Ep 108 -- Hope After Stroke with Tsgoyna Tanzman

Speech Language Pathology is a fascinating field. Covering everything from swallowing to memory to the fundamentals of language to not biting your cheek every damn biter during dinner, it’s something most folks outside stroke world or the disabled community never really think about.

Tsgoyna Tanzman is an author and a Speech Therapist in Southern California. In this episode Tsgoyna and I talk about:

  • What we mean by “cognitive issues”
  • The multiple different types of aphasia
  • Managing over stimulation after stroke
  • The nature of recovery
  • The impact of telemedicine
  • How race affects post-stroke care and assessment
  • The process of editing and self-publishing a book

If any of that  sounds interesting to you, be sure to listen.


Tsgoyna Tanzman stands outside facing the camera in a clear landscape

As a Speech-Language Pathologist and Life Coach for more than 25 years, Tsgoyna has helped thousands of people transition after stroke and brain injury to the next stages of their lives. Having worked in hospitals, home care, residential and skilled nursing facilities, clinics, and community settings, she’s an expert at helping people find their inner and outer resources needed for the process of recovery.

Tsgoyna’s unique approach combines traditional and holistic speech therapy along with the life coaching practices used by some of the most successful people on the planet. Trained by legendary coaching gurus Tony Robbins, Dr. Dawson Church, and Brooke Castillo; she’s also a Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming. Tsgoyna is best known for her down-to-earth practicality, enthusiasm, and sense of humor while compassionately guiding caregivers and survivors through recovery.

Book cover of Hope After Stroke

She is the author of the bestseller book, Hope After Stroke for Caregivers and Survivors: The Holistic Guide to Getting Your Life Back. Tsgoyna’s humor and poignant life stories appear in 15  different anthologies of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She is a current contributor to Thrive Global (Huffington Post). Her blog pieces about mental health appear on the largest online addiction recovery site: I Love Recovery Cafe.  Tsgoyna gained national attention on CNBC News, USA Today, Glamour Magazine, Woman’s Day Magazine, the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune for authoring the first-ever line of greeting cards for the unemployed in 1991,”Pink Slip Productions.”

3 Tips for Over Stimulation

While I hope everyone is social distancing and avoiding large gatherings so that COVID-19 kills fewer people and causes fewer strokes, someday we will be out socializing again. If you struggle with over stimulation in social events, Tsgoyna has three tips to make it a little easier for stroke survivors to manage.

  1. Make sure you get adequate rest before and after the event.
  2. Find a space at the event where you can decrease the stimulation.
  3. Focus on talking to one person at a time in another, quieter part of the room.

The 1950s

I mentioned the cognitive assessment they gave me where I was asked to describe what was happening in the image.

I answered “1954.”

(actually, the specific year changes every time I tell this story, but it’s always the fifties)

Here is that image:

Image used to evaluate cognitive skills that CurrentlyBill described as 1956


Free Workbook Sample

Cover of Tsgoyna's free 21 Day Sample of the Recovery Journal

To get Tsgoyna’s free 21 Day Sample of the Recovery Journal and sign up for Tsgoyna’s mailing list, visit this link:


Free Wheelin’ with Carden

Logo for the Free Wheelib with Carden Podcast

I was recently featured on the Free Wheelin’ with Carden Podcast.

Carden Wycoff is podcaster and disability activist in Atlanta. She interviews guests about their experiences  going through life with disabilities, the nature of accessibility, the impact of the ADA, and how we can all work to combat ableism, and push for a more accessible world.

You can listen to our conversation about my story and the power of Neuroplasticity here: http://strokecast.com/BillVisits/FreeWheelin

Hack of the Week

Meditation is key. It’s about taking a moment to prepare yourself for the day. Just like you prepare yourself to leave the house by putting on pants of a sort or a skirt (probably), you can prepare yourself for the day by taking some time to prepare your mind.

It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to find one thing to focus on with each of the five senses in that moment — site, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. If you want to get really fancy may throw proprioception into the mix.

Ultimately, the survivor does all the work of recovery. And it is work. So take a few minutes each morning to prepare.


Where do we do 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 107 -- The Netflix of Healthcare with Dr. Felecia Sumner

What if you could see your doctor as much as you wanted and never have to pay a deductible or co-pay? What if your doctor was not paid based on how many patients they see on a given day?

This week, Dr. Felecia Sumner joins me to talk about the Direct Primary Care  model of healthcare. It’s the Netflix of Healthcare. You pay a monthly subscription fee and get to see your doctor as much as you need to without dealing with insurance providers.

This can be a great thing for stroke survivors and other folks with chronic conditions where you have not only complex needs and more of them than the general population, but you also need a provider who is interested in staying on top of your complex medical history.


Dr. Felecia Sumner smiles and looks at tye camera with her arms crossed

From Dr. Sumner’s website: https://drfsumner.com/about-me/

Dr. Felecia Sumner is a family medicine physician, national speaker, best-selling author, and wellness strategist dedicated to improving the health and overall wellness of her patients and their communities. She is also the co-founder and Vice President of Synergizers Inc – a health and wellness service company.

Dr. Sumner completed her undergraduate work at Saint Joseph’s University and obtained her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). While at PCOM, Dr. Sumner earned the highly coveted Student National Medical Association’s PCOM Member of the Year award.

Dr. Sumner is actively involved in community health education and has presented across the country at a number of community, school, and church-related events about healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and disease prevention.

Dr. Sumner’s medical philosophy is inclusive of both traditional and alternative therapies and is focused on providing patient education and explaining things in non-technical language. Thus, her patients gain an increased sense of personal management of their own health, and family members are invited to attend appointments. She is particularly interested in medical media and preventive medicine, in addition to women’s health, nutrition and wellness.

Of personal note, Dr. Sumner lives in Pennsylvania, with her husband and two young daughters. In her free time, Dr. Sumner enjoys reading, singing, cooking, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Is Racism Real?

This is one of the questions Dr. Felecia answers on Instagram and Facebook about race.


Dr. Felecia mentioned the Tuskegee Experiment. You can read more about that here: https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm

Here’s an article that talks about several books exploring the history of gynecological care in the US and how it started with brutal experiments on enslaved women: https://www.aaihs.org/black-subjectivity-and-the-origins-of-american-gynecology/

It’s August 2020 and protests are going on in Seattle and around the country. Before our interview, I reached out to Dr. Felecia to see if race was something she wanted to talk about on the podcast. She agreed.

The medical field, like many has failed many times to take care of folks based on race. Differences in care based on race, gender identity, disability, and more continue. Since disparities in treatment can happen even when most providers mean well, it means there must be an unconscious bias at play.

Sharing stories and listening to the stories of others is just one way to address this.

The Real Rx

The Real Rx is where I first hear Dr. Felecia. I started listening because one of the other co-host is Dr. Kimberly Brown, an Emergency Room physician who was a guest on Strokecast back in episode 40.

The Real Rx describes itself as “Real problems. Real talk. Real doctors. Talk to our group of women physicians just like one of your girlfriends. It is like having a virtual house call!”

I enjoyed listening to season one, and I learned stuff. It’s a nice balance of the personal and the professional.

The show is currently on hiatus, but it’s worth going back and listening to the back catalog in your favorite podcast app.


Dr. Felecia Sumner’s website


Dr. Felecia on Facebook


Dr. Felecia on YouTube


Dr. Felecia on Twitter


Dr. Felecia on Instagram


One of Dr. Felecia’s posts on Instagram about Racism




Synergize Direct Primary Care


Synergize Direct Primary Care on Facebook


DPC Frontier


The Real Rx Podcast


The Real RX on Facebook


The Real Rx on Instagram


Dr. Kimberly Brown on Strokecast


Tuskegee Experiment


Black Subjectivity and the Origins of American Gynecology


Where do we go from here?

  • Visit the links above to learn more about Direct Primary Care and see if it’s right for you and your family.
  • Share this episode with three other people by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/dpc
  • Subscribe to the Strokecast 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 106 -- Using Music to Walk Again with Brian Harris

Music has the power to take us back in time to a fuzzy, nostalgic past. Or it can take us into a future we aspire too. It can show us history or connect us with God. It can take us deep into the emotional side of our brain and help us transcend our present.

 As I invested time with my therapists, Lin Manuel Miranda's lyrics helped keep me going,

Just like my country, am young, scrappy, and hungry, and I'm not throwing away my shot 

My Shot, Lin-Manuel Miranda

And even in the dark days, Billy Joel reminds me that

The good old days weren't always so good and tomorrow's not as bad as it seems.

Keepin' the Faith, Billy Joes

Music can take us to a different place metaphorically, and now, literally. Medrythms uses a system of sensors and specific music tracks to help stroke survivors learn to walk.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently accepted the Digital Therapeutics Platform for Walking from Medrythms into the Breakthrough devices program. This program streamlines the approval process for certain medical devices.

I talked with CEO and Co-founder Brian Harris to learn more.


Brian Harris keeps his back to a brick wall as he looks at the camera.

Brian Harris is the Co-Founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a digital therapeutics company focused on the intersection music, neuroscience and technology. 

Brian is a board-certified music therapist and one of 300 Neurologic Music Therapist Fellows in the world.

Brian’s clinical work was focused at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where he created and implemented their first inpatient full time Neurologic Music Therapy program, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and neurologic disease and built this program to be the most comprehensive NMT program in the country. 

Brian is also the Chair of the Arts & Neuroscience group at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and sits on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. He has been an invited speaker at numerous venues throughout the world at venues including: the American Academy of Neurosurgeons, Harvard Medical School, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Stanford University, Berklee College of Music, The Neurology Foundation of India, and Google. 

His work has also been featured in Forbes, CNBC, The Huffington Post, Pitchfork, Mashable, The Boston Herald, XConomy, MedTech Boston and on Chronicle Boston.

Brian is an inventor on 2 patents related to MedRhythms digital therapeutic platform and was recently named to MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators for 2017.

Rhythmic Audio Stimulation in Action


Google News Alerts

A Google News alert  is a daily email digest from Google with links to news and article about a particular key word.  You can set one or more up here https://www.google.com/alerts

I have one running for neuroscience and another for stroke. It's how I first hearrd about Medrhythms and the fast track program

Set one up for your own area of interest to give it a try.

Hack of the Week

Make music a part of your life. Listen to music. Create music. Sing. Do it by yourself or with friends and family at a distance or online. Play an instrument. Or just play music while you walk and exercise.

Adding music can be simple and powerful.


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 105 -- Heal the Brain with Jane

Sometimes, I interview a guest and we cover everything I wanted to talk about and it's a great conversation. Sometime we go off in a different way completely and I have to throw out my whole plane. And that also can turn into a great conversation. That's what happened with this conversation I had with Occupational Therapist Jane Connely , better known as "Heal the Brain with Jane."

With the occasional chanting and loud child in the background, we talk about Jane's path to OT, the core elements of the OT field that Jane gets so passionate about, and how she helps survivors heal their lives after their injury.


Jane Connely stands outside in a white T-shirt,

Jane Connely is a Occupational Therapist and neuro specialist in San Luis Obispo, CA. Jane graduated from University of Southern California with her MA in Occupational Therapy in 2013. Her experience working with persons post brain injury pushed her to continue her training to become neuro-developmentally trained (NDT) beginning in 2015 and after 140 classroom hours finished her training in January of 2018 through recovering function.

Through her work, Jane found the current system discharges survivors based on insurance rather than need, which caused a cycle of readmissions and increase in debility. The unmet needs of the brain injured population in San Luis Obispo County led her to begin Heal The Brain With Jane.

Heal The Brain With Jane values current research regarding neuroplasticity and the practical application of this research in the daily lives of the brain injury survivor. Our organization understands that brain injury recovery is a delicate balance of physical, cognitive, and emotional health. All aspects must be addressed in order for the survivor to reach the highest level of recovery. Additionally, it is vital that this population receives continued care as recovery requires continued maintenance.

Stroke and Social Media

I met Jane through Instagram. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that it is a great tool to connect with other stroke related folks. Each platform has its own culture. They all have value. The key is to connect with the one you need at a particular point in time. Or the one that you can help others through.

#Stroke on Twitter

This community seems to be largely medical and industry professionals and researchers. It can be an interesting place to learn more about what happens in the field. You still need to watch it with a critical eye, but it can be informative. Be warned, though. Some people use stroke not in a brain injury context, but in reference to sex acts so you occasionally encounter adult content

#Stroke on Instagram

Survivors dominate the Stroke hashtag in Instagram. You'll also find a lot of OTs, PTs, and SLPs on there. Basically, the professionals that work directly with survivors are on there. Much of the conversation is around inspiration, working through therapy, and living the best post stroke life you can. But there is other stuff, too, because life is complex like that .

Stroke communities on Facebook

There are dozens of stroke related groups on Facebook. Each group develops its own subculture based on the choices the creator or admin makes. In my experience, you'll find a lot more people asking questions or expressing their frustration about stroke life on Facebook.

These are broad generalizations that I hope  give you some context for some of the different groups. Explore a variety of them to find the communities that are right for you.

Like Minded

Jane recently launched a membership program called Like Minded. Here's how she describes it on her website:

Welcome to Like Minded. This is a membership program for brain injury survivors, their families, and caregivers. Like Minded includes authors, nutritionists, yoga instructors and clinicians who are passionate about filling in the gaps of post stroke and post TBI care. Our leaders are survivors themselves or caretakers with intimate understanding of the recovery experience. These individuals have realized that their unique journey with brain injury granted them access into a very special community. The brain injury community is a supportive group of people who have been through it all and come out the other side with a burning desire to help you through this difficult time.

Among the leaders/facilitators are several previous guest of the Strokecast, including:

It looks like a great program. You can learn more here.


Jane on the web


Jane on Instagram


Jane on YouTube


Jane on Facebook


Jane on Pinterest


No-Brainer Podcast


Peter Levine -- Stronger After Stroke


The One You Feed Podcast


#AbledsAreWeird on Twitter


#Stroke on Twitter


#Stroke on Instagram


Transtheoretical Model of Change


Izzy Wheels


Snake oil on Strokecast


Dr. Karen Sullivan on Strokecast


Joe Borges on strokecast


Ella Sofia on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast