Ep 127 -- One Fine Day Everything Changes


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One Fine Day everything changes. Nothing will be the same. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it's not. And sometimes we won't know for years.

Sameer Bhide was living the American dream. He grew up in India, Came to the US for college, graduated with his Masters Degree, got his green card, and too a great job in IT consulting. By the time he was 47, he was married with kids and living in a great home in the suburbs of Washington, DC with a sports car.

And then a genetic abnormality reared its ugly head inside of his head. He had a hemorrhagic stroke.

Over the next couple years, he would lose his job, go through a divorce, and move out of the amazing house.

But Sameer continued to work on his recovery. He travelled to India to supplement a western stye recovery with eastern techniques.

He chronicles his experiences in the book One Fine Day. And he shares his story in this episode of the Strokecast


From Sameer's website:

Sameer Bhide headshot against a bluish background

On January 31st, 2017, at the age of 47, Sameer suffered an extremely rare catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke in his cerebellum, underwent two brain surgeries, and spent a month in a medically induced coma. Not just his life-changing debilitating illness, later on, he had to quit working, and on top of that, he also went through a divorce. He is extremely grateful and thankful to the Universe that he survived and he promises the Universe that he is going to make the most of the fact that he is alive. 

Book cover of One Fine Day

Sameer is on a unique journey of life, a journey complete with excellent highs and heart-wrenching lows. He is a true fighter, excellent writer and a motivational speaker and thus, written an inspirational book titled “One Fine Day” a unique story of resilience and hope in facing the new normal. It is a transformative memoir about his illness and experiences dealing with adversity and how he came back from the brink of hopelessness/death with the help of a diverse community of friends, caregivers, colleagues and other people around him in his adopted country (USA) and his country of birth (India) besides his family.

Sameer’s mission starting with his book is to help and guide people worldwide on how one can prepare for and embrace their new normal whatever it is for them with positivity, grace and gratitude.

Writing Process

I find the process survivors go through to write their books fascinating. In part that's because I've started work on mine. But it's also interesting because people choose different ways to work around their disabilities. Writing a book requires energy, a willingness to revisit some of the most painful and frightening moments we've lived through, access to language, an ability to type or handwrite, and wherewithal to bring it to market.

None of those come easy after stroke.

Sameer worked with a ghost writer for his book. This gave him a few advantages.

For one, he could work in bursts. He didn't have to sit down for hours. This way he could work around things like neurofatigue or the discomfort that can come from typing a lot. He would share his story with the ghostwriter who would write the story out. Then Sameer could make revisions. They could go back and forth to tell Sameer's story in Sameer's voice.

Sameer also leveraged his work experience in crafting a product plan. E jokes about it, but it makes a lot of sense.

Even if we can't work in our pre-stroke profession, we can often still find a way to leverage those skills and experiences in post stroke life.

When a lot of people see a stroke survivor, the see a person with disabilities. What they don't see is the IT project manager, the lawyer, the judge, the assembly line worker, the retail manager, the author, the actor, the pilot, the broadcaster, etc. Yet we are those things and more.

And in the projects we pursue after stroke, we can often leverage those skills. We bring a treasure trove of experiences to post-stroke life. Sure, some of them may be harder to access now, but they are still there.

It's up to us to figure out how to use and find new applications for those skills.

Disability in India

On Twitter, elsewhere in social media, and in conversations with disabled people in the US, you'll see discussion about lack of accessibility, and the challenges of that. And we absolutely should talk about it. The Americans with Disabilities Act is 30 years old and its ridiculous so many people still have to fight for the accessibility and accommodation that Federal law "guarantees" to us.

As Sameer points out, the situation is worse in India. You simply won't see the level of accommodation and accessibility that you see in the US. Sameer grew up in India, the came to the US, then became disabled, then went to India, giving him a deep perspective on the issue.

It mirrors the limited observations I shared about my week there a couple years ago.

Accessibility is a growth area around the world with different challenges in different places. And being "better" is not the same as being "good.

Hack Jugaad of the Week

Sameer talked about the importance of  meditation and mindfulness in his recovery.

Between added stress and the experience of over sensitivity to environmental stimulation, our minds can be exhausting spaces. It makes it hard to focus on recovery, and an overly exhausted mind may not be optimized for the neuroplasticity needed for recovery.

There are two key tools the popular Headspace app and video chat meditation centers with his guide in southern India.

There are lots of software solutions and YouTube channels that can help you with your own meditation and mindfulness needs. When I was receiving outpatient care one such session was even covered by my insurance at the time.

Explore your options or ask your care team for their recommendations if you feel meditation or mindfulness can help you.

Motus Nova

I'd also like to take a moment and welcome new sponsor Motus Nova to the Strokecast. You'll be hearing from them in a couple week.

Motus Nova makes devices to help stroke survivors with our at home rehab. For example, the Motus hand is a robotic exoskeleton that help you use your hand to play games and do exercises. It’s similar to the way my PTs and OTs used to manipulate my affected limbs in therapy sessions.

It’s designed to make it easier to get in the thousands of repetitions we need to ensure a strong recovery.

If you'd like to learn more or find out if the Motus Nova devices can help your recovery, visit http://Strokecast.com/MotusNova to complete a free online assessment. And use the Promo code "Strokecast" to save 10% on your firs month.

Special thanks to Strokecast guest Ella Sophia for introducing us.


Where do we go from here?

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Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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