Ep 095 — 19 Holiday Tips for Stroke Survivors

The Holidays are a wonderful time, and it can be a stressful time. Here are 19 Holiday Tips for Stroke Survivors. I explore them in greater detail in the episode.

  1. Use Spoon Theory to explain disabilities
  2. Nap when you can
  3. Warn a host you may need a break
  4. Keep blankets in your car
  5. Dry your cane tip
  6. Update note cards and laminate them
  7. Cold drives tone. Ask your doctor about adjusting meds
  8. Stretch
  9. Be careful with alcohol. It can affect you differently now
  10. Talk about Pba and emotional lability. It’s not shameful.
  11. Get extra traction for your shoes
  12. Use an ally at parties
  13. Decorate a cane for the holidays
  14. Send Thank you notes to your team
  15. Make a list and check it twice
  16. Use project planning tools like Planner and Trello to organize your endeavors
  17. Help others
  18. Create an Amazon wish list
  19. Adjust your expectations

Where do we go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 137 -- Bigger than Yourself with Kira Ming

2-Minute Tip: Be Authentic and Tell Your Story


Across the different guests I talk with, the theme of authenticity keeps coming up in the tips. It’s similar in many of them which demonstrates just how important it is. Also interesting is how each of them brings their own angle to the concept.


When you tell your story and use it to connect with the message you want to convey, it’s much easier to have a memorable and authentic impact on your audience. And that’s ultimately what you want.


When you are talking about things that aren’t about you specifically, you can still let your authentic self come through. It’s in your enthusiasm or feeling about the topic your discussing. It’s in the analogies you use. It’s in how you dress and how you carry yourself. It’s in how you relate to the folks in your audience.


Sharing your story and being authentic doesn’t mean you have to share your detailed biography, especially when it’s not relevant to your topic. But you may have had an experience or anecdote that helps explain something. It doesn’t have to be a major thing in your life. It just needs to be something that will help make your point and help you achieve your goal.


Meet Kira Ming


Kira is a writer at heart. As she became more and more successful, she received more invitations to speak. And that helped her writing business. Which got her more speaking opportunities. Ultimately she learned that people want to hear from the person behind a brand.


The point is, she didn’t seek the stage.


And when she found herself on it, she had to learn fast. She had to learn to be bigger than herself — to push beyond her own limiting beliefs about what she was capable of to share her story with her audience and how her company could help them achieve their goals.




The Real Kira Ming stands outdoors in profit and looks towards the camera

Kira Ming’s background in publishing spans over 15 years and involves the creation of her own successful publication. Over the past decade she’s had the pleasure of interviewing some of entertainment’s biggest names, and has been involved in many legendary events within entertainment both as a host and media sponsor.


She’s spent the past few years developing tools, resources, marketing material, and several types of content for businesses, editing numerous projects, and contributing articles to major platforms including Huffington Post. As a result of her success within publishing, content marketing, and business strategy, she felt it only necessary to write Small Business, Big Success – a straight to the point guide for small business owners. Kira Ming has served as keynote speaker, a panelist, and workshop conductor for numerous events, and she’s excited to continue giving value when it comes to her expertise.


3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Speak


  1. It increases the audience for your product, service, or content
  2. Others want you to speak on their platform. And that will further expand your audience and potential customer base.
  3. It has a high conversion rate. People are more interested in buying from someone  they’ve personally seen and heard


Personal Branding


We talked about this topic a bit. A lot of people don’t like the idea because they feel, “I’m a human being — an individual. I’m not a brand.”


This is a short sighted approach. A brand is really  a mental shortcut that we all use that is a summary of our thoughts and feelings about a person, an organization, a topic, etc.


We all have a brand whether we want one or not. Personal branding is about taking an active role in influencing how people think about and see you.


It’s essential in the modern social media landscape we live in. And people will create it for you if you don’t protect it yourself.


It’s a modern way of caring about your reputation.





Call To Action



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

Check out this episode!


Ep 094 — Positive Outcomes with Julia Fox Garrison

There are a lot of amazing people in the stroke community, and I get to talk with a lot of them. #PodcastPrivilege.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Debra Myerson about her book, Identity Theft. In that book, she wrote about a couple dozen other stroke survivors, including Julia Fox Garrison.

Julia joins us in this episode to talk about her journey, her book, Don’t Leave Me this Way, and her philosophy of Positive Outlook = Positive Outcome.

And, of course, the importance of humor in dealing with difficulty in our lives.


Julia Fox Garrison holds a cane in her left hand. She curves her right hand. Together they make a heart.

Julia is the author of Don’t Leave Me This Way (or when I get back on my feet you’ll be sorry), Harper Collins Publisher. A memoir that chronicles her struggle to regain control over her life and her body following a massive hemorrhage resulting in a paralyzing stroke. The success of the book and the message it conveys led to a new career path for Julia as a motivational speaker, evangelizing for humanity in health care, our work, and in our personal relationships. Her message is universal and transcends far beyond a survivor’s handbook. It is not only about facing adversity and overcoming, but to live life to the fullest regardless of circumstances. Julia presents at doctor, nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, case manager, social worker conferences, as well as to patient advocacy groups, women’s conferences, businesses, and communities, where she shares her story of personal triumph against overwhelming odds. Julia’s life lessons will transform how to overcome and empower when the intruder called adversity knocks at our door. She will provide strategies on how to answer through attitude, choice and purpose.

Two foxes cuddle forming a heart. Their tails form the U in the word HUGS. The caption says, "Humor Ultimately Gives Strength."

Julia has more than ten years of experience as an acclaimed national speaker. She is passionate about her message and relishes sharing it with receptive audiences. Most noteworthy about Julia’s success as a speaker is that all of her engagements are the result of word-of- mouth– someone hears her speak, believes in the message and, in turn, enthusiastically recommends her to some other organization. The distinguished list of client organizations continues to grow and broaden as Julia’s message touches more and more people.

An Eye chart that spells out Positive Outlook = Positive Outcome Stay True To Your Vision

Before her stroke, Julia had a successful career as a manager in software customer support. Rapid advancement through the ranks of her company was within her grasp when she suffered the debilitating injury, effectively ending her career in the corporate world. And thus began her journey of rediscovery and reinvention as author, health care advocate and motivational speaker.

Julia was raised in Andover, MA, in a loving if chaotic household with eight brothers, an upbringing that no doubt made her battle-ready for the literal fight for her life. Julia lives with her husband Jim, son Rory, and dog Shaggy in a suburb outside Boston, where she is working on writing projects as she continues to overcome the effects of stroke.

Julia’s Theme Song

Here is Christina Aguilera’s Fighter

‘Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

Heavenly Puss

It’s funny how things from your childhood stick with you.

When Julia mentioned choosing to climb the ladder between life and death — between Heaven and Earth — I flashed back to an old episode of Tom and Jerry where Tom has the chance to revisit his life choices.

Here’s a clip.


Where do we go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 136 -- Be Brave and Commit with Heather Vickery

2-Minute Tip: Be Your True and Honest Self


We talk a lot about authenticity because it matters. And while it may seem daunting, it can actually make things easier. When you don’t try to fake it, you don’t waste brain cycles and energy trying to maintain a façade.


There are 3 questions to ask yourself when you prepare to talk to an audience:


  1. Who are you really?
  2. What do you have to offer your audience?
  3. What do you have to gain from the experience?


Integrate this framework into your prep work to put yourself on the path to success.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Heather Vickery


“Man up,” is a phrase I don’t like. Most folks understand it to mean that it’s time to just do something that’s hard or that you’re afraid to do it.


But obviously, it’s sexist. It implies that being afraid to do things is womanly and doing the tough stuff despite fear is manly.


I prefer the exhortation to, “Fortify!” instead of “man up.” Sometimes you do need to muster all your energy and willpower to accomplish something tough. “Fortify” captures that spirit without insulting a significant portion of your audience.


I’m thinking about this today because today’s guest is host of The Brave Files podcast, personal coach, speaker, author, and musical theater enthusiast, Heather Vickery. Heather often finds herself telling clients, “So what? Do it scared.”




Heather Vickery stands against a stone wall in a flowery dress

Heather Vickery is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, business owner, and transformational coach. But Heather isn’t just a savvy businesswoman − she’s an inspiration.


The founder of Vickery and Co., Heather helps organizations build an environment of honoring “The Whole Employee” so that they have empowered team members, happier clients, higher retention and make more money!


Heather is a featured expert on achieving an authentic and meaningful life and designing your own roadmap for balance and success.


A mother of four, Heather’s world turned upside down after a major life transformation and divorce, suddenly, she had the freedom to be her most authentic self. She discovered that this same authenticity empowered her with the confidence she needed to repair, rebuild, and reach her life’s vision and goals. Today, Heather leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment. Through her story of personal bravery, perseverance, and resilience, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and meaningful lives. A strong believer in strengthening her community, Heather also serves as vice president for The Children’s School and as a board member for the About Face Theatre, Chicago’s premiere LGBTQ theatre.


Heather is the executive producer and host of The Brave Files Podcast featuring real stories from people living courageously.


Heather is the author of “Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus.”


She works with people all around the globe to help them build Brave and empowered life’s.


Heather’s Speaker Demo





It’s great that I get to share Heather’s conversation this week. As I write this we are just a few days away from the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States.


Giving thanks and expressing gratitude is an important life skill, and on December 3, Heather can help with that.


Heather’s new book, Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families will be released on December 3rd.


This book is designed to help you create intentional and impactful conversations with kids about gratitude. Doing so will lead to life-changing habits that increase their own happiness and wellbeing and give you delightful quality time together.


The second edition of Heather’s earlier book, Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus is also available.  This beautiful journal offers space to record gratitude, personal wins (high fives), and 180 unique prompts to help you connect with gratitude in unique and often surprising ways.


What I think is important about these books is that the focus isn’t just on being grateful because it’s the right moral, ethical, or spiritual thing to do. Heather talks about gratitude as something that is good for you. It raises your spirits and helps you feel better.


These can be great presents for various holiday events, or they can even help you kick start a gratitude practice for yourself or your kids as we approach the time for New Year’s resolutions.




Heather’s Website


Heather’s Podcast — The Brave Files


Heather on Twitter


Heather on LinkedIn


Heather on Facebook


Heather on YouTube


Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families


Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus



Call To Action


  • Don’t, “Man up.” Fortify instead.
  • Check out Heather’s Brave Files podcast and books at the links above.
  • Share this episode with one other pers0n by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Heather.
  • Don’t get best…get better.


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

Check out this episode!


Ep 093 -- The Grace of Stroke with Vince Holland

There is beauty in social media. Not in the trolling, harassment, or fake news it too often promotes, but in the connections it facilitates.

My work on the show and Instagram brought me in contact with Vince Holland. This week, he shares his perspective on stroke and recovery.


Vince Holland looks straight at the camera in this headshot.

Vince Holland was a busy many. He worked 2 jobs and was raising a family.  He approached everything with a go go go attitude. He lifted weights, kept his weight under control, watched his blood pressure — basically did everything you’re supposed to do to prevent a stroke.

Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t enough in his case.

On July 4, 2016, he found himself laying on his parents’ kitchen floor while his Navy Corpsman brother worked to assess his condition. He had suffered a cryptogenic, ischemic stroke. That means a blood clot appeared in his brain, and doctors still have no idea how it happened.

And thus began his new life.

Three key lessons


If you suspect someone is having a stroke, call an ambulance. Do not drive yourself or them to the hospital. Even if you think an ambulance might take longer, remember that triage will happen in that ambulance, and treatment can start in that ambulance. And when you get to the ER, you don’t have to start triage there surrounded by other patients.

Also, if you call an ambulance, they can drive you or the person you called about to the right hospital and avoid wasting time going to a hospital that may not be able to treat the stroke properly and promptly.


There is tremendous power in goal setting. Vince talked about how valuable goals were for his recovery and how they can still support it. Goal setting has been a big theme recently on this show. Last week, I talked with Restorative Therapies about how their gear can measure progress towards goals. A few weeks ago, I talked about both e the importance of the Quantified Self, and how to set SMART Goals.


Vince talked about the grace of the stroke. Joe from Neuro Nerds talked about his stroke as a blessing. Jan Douglas named her book, A Wonderful Stroke of luck. In “Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember,” Christine Lee said about her stroke that she, “learned to accept that bad events do not have to remain bad events.”

It’s not an uncommon refrain, though I know many survivors don’t feel the same way. The point is good can come from this trauma. Hope can come from this trauma. A new life can come from this trauma.

No one is recommending that someone go have a stroke to improve their lives. That would be a terrible idea. But once we’ve been through this maelstrom, we have to stop and ask, “What now?” What do I do with this new life I have ahead of me? What can I learn and grow from this? And how can I live my best life going forward.

Hack of the Week

Use whatever tools you have available to supplement your memory. These days, you don’t need to have a great memory. Calendar and Notes apps on smart phones are great. So are digital assistants like Siri or Google Assistant.

Cameras in phones are also under appreciated. From pictures of your license plate or parking spot, to the door of the appointment your supposed to go to the empty spice bottle you need from the grocery store, taking pictures of things you need to remember can be invaluable.


Vince Holland on Instagram


Vince Holland on Twitter


Vince Holland on Snapchat


Vince Holland On The Stromies’ Blog


Ram Dasss


Stroke Comeback Center


Slow Road to Better on Strokecast


Christine Lee on Strokecast


Joe Borges on Strokecast


Jan Douglas on Strokecast




Quantified Self


Restorative Therapies on Strokecast


The Stromies on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 092 -- FES for Stroke Survivors

Olivia and Emilee were my two, awesome inpatient OTs a couple years ago, and we stayed in touch after I left the hospital.

One day, Olivia told me about the amazing new $40K rehab bike they just got. They were getting great results with patients. It’s too bad my stroke didn’t happen a year later.

The new device was the RT300. It combines therapy, eStim, and data with exercise to help patients improve their core, their leg use, their arm use, or all three at once.

So Olivia put me in touch with Restorative therapies.


The brain controls the muscles and makes us move by sending electrical signals through our nerves with various chemical processes. After stroke the brain may no longer be able to do that to certain muscles. That’s how we get paralysis, hemiparesis, and all sorts of similar issues.

That also means that we can bypass the brain and move those muscles by sending an electrical signal directly to the nerves at the muscle to stimulate them to make them move. This is great because movement is important to both health and recovery.

And that’s what eStim does.

The most popular eStim for Stroke survivors is TENS. This is the type I used in the hospital and later at home. I attach a couple electrodes to my affected arm, and for 30 minutes, my hand will open and close. Or my wrist will go up and down. Or I’ll do something with my shoulder.

Combining eStim with exercise is great therapy and promotes recovery.

And the units cost about $40 on Amazon.

FES is the type of eStim you’ll find in the Bioness products and the WalkAide. These devices use eStim to prevent foot drop and replace an AFO. The user wears it strapped below the knee as they walk, and it stimulates the muscle that lifts your foot as you walk.

I tried them both and had some good results with the WalkAide. At $5,000, though, it didn’t make enough of a change in my life to justify buying it.

IFES is the technology Restorative Therapies uses in their RT300 bike and Xcite treatment device. The use eStim on up to 12 muscles at once in a specific, timed pattern to accomplish a task. It’s complex, but it can help the brain relearn to do these things in the future.

Restorative Therapies Team

Jim Janicki Headshot

Jim Janicki is the President and CEO of Restorative Therapies. Jim has an extensive management background in sales, R&D,  and operations in the chemical, medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. He joined Restorative Therapies in 2018.

Wendy Warfield headshot

Wendy Warfield is the Clinical Education Manager. She makes sure that patients, therapists, physicians, and researchers understand how to most effectively use the Restorative Therapies devices. Wendy is well-suited for this role . She began working at an Occupational Therapist in 2003, and bring that survivor focused perspective to the work that she does.

Me and the xCite

Some weeks back, I got to try the xCite. I got to work with the reps Stephanie and Michael when they visited the Seattle areas.

Unlike the bike, the Xcite is only for clinical use. It features a series of preprogrammed activities like reaching for a water bottle or brushing your hair. It fires the nerves in sequence so the muscles do what they need to do for me to complete the act.

Here are some pictures and a video from my experience.

Stroke Stories

On another note, Stroke Stories, a UK podcast focused on, well, stroke survivor stories, featured my story on episode 50. You can listen to it here:

The show mostly features UK survivors, but more recently has been including folks from other parts of the worlds. I enjoy listening for the wide range of folks the bring on the show.

It’s also different from other podcasts in that it features a narrator rather than a host and a guest. Basically, the person who interviewed me does not appear in the show. His job was to help me tell my story and get out of the way. In that respect, it’s more like a radio show.

Definitely check it out and add it to the list of podcasts you regularly listen to.

Hack of the Week

Wendy’s hack for us is to keep moving. Movement is important to recovery. It keeps the muscles and tendons healthy and flexible. It’s important for cardio vascular exercise.

Getting the appropriate exercise helps with heart health, blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of another stroke.

Even if we have physical limitations today, moving as much as possible makes future recovery more realistic.

While some exercises may be better than others, you don’t have to get caught up in details. The important thing is to just keep moving.


Restorative Therapies on the web


Restorative Therapies on Twitter


Restorative Therapies on Instagram


Restorative Therapies on YouTube


Restorative Therapies on LinkedIn


Restorative Therapies on Facebook


Kennedy Krieger Institute






TENS on Amazon


Emilee on Strokecast


Lana Malovana on Strokecast


Dr. Shah and Sentinel Healthcare


Lauren Sheehan on Strokecast






Jim janicki on LinkedIn


Stroke Stories Podcast


Bill on Stroke Stories


Where do we go from here?

  • To learn more about the RT300 bike, the Xcite device, or Restorative Therapies, check out their website at  https://restorative-therapies.com/.
  • Ask your PT or OT about their thoughts on IFES.
  • Share this episode with someone in your life by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/RSI
  • Subscribe to Strokecast and Stroke Stories in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 135 -- Connecting with the Ambassador of Happiness

2-Minute Tip — Connect with Your Audience


Before speaking, meet your audience members. In a small meeting, maybe that means greeting them as they come in to the conference room. At a larger event, that may mean mingling with attendees in the venue.


By meeting with some of your attendees before you speak, you start to build a connection and a more personal relationship. It can make your audience instantly more friendly to you as a result.


It can also give you Valuable information about things that are on the audience’s minds that you may be able to incorporate into your talk. There are all sorts of valuable things that can come from those connections.


Additionally, it can help distract you from your own nerves in the lead up to your talk.


Maura Sweeney — The Ambassador of Happiness


Maura Sweeney is the world’s Ambassador of Happiness. She has built a career around speaking as part of traditional corporate roles she’s held and later as an entrepreneur.


The recurring theme in this episode is connection — how you connect with your audience on a personal level and the importance of connecting your message with your stories. Those connections all need to be internally consistent find success and happiness in public speaking.




AuthorPodcaster, and International Speaker, Maura Sweeney has transformed her own mantra of “Living Happy – Inside Out” to become a global influencer.


A former corporate manager and home schooling mom transitioned again at age 50 to make her life long goal a reality. Today, she brings uplift and unity to an often disempowered and divided world.


A former HuffPost columnist who has traveled to 60 countries, Maura was first called the Ambassador of Happiness by the UNESCO Center for Peace when invited to speak at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Day celebration. Since then, she’s trademarked her title and become a popular media guest featured on hundreds of media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Australia.


Maura has lectured on Influence and Leadership at universities, leadership conferences, women’s organizations, Model UN’s and several American Embassy outposts. In 2018, she was named Women of the Decade at the Women Economic Forum held in The Hague. Maura Sweeney’s genuine and first-hand approach empowers others of every background to become their finest version of self and helps us see what’s best in us all.


Maura just released an ecourse for Personal Leadership, Happiness and Authenticity on the Ingomu Learning Platform.





Call To Action


  • So check out Maura’s books, podcast, and more. You can find all those links above
  • Connect with someone in your life by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Maura
  • 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 helps you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Ep 091 -- The Quantified Self

To know if you’re achieving goals, improving, or declining, you need to track your metrics. This week I explore what that means and talk about some of the tools that can put a score on your performance as I explore the Quantified Self. Learn more at http://Strokecast.com/Quantified

I wasted an entire day of climbing stairs because I forgot to bring my Fitbit. Since I didn’t track it, it feels like it didn’t count. If it didn’t count, then why are my legs sore? Hmm. Strange.

The Quantified Self is the fancy new word for using technology to monitor our health and activity. The Fitbit, a small simple pedometer that tracks step and sleep quality, and the Wii Fit, a Nintendo that made exercise and balance a game, are some of the early modern examples of this.

This movement fed off the popular perception that we need to get 10,000 steps a day to be healthy. The reality is more nuanced than that, but it’s a nice round number that can inspire people to walk more.

I use my Fitbit to keep track of the steps I do and the amount of sleep I get to fuel my ongoing recovery.

Other stroke survivors can benefit, too. It’s important to monitor, track, and quantify our performance so we know if we are achieving our goals.

It’s also important to help prevent another stroke.

Regularly checking and recording our blood pressure at home is one important element. For most of us we want it under 120/80 consistently. We don’t know we’re doing that unless we track it and record it.

It can be the same way with weight. Or blood sugar. Or any of a number of different metrics our doctors may suggest we keep track of.

The key is the consistency over time. An individual reading is much less important than the pattern of the readings over time.

There are a lot of tools that can help us keep track of important metrics.

The Fitbit can keep track of steps and sleep.

Omron makes a wide array of inexpensive home blood pressure monitors. The also make the much more expensive Omron HeartGuide, a smart watch that will read your blood pressure.

Strokecast regular Dr. Nirav Shah has a startup company that tracks home blood pressure data and helps you share it with your medical team. He talked about Sentinel Healthcare in this episode.

And the other important tool can simply be a notebook and pen. You want to capture the data and look at it over time. The power is in the patterns.

Hack of the Week

I shredded a Costco chicken the other night so my girlfriend can make soup. I took Dan Oosterhaus’s advice and used my tone to do it.

In my left, affected fist, I threaded a fork up through my alternate fingers. Because my tone was strong that day, the fork was going nowhere.

I was able to use it to hold the chicken in place while I used another for in my unaffected right hand to pull the meat .

One of the important things to remember about post-stroke life is that we can come up with new and different ways to accomplish a task.


Where do we go from here?

  • If you don’t do it already, start tracking the key metrics in your life to quantify yourself.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague or relative by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/Quantified
  • Subscribe to the Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 134 -- Step-by-Step Public Speaking with Cory Truax

2-Minute Tip: Earn your Confidence


If you project confidence on stage your audience is more likely to believe you. If you are confident, you’ll feel less nervous getting up to speak.


Confidence doesn’t come for free, though. You have to earn it. And you earn it by doing to work — by planning, editing, revising, practicing and rehearsing. If you don’t do the work, you don’t deserve the confidence and probably should be nervous.


So if you find you lack confidence in your public speaking, ask yourself, “Did I do the work to deserve it?” If the answer is, “No,” okay. Now you know what you have to do in the future.


Building blocks with Cory Truax


Cory’s story is one of building. He didn’t become a speaker by jumping on the biggest stage he could. He assembled this life in pieces beginning in school. Then began volunteering to speak and chaining together event after event as people would see him speak and then invite him to speak.


That’s the journey we talk about today — about taking small steps forward that lead to bigger and bigger things — and doing a lot of work today.




Cory Truax Stands against a brick wall while wearing a bow tie.

Cory Truax’s day job is in Admissions at the University of South Carolina. He supplements that with secular and religious speaking gigs, and on air work at WLFJ radio in Greenville, SC.


Cory Truax fills a lot of roles – Host of the creatively-titled radio show & podcast, “The Cory Truax Show,” Teaching Pastor at Beechwood Church, uncle extraordinaire, and even has a day job.


Cory enjoys early-morning work-outs; all things football; basketball’s post-season; healthy political discussions; theology; learning new things; and discovering new voices. Cory is also an invited speaker at church, educational, and political events along with serving as the fill-in host for WLFJ Christian Talk 660’s morning show, “Christian Worldview Today.”


Leadership and Public Speaking


One of the key lessons in this conversation is the link between leadership roles and public speaking. If you become a leader in an organization, no matter how small, you have the opportunity to speak. The more people see you speaking, the more likely they are to think you are a leader. And the whole thing can loop from there.


For kids there are opportunities to lead and or speak in school projects, clubs, teams, and church. Pursuing those opportunities early open up future opportunities for success.


Adults aren’t shut out though. There’s a reason Toastmasters isn’t just about speaking, but also about leadership. There are opportunities in churches and PTAs. There are committees and cross-functional teams at work. There are condo and home owner associations.


To grow as a speaker, try being a leader. To grow as a leader, try being a speaker.


Question Your Assumptions


On a recent episode of the Real RX, a podcast hosted by doctors, they talked about aging in women. The official guidelines say that generally women do not need to get pap smears after age 65. The standard is in place because of two assumptions:


  • Women over 65 do not have sex.
  • If they do have sex, it’s with a long-term partner.


The problem is that often, both those assumptions are false. Relying on those false assumptions can lead to higher risk of cancer.


You can listen to the whole episode here:



If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Kim Brown, I interviewed her last year on my other show.


Another example that I’ve shared before is this. When I taught people to sell laptops, I talked about how I liked selling laptops instead of desktops because I didn’t have to lift a heavy monitor with the sale.


In the late nineties, that got a laugh. By 2005, new audiences no longer laughed. Why?


Because light weight flat panel monitors had replaced heavy CRTs in the market. The joke no longer made sense.


We have to question our assumptions.




Cory Truax on the Web


Cory on Facebook


Cory on Twitter




The Cory Truax Show podcast


The Real RX Podcast


Dr. Kim Brown on Strokecast



Call To Action


  • To learn more aby or find his podcast, visit http://CoryTruax.com.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, or relative by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/CoryTruax.
  • 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 helps you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Ep 090 — What is Neurofatigue?

Neurofatigue describes the condition of profound tiredness common to stroke survivors, TBI survivors, and others with brain injuries or neurological conditions. It is significantly different from the levels of exhaustion other people experience due to lack of sleep or overwork.

The brain does much of its repair work while we sleep. It’s like shutting down a freeway overnight for construction. It’s not because the freeway is lazy. It’s because that work can be done only when there are no cars on it. It’s the same with the brain.

That’s why it’s normal — and healthy — for stroke survivors to sleep 8, 12, or even 18 hours a day. Especially in the early months.

Neurofatigue can continue to strike months and years down the road. When we’re sick, inebriated, overworked, acquiring (or re-acquiring) skills, or just not getting another sleep, it can strike.

This week, I explore neurofatigue, why it happens, and my own relationship with my favorite frenemy — sleep.

Hack of the Week

Jan Douglas shared her strategy for getting up the stairs to someone’s house, especially when they lack railings — use a chair. A dining room or folding chair will do fine. Put it on a step, sit down, rotate your legs onto the step and stand up. Then you can move the chair up to the next step and do it again.


Seth on Strokecast


Kristen on Strokecast


Jan on Strokecast


#Stroke on Instagram


Cliff Ravensraft show


Bills_Strokecast on Instagram


Where do we go from here?

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 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


Ep 133 -- Process with Technology Coach for non-Tech Entrepreneurs Charles White

2-Minute Tip: Be Vulnerable


We often talk about the importance of authenticity as a speaker. Another way to think about it, though, is vulnerability.


The benefit of vulnerability as a speaker is that the audience can feel where you are coming from. It’s easier for them to connect with you.


And if they feel that stronger sense of connection, they are more likely to pursue the action you are calling them to pursue.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Charles White


When I put together an episode, I don’t always know what it’s about. I do my core edit of the conversation where I listen to the whole thing, cut some stuff , and clean up the audio Wile I take notes.


Then I look over my notes. Sometimes I sit with it for a day. It’s only then that I realize what my guest and I talked about. Then I can write up my intro and outro comments and start work on the show notes for an episode. That’s my process.


And that’s how I came to realize that this week’s episode is all about process. Charles focuses on process in his life.  Process can be quite freeing. Once you have a structure and a way of doing things, suddenly those tasks get a whole lot quicker.


Often when we talk about public speaking we don’t think about the process. We think about standing in front of the crowd with some slides.


But 90% of the success of a talk is determined before you ever open your mouth. It’s in your preparation and planning. And when your preparation becomes repeatable and duplicatable, you have a process.


It’s not as sexy as the roar of the crowd, but the right process can make your life so much easier.




Charles White wearing a beret and looking at the camera

Charles helps business owners who need their operations to run more efficiently. As businesses get more clients, more work orders, and hire more people the processes they built become stressed. Charles is there when you are looking to find that new tool, improve your old process, and increase your workforce’s output.


He provide a full service solution to improving your daily, weekly and monthly workload. Together he helps you identify areas of your business that can most benefit from immediate intervention. Then he provides a solution through new software implementation and personalized training documentation, videos and in person classes.


Charles’ TEDx Talk






Call To Action


  • Visit the links above to learn more about and connect with Charles White.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague, or relative by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Charles
  • Don’t get best…get better.


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

Check out this episode!


Ep 088 -- Never Give Up with Ms. Wheelchair USA

Marsha Schmid is a stroke survivor and she's this year's Ms. Wheelchair USA. In other news, there's a growing Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant.

Marsha's had quite a journey to get there. She excelled in school, became the top salesperson in her company and she was a nationally ranked body builder. All that was before the fateful day she went to her chiropractor. The chiropractor manipulated her neck, caused a vertebral artery dissection, and that led to her massive stroke. This week Marsha share her story of recovery, the pageant, and the future she now has. She lives theme of Never Give Up.


Marsha Schmid sitting while holding her crown and wearing her Ms. Wheelchair USA sash.Marsha Schmid competed as Ms. Wheelchair Georgia USA and lives in Fayetteville, Georgia. She has a Bachelor’s in English with concentrations in Political Science and Japanese. She served as an intern to Congressman Bob Barr when he was in office, and hopes to become an international motivational speaker.

At the time of her massive brainstem stroke in 2011, Marsha was on top of the world. She was the number 1 in medical salesperson for her company. She was also a nationally ranked fitness/figure competitor about to turn pro, newly wed to Georgia's Strongest Man( Masters Division), mom to a five year old son, and recently rebaptized.

Marsha wasn't supposed to live through the night of her stroke. She did, and was paralyzed from the neck down, could not speak for a year, couldn't swallow, could not breathe on her own, and was unable to open her eyes.

Marsha took my very first completely independent step a few weeks ago, 8 years after the stroke that changed her life. In September of 2019, Marsha became Ms. Wheelchair USA. She aspires to become a motivational speaker to continue spreading the message of, "Never Give Up.".

What is a Vertebral Artery Dissection?

There are four arteries that bring blood to the brain. Two are the carotid arteries and 2 are the vertebral arteries. The left and the right side of the body have one of each.

The carotid arteries are towards the fronts of the neck. When you see someone check a pulse by putting 2 fingers on the neck, they are feeling for the pulse in the carotid artery.

The vertebral arteries are towards the back. In fact, they travel through the bones of the spinal column to get to the brain. The go through the vertebrae, hence the name vertebral.

Our arteries aren't a solid piece of artery tissue; they're made of layers of muscle, connective tissue, and other materials, kind of like the tire of a car that has hard outer rubber, and interior steel belt, and other materials holding it together so it works.

In a vertebral artery dissection, the inner lining of an artery -- the part the blood actual touches, tears a bit. The artery itself holds together. And it can hold together for months or years. But now you have high pressure blood surging past that torn or disrupted surface. That area is no longer smooth.

In that rough area, where blood flow is disrupted, bits and pieces can get stopped. When that happens, they can turn into clots. When that clot breaks free from the dissected area, it flows on into the brain until the blood vessels are too narrow for it to go any further and it stops. When it stops and blocks blood from getting past it, you have an ischemic stroke.

It's not the clot itself that damages tissue in a stroke, it's that the clot blocks blood from getting past it and tissue downstream suffocates and dies.

So how does the dissection happen? Often it's because of trauma. A sudden movement of the head beyond its normal range of motion puts stress on those arteries, and that stress can cause the internal surfaces to tear.

This happens more often to the vertebral arteries than the carotids because the carotids go through soft tissue in the neck. There's more room for them to move and shift and dissipate stress.

The vertebrals on the other hand are restricted by the bones they go through. The don't have as much flexibility to deal with stress and are more likely to tear.

That trauma can be anything that injures the neck or head. It's certainly possible in a car accident. One survivor I talked to was boogie boarding and hit the beach hard in a way that injured his neck and caused his stroke.

And I've talked with others, like Marsha, who received their vertebral artery dissection at the hands of a chiropractor doing a neck adjustment.

So don't let folks snap, pop, or twist your neck. It's just not worth it.

What is Ms. Wheelchair USA?

From the organization's website:

The Ms. Wheelchair USA program has been in existence for more than 22 years. It began as a state program, selecting winners in the state of Ohio to do a national service platform. As the program grew in popularity and was televised live, potential candidates began coming from all over the country asking to compete in the outstanding program. The program became a national competition 14 years ago and has been going and growing strong!

Contestants in the Ms. Wheelchair USA program must be 18 years of age with no maximum age! Contestants must have a mobility issue, but may have use of their legs. Our program does not discourage ability, but instead celebrates the individuality of the women in the program. State and regional representatives are selected based on a judged, application process. The national titleholder is crowned following a week of activities, programs, learning sessions, press appearances, and three nights of live stage competitions. Contestants compete in private interview, round-robin interviews, evening wear, on-stage interview, platform presentation, and marketing statement competitions. The winners spend their year on a state, regional and national level representing The Dane Foundation, Ms. Wheelchair USA, and their own platform issue or activity.

The Ms. Wheelchair USA organization promotes glamour, self-confidence, and community service; celebrating the accomplishments of women with disabilities!

Hilary Billings on 2-Minute Talk Tips

Interestingly enough, Marsha is not the first pageant winner I've interviewed. I talked with Miss Nevada, Hilary Billings on my other show, 2-Minute Talk Tips. Hilary entered her first pageant after a fireworks injury. You can hear that interview at http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/hilary.

One of the things both Marsha and Hilary talked about is how the pageants are empowering and are about so much more than just beauty.


Heart and Stroke Walk

I am Participating in Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk on October 12.

If you'd like to support my efforts and donate to the American Heart Association, please do. This will help the American Heart Association continue its work to help reduce stroke through research and medical standards on the white coat side and through helping folks reduce their blood pressure on the general population side.

If you'd like to contribute $10 or more, just visit http://Strokecast.com/Donate/AHA. That will take you right to the donation page on the AHA website. None of it goes to my pocket.


Hack of the Week

You can put in contact lenses with one hand.

  1. Put the lens on your middle finger.
  2. Raise your eyelid with your index finger.
  3. Place the lens close to the corner of your eye to maximize the odds of it going in as it should.

This may take a bit of practice, but it can be done. The first time you learned to put in contact lenses probably wasn't easy either.

Good vision is important for more than watching Netflix. Depending on your stroke, sharp vision can impact sensory processing, balance, and safety.

One contributing factor to delirium in the hospital is patients not having their glasses or contacts available.

Of course, before returning to contacts, be sure to check with your optometrist, ophthalmologist, or neuro-ophthalmologist.

What's that? You haven't heard of a neuro-ophthalmologist? You can learn more about the field in episode 85, where I spoke with Dr. Eugene May.


Ms. Wheelchair USA


The Dane Foundation


Enter the Pageant


Contact the Pageant


Ms. Wheelchair USA on Facebook


Ms. Wheelchair USA on Twitter


Ms. Wheelchair USA on Instagram


Ms. Wheelchair USA on YouTube


Marsha on Instagram


Marsha's Pre-Stroke  Body Building


Wes Varda and the Shephard Center


Hilary Billings on 2-Minute Talk Tips


Heart and Stroke Walk


Donate to AHA


Dr. Eugene May on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

  • Check out Marsha's journey as Ms. Wheelchair USA by following her on social media or reaching out to the Ms. Wheelchair USA program. You can find all those links above.
  • Share this episode with someone you know -- survivor, caregiver, or medical professional by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/MsWheelchairUSA
  • Support the Puget Sound AHA Heart and stroke walk by visiting the donation link at http://Strokecast.com/Donate/AHA
  • Don't get best…get better

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast