Ep 105 -- Heal the Brain with Jane

Sometimes, I interview a guest and we cover everything I wanted to talk about and it's a great conversation. Sometime we go off in a different way completely and I have to throw out my whole plane. And that also can turn into a great conversation. That's what happened with this conversation I had with Occupational Therapist Jane Connely , better known as "Heal the Brain with Jane."

With the occasional chanting and loud child in the background, we talk about Jane's path to OT, the core elements of the OT field that Jane gets so passionate about, and how she helps survivors heal their lives after their injury.


Jane Connely stands outside in a white T-shirt,

Jane Connely is a Occupational Therapist and neuro specialist in San Luis Obispo, CA. Jane graduated from University of Southern California with her MA in Occupational Therapy in 2013. Her experience working with persons post brain injury pushed her to continue her training to become neuro-developmentally trained (NDT) beginning in 2015 and after 140 classroom hours finished her training in January of 2018 through recovering function.

Through her work, Jane found the current system discharges survivors based on insurance rather than need, which caused a cycle of readmissions and increase in debility. The unmet needs of the brain injured population in San Luis Obispo County led her to begin Heal The Brain With Jane.

Heal The Brain With Jane values current research regarding neuroplasticity and the practical application of this research in the daily lives of the brain injury survivor. Our organization understands that brain injury recovery is a delicate balance of physical, cognitive, and emotional health. All aspects must be addressed in order for the survivor to reach the highest level of recovery. Additionally, it is vital that this population receives continued care as recovery requires continued maintenance.

Stroke and Social Media

I met Jane through Instagram. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that it is a great tool to connect with other stroke related folks. Each platform has its own culture. They all have value. The key is to connect with the one you need at a particular point in time. Or the one that you can help others through.

#Stroke on Twitter

This community seems to be largely medical and industry professionals and researchers. It can be an interesting place to learn more about what happens in the field. You still need to watch it with a critical eye, but it can be informative. Be warned, though. Some people use stroke not in a brain injury context, but in reference to sex acts so you occasionally encounter adult content

#Stroke on Instagram

Survivors dominate the Stroke hashtag in Instagram. You'll also find a lot of OTs, PTs, and SLPs on there. Basically, the professionals that work directly with survivors are on there. Much of the conversation is around inspiration, working through therapy, and living the best post stroke life you can. But there is other stuff, too, because life is complex like that .

Stroke communities on Facebook

There are dozens of stroke related groups on Facebook. Each group develops its own subculture based on the choices the creator or admin makes. In my experience, you'll find a lot more people asking questions or expressing their frustration about stroke life on Facebook.

These are broad generalizations that I hope  give you some context for some of the different groups. Explore a variety of them to find the communities that are right for you.

Like Minded

Jane recently launched a membership program called Like Minded. Here's how she describes it on her website:

Welcome to Like Minded. This is a membership program for brain injury survivors, their families, and caregivers. Like Minded includes authors, nutritionists, yoga instructors and clinicians who are passionate about filling in the gaps of post stroke and post TBI care. Our leaders are survivors themselves or caretakers with intimate understanding of the recovery experience. These individuals have realized that their unique journey with brain injury granted them access into a very special community. The brain injury community is a supportive group of people who have been through it all and come out the other side with a burning desire to help you through this difficult time.

Among the leaders/facilitators are several previous guest of the Strokecast, including:

It looks like a great program. You can learn more here.


Jane on the web


Jane on Instagram


Jane on YouTube


Jane on Facebook


Jane on Pinterest


No-Brainer Podcast


Peter Levine -- Stronger After Stroke


The One You Feed Podcast


#AbledsAreWeird on Twitter


#Stroke on Twitter


#Stroke on Instagram


Transtheoretical Model of Change


Izzy Wheels


Snake oil on Strokecast


Dr. Karen Sullivan on Strokecast


Joe Borges on strokecast


Ella Sofia on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 104 -- Disability Services in Higher Education with Kaitlin Molloy

Click here for a machine generated transcript.

I have no idea what the back to school season will look like for college and university students in the fall. After all, right now it’s early July in 2020. COVID-19 is picking up pace. Protests are still happening. The presidential election is going to get really ugly. And the US is in full recession.

So school could look like anything.

And people like Kaitlin Molloy will see their workloads grow as we all navigate accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education.

Kaitlin’s job is to help students secure the appropriate disability accommodations in school. In this episode we talk about that process and discuss some options.

Hack of the Week

Kaitlin’s recommendation is to be planful.

If you are  starting or continuing higher education, reach out to the disability services staff as early as you can. Once they know you are there or are joining the school community, they can start working with you. Maybe that has impacts on appropriate housing or student employment. Maybe they can address academic challenges.

The earlier you start working with them, the more effective the plan you build with them will be.


Whitney Morean on Strokecast


Maddie Niebanck on Strokecast


Ella Sofia on Strokecast


Dr. Heather Fullerton talks Pediatric Stroke


JoCo Cruise Attendees on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

  • If you’re attending college or university, find out who should be your contact in disability services, and build a plan with them early.
  • If you know someone who attends or works with a college, ask them to listen to this episode and share their thoughts. You can give them the link http://Strokecast.com/college
  • Subscribe to Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 103 -- Dying in hospice, stroke care, and the life of a traveling nurse

Hospice is something I knew existed, but it's not something I've ever had an extended conversation about, until I spoke with Barbara Sussanne.  In her job as an RN, she helps patients and their families navigate the dying process in the final few months of life.

Before that, She worked as a travelling nurse in both some of the largest hospitals in the US and in some of the smallest. She shares her experience of working with stroke patients across her career

We recorded this conversation in March on a cruise ship. It was the last trip of Holland America's Niew Amsterdam before COVID-19 cancelled cruising. The ambient noise you hear is the buffet area of the Lido deck.

This sailing was a charter. It was the 10th annual JoCo Cruise, and the 8th one I've been on. Like in previous years both pre- and post-stroke, I had a great time. I'm booked for 2021 if cruising is still a thing that exists next year. If you like geeks, nerds, musis, crafts, karaoke, and other genre stuff, join us next year. You can learn more at http://JoCoCriuise.com


Barbara Sussanne graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana University Southeast School of Nursing.

The first 13 years of her career, she worked in cardiac medicine and ICU Stepdown focusing on patients with heart problems and/or complicated medical problems.

The next 3 years she switched her focus to in home care. Barbara has been on caring for patients receiving medical services in their homes related to their illnesses.

A year and a half ago Barbara was called to hospice where she now works with patients and their families as they navigate through the dying process.


Barbara Sussanne on Instagram


JoCo Cruise


JoCo Cruise Discussions on Strokecast


Bill on Instagram


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


Ep 102 - Gait Training with the iStride and Dr. Kyle Reed

I learned about the iStride device when the initial research paper came out last year. It made a big difference in subjects’ ability to walk. I thought you’d like to learn more about it. I know I did. So I reached out to the developer Dr. Kyle Reed. We talk about it, how it works, and the research in this episode.

So what’s the principle behind how it works?

When we start walking after stroke, it’s liberating. As we get more and more mobile we start to compensate for our affected side by walking differently. But that can cause problems later on. And our skills can top out.

At a certain point to get better, we need to break those new bad habits. The iStride is a therapeutic device that you wear on your unaffected foot. It teaches you to rely more on your affected leg to ultimately improve your walking ability years after stroke.


Dr. Kyle Reed looks at the camera in an outdoors heasdshot

Dr. Kyle B. Reed is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida (USF).  His rehabilitation research focuses on low-cost methods to restore abilities in individuals with asymmetric impairments, such as from stroke or unilateral amputations. 

His research on Haptics focuses on thermal responses of the skin, coordinated motions, and human-robot interaction.  He has over 100 publications and has 18 patents issued or pending with three patents licensed for commercialization.  He is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Haptics, an IEEE Senior Member, a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors, and was a 2019 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar. 

He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Florida High Tech Corridor, the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation, the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, and industry.  Prior to USF, he was a post-doctoral scholar at Johns Hopkins University.  He received his Ph.D. and master’s from Northwestern University and his B.S. from the University of Tennessee, all in Engineering.

iStride in Action


Here’s the pilot study that initially caught my attention:


There are couple more studies coming out soon showing the benefits of the iStride. Check out the abstracts here:



Always be skeptical of new approaches to recovery, but if it’s not harmful, and it doesn’t interfere with other treatments in terms of time or money, those new treatments may be a great choice.

Thoughts on the Protests

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong negatively impacted people’s treatment because they couldn’t get to clinics. The recent anti-police brutality / Black Lives Matter protests in the US also likely disrupted people’s care, which was already disrupted by COVID-19. It’s okay to acknowledge that.

But that doesn’t mean the protests are bad or need to stop. Every group that is fighting for its rights also has people with disabilities in its ranks. With all the upheaval, now is not the time for people with disabilities to stay silent. Now is the time to speak up even louder.

Disability doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t be part of the fight — it just means we may have a different role.

Hack of the Week

An umbrella stand or tall vase is a great place to store canes by the door. It can also be a great place to swap from an indoor to an outdoor cane a you venture into the larger world.

And as long as you have to use a cane, make it awesome.

You can find hundreds of great options on Etsy:https://www.etsy.com/search?q=walking%20cane&ref=auto-1&as_prefix=walk

I’ve also acquired most of mine through FashionableCanes.com.


Reed Lab


Dr. Kyle Reed’s email address


iStride Device


Moterum Technologies


Clinical Trials


iStride video by USF


USF Article about iStride


iStride on NBC DFW


Pilot Study


Abstract from the AHA Journal


Abstract from the APTA Conference


Constraint Induced Movement Therapy from Physiopedia


Amy Bastion at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute


Fashionable Canes


Canes on Etsy


Where do we go from here?

  • Check out the video above to see the iStride in action, and visit http://Moterum.com to learn more about participating in studies.
  • Share this episode with 3 people you know by giving them the link http://strokecast.com/istride
  • Lift your literal or metaphorical voice high and don’t be ignored in this time of social change
  • 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


Ep 101 -- Youth Stroke and Habits with Ella Sofia

Modern social media means anyone can reach out and connect with other stroke and brain injury survivors. And we are part of an amazing community.

Instagram is where I first encounter stroke survivor and entrepreneur Ella Sofia. We met through an Instagram Live video she did with Joe Borges of the Neuro Nerds podcast.

Ella survived two strokes when she was 14. I’m glad she tells story for several reasons. One though, is the reminder that kids can have strokes. A lot of folks don’t realize that. If you’d like to learn more about stroke in kids, you can listen to my conversation from 2019 with Dr. Heather Fullerton

Another important element is that Ella was athletic and still had her stroke. Being active and healthy with good blood pressure reduces your chances of having a stroke, but it doesn’t eliminate it. A number of guests on the show have been healthy, young and had a stroke. Sometimes it’s for an obvious reason (after the fact) like the Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Ella experienced, and sometimes we may never know, which was the case with Whitney Morean.

So why bother getting in shape? First of all, a healthy body  does still reduce the odds of stroke even if it doesn’t guarantee that it won’t happen. Second, it makes recovery faster and more complete.


Ella Sophia stands in a park wearing a leather jacket and looking straight at the camera.

Ella Sofia, Habit Coach is a content creator at www.retrainyourbrain.ca.

In January 2008, at the age of 14, Ella suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to an AVM rupture in her cerebellum.  About 9 years after her injury, through a long process of self-care and self-reflection, she finally and thankfully realized that mental rehabilitation is just as, if not more important than physical rehabilitation.  Now, she specializes in the mind’s role in habit creation to help others with their mental rehab and ultimately help others use habit to simplify their personal growth.

Ella received a Master of Arts, Sociology degree from the University of Waterloo in 2018.  Her research revolved around risk management, resilience, and security in Canada airports.  She spent nearly 3 years working for the Canadian government in national security while completing her degree.  During her time with the government she realized that the resilience of the airports and structures she was studying was not so different from the resilience of the mind.  This realization lead her to integrate many of the concepts and practices learned from her research into her coaching today.

What is an AVM?

An AVM is a misconfiguration of blood vessels. Instead of arteries gradually leading to smaller and smaller capillaries that then lead to larger and fewer blood vessels and into veins,  in an AVM, that network of capillaries doesn’t develop properly. The blood vessel can’t properly regulate and withstand the blood pressure. Eventually, it can fail. That results in a brain bleed — a hemorrhagic stroke.

Here is an article that talks about it in greater detail.

Changing Habits

Habits — good or bad — are unconscious behaviors. To change them we first have to make ourselves conscious of the context of the habit.

Ella talks about how to do that. When you feel the urge to engage in a bad habit, stop, ask yourself some questions and take some notes.

  • Who?
    • Who are you with or thinking about?
  • What?
    • What are you doing at the moment? What is going on? Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem connected to your habit. Just make note of it.
  • Where?
    • Where are you? Make note of it. Get specific about where you are in your home or in the world.
  • When?
    • When did the urge happen? Note the time or other temporal queues,
  • What are you feeling?
    • What sort of mood are you in? What other things are you worried about?

You don’t have to do all the analysis. Just start by making note of these things. As you collect data, you’ll start to see trends. Then the work can start.


Ella Sofia’s website


Ella on Instagram


Ella on Twitter


Ella on Facebook


Ella on LinkedIn


Ella on Goodreads


Ella on YouTube


Book a Consultation


Joe Borges on Strokecast


The NeuroNerds Podcast


My Stroke of Insight


Pediatric STROKE ON strokecast


AVM Information


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


Ep 100 — Strokeaversary 3

Today is both episode 100 and my 3rd Strokeaversary.

Each year, I look forward to this day as one to respect. Survivor reactions to the anniversary of a stroke are as varied as survivors themselves. Some see it as a party; others as a day of dread. Both reactions and all those in between are valid. I lean toward the party angle myself.

It’s not so much the anniversary of the day I suffered a stroke. Instead, it’s the day I survived a stroke. So pass the cake, please!

In reality, I don’t so much end up with a party, though. It usually turns out to be a day of quiet reflection. This year I’ll be tired from work so I may celebrate with a nap. Or a quiet, socially distanced walk around the neighborhood.

Regardless, today is a good day. Just as all those after stroke have the potential to be.

So listen to this week’s episode. I talk about things like mortality, seasons in life, why sleep in the hospital sucks, the amazing staff I had the joy of working with, and the awesome Cathy Lee.

Hack of the Week

I use the handle of my cane to press elevator buttons. Sometime I use the cane to open and close doors, too. It’s one easy way to reduce my chances of picking up a virus in the outside world. Plus, it means I don’t have to put my cane down to call an elevator.

Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 099 -- The Importance of an Advocate with Marcia Moran

Marcia Moran was a consultant who worded with entrepreneurs and helped the write business plans. Her pplan did not include a stroke in 2014, but no one’s does. Since then those skills have helped her advocate for herself and take the small steps she needed to in order to begin her recovery.

Marcia shares her story in this episode, talks about how she’s doing it, and discusses the importance of having or being an advocate.


From Marcia’s website:

Marcia Moran headshot

After successfully building her business over the last twenty-plus years, Marcia  Moran thought she had life by the tail. Little did she know what was in store.

Marcia Moran has written over fifty business plans, and helped entrepreneurs strategize over how to differentiate their companies in changing environments. Her experience led her to found her own firm, Performance Architect in 2012.  She also co-founded Positive Business DC, an organization designed to increase well-being in the workforce in 2012.

After suffering a major stroke in 2014, Marcia applied her skills in planning and strategy as she strived to become whole. She never gave up. Over time she learned to walk again, but Marcia struggled with aphasia, a language disorder. She joined Toastmasters International hoping to regain her speaking abilities. It helped marginally, but in August 2017 she discovered a technological breakthrough that minimized her speaking disability. She then pushed beyond her comfort zone to become a Toastmasters International Club Officer in 2017, followed by Area Director in 2019. 

Marcia created Stroke FORWARD because she felt there is a need to share hope to stroke survivors and their caretakers. Learning to become her own health advocate one step a time and exploring holistic methods for healing were keys to her recovery. Marcia speaks and shares her message of hope, inspiration, healing, and a way forward as she goes across the country. She welcomes new opportunities to help individuals affected by major health crises move forward.

Book cover of Stroke Forward, by Marcia Moran

Marcia lives with her husband Jim, two very loud cats, and two birds near Washington, DC. Jim played a role of caretaker and advocate and contributed to Stroke FORWARD. His observations and experiences are captured in the book.

On weekends, Marcia, Jim, and the cats go to Deep Creek, Maryland where Marcia paints watercolors. In the evening Marcia and Jim sit out on the deck and watch fireflies flit by.

Marcia holds a B.S. in Political Science with a magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota and a Master’s in Business Administration, from Chapman University in California. She attended Skirinssal Folkehoyskole in Sandefjord, Norway and studied art. She also earned a certificate in Well-being Foundations of Personal Transformation from the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute in Virginia. She volunteers at Brain Injury Services, supporting their Speakers Bureau program.

Small Steps

Marcia talks about working towards her goals by breaking down the process into small steps, and then figuring out how to achieve each step. Sometimes she succeeded and sometimes she did not.

That’s how most recovery goes. It’s about figuring out we want to walk. Then we look at what we need to do to get there. Maybe we need to be able to stand first. Before standing maybe we need to be able to sit up. The key is to break down the big goal into smaller goals we can work towards. This is how our rehab specialists work with us — piece by piece.

It’s not something exclusive to rehab. This is how most productivity plans tell you how to a chieve a goal. It’s the basic model behind project management. It’s how everything from sheets of paper to baseball stadia get built.

Celebrate the Small Victories

In this conversation, you hear a lot of “Woo-hoo!” from Marcia as she celebrated accomplishments large and small along the path of her recovery.

Those small victories matter. When you feel the slightest improvement, celebrate it. Recognize it for what it is — a piece of the puzzle.

I was excited when I could feel my left index finger almost begin to move. Focus on those small movements, improvements in speech, a slight win in memory — whatever it is. Let your brain feed on the positivity of a win, however small so it can continue to give you more of them.


Toastmasters is a group with more than a thousand chapters around the world that helps folks grow an improve their public speaking and leadership skills. Marcia found great value in the work and the community. 

Many of the guest on my other show, 2-Minute Talk Tips have been involved with Toastmasters. You can hear some of them and learn more about the program at http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Toastmasters

Hack of the Week

Get a heating pad.

A heating pad is great for sore and aching muscles. The pain in those muscles may be a direct result of stroke or an indirect result due to a wonky gait, new use after a period of activity, or over use. Many survivors often find their affected side may be cold due to the lack of muscle use and less intense circulation.

A heating pad may relieve some pain without additional medication and make it more comfortable to sleep. And sleep is when the brain does a lot of its repair and rebuilding.


Marcia’s Website


Marcia on Twitter


Marcia on LinkedIn


Marcia on Facebook


Marcia’s book on Amazon


Toastmasters on 2-Minute Talk Tips


Norman Doidge


Diane M. Needham (Book Shephard)


COVID-19 and Stroke — New England Journal of Medicine


Stroke and COVID-19 with Dr. Middleton


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 139 -- Words and Stories Mean More than Picture with Ken Moscowitz

2-Minute Tip : The Stage as War Zone


Think of the stage as a war zone. Not in the sense that the audience is an enemy. The enemy is the way many folks hold back and don’t spend all their energy on stage.


To mix metaphors even further, the stage is that poker hand where you need to go all in./ If you hold chips back — if you hold energy or enthusiasm back — you won’t win. You won’t accomplish your goal.


When you get off stage, you want to be exhausted and drained because you left it all out there.


Post Tip Discussion


One reason I like talking about public speaking is because the content is ever green. By that I mean the strategies for effectively speaking today, are the same ones that will be effective next year. Or that were effective last year.


  • Define your goal.
  • Tell a story.
  • Do it with enthusiasm.
  • Be bigger on stage than you might be in private conversation.
  • Do it all with authenticity.


As I write this, it is April 2020 and we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and shut downs of various sorts. As more people speak via webinars and video conferences, think about how those core principle change.


They don’t.


You still need to:


  • Define your goal.
  • Tell a story.
  • Do it with enthusiasm.
  • Be bigger on stage than you might be in private conversation.
  • Do it all with authenticity.


This interview is one I recorded a year ago, and it’s just as relevant today. And it will be just as relevant 5 or 10 years from now.


In this conversation with Ken Moscowitz, we talk about the importance of your energy level and how to have to give it your all every time.


We also talk about how just because your story has become boring for you because you tell it all the time, it’s still new to your audience and can be just as powerful and illustrative now as the first time you told it.


And we wade into the discussion about which is more powerful: words or pictures.




From Ken’s website:


As a father of 5, this man knows how to multitask. OK, his wife does the multitasking, but Spanky’s a close second.


Spanky started his creative career in New York City and quickly rose to the top of the broadcast creative industry. He’s led re-branding and resurrection efforts for many major and smaller brands over the last three decades; like the Indy 500, Frito-Lay, Samuel Adams, Coca Cola, M&M Mars and many more. He also revitalized ailing broadcast outlets and sports franchise brands across the country.


Spanky’s unique approach to creative and fun, yet memorable branding, sets him apart in the industry. His approach is at times edgy, always unique, but very memorable.


Following the advice of his mentor and friend Gary Vaynerchuk, Spanky built his business by jabbing (that’s Gary Vee’s shorthand for providing value). It worked so well that he wrote a best-selling book: Jab Till It Hurts: How Following Gary Vaynerchuk’s Advice Helped Me Build A 7-Figure Brand.


Hop over to SpankyMoskowitz.com to get to know Ken better, find out where he’ll be next, and book him for consulting or speaking opportunities.




Ken ” Spanky” Mokowitz


Ad Zombies


Ad Zombies on Facebook


Ad Zombies on Twitter


Ad Zombies on Instagram


Ad Zombies on LinkedIn


Ad Zombies on YouTube


 Jab Till It Hurts: How Following Gary Vaynerchuk’s Advice Helped Me Build A 7-Figure Brand



Gary Vaynerchuck


Tony Robbins


Episode 119 — Staying in Your Lane with Chandler Walker


Ep 098 — COVID-19 and Stroke



Call To Action


  • To learn more about Ken, be sure to check out Ad Zombies everywhere, including the links above
  • Check out Ken’s book from your favorite online bookstore, library, or read chapters on the Ad Zombies blog
  • Subscribe to 2MinuteTalkTips in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • And, as always, don’t get best…get better.

Check out this episode!


Ep -- 098 COVID-19 and Stroke

This situation the world is facing with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is unlike anything we’ve seen for a 100 years. In just a few months, it has put the entire world economy on pause as hundreds of thousands of people test positive for this deadly disease.

What does this mean for stroke survivors? Are we at higher risk?

Neuro-Physiatrist Dr. Kim Middleton joins us to answer that question and more in this episode of Strokecast.


Dr. Kimberly Middleton completed medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine before doing her residency at the University of Washington.

She is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR).

Dr. Middleton was one of the doctors who cared for me during the month I lived at the hospital following my stroke. I continue to see her on a regular basis for my Botox/Dysport injections to treat my tone and spasticity.

You can learn more about Dr. Middleton’s background here: https://www.swedish.org/swedish-physicians/profile.aspx?name=kimberley+w+middleton&id=160439

10 Tips to Protect Yourself From COVID-19

  1. Wash your hands again. Yes, again.
  2. Don’t touch your face.
  3. Continue taking your meds.
  4. Practice physical social distancing, but continue to connect online.
  5. Disinfect your home and deliveries you receive. Cleaning is good home OT.
  6. Eat healthful meals to keep your nutrition up.
  7. Consider taking supplements like vitamin C.
  8. Keep your body strong with exercise.
  9. Prioritize sleep.
  10. Go deep into that home exercise program your PT or OT  gave you.

Handwashing One Handed

Washing our hands is the cheapest and probably most effective way to minimize the chances of catching COVID-19 and hundreds of other conditions. But how do you do it effectively when hemiparesis leaves you with one functional hand?

One way is to use your unaffected hand to wash your affected one. Sure, that one’s probably not as dirty since it’s mainly been hanging around as just a fist, but the act of washing it will wash and scrub the washer. Plus it’s a great opportunity to get some more finger stretches in.

Here are some examples of other techniques.


Dr. Kimberly Middleton at Swedish https://www.swedish.org/swedish-physicians/profile.aspx?name=kimberley+w+middleton&id=160439
COVID-19 Info from Swedish Medical Center https://www.swedish.org/patient-visitor-info/coronavirus-advisory
WHO on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
NIH on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
CDC on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Stroke.org home exercises https://www.stroke.org/en/help-and-support/resource-library/post-stroke-exercise-videos
COVID-19 on the AHA https://www.stroke.org/en/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-resources
Stroke.Org Interview with Dr. Eduardo Sanchez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW7zNAz9gA0&feature=emb_logo
Home Exercise from Disability Horizons https://disabilityhorizons.com/2016/10/top-10-exercises-disabled-people/
Home Exercises from silver Sneakers https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/total-body-chair-workout-for-older-adults/
Sitting Exercises from Britain’s NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

Where do we go from here?

  • Share this episode with others or post about it to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram with the link http://Strokecast.com/covid-19
  • Check out the links above to keep your exercise going.
  • Stay safe.
  • 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


Ep 138 -- Build a Speaking Business with Grant Baldwin

2-Minute Tip: Tell Stories


Stories are how humans connect. They form the basis of our social relationships. They’re how we share history.


As a speaker, one of the best ways to make sure you connect with your audience is to tell stories — and not just one. Illustrate your talk with as many stories as possible. Generic ones are okay, but authentic, personal stories will bring you the most success.


Post Tip Discussion


Grant Baldwin has built a business speaking to speakers about the business of speaking. He hosts the Speaker Lab podcast, which is in my weekly must listen to list. His Speaker Lab company runs the popular Booked and Paid to Speak program. And now he has a new book coming out next week on February 18, 2020 called The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform.


As a long-time fan, I was thrilled to talk with Grant for this episode. I think I’ve listened to every episode of his podcast. Now I just need to put it all into action.


If you’ve ever wondered how keynote and other professional speaker make their living and how you can too, Grant is the guy to listen to.




Grant Baldwin is against a slate background, looking straight at the camera.

Grant Baldwin is the founder of The Speaker Lab, a training company that helps public speakers learn how to find and book speaking gigs. Through his popular podcast The Speaker Lab and flagship coaching program Booked and Paid to Speak he has coached and worked with thousands of speakers. As a keynote speaker, Grant has delivered nearly one thousand presentations to over 500,000 people in 47 states and has keynoted events for audiences as large as 13,000. Grant has also been featured in national media including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post.


He now lives near Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Sheila, and their three daughters.


5 Basic things Effective Speakers Do


Grant shared this list of characteristics of effective speakers. The key thing here is that all the required skills are ones that anyone can develop.


  1. They are comfortable with their content.
  2. They are familiar with their content.
  3. They understand pacing and pausing.
  4. They tell a good story
  5. They keep an audience engaged


5 Steps to a Successful Speaking Career


S – Select a problem to solve.

P – Prepare and deliver your talk.

E – Establish your expertise.

A – Acquire paid speaking gigs.

K – Know when to scale


This is the framework Grant covers in The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform.




The Speaker Lab


The Speaker Lab Podcast


Grant on Facebook


Grant on Instagram


Free Speaker Workshop


The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform


Speaker Fee Calculator


Wall Drug



Call To Action


Check out this episode!


Ep 097 -- A Stroke in her 20s became a stroke of luck for Maddi Niebanck

I love the stroke survivor community on Instagram. So many survivors share their victories, their struggles, and their lives there, it really shows we are not alone.

It’s also where I met Maddi Niebanck (@MaddiStrokeOfLuck). She regularly does live broadcasts there and includes guests from time-to-time. After one of those broadcasts, I knew I wanted to talk with her on the show.

Maddi had her stroke a few days before I had mine. We were both going through rehab thousands of miles away from each other at the same time.

And now she has a new book coming out. We talk about that and more in this episode.


Madeline Niebanck stands by a window in a high-rise wearing a black jacket and big scarf

Madeline Niebanck graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, in May of 2017. A few days later she went to the hospital for a planned surgery to treat an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). An untreated AVM can result in a serious stroke. During a pre-surgery procedure, though, that AVM gave way and Maddi suffered a stroke.

While going through recovery, Maddi wrote her first book, Fashion Fwd: How Today’s Culture Shapes Tomorrow’s Fashion. Readers loved the book, but especially connected with Maddi’s story of stroke recovery.

That response inspired her to write her second book, Fast Fwd: The Fully Recovered Mindset. It will be available in April, 2020.

Trailer for Fast Fwd

Hack of the Week

Try an ice bath to deal with tone and spasticity. Plunging your and or arm into a pitcher of ice water may relax the tone or spasticity you are experiencing and allow you to get more out of the exercises you do to recover function.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your therapist or doctor before trying something like this, but it may be just the thing to open that hand.


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


Ep 096 -- Write a Memoir with Christine H. Lee

I’m typing this on January 1, but whenever you read this, it is the first day of the next year of your life, and that’s a great time to start sharing your story.

As a stroke survivor, survivor of some other acute or chronic trauma, care giver, professional, or just someone who has lived some life, you have a story to tell. You have experiences to share. You’ve worked through some emotional stuff. Or you haven’ worked through it, but it’s sill there.

And maybe you’ve thought about writing a memoir.

Christine H. Lee joined us last year to talk about her memoir, Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember. She is an author, teacher, and stroke survivor. Today, she’s back to help you start writing your own memoir.

7 Lessons in this Episode

  • An autobiography is about a person. A memoir is about a person’s experience.
  • Understand the roles of author, character, and narrator.
  • There is universality in the particular.
  • The Oxford Comma is awesome.
  • Get a cohort.
  • We are about more than stroke.
  • Keep writing.


Christine H Lee Headshot

Christine H. Lee is the author of a memoir (TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER), which was featured in Self magazineTimeThe New York Times, and NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVAGuernicaThe RumpusThe New York Times, and BuzzFeed, among other publications. She also has an urban farm–you can read about her farm exploits at Backyard Politics. Her novel is forthcoming from Ecco / Harper Collins.

Born in New York City, Christine earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and her MFA at Mills College. She has been awarded a residency at Hedgebrook, and her pieces have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and placed in competitions such as the Poets and Writers’ Magazine Writers Exchange Contest, Glimmer Train Fiction Open, and others. She is currently a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s College of California’s MFA program and an Editor at The Rumpus.

If you would like to order a signed copy of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER, you may order it from East Bay Booksellers and specify in the notes section that you would like a signed copy (or two or three) and any customization (if it should be addressed to a particular person). They will then fulfill it with signature. And you would be supporting a local bookstore, which warms Christine’s heart.

Trailer for Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

Oxford Comma

Consider these two sentences:

  1. At the support group, we learned about the main causes of stroke, kittens, and Barb’s muffins.
  2. At the support group, we learned about the main causes of stroke, kittens and Barb’s muffins.

The first sentence says that we learned about 3 things:

  • The main causes of stroke
  • Kittens
  • Barb’s muffins

The second sentence says that we learned about the main causes of stroke. Those causes are:

  • Kittens
  • Barb’s muffins

The words are the same. The difference is that comma after kittens. That comma is called the Oxford Comma, and it’s somewhat controversial.

Many folks feel you should only use it if it clarifies the sentence. Otherwise you should leave it out.

I’m of the school of thought that we should always use it when writing a sentence with three or more things in a list like that.

There have even been lawsuits where the decision came down to whether the comma was in the written law or not.

Here is the Wikipedia article with more information.

Understanding the Memoir

One of the big lessons for me was understanding just what a memoir is.

It’s not an autobiography, which recounts the history of the person. As I think about writing my own book, I was getting hung up on this idea. Why is my life interesting enough that someone should read about it? What is the value for the reader?

But that’s not what a memoir is. A memoir is about an aspect of the author’s life and the impact it had on the author’s life. It’s not about the author’s life itself.

People read autobiographies to learn about the person, but that’s not why the read memoirs. As Christine said, “People read memoirs because of the subject, theme, or writing style.”

In other words, it’s not about me.

It’s funny because the obvious things sometimes elude me most strongly.

On mt other show, 2-Minute Talk Tips, that’s one of the key lessons I teach about public speaking. If you’re afraid of public speaking, remember, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

It’s about your audience.
It’s about your message.
It’s about your goal or call to action.
It’s about what you hope to achieve by delivering that talk.

It’s not about you.

The story you want to tell and the lessons you want to share — they’re about more than your ego.

That makes it a lot easier.

Author — Narrator — Character

This is another structure that Christine shared that helps in writing. We got into it when I started talking about Pathos, Logos, and Ethos in public speaking. You can learn more about that concept here.

In many books, these concepts are more distinct. In fiction, especially, a character is different from the author.

In a memoir, it can get a bit squishy. A writer needs to understand what role the words on the page are serving.

The author is writing and knows the whole story.

The narrator can provide hindsight and wisdom the character hasn’t acquired yet.

The character is going through it as the story progresses.

Understanding those relationships helps you write a stronger book.

That is some advanced stuff, and Christine does a much better job explaining it in the interview.

For my part, this is a structure I’m going to need to explore and noodle on a bit more.

A Cohort

A stroke survivor benefits greatly from a support group. We need that connection to other people living through something similar. We can share our victories and losses. It can help us cut through the isolation and loneliness that many survivors experience.

Writers need a group, too. Find your writing cohort. Maybe it’s a group you take a class with. Maybe it’s a writing group you form through school or that you find in your community.

Find a group of people that you can share experiences with — where you can celebrate one another’s wins and support each other through your struggles.

Writing can be an isolating experience. It’s just you and a blank piece of paper or a blinking cursor. That’s why it’s so important to find your cohort.

Stroke is part of us, but it’s not us

Christine and I, of course, talked about our strokes because they make us who we are today. At the same time though, the conversation itself isn’t about stroke. It’s about writing and what authors need to know. Christine’s advice isn’t specific to stroke survivors; it applies to anyone who has gone through a major event and wants to share it with the world.

In a stroke focused podcast, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of stroke. It’s why we are part of this community. It informs who we are, but it doesn’t define who we are. We are writers, speakers, teachers, trainers, Harry Potter fans, parents, kids, friends, co-workers, bus passengers, and so much more.

Stroke and disability impact all those relationships and characteristics, but they don’t erase them. A conversation like we had today lets us share the expertise we do have beyond our stroke survivor status.

Walk into any stroke support group meeting and listen to people’s stories. The things we have in common are healing and empowering. The things about us that are different are fascinating. The roads and lives that got us in that same room are different with their own flavor. We bring varied lives to this community and we live varied lives as part of the community.

And that’s why despite all the survivor stories that have already been written, there’s still room for your personal, powerful, one-of-a-kind story.

Hack of the Week

The biggest tip to writing is just to keep writing. That’s it.

You don’t have to get it right and perfect at the start. Just keep writing. Revisions and edits are what turn it into the final product.

Walking into any book store or library, and do you know what you will not find on the shelves?

First drafts!

Just keep writing. If you get stuck, just write about being stuck.

If you can’t think of anything “good” to write, try to write badly. Try writing the most cheesy, confusing, inappropriate, meandering, and cliched thing you can.

But keep writing.

Don’t worry about grammar and spelling.

Just keep writing.

Because wonderful things can happen when you keep writing.


Christine H. Lee Website


Christine’s previous blog


Christine on Twitter


Christine on Instagram


Christine’s Mailing List


Christine’s Buzzfeed article that started it all


Buy the book at East Bay Booksellers


Buy the Book on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Everything-You-Dont-Remember-ebook/dp/B01EFLYG UO/ref=sr_1_

Christine on Catapult


Stroke Net


Oxford Comma on Wikipedia


Oxford Comma Lawsuit


Pathos, Logos, and Ethos


Where do we go from here?

  • To learn more about Christine, find her book, or check out her classes, or learn about her chickens, visit the links above.
  • Share this episode with your stroke support group, Instagram family,writing group, aspiring writers you know, English teachers, or anyone else who may have a story to tell. Give them the link http://Strokecast.com/writeyourstory
  • Start working on your memoir, and let me know about it.
  • 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