Episode 042 -- Meet Dr. Dileep Yavagal

In Episode 035 back in October, I talk with Dr. Nirav Shah about the general state of stem cell therapy for stroke survivors. Afterwards, Nirav connected me with the lead researcher on the University of Miami's stem cell research team, Dr. Dileep Yavagal so I could talk to him about his research. That brings us to today's episode.

Dr. Yavagal specializes in vascular neurosurgery. That includes procedures like thrombectomy, where a doctor inserts a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin to go up into the brain a pull out the clot. Mechanical thrombectomy can be done up to 24 hours after stroke symptoms begin, and it can have a tremendous impact on minimizing the damage from an ischemic stroke.

What it doesn't do today is help patients recover from stroke. It means fewer brain cells die, but the dead and damaged ones don't get any help. When we say time is tissue or time is brain, this is why. Every minute that a clot blocks a vessel, more brain dies. To recover functionality today, we rely on neuroplasticity. PT, OT, Speech therapy, home exercises, eStim, SSRIs, acupuncture, and more therapies are all about encouraging the brain to rewire in such a way that we can work around that dead spot in our heads.

But what if there was another way?

That's the question stem cell therapy tries to answer.

Stem cells, as you may recall from my chat with Nirav, are cells that can become other cells. Embryonic stem cell are the ones we here about in the news, but not the ones used in the trials today. These are critical in embryos because those stem cells turn into all the other cells in our bodies -- nerves, muscle, brain, heart, left pinky, etc.

Adults have stem cells, too. The most common source is our bone marrow -- the soft tissue inside our bones where the body actually creates blood. Research is now looking at how we can use the stem cells to drive the growth of fresh neurons in the brain.

There are two major approaches in the research, today. The Stanford study demonstrated the safety of its procedure in a small study, but more work is being done to test the effectiveness. That process focused on chronic stroke survivors -- those several years post stroke. In that study, researches a hole in the skull to inject the patient's own stem cells into the damaged area. Results are preliminary, but promising.

Dr. Yavagal's work at the University of Miami is different in several ways. First, his work is focused on using stem cell therapy within the first day or two of the onset of symptoms. Secondly, his work relies on donor stem cells since the patient's own stem cells are not available in quantity right after the stroke. Third, his procedure involves delivering the cells to the brain through a catheter, similar to that used during thrombectomy or used to repair an aneurysm. His results are also quite prom, and he's preparing the next phase of study to move the science along and develop safe, effective treatments.

The key question we always ask is, "When will this therapy be available?"

The answer is we are not there today, despite the clinics popping up claiming to offer the therapy. However, it appears we are 2-3 years out if things go well, or potentially 4-5 years out if they don't.

In addition to his work with stem cells, Dr. Yavagal is also one of the leaders of the Thrombectomy 2020 program -- an international initiative to reach 202,000 thrombectomies a year by 2020 and to continue doubling after that. There are communities in the US and around the world where this therapy is simple not available, and yet it can be such an extremely powerful way of reducing the disability caused by stroke, saving hundreds of thousands of people from having to deal with the deficits of stroke and saving billions of dollars in healthcare and disability expenses. We'll talk more about Thrombectomy 2020 in a future episode.

Who is Dr. Dileep Yavagal?

Dr. Yavagal headshotDr. Dileep R. Yavagal, MD, FAHA, FAAN, FSVIN is the Director of Interventional Neurology and Co-Director of Neuroendovascular Surgery at the University of Miami & Jackson Memorial Hospitals and Clinical Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He has recently been appointed to lead the Neurological Cell Therapy Platform at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University.

Dr. Yavagal is an international thought leader in endovascular therapy for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke as well as a pioneer in the translation of intra-arterial delivery of cell therapy for stroke. He was the national Co-PI of the first US multicenter clinical trial of Intra-arterial delivery of autologous bone marrow stem cells for ischemic stroke: RECOVER Stroke. He was on the on the steering committee of the SWIFT-Prime and MR RESCUE, both landmark randomized clinical trials of endovascular stroke therapy. He co-authored the landmark 2015 AHA Endovascular Stroke Therapy Guidelines as well as the recent groundbreaking DAWN stroke trial in the New England Journal of Medicine. He is the founder and Past-President of the Society for Vascular and Interventional Neurology (SVIN). He has also co-authored the AHA Policy statement on Stroke Systems of Care.

Dr. Yavagal has received several state and federal research grants to study endovascular stem cell therapies for ischemic stroke using small and large animal models of stroke in his research laboratory. He is considered a pioneering researcher the field of intra-arterial delivery of stem cells in stroke therapy.

Hack of the Week

As we head into the gift giving season, we have to start thinking about how to wrap presents. Wrapping paper is great when you have 2 functional hands or you use some sort of gift-wrapping service. If you have just one functional hand, it can be more challenging. You can find videos on YouTube demonstrating one-handed techniques, but I prefer the simpler way.

Gift Bags!

Seriously, make it easy on yourself and uses theses fancy mini shopping bags. Add some tissue paper to the bag, put the gift in, the lightly crumble some more tissue paper to put on top. Then you're done. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can tie the handles together with ribbon.


Dileep Yavagal on Twitter


University of Miami Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute


University of Miami Department of Neurology


Stem Cells: A Breakthrough in Stroke Treatment?


SWIFT-Prime study


Thrombectomy 2020


Dr. Seth Finklestein


Stroke Episode 035 — Stem Cell Therapy and Stroke Recovery


Strokecast Episode 040 — Meet Dr. Kimberly Brown


Clinical Trials




Stanford Stem Cell Study Announcement


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 089 -- Practice in the Mirror and Meet Andrew "Mecha" Davis

2-Minute Tip: Practice in a Mirror


The key to success on stage is to practice as much as you can. Prep by using a mirror to give yourself an audience to impress. And often the person in the mirror is the toughest to impress.


Practice with your notes at first, and get good enough so you don't need them. Once you don't need your notes, that means you're protected against something going wrong. When it's time to

actually present, though, have your notes available to give yourself that extra little bit of confidence



Post Tip discussion: Meet Andrew "Mecha" Davis


PopAnimeComisc Lounge LogoAndrew "Mecha" Davis is a regular at anime cons around the country. He initially fell in love with the genre well before he was 10 years old and it stuck with him into adulthood. He's turned his passion for these multi-faceted Japanese cartoons into a series of presentations at fan conventions, a YouTube Channel, a podcast, a website, and the PopAnimeComics brand. Along the way he added interests in wrestling, comic book investing, Cos-players, and Funko Pops.


This week, Andrew and I talk about the genre of Anime and what it takes to construct a good presentation for a fan convention.


I think my favorite take away from the discussion is that if you want to speak at a con, the process is as "simple" as choosing a topic that appeals to you,. Build it out, and submit it according to the con's guidelines. The cons have a lot of presentation and panel slots to fill and are always looking for great content to fill time.


Not sure what you want to talk about? Make a list of things you love and geek out over. Then look at that list and figure out what 2 or 3 of them have in common. Now you have an idea that could make a good pane topic. Flesh out those common threads and pursue that opportunity to be on stage.


And when you get accepted (of course) do the work, do the prep, and do the practice to wow the audience.


And if the topic doesn't get accepted for whatever reason, try submitting it to another con. Or two. Or 3. Or more. Or turn all your work into a blog post, medium article, or YouTube video.


Do what it takes to share your passion with the world.




PopAnimeComics Website


PopAnimeComics on Facebook


PopAnimeComics on Twitter


PopAnimeComics Podcast on Apple Podcasts


PopAnimeComics on Instagram


PopAnimeComics on YouTube


Grave of the Fireflies


Outlaw Star


Gundam Wing




Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


Catie Harris Episode


Anime Boston




Bill Maher on Stan Lee comments






Call To Action


  • Be sure to check out the various PopAnimeComics online properties in the links above
  • Share this episode with the anime fans in your life by sending them to http://2minutetalktips.com/popanimecomics
  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode
  • Don't get best…get better



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

Check out this episode!


Episode 041 -- Holiday Tips for Stroke Survivors

The Holiday season can be awesome. Or it can be stressful. Or it can be both. This week, I have 10 Holiday Tips for Stroke Survivors

Travel Tips:

  • Ship luggage on ahead
  • Request wheelchair assistance at the airport
  • Travel with prescriptions in their original bottle -- especially if you're travelling internationally.

Kitchen Tips:

  • Mise en place -- prep everything in advance and have everything in its place
  • Use adaptive gear like one-handed can openers and under the counter jar openers
  • Use paper based checklists for complex items and procedures

Friends, Family, and Social Tips

  • Be careful with alcohol -- drinking can make stroke deficits more prominent
  • Communicate your limits
  • Use gift wrapping services from Amazon or other retailers when you do your shopping

Finally, the big tip is:

  • Know your own limits. When fatigue hits, take a nap. When a crowd gets overwhelming, step away to a quiet place. Be good to yourself so you can enjoy the season.

And, of course, don't get best...get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 088 --Thank Your Host and Tips for Speakers at During the Holidays

2-Minute Tip: Thank your Hosts


Putting together an event is a lot of work. Sometimes even putting together a short internal company meeting is a lot of work. Coordinating peoples' schedules and even finding an available conference room is way more complicated than it ought to be. So thank your host for inviting you. They took care of logistics and are giving you the audience's most valuable assets -- its time and attention.


So thank the host after the event. Send them a note letting them know you appreciate the work they've done. It may even make it more likely you'll be invited back. Everyone likes to be appreciated.


Post Tip Discussion: Tips for Speakers During the Holidays


It's the Holiday season in the US. We start with Thanksgiving on November 22 and goes through New Years Day on January 1. In the tech industry some folks would say it goes through January 11, 2019, when CES ends.


That means folks may be distracted either because they are so excited. Folks may be recharging with family and friends or dealing with family and friends. Folks may have different views of the Holidays from you due to their personal experience, or their politics, or their philosophy. Don't let differing views of the Holidays detract from your core message or call to action.


Travel may be more complicated. Airports and airplanes will be busier and fuller than normal. Many of the folks who are travelling do not travel regularly. They may not be as familiar or experienced with security and airport procedures as more frequent travelers.


Weather will also be a factor in delays and agitation in air travel this time of year.


So plan to allow extra time and bring lots of extra patience.


As you encounter children performing in pageants or skits during the Holidays, support them. Their experience with an audience now will impact how they feel about speaking and stage presence years into the future.


Finally, back in Episode 066, I spoke with Mario Porreca about gratitude, among other things. Thanksgiving week is a great time to start a  gratitude project. 


Start and end each day by writing down one thing you are grateful for. It doesn't have to be a big thing; the consistency is what matters.


After a month, you'll have a list of 60 things. At the end of a year, you'll have a list of more than 700 things.


This list then becomes a great source for talks, points and illustrations, bios, and job interview answers among other things. Plus its a great thing to look over when you're having a bad day.


Call To Action


  • Start a Gratitude List
  • Enjoy the Holidays that you celebrate
  • Have patience
  • Don't get best...get better

Check out this episode!


Episode 040 -- Meet Dr. Kimberly Brown

Dr. Kimberly Brown headshotAs stroke survivors, Emergency Room physicians play an important part in our survival and rapid treatment, but we often don't think about them. We build ongoing clinical relationships with our neurologists, physiatrists, OTs, PTs, Speech Therapists. Rehab nurses, CNAs, and more, but not the ER docs. When they see us, our brains are in full crisis/panic mode, our loved ones are terrified, and the doctors are busy making rapid assessments, decisions, and referrals. By the time we get a chance to calm down and assess our new landscape, they are long gone and have transitioned off our care team.

That's one reason I enjoyed talking with Dr. Kimberly Brown. It was a chance to get some insight into a field I knew little about. 

Among the things I found interesting was how she talk about the impact of technology in medical education -- listening to a heart murmur on the computer during school work and later tying that into the real world in listening on an actual patient.

We also talk about the role of ER Pharmacists, the role Methodist University Hospital has had in treating folks with the clot busting drug tPA, and some of the challenges around public health.

We do have some discussion of the politics of healthcare in this episode. Regardless of how you feel about the Affordable Care Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the future of Medicare and Medicaid, the political decisions around these programs will directly affect the lives of millions of stroke survivors and potential survivors in the US, and it's important to be aware of what's going on and express your views to your elected officials.

We reference the FAST signs for stroke. If you're not familiar with them they are:

Stroke warning signs: Face, Arms, Speech, and Time


We also talk about sepsis or being septic. Sepsis can be the result of the body's attempt to fight an infection. Basically, the infection results in the body dumping an excess of chemicals into the blood stream to fight the infection, but it instead leads to inflammation in other organs. Symptoms of sepsis can sometimes mirror stroke. Sepsis is a life threatening condition.

Fortunately whether you come into the ER with Sepsis or Stroke, folks like Dr. Kimberly Brown are there to take care of you.

Dr, Kimberly Brown working on a laptop at a cafe

Dr. Kimberly Brown is an emergency physician in Memphis, Tennessee. She is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and earned her undergraduate degree from Fisk University. Loving warmer weather, Dr. Brown earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Florida in Public Health Management and Policy. She attended Ross University School of Medicine and recently completed her emergency medicine residency as a member of the inaugural graduating class of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Brown’s clinical interests include neurologic emergencies, critical care, sepsis, and education. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, watching too much reality tv and trying new restaurants.

Improving Care in the Stroke Belt

Dr. Brown serves patients in the Stroke Belt of the US. This is the region of the country that since the early 60s has had a significantly higher about of stroke patients and higher mortality from stroke than the rest of the country. It includes:

  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  1. Making sure all patients have access to coverage
  2. Decrease food desserts
  3. Programs to incentive physicians to go to under-served communities in Appalachia and urban centers to ensure access to care
  4. Make sure schools are good so kids can read and understand their health
  5. Medical professionals have to do a better job at educating patients about how their body works and what's going on with it.


Hack of the Week

When you arrive at the ER, especially as a previous stroke survivor or person with disabilities. It's important to provide the team with as much information as possible. The need to know about the medications (legal AND illegal) you are taking, any previous stroke or medical issues, what disabilities you already had, and more.

Any video or recent photos of you prior to this incident can also be extremely helpful to the staff so they can get a better sense of what's changed.

Every Branch and Leaf -- National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. These people make a huge difference in our lives, and it's important to recognize and thank them for their support. One way to support caregivers is to read Dr. Kate Lorig's book "Building Better Caregivers." I talked with the author back in episode 19 at http://strokecast.com/kate.

Larry Benitez is one of my colleagues from a professional networking group. He's also a banjo player who volunteers at the Old Friends Club in the Seattle area. The Old Friends Club support folks with Alzheimer's and Dementia.

Larry recently recorded a song dedicated to care givers. You can learn more about it here. Or just watch the video below. Be sure to comment on and like the video over on YouTube, too.



Dr. Kimberly Brown's Website


Dr. Kimberly Brown's Email


Dr. Kimberly Brown's Facebook


Dr. Kimberly Brown's Instagram


Dr. Kimberly Brown's Twitter


Chronicles of Women in White Coats


Methodist University Hospital Emergency Medicine


Stroke belt on Wikipedia


Sepsis on Wikipedia


FAST from the American Heart Association


Strokecast Episode 19: Meet Dr. Kate Lorig


Old Friends Club


Larry's Song on YouTube


Larry's post on LinkedIn



Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 087 -- Choose Your Headline and Meet Scott Charlston

2-Minute Tip: Choose Your Headline


As you frame your talk, make sure you choose the headline for it.  Flip through a newspaper or magazine and look at the headlines. Their job is to give you a little bit of information in a way that is compelling enough that you want to read more. They have to be short. They can be funny, But when you define the headlines for your talk, you also need it to get people to come see you and give you their time.


Think about your headline as the kind of thing that might be the subject line of an email or go on a poster advertising your talk. If you already know your goal for the talk and what you want people to take away from your talk, you should be able to develop the headline easily. If you can't, then maybe your talk isn't quite ready yet and you need to review your goals again.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Scott Charlston


Scott Charlston HeadshotI first met Scott through a professional job hunting workshop where we are both looking for our next adventures. If you're looking for a great PR or media relations expert, reach out to Scott. If you're looking for a corporate trainer, product evangelist, or podcaster, just email bill@2minutetalktips.com.


In this episode, you'll hear about just what it is PR professionals do and the things they work on while doing media training. While there's an obvious surface level overlap between public speaking, ultimately it goes deeper. The core themes of defining and knowing your message, understanding your audience, and telling compelling stories that I talk about all the time on this show are also the core elements that Scott focuses on in his work with executives and media relations teams.


Scott spent 6 years as a reporter and anchor at Spokane's KREM TV before moving into PR for nearly 20 years with Weber Shandwick and Verizon Wireless. He's done media training, media relations, executive coaching and even more -- all with a focus on putting people at the center of the story, distilling complex ideas into clear benefits.




Call To Action:

  • What are your thoughts on this chat and PR? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, relative, reporter, or PR Specialist. Just give them this link: http://2minutetalktips.com/scott
  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips for free in your favorite podcast app.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Check out this episode!


Episode 039 -- The FLAME Study: How Anti-depressants (SSRI) help Stroke Recovery

This week, Dr. Nirav Shah and I talk about antidepressants -- SSRIs specifically -- in Stroke Recovery. The FLAME study demonstrated the benefits to motor recovery.

SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor. Basically, the way data gets sent from one nerve cell to another is through the use of chemicals, like serotonin. The body produce serotonin and the collects it when done, taking it out of the system. An SSRI slows down the collection process -- it inhibits the re-uptake. That leaves more serotonin floating around the brain.

Having more serotonin floating around the brain can help reduce, manage, or eliminate depression and other conditions. That's why SSRIs are some of the most common anti-depressants on the market.

The FLAME study looked at how Fluoxetine (AKA Prozac) behaves in folks who recently had a stroke. Fluoxetine is an old school antidepressant and SSRI. The study appeared to show that the extra serotonin in the brain may help promote neuroplasticity and recovery of motor skills after stroke, and that's why we're talking about it today.

My Experience

When I was inpatient, the doctor put me on an SSRI due to the FLAME study. She tried Prozac (AKA Fluoxetine) first. Unfortunately, it gave me an anxiety attack. On the other hand, I now know what an anxiety attack feels like. Not pleasant.

A Xanax took care of that.

We tried again the next day, this time with another SSRI called Lexapro (AKA Escitalopram). Someone explained to me that the molecule that makes up Lexapro is the mirror image of the Prozac molecule. I'd had Lexapro in the past, with no ill effects so it was worth a shot. Success! No anxiety attack this time. And that's how an SSRI earned a spot in my daily collection of medication.

But did it help my recovery? Maybe. There's no way to tell for sure. The data indicates that it should and there is no reason to think it didn't help. As a side effect, I did not go into the deep depression so common among other stroke survivors.

This is a new use for SSRIs, Fluoxetine, and Escitalopram. It's borderline off-label. Not all doctors are familiar with the idea that SSRIs promote the neuroplasticity that supports recovery of motor functions. And that's how I ended up explaining the research to my primary care physician as he reviewed my meds with me post-hospital.

The FLAME study covered 6 months. I'm still taking the Lexapro today. When I talked to my rehab doctor about whether I should continue we concluded that since I don't have any negative results from it, we may as well keep it up. If there's a chance it can help, and it's not hurting, then that sounds good to me.

Dr. Nirav H. Shah

Dr. Nirav H Shah Headshot

Dr. Nirav H. Shah is a fellowship trained neurologist and sub-specialist in cerebrovascular and stroke medicine with board certifications in t: neurology, stroke medicine, carotid neurosonology, transcranial doppler ultrasound, and neuroimaging.

He is a practicing neurohospitalist and served as the stroke medical director at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Academically, he is interested in emergent and critical care neurology research and is an associate editor for The Neurohospitalist, a peer-reviewed journal. He enjoys mentoring trainees and collaborating on publications and conference presentations.

Outside of clinical care Dr Shah is collaborating with experts to develop scalable technologies capable of ameliorating healthcare’s challenges. He consults with startups and investors to develop technologies and devices so that one day they are available to his patients. He has worked with companies to meet FDA regulations for approval as well as to help them understand the provider perspective of product-market fit.

Dr. Shah is also the CEO and Founder of Sentinel Healthcare. He is also a passionate traveler and photographer.

So let's fan the FLAME of stroke recovery with Nirav.

Hack of the Week

Daily pill organizer with one door openMany stroke survivors use a day of the week pill organizer to keep track of meds. And, sometimes, the day of the week. The organizer can also make it easy to keep track of whether or not we've taken pills for the day.

After taking your pills, leave the door for that day open exposing the now empty chamber. That gives you and your caregiver an easy to see visual queue the deed is done.



FLAME study Presentation


Efficacy of Fluoxetine - a Trial in Stroke (EFFECTS)


Predicting recovery in acute poststroke aphasia


Nirav’s previous appearance


Nirav on Stem Cells and Stroke Recovery


Nirav  on LinkedIn


Nirav at Swedish


Nirav on Twitter


The Neurohospitalist


Nirav’s Photography


Sentinel Healthcare


Where do we go from here?

  • Check out the links to the FLAME study and the other SSRI stroke studies above.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app.
  • Use your pill box door as a reminder/calendar.
  • Don't get best…get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 086 -- Incorporate Excellence and Brevity

2-Minute Tip: Incorporate, Don't Emulate


A movie that's inspired by a true story takes elements of that story and creates its own thing from it to move the audience. It doesn't attempt to duplicate the original story itself because that would be a documentary and not a theatrical tale. Both the original story and the entertaining film can be excellent things, but they are different things.


When we try to be more effective speakers, one thing we do is watch excellent speakers. That's a good thing. Watch as many excellent speakers as you can. Just don't try to be them.


They got where they are with their own unique combination of practice, training, and life experience.


You got where you are with your own unique combination of practice, training, and life experience. 


Watch those excellent speakers and think about what they do well and why. What specific behaviors or techniques to they use to get their message across. Is that a technique you can use in your talks? Give it a try.


Here you are trying to incorporate specific behaviors. You are not trying to be someone else. Incorporate; don't emulate.


Post Tip Discussion: Brevity


The proper length for a talk is to be exactly as long as it needs to be and not a second longer.


Sometimes that takes work. It's easy to craft a long talk. The work comes in trimming away the unessential parts.


Make your point. Support your point. Get off the stage.


How often have you heard the audience say, "I wish that presentation was longer."


Call To Action


  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite Podcast app.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, or relative by giving them the link http://2minutetalktips.com/brevity
  • Incorporate techniques from other excellent speakers
  • Don't get best...get better




In the spirit of getting the heck off the stage, this week's episode includes "Opening Band" by the legendary musical comedy duo Paul and Storm (released under Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike). You can check out more of their work here.

Check out this episode!


Episode 038 -- Meet Maggie Whittum

I first met Maggie Whittum a couple months ago, thanks to the episode I did with the folks at The Slow Road to Better. We connected to record this episode and I enjoyed the chat.

Maggie has a nice deliberate way of speaking. You can hear the emotion in her voice as she talks.

Like Whitney last week, Maggie's story is a frightening reminder that even if you do everything right, stroke can happen to anyone at any age. That doesn't mean you should ignore risk factors. Just keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle only reduces risk of stroke. It doesn't eliminate it entirely, On the other hand, a healthy pre-stroke life helps make rehab easier.

Maggie Whittum headshotMaggie was 33 years old when a cavernous angioma failed and she had a hemorrhagic stroke in her brain stem.

At the time, stroke was the furthest thing from her mind. She was a healthy, athletic, driven non-smoking actor in the best physical condition of her life. After spending several years acting, producing, and directing [projects around the world she moved to the Washington, DC area to pursue a Master of Fine Arts program at George Washington University. That all changed when her stroke hit her at the end of her first semester.

Now, Maggie lives in Denver where she continues to work on her recovery, creates art projects to illustrate just what chronic pain is like, and acts on stage with the Phamaly Theater, a company focused on providing opportunities for actors with disabilities.

Now, Maggie is taking everything she's learned from her time as an actor, director, producer, writer, teacher, and stroke survivor to assemble a team and create The Great Now What, documentary exploring stroke, recovery, the healing power of art, and her journey to claim a powerful new identity.


Hack of the Week

The great thing about carrying a purse, messenger bag, backpack or other carrying device is that it's easier to carry stuff. You can just throw all your stuff in there and go. 

With a little thought, however, the process can be much more efficient. Arrange items in the bag specifically for single-handed use instead of just tossing stuff in. Consider flaps that allow easy access to a bus pass, a caribiner for keys, or a designated pocket for a disabled parking placard. A little planning can make the day a little less stressful.


The Great Now What


Crowd Funding


The Great Now What on Facebook


Maggie Whittum on Instagram


Maggie Whittum on Twitter


Maggie Whittum on IMDB


Maggie Whittum RAISE Award Nomination


Fates and Furies on Amazon


The Crash Reel with Kevin Pearce


The Crash Reel on Amazon Video


Phamaly Theater Company


Cavernous Angioma


Slow Road to Better on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast