Ep 089 -- A Wonderful Stroke of Luck with Jan Douglas

A lot of stroke survivors I talk with describe themselves as "Lucky." I don't want to minimize the trauma or struggles that many survivors face. There are real challenges, and I don't recommend anyone go out and acquire a stroke, but luck is still a common theme.

In my experience, I say I'm lucky because I have a great partner who has stuck with me. I got great care at the hospital. My stroke left me with physical disabilities, but no significant cognitive or language issues. And it opened my eyes to this whole fascinating world and community.

I've talked with other folks who feel lucky because they have some cognitive challenges but no physical deficits.

In episode 65, Joe Borges described his stroke as a blessing because of the way it rebooted his life.

Book cover of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck featuring Janet Douglas's brain MRI with a hemorrhage on the right side.For former OT and corporate consultant, Janet Douglas, stroke was A Wonderful Stroke of Luck. And she wrote the book on it.

Jan started her career working in OT in her native England. She would go on traveling the world with the World Health Organization, meet her future husband, become a Director at the Rehab Institute of Chicago, transition the world of corporate HR consulting, and in September of 2002, have a massive stroke.

I find the pats people take to be fascinating. It seems completely random to go from OT into consulting at first glance. Take a deeper look, though, and it makes sense. Jan tells us in this interview how the transition was really just another type of OT, just on a larger scale.


Jan Douglas looks directly at the camera in her professional headshot.Jan Douglas trained as an occupational therapist in her native England in the 1960s. The patients she least enjoyed working with were those who had suffered strokes. She found them slow, lacking in motivation and emotionally unstable. She specialized in the treatment of hand injuries, working at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London and then served with the World Health Organization in its Africa and Southeast Asia regions. While working in Thailand, she met her American husband, an oral surgeon.

After moving to the United States, Douglas became Director of Occupational Therapy Education at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and pursued a master’s degree in public health. After graduating, she worked at Grant Hospital of Chicago, first as Director of Occupational Therapy and then as the leader of a hospital- based occupational health program, providing services to industry, local government and universities. From there she joined the world’s largest human resources and risk management consulting firm. As a global business leader, she worked with public and private employers, government agencies and healthcare systems, to improve their human capital management. She currently provides human resources support to a refugee resettlement agency.

Survivor Gift Shops

Are you or do you know a Stroke survivor with an Etsy or similar online gift shop? Let me know. As we get closer to the Christmas season, I'm planning to feature survivor shops on a future episode so folks can buy gifts and support the community.

Just email Bill@Strokecast.com.


We're giving away a copy of Jan's book to one listener. Share this episode on your social media with the link http://Strokecast.com/AWonderfulStrokeOfLuck and use the hashtag #Strokecast by the end of October.

I'll search the hashtag at the beginning of November and pick one winner at random.

Good luck talking about luck!

Hack of the week

If your doctor says you can drink wine, then YAY! Now you have to open the bottle.

Jan discovered that a wine bottle fits in the garbage disposal in her sink securely. Now she puts a bottle in there and can use a corkscrew one handed to open the bottle.


A Wonderful Stroke of Luck Website


Publicist Tom


Jan's email


A Wonderful Stroke of Luck on Amazon


Jan on 9&10 News


Refugee One


Refugee One on Facebook


Refugee One on Twitter


Refugee One on Instagram


Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly RIC)


My Year Off on Amazon


Iowa Writer's Workshop


Homonymous Quadrantanopsia





Julie Halpern Reviews A Wonderful Stroke of Luck


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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