of integrity, hard work and faith in God. He inspires adults and youth alike in the way he carries himself and how he shows up in the world. Described as a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a once-in-a-lifetime human being, Charlie’s character and his commitment to serve others are deeply respected in the sports community and far beyond. His calm demeanor and powerful leadership message of preparation, perseverance and patience set strong examples for business leaders, organizations, students and families.

Following a nine-year career coaching high school football, Charlie was named head coach of The Florida State University School’s basketball team in Tallahassee, Florida in April 2018. He travels the country delivering his inspirational Charlie’s Chalk Talk motivational speeches. He also has a "Chalk Talk with Charlie" featured segment  every Thursday on  Fox 49’s Live in Tallahassee at 7pm and on https://www.facebook.com/LIVEINTALLAHASSEE where he gives in-depth sports analysis and talks about community events.

Listed among the most outstanding college athletes in modern history, Charlie, a two-sport athlete, was a stellar quarterback in football and an equally impressive point guard in basketball at Florida State University (FSU). During his senior year, he won over thirty awards, including the Heisman Trophy, set nineteen school and seven Atlantic Coast Conference records, subsequently leading the FSU Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship under legendary Coach Bobby Bowden. 

book cover of Charlie Ward's book, The Athlete

After graduating from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Charlie was drafted twice by Major League Baseball and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks. He went on to play for the Knicks, helping the team reach the playoffs six consecutive years from 1996 to 2001. He played eleven seasons as a leading point guard in the NBA in New York, San Antonio, and Houston, and served as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for two years. 

Charlie Ward is a man whose greatness and grace know no bounds. He and his wife Tonja have been married for 23 years and they have three children, Caleb, Hope and Joshua. The Wards underwrote and produced youth development sports camps throughout the country from 1996 - 2006, and continue to quietly donate funds to churches and schools. In 2015, they officially founded the Charlie Ward Family Foundation to leave a legacy of giving back by supporting youth development programs and organizations, and sharing his inspirational message of embracing the process that leads to success. 

Hack of the Week

When it comes to switching to a vegan lifestyle or starting an exercise program, just do it. It may not be easy, but it really is that simple.

We have a tendency to over think things and put them off. In reality, what we need to do is just make a decision and take action. That action doesn't have to get us all the way there. But it's a start. And then we can do more the next day.

So when it comes to making better life choices, just do it.


Charlie's Website


Charlie's book: The Athlete


Charlie on Facebook


Charlie on Instagram


Montgomery Heart and Wellness


Learn about Afib


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 114 -- Speaking, Training, and ROI with John Rohe

2-Minute Tip — Remove Filler Words


Filler or crutch words are the bane of many a speaker’s existence. The ums, ahs, likes, verys, you knows, and more clutter up our talks and conversation so much we don’t even notice them. They waste time, annoy the audience and distract from your message. So get rid of them.


Easier said than done.


One technique is to have a friend or colleague listen to you practice your talk and ring a bell every time they hear a filler word. Once you actually know you are using them in real time, it becomes easier to eliminate them and relish the power of silence


Post Tip Discussion — Meet John Rohe


One of the terms you hear in the training field (and likely other education related fields as well) is the “sage on the stage.”


In describes the lecture format in many education contexts. The wise experts stands on the stage at the front of the room and imparts knowledge on to the lucky audience members. It’s one way communication, and it has its place, but can have a certain amount of arrogance associated with it.




John Rohe in a V-neck sweater looks off to his right in an office.

John Rohe is a speaker who eschews the lectern and the stage. He a speaker and trainer in both the commercial and ecclesiastical fields, and one of themes that comes through in the episode is the importance of humility with your audience.


John’s experience ranges from start-ups to established multi-billion dollar enterprises. John launched the cardiac marker proBNP for Roche Diagnostics and the first personalized health (test and drug) for osteoarthritis for Roche Pharma, Roche Diagnostics and GSK.


He also internationalized sales for RPS, revived sales of Procalcitonin for Thermo Fisher, grew Alere’s PT/INR home testing from $9 million to $25 million in 1 year and boosted equipment service contracts for BD.


John has taken products from R&D through FDA clearance and achieved CMS and other third-party reimbursement. He has implemented user friendly CRMs and automated quoting systems, and he integrated marketing collateral with sales force access. He has also been responsible for developing and implementing automated quoting and contracting systems.  


John’ Speaker Evaluation Checklist


  • Are they using filler words?
  • Do they appear to be knowledgeable about the material?
  • Are they speaking to the audience?
  • Are they looking down at their notes?
  • Are they reading slides to me?
  • Are they moving around?
  • Are they actively engaged with the audience?


Kirkpatrick Levels of Training Evaluation


  • How do the learners feel about their training experience?
  • How effectively did the learners acquire new skills or knowledge?
  • How effectively did the learners apply what they learned in training?
  • How effectively did the training ultimately meet its goals for the organization?


You can read more about the Kirkpatrick framework here. It’s a fascinating mental exercise.




Hycap Consulting


John’s Email


John on LinkedIn


John on Twitter


Kirkpatrick Model


Servant  Leadership with Lyle Tard


Caring and Connection with Richard Kauffman



Call To Action


2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!