Episode 078 -- Educating the Nurses with Bronwyn Rogers

Last year, I started attending the CVA Support Group at Swedish. I talked about it a couple weeks ago in my interview with Seth since that's where we met.

It's also where I started connecting with Bronwyn Rogers. I had actually met her a couple months earlier when I reached out to the hospital administration to explore ways we could work together as I launched this podcast.

This week we sat down at Cherry Street Espresso in Seattle's First Hill Neighborhood, right across the street from Seattle University. A very large and well behaved dog napped on the floor next to us. This is the kind of neighborhood where no one even notices when you set up your portable studio in the middle of the shop.

We talked about Bronwyn's career trajectory and just what it is that a Stroke Clinical Operations Coordinator does with her day.


Bronwyn Rogers HeadshotBronwyn is the Stroke Clinical Operations Coordinator for the Swedish Medical Center First Hill and Cheery Hill campuses.

Bronwyn was born into a family of medical professionals in Australia. Her own decision to enter the nursing field came during her senior year of high school. A close friend was hit by a motorcycle and spent 3 months in the hospital. As a regular visitor, Bronwyn grew to respect the care and attention the nurse gave her friend. That was Her inspiration to become a nurse.

Bronwyn worked as a cardiac nurse learning everything she could. Eventually she wanted to stretch herself in new areas and moved up the body to stroke care. The rapid changes in the stroke field over the last 15 years have opened all sorts of new opportunities to help patients recover more and faster while at the same time, there's a tremendous opportunity to reduce the number of strokes that happen.

Hack of the week

Acknowledge that you've had a brain injury and that things are going to suck. You're going to feel bad. Especially in the early days, you'll be hearing and receiving a lot of information that you may not retain because, well, you've just had a brain injury.

A personal advocate can be extremely important during your hospital stay. That may be a spouse, partner, relative, friend, etc. who can be there with you, retain more information than you can on your own and advocate on your behalf to the various hospital teams.


Where do we go from here?

  • Do you have experience with the non-US medical system as a professional? What are your thoughts on the autonomy vs hierarchical relationships in your system? Let us know in the comments at below or in the Facebook community at strokecast.com/FacebookGroup
  • 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


Episode 122 -- Courtroom Graphics with Kerri Ruttenberg

2-Minute Tip: Slides must help the audience, not the presenter


One reason folks audibly groan when they think about PowerPoint is that too many speakers use the slides to help them get through their presentation rather than to help the audience understand what’s happening.


We use them too often to:


  • Help us remember
  • To keep our place
  • To just generally put too much stuff on screen


Ultimately there are 3 purposes behind our visual aids


  1. Help the audience understand
  2. Help the audience believe
  3. Help the audience remember


When it comes to improving our visuals, we need to eliminate any extraneous text, and limit ourselves to just one concept per slide.


When designing slides or other visuals ask yourself, “Who does this help more: the audience or the presenter?”


If it’s the presenter, cut it or change it.


Post Tip Discussion


Slides and visual aides are an important part of public presentations and not always in a good way. Slides dominate most stages these days, and reviewing a presentation for most folks means looking at the slides.


This trend isn’t limited to the conference room; it extends into the courtroom. PowerPoint slide decks, foam core boards, and animations now help juries make decisions in courts around the United States.


This week’s guest literally wrote the book on courtroom graphics. Kerri Ruttenburg, the Senior VP and General Counsel for Litigation at Walmart, is the author of Images with Impact: Design and Use of Winning Trial Visuals. She wrote the book to help lawyers and non-lawyers both make more effective use of visual aids in presentations.



Kerri L. Ruttenberg is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Litigation at Walmart, trial lawyer, and previously a partner at the law firm Jones Day in Washington, D.C., where she served as the Head of Litigation for the firm’s D.C. office.  She has tried cases in state and federal courts around the country. Kerri recently authored a book published by the American Bar Association, Images with Impact: Design and Use of Winning Trial Visuals, which has been praised as “groundbreaking” and “a must for the trial lawyer’s library.” Based on nearly 20 years of trial experience, working with graphic designers and interviewing jurors, Kerri frequently conducts seminars for lawyers, judges, expert consultants and marketing executives on the effective design and use of visuals for trials and other professional presentations.  


Kerri has been a successful public speaker for decades.  She paid for her college and law school education with competitive speaking scholarships, and her love of public speaking has continued through her career as she tries and wins cases, conducts seminars on presentation design and delivery, and even coaches others on how to improve their own effectiveness in public speaking. 


Thoughts on Speech and Debate


While my career took me in the direction of marketing, and Kerri’s took her in the direction of Law (which are pretty much complete opposites in most corporate environments). Our origin stories have a common touchpoint — Speech & Debate or Forensics in high School and college. We both partially paid for college with scholarship earned in competitive speech.


As kids start heading back to school next month, encourage or support their interest in Speech and Debate. And encourage schools to develop vigorous programs. The lessons from Speech and Debate extend well beyond how to speak before a judge.


A year ago, in July 2018, I spoke with Denise Vaughan, one of my former team mates in Speech and Debate from the Carroll College Talking Saints, and now coach of the Speech and Debate team at UW-Bothell about competition and her path. You can here that conversation here: http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Denise




The other important lesson is one I talk about a lot — the importance of preparation. Kerri emphasizes the importance of showing up early to make sure everything works and the venue is setup as expected.


Preparation is also key for courtroom visuals. Kerri talks about the importance of using graphic designers for most of her trial graphics. We also talked about the unique review process for courtroom visuals. The opposing counsel needs to review graphics as does the court in many cases to make sure they are in compliance with appropriate legal standards.


The point is none of these graphics are put together at the last minute. They’re not assembling slides 10 minutes before using them. The stakes are just too high.




Kerri Ruttenberg on LinkedIn


Kerri’s book on Amazon


Kerri’s book on America Bar Association website


Rule 403


2-Minute Talk Tips with Denise Vaughan


@-Minute Talk Tips Review of “Storytelling with Data” by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic



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 077 -- Starbucks and Jelly

Jelly Packets

Last week, the COO of Swedish Cherry Hill Medical Center invited me to speak at the hospital's leadership meeting to share a little bit about my experience as a stroke patient there.

Among the positive things I had to share, I also talked about a couple of the smaller negatives, including the jelly packets at breakfast.

A box of jelly packets spills its contentsThey use those little plastic packets that are common at dinners. You peel back the foil lid and then extract jelly with your knife to spread it on your bread. The problem is it takes two hands to do it. Give it a try with one hand sometime.

That means that I and the other hemiparetic stroke patients in the stroke unit couldn't do it.

And of course it's a small thing, and there are plenty of people available to help. But I feel silly paging someone to come to my room and spread my jelly.

At one level, it struck me as silly that a hospital hadn't thought of this. But there had to be more to it.

Later in the day, I realized why it stuck with me like this. It's because that means everyday started with a failure. And that is not a recipe for success in rehab.

Starbucks Framework for Recovery

Not: Starbucks is not a sponsor, but I'd be happy to change that. Hit me up, Starbucks! Bill@Strokecast.com.

Recovery is often talked about in terms of what an arm or leg can do, or how much vocabulary returns, or other metrics that are tied to what actions the patient can execute with their body. But the body is just a vehicle for our minds. Our legs, arms, voices, senses, memory backs, swallowing mechanism, etc. are all just tools for helping us get our minds from place to place, to connect with other minds, and to provide for the enjoyment of our lives.

One way I measured my recovery was, could I walk to Starbucks? And then could I enjoy my beverage and walk back?

Ted Baxter (http://Strokecast.com/Relentless) talked about how one goal for getting past his aphasia was to be able to order a beverage at Starbucks.

The podcast Aphasia Access Conversations recently talked with Speech Language Pathologist Maria L Muñoz and she described an Aha! Moment with a patient when she realized her approach was all wrong. The patient simply wanted to be able to complete an order at Starbucks.

Thinking about how the patient's condition impacts their Starbucks experience is really about understanding their goals and the actual benefits therapy and recovery can have in their lives.

Of course it doesn't have to be Starbucks. The coffee chain stands in as a great analogy for understanding what recovery means to the survivor.

And check out the Aphasia Access Conversations podcast. It's target audience is speech therapists so it's a bit academic. Ultimately it's about the field of speech therapy rather than survivors or consumers of therapy, but it can help you understand more about the field.

Congratulations to Ted and Kim!

Author and Survivor Ted Baxter appeared on the show last October talking about his journey and his book, Relentless (http://Strokecast.com/Relentless). He was recently profiled in the New York Times talking about his remarkable recovery. You can read that article here.

His former wife Kelly was profiled in part 2 talking about her role as caregiver and the challenges associated with it. You can read that profile here.

Congratulations, Ted and Kelly.

The cover of Dr. Kimberly Brown's book It's an Emergency!ER Physician Dr. Kimberly Brown was on the show last November (http://Strokecast.com/Kim) talking about her road to medicine, how the ER handles stroke patients, and some of the challenges of dealing with stroke in the stroke belt of the United States.

Dr. Brown just released her own book -- It's an Emergency!: Understanding the What, How and Why of Your ER Visit.

You can find it on Amazon here:

Congratulations, Kim! I look forward to reading it.

Hack of the Week

Gianna Rojas (http://Strokecast.com/Golf) talked about the importance of adaptive clothing. Many of us are already familiar with those snazzy looking Velcro shoes familiar to those with hemiparesis, but it goes beyond that. Gianna is partial to skorts from BSkinz, which you can find here.


Aphasia Access


Aphasia Access Episode 031 Show Notes


Maria L Muñoz on Twitter


Bskinz Skorts


Ted Baxter on Strokecast


Ted Baxter in the New York Times


Kelly Renzoni in the New York Times


Ted Baxter’s Website


Ted on Twitter



Ted on Facebook



Ted on Instagram



Relentless on Amazon


Dr. Kimberly Brown on Strokecast


It's an Emergency! On Amazon


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Website


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Facebook


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Instagram


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Twitter


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 121 — Toastmasters and Vulnerability with Ari Gunzburg

2-Minute Tip: Be Vulnerable


When you open up and share your story with an audience, it gives them an opportunity to connect with you on a deeper, emotional level. When you establish that connection with them, they listen more closely, relate to you better, and are more likely to retain your message or execute your call to action.


It’s not something to fake though. Audience’s can generally sense when someone is being authentic, rather than being fake. And vice versa.


So on stage, you don’t need to pretend to be perfect. You can share failures and mistakes. You won’t chase away your audience. You’re more likely to inspire them to join you on the journey.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Ari Gunzburg


Ari Gunzburg stand at a railing, presumably on a ship, with water in the background

Ari is now a motivational speaker, a podcast host, and a wilderness liaison. Once his two podcasts are launched, and his workload calms down slightly, Ari plans to start writing a book, outlining specific programs and ideas to help people build a more meaningful life.


Ari learned about death early in life. He experienced a traumatic moment when only 10 years old, when his teacher passed away while on a hiking trip. This would affect his life deeply and change his perspective forever.


Following the death of this teacher, there was trouble afoot at school for all of the traumatized kids. This created a domino effect of changes and decisions that all culminated in Ari getting his “PhD” from the school of hard knocks, through multiple bad decisions and the outcomes of those decisions.


Having to live through these decisions and consequences has taught Ari many important life lessons; all of which he passes on to others.


“Regret not, but learn from your mistakes,” says Ari, reminiscing the wild cycles he experienced during his misspent youth. “Any lesson gained from real life experiences is one you no longer need to learn in a formal educational setting.”


Ari has had many life-changing experiences, each of which shaped him; from dropping out of high school, to going to jail, to experimenting with drugs, to wild partying and more.


After more than a decade working in marketing, branding, graphic design and websites, Ari realized that his experiences can help others. That his mistakes don’t have to be lived over and over again, if he can just tell over his story, and help people understand.


Ari is now focused on helping others, all while taking care of four fantastic children and the most amazing wife.


He is building programs and workshops to help others, using his ability to speak. Ari is producing podcasts to help others find their path to success and greatness. Ari helps others experience the wilderness, and the calm that comes from being immersed in nature. And Ari is helping kids and teenagers make better decisions.


Ari is now building lives of meaning.




This week, we get to learn a lot more about the competitive aspect of Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a well-known international organization with thousands of chapters around the world. It’s a fantastic resource for folks who want to improve their public speaking skill, practice, and get feedback.


While we do talk about competition in Toastmasters this week, keep in mind that is only part of the program. If you don’t want to compete, that’s perfectly fine. Most Toastmaster folks don’t.


But for those who do want to explore competitive speaking, though, Toastmasters can be a great option.


Vulnerability and Rebranding

Ari’s tip about vulnerability is important, and you hear it come out a few times, including the last segment where Ari talks through his rebranding, refocusing, and redesign of his website. His new website is  now live. If you’d like to see how it changed, you can check out the old version in the Internet Wayback Machine.





Call To Action

  • Check out Ari’s new website at AriGunzburg.com, and Ari’s other inks above.
  • If you want to try your hand, or mouth, at competitive speaking, or just want more experience while you improve your speaking, check out a local Toastmasters chapter.
  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips for free 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 076 -- Identity, Isolation, and Art with Seth Shearer

Each month I go back to the hospital that treated my stroke to attend the support group they host. It's there that I met Seth Shearer. The more I learned about Seth's story, the more I wanted him on the show.


A selfie of Seth Ian Shearer leans against tile in a tank top with a blue tint over the imageSeth Shearer is a Seattle-based artist and designer. In September 2018, he suffered an acute ischemic stroke. Through rehabilitation he was able to regain use of the right side of his body. His painting practice helped to re-strengthen his arm and to begin the process of integrating his post-stroke experience with his with his former life. The transformation in his work led him to paint under his middle name, Ian, in recognition of his new life.

Neurological differences, such as a newfound hypersensitivity to light and sound drew him out to the "nighttime" world. Ian Shearer's paintings explore this post-stroke landscape. These urban vistas invite the viewer into a dreamlike world, woven together with light and shadow and possibilities.

Stroke Treatment is an Emergency

Most folks think a stroke happens, and that's it. All the damage hits at once, but that's not the case. It's actually progressive damage over the course of hours. And it's not a straight line of damage.

When I had my stroke, I woke up with symptoms, and over the next hour my arm, leg, and face declined significantly. The loss sort of leveled off for a while and then continued until 3:00 PM that afternoon. Because I woke up with my symptoms in June of 2017, I was well outside the 3 hour window for an intervention.

Since then, the standards have changed and the window for treatment has expanded.

In Seth's case, he also woke up with symptoms and even realized he was having a stroke. He was able to rally to take care of the pets before taking care of himself. He was also under the impression that once the stroke happened, there was nothing he could do and didn't rush getting to the hospital. It's impossible to know if faster treatment would have made a difference.

But maybe it could have.

Over the past year, we've seen the treatment window for stroke interventions expand. There are more and more opportunities to treat stroke survivors and prevent some disability. And that situation will continue to improve.

So in any possibility of stroke, get to an ambulance ASAP. Give yourself the best chance of the fullest recovery possible.

Ask and Answer the Right Questions

Seth talked about when doctors asked about memory, he assumed they were asking about long-term memory and not short-term memory. It took time for him to get treatment related to his audio processing challenges and memory issues because of this misunderstanding.

This is a common issue for experts when talking to nonexperts. And this happens in all sorts of context -- medical, legal, financial, marketing, operations, sales, etc. The more significant our expertise in an area, the more likely we are to make assumptions about things we think are basic and obvious, but folks outside our field will misunderstand.

During conversations with our medical teams or our loved ones medical team, we can keep in mind that we may not always be speaking the exact same language. Ask more questions. Clarify questions you get asked. Provide more information than you think might be needed.


Seth talked about feeling isolated following his and this is something I hear from lots of survivors. Sometimes it's because friends and family may be uncomfortable around survivors for a variety of reasons.

Various deficits -- like aphasia can also make socializing and connecting with people can be harder.

And then there's the challenge of other folks not quite understanding when we talk about our conditions. They can try to sympathize, but the experience of a brain injury is something you can't really understand until you have one.

How can you address the isolation?

Find other stroke survivors to speak with. Support groups are a great place to start. Or seek out the stories of other survivors on line or in books. And when other people try to sympathize, be patient with them. They're trying.


If the core of our identity is in our minds -- in our brains, what happens to it when our brain gets damaged? What happens when the defining balance between left and right -- between logical and ephemeral is thrown off? If you've read Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book, My Stoke of Insight, you know that for her it meant an entirely new world view and perception of time.

In Seth's case, it manifested in an entirely new artistic identity -- one that's significant enough that he changed his name.

Many stroke survivors feel like they are different people after their stroke. They mourn their prior lives as they move forward with their new lives. Recovery isn't just about doing bridges, shoulder rolls, swallowing exercises, and vocabulary quizzes. It's also about meeting the new you and understanding who you now are. It's about meeting and getting to know the Ian inside you.


Hack of the Week

Managing light sensitivity at home can be simple. Instead of just putting up with lamps and overhead lights, simply string Christmas lights up in your home. They're not as bright or glaring, yet the can still provide enough illumination so you can safely get around without assaulting you with lumens.

Plus they are super cheap.

A similar option is LED strip lighting that adheres to your wall. This is what I use in my office. Of course, it's more expensive, and it does require more work to get them set up just the way you like them. If you can't stand the thought of Christmas stuff up in the summer, though, they're a great alternative.


Where do we go from here?

  • So check out Seth's website and IanShearerStuduios.com. Check out his work and if you are looking for art for your home or office, consider a purchase.
  • Who do you think might find Seth's story interesting? Share this link with them and ask their thoughts: http://Strokecast.com/Seth 
  • Discuss this episode in the Strokecast community forum on Facebook at  http://Strokecast.com/FacebookGroup
  • Don't get best...get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 120 -- Motivation, Mistakes, and Speaking Your Truth with Mel Andre

2-Minute Tip: Tell Your Personal Truth


To be effective as a speaker on the big stage, you have to be able to tell your truth. That means you have to know what it is. This may take some personal work to understand what you are passionate about — what you truly believe.


Where it really pays off is in the connection to your audience. They can sense the authenticity. More importantly, they can sense artifice.


Ultimately it goes back to the words of Maya Angelou:


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Mel Andre


In the conversation I had with Mel, we covered the big picture stuff, but also some of the nitty gritty stuff about developing talk. There’s a nice mix of practical, individualistic, and conceptual material here.


And like any good motivational speaker, Mell brings some great enthusiasm to our talk.




Mel M Andre on the beach wearing a knit cap smiles and takes a selfie

Mel M. Andre is an Entrepreneur, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, CEO of Skill and Will Fitness and former lead consultant at Andre Consultant. Mel’s passion in life is to help people realize their greatness and help people accomplish their goals.


Mel knows that in order to change your life, you must first change yourself and your mindset. Mel’s program focuses on helping you have a paradigm shift while also helping you make a plan to accomplish your dreams and goals. 


Several years ago Mel hit rock bottom and lost everything she had worked so hard to obtain. Mel decided that she would no longer be the victim and decided to completely change her life around. 


Through the power of motivations, dedication, discipline & positive affirmations Mel was able to turn her life around in a few months. During those few months, Mel decided to work on her business full time while also working on herself. She knew in order to become successful and stay successful she would have to make drastic lifestyle changes. These changes allowed her company, Skill and Will Fitness, to take off in ways she could only imagine. 


While Mel’s success grew she started mentoring her friends and family. This led Mel to discover her new passion, which is motivating and inspiring people to accomplish their goals and dreams.


Keys to Success and Happiness Conference


On May 11, 2019, Mel, along with Barbara Pando-Benke and Melanee Williams spoke at the Keys to Success and Happiness conference. At that conference they not only discussed how to become successful, but also  how to find happiness during your journey and  stay happy during the ups and downs that come with chasing your dreams and accomplishing your goals.


You can watch the entire conference for free at http://KeysToSuccessAndHappiness.com.

Five Mistakes Speakers Make

Mel outlined 5 important mistakes new speakers make.


  1. They don’t speak their truth.
  2. They rely too much on their notes and slide decks.
  3. They fail to Practice.
  4. They focus on landing big gigs at the expense of learning and growing at smaller ones.
  5. They turn down opportunities that they are afraid are too big.


To learn more about these mistakes, listen to the clip below, or just listen to the whole episode.



If you’d like to share this video, you can use  this link: http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/MelTalksMistakes





Call To Action


  • You can find Mel on Instagram, where she is Mel_Andre911. Just search there or follow this link.
  • Share this episode with 2 colleagues by using the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Mel
  • Subscribe to 2-MinuteTalkTips 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 075 -- What is a Nurse Practitioner with Sarah Devine

Shortly after I got out of the hospital 3 years ago, a friend and former coworker sent me a link to an announcement from Valley Medical Center in Renton, WA, about the Stroke Club. Despite the commute from downtown Seattle, this would become the first support group I attended.

It's there that I met Sarah Devine, a neurology nurse practitioner who led the group. Since then, the group has grown, we've heard from a wide assortment of speakers, attendees have come and gone, and now Sarah is handing over the reins of the group while she prepares to take her own well deserved break.

Before she leaves, though, I wanted to sit down and talk with her more about her own path.


Sarah Devine HeadshotSarah Devine is an Adult Nurse Practitioner practicing at Valley Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute. Sarah sees Stroke and TIA patients in the hospital and clinic to confirm etiology, reduce risk for re-stroke and counsel patients on life style changes while helping through the multiple post stroke syndromes and symptoms that occur. She supports Stroke Survivor programs including encouraging Neuro Tai Chi programs; has run Valley’s Stroke Club for the past four years and sits on the Board of Tango Stride -Tango for stroke survivors.

Sarah received her MsN-ARNP in 2011 from Seattle Pacific University. After graduating, she worked in the post -hospital setting of Nursing Home rounding for several years -a perfect setting for learning geriatrics and internal medicine.

Her nursing career started in 1996, also in geriatrics, for the next 15 years she nursed in cardiology, chronic disease management and hospice in the all settings -hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities and patient homes. It was this broad view of nursing and health care that gave her adequate perspective to translate the confusing language of healthcare to the counties most vulnerable people.

She lives in Seattle with her husband where they are lucky enough to live in the same state as their four grown children


It's quite significant how our roles define how we see people. Prior to our chat, I never would have guessed Sarah had a liberal arts background, was the child of immigrants, or spent time as a cardiac nurse or hospice nurse. Granted, none of that seems out of character. But once we meet someone and put them in a certain bucket, that's how we seem them -- Nurse Practitioner and Stroke Clinician facilitating a support group and treating patients.

The lesson here on one level is, of course to recognize that the members of our care teams are individual people, too, with their own stories and paths. We may not see or hear those stories in our brief interactions, but the are there, and they shape the people we deal with.

Perhaps the more important lesson, though, is to understand how people see us -- others meet us and put us into a limited bucket with their own perception of what a stroke survivor is, what a care giver is, what an OT is, what a PT is, what a doctor is, etc.

When people make limited assumptions about us based on our role, it's easy to become offended that they're not seeing us as whole people with a history. But give them a break. We do it too. It's part of human nature. And recognize that that view goes both ways.


Sarah talked about helping survivors grieve for their previous life. Because this new life is different and can be a sharp break from our previous life. It's a concept I've heard before and I think we've talked about it in previous episodes.

But the new concept to me was when she talked about her cardiac patients feeling a sense of betrayal at their bodies. It's the betrayal we never expect to come.

As someone who has always been comfortable thinking in brain space, and who identifies as Ravenclaw, the stroke does feel like a betrayal. I was never an athlete. I could barely strum some notes on the mandolin, and I've never been the life of the party. But I have been a big reader, and I love thinking about things. I can get lost in daydreams and playing out all sorts of scenarios in my head. I can write and share concepts and stories. I've allied myself closely with my mind.

And then it betrayed me by, in part, dying.

Our lives can be turned upside down, not from the outside, but from the inside. And that makes that sense of betrayal that much more severe.

Hack of the Week

Sleep is free medicine. Living with a neurological condition means the brain works overtime and simply needs more sleep. Stroke survivors who find themselves struggling more than normal may simply have been over taxing the brain. The best way to combat that, and to overcome neuro-fatigue is simple to stay hydrated and take a nap.

There aren't a ton of advantages to having a stroke, but socially acceptable naps is one to embrace.


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 119 — Staying in Your Lane with Chandler Walker

2-Minute Tip: Stay in Your Line


When on stage, there’s pressure to have all the answers — to be the expert. And when we’re talking about the area of our expertise.


What do we do we aren’t the expert though?


There’s a lot of power in saying, “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.”


Know what you can speak about and know what you shouldn’t speak about. Focus on your lane and the audience will respect you more.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Chandler Walker


There’s a temptation when we speak to throw more and more information at an audience. We see this manifest in unreadable slides; long, boring talks; and few opportunities for Q&A or other audience interaction. And I get it.


In the corporate world, we are under pressure to cover all the material possible to maximize the value of the audience’s time. Or we may have multiple sponsors for our talk who want to make sure we include all of “their” material.


The problem is when we focus on everything, we focus on nothing. We disregard the fact that the audience needs to take away something. It doesn’t matter if we say all the stuff if it doesn’t inspire the audience to do something with it.




Chandler Walker holds his baby daughter on the beach.

Candler Walker’s tip about staying in your lane is important. It’s not about “knowing your place.” It’s about being comfortable with where you can add value and where you can’t. As we go through today’s discussion, you’ll see that. You’ll also see how he questions his audience to continue understanding how he can add value.


Chandler Walker has built a personal brand that has catapulted him to the keynote stage, fireside chats and corporate speeches. He’s spoken in the US, Australia, The Netherlands, and Canada. He also hosts the Chan’s Logic Podcast.




Chandler’s Website


Chan’s Logic on Facebook


Chan’s Logic Podcast


Chandler on Twitter


Chandler on YouTube


Chandler on Instagram



Call To Action:


  • Check out Chandler’s website, Facebook page, and other social media accounts in the links above.
  • Subscribe to the Chan’s Logic Podcast and 2-Minute Talk Tips for free 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 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