A Generation X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience, and one-handed banana peeling.
Jaz vs. The Red Dragon: A Stroke Story
Jasmine Loh was enjoying a pleasant lunch at work when the aneurysms hidden in her brain suddenly burst. Her world went blank briefly while the stroke settled into this thirty-something's head. A few minutes later, she reconnected with reality and went back to work to continue validating the performance of semiconductor fabrication equipment.
That was in 2014.
She left her job in semiconductor manufacturing due to her stroke, wrote a book, taught herself email marketing, and now does digital services for friends and clients
In 2021 I met Jaz through Clubhouse. She co-hosts an online support group there from her home in Singapore.
I enjoyed hearing Jaz's perspective on her stroke story, her dreams in the early days, and her experience of nearly "crossing over."
You can experience all that, too, in this conversation with Jasmine Loh.
(If you don't see the audio player below, visit http://Strokecast.com/Jaz)
Click here for a machine-generated transcript
About Jasmine Loh
Want to know about me?
- a brain aneurysm stroke survivor and a cancer survivor from Singapore 🇸🇬💪
- Founder of 2nd Chance in LIFE Club 🥰
- a mother of 2 dogs and 2 cats 🐶😻
- left my 19 years MNC corporate career (Systems and Automation Engineer, 2015) 🥳
- Co-founder of Always Awake LLP (yep, turned my side hustle to my main biz) ✌️
I give hope and help self-employed, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners to position their brick and mortar businesses online, to get qualified leads and enquiries via building websites, landing pages, funnels, managing their social media marketing and ads campaign.
Surface my clients’ business that is optimized for online presence, so that they can claim their stake effectively in the digital space by:
1. Increasing their exposure online
2. Generate more qualified leads and enquiries
3. That can convert to sales
Clients who have worked with me over the years, grow with me together as I help them transform their business in stages to where they want.
My goal for them, is that they are no longer that burnt out individuals that’s being bogged down by digital transformation strategies that they are not familiar with, as I am here to help them.
They can reclaim their health and time back, do things that they like and spend time with the people that they love.
“Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.” ~ Les Brown
“Today is history in the making.” ~ Jasmine Loh
I’m also looking to connect with folks who are blessed with a 2nd Chance in LIFE after a health crisis. Let’s inspire, help, support and uplift each other in ways we can.
There’s so much more to life than just biz. 🥰
Stroke in Women vs Men
Stroke can present differently in women and men.
BEFAST is a good starting point for recognizing stroke in all genders.
A stroke will usually manifest as a sudden loss of or change in :
E - Eyesight or vision
F - Facial Symetry
A - Ability to hold both arms up
S - Speech, slurring, or language
T - It's time to call an ambulance
This list is not comprehensive, especially for women and AFAB folks. It will reflect most strokes, but not all. In the case of Jaz's stroke, it's not as much help.
The American Heart Association also identifies these as symptoms of stroke, especially in women:
General weakness Disorientation and confusion or memory problems Fatigue Nausea or vomiting
Whether it's BEFAST or these additional symptoms, the most important detail remains -- with stroke, time lost is brain lost. The most important thing to do for someone who may be experiencing a stroke is to call an ambulance.
You can read more abou
Learning to Speak at 34
Aphasia really sucks. It's a common stroke results where the survivor loses their ability to speak. They may por may not lose the ability to read, writer, or understand what people are saying. What they keep is the ability to think, create, have ideas, thoughts, emotions, and the entire rich interior life we all have. They just lose the ability to communicate that to others.
You know how frustrating it is when you can't come up with the word you want, but it's right on the tip of your tongue? Now imagine it's like that for every word, from "catamaran" to "the."
Ryan acquired aphasia after his stroke and has been rebuilding his vocabulary word by word. This week Ryan and his wife Anna join us to share their story and talk about their new series of books to help adults learn or relearn to speak.
They make a great team.
(If you don't see the player below, visit http://Strokecast.com/AphasiaReaders)
Click here for a machine-generated transcript
About Anna and Ryan Teal
Aphasia Readers was created by husband-and-wife team, Ryan and Anna Teal. Prior to Ryan’s stroke, he was an intelligence analyst, and Anna has an extensive background in marketing.
Ryan had a massive stroke at the age of thirty-four, which left him with aphasia and apraxia. Throughout his recovery, the repetitive practice of reading out aloud seemed to be a tried-and-true form of speech therapy practice with promising results. However, the only books available to practice on a simple level were children’s books. As an adult, reading these types of books felt a little demeaning. Although Ryan and Anna had many good laughs reading aloud about “a trip to grandma’s house,” they quickly realized a need for simple, short readers with adult-themed content to support those in the aphasia community.
After more than a year in the making and extensive collaboration with the renowned Mary A. Rackham Institute University Center for Language and Literacy and input from top neurological teams, they finally wrote their first book of Aphasia Readers for adults. Their ultimate hope is to provide accessible and affordable supplementary speech practice tools for others in the aphasia community to help pave the way for a successful recovery.
Eagle Syndrome caused Ryan's stroke. It' a fascinating condition. Sometimes it's caused by tonsillectomy or throat trauma. Sometimes, the cause is less clear.
Basically the Styloid bone below the ear grows way bigger than it should. When it does that. Bad things can happen. It can cause throat and mouth pain. It can directly impact or squeeze nerves in the face or neck and cause pain that way.
Or in Ryan's case, the bones ca press against the carotid arteries (two of the four blood vessels that supply the brain) eventually blocking them off and severing the supply of blood. When blood flow to the brain or part of the brain gets blocked, that causes an ischemic stroke.
You can read more about Eagle Syndrome here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321946
The Aphasia reader series of books is designed to help adults with aphasia learn to speak again. Anna and Ryan worked with the University of Michigan to validate the product.
The Aphasia Reader addresses the problem of needing simple books for adults to practice reading that aren't kids books. There is already a lot of infantilization that happens to adults when the go into the hospital or become disabled. Reading books about playing with toys or visiting a long deceased grandmother can feel insulting and further grind away at the self-esteem of an adult who finds themselves unable to speak, walk, or feed themselves.
The Aphasia Readers are a skill building alternative. Level 1 came out in 2021. You can find it here on Amazon* or from http://aphasiareaders.com
Levels 2 and 3 will be available sometime in 2022.
Finding Forward after Stroke
Jeffrey Morse went into surgery to repair an aneurysm. There was a 75% chance he wouldn't survive. Fortunately, he did wake up, but when he did, he discovered he was paralyzed from the neck down. Complications from the surgery that saved his life cause a spinal cord stroke that mean everything would change.
And then, after a lot of hard work, Jeffrey defied all the odds and walked out of the hospital.
One thing that jumps out at me from this interview is how much Jeffrey's career as a pilot informed his mindset and recovery -- perhaps more than he realizes.
You can hear the conversation in the player below or by clicking this link.
Click here for a machine-generated transcript.
About Jeffrey A Morse
At 49 years old, Air Force reservist, flight instructor, and scuba diver Jeffrey Morse found himself lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the neck down after suffering both an aneurism and a stroke. Doctors told him that he would likely never walk again, but Jeffrey wasn’t the type to give up. With incredible inner strength, determination, and faith, Morse defied all odds against him. He set a goal that he would walk out of the hospital in six weeks when he was set to be released. And to the astonishment of his medical team, he did just that!
He continues to live with disabilities such as the use of his right arm--in fact, he wrote this entire book FINDING FORWARD: You Have the Will Within* with one hand. Still, Finding Forward encourages positive thinking and forward movement. With piercing honesty, Morse takes the reader through many of the challenges that he had to face through both therapy and every day life. He discusses the fears, the continuous claustrophobia, guilt from the burden he felt that he was putting on his loved ones... he shows how he dealt with these arising challenges and learned to overcome them. There is always a path forward, and as Jeffrey Morse says, we need to help each other find forward together. His mindset was liberating, and in many ways it saved his life.
The Pilot of his Recovery
Jeffrey served as a pilot in the military and in private life -- flying into and out of combat areas.
As he went into surgery, he knew he might not survive. He had spent his life living his life. By the time surgery came around he had already had to confront his mortality and the possibility that he might not come back from work. While that can happen to any of us, it's not something most of us spend time thinking about. It's part of the reason many of us were unprepared for stroke.
Jeffrey also talks about what to do when you encounter trouble in the air: Never stop flying the airplane.
As a pilot your job is to keep that plane flying until you want to put it down. For those of us not driving aircraft, it means figure out your most important task -- for example, to live -- and focus on doing that job. Live and move in the direction to keep living. Keep flying the airplane that is you, no matter what. It's your only option.
Jeffrey also described his process in various parts of the conversation in terms of steps he would take. He broke things down into their constituent parts and then executed them in order.
Checklists are an important part of flying. You go through the list every time for every step. When an emergency comes up, one of the first things a pilot will do (while the other pilot continues to fly the plane) is pull up an emergency checklist to govern their actions.
Checklist are not limited to airplanes of course. NASA uses them. Accountants use them. Logistics teams use them. The ER uses them when they call a stroke code. Checklists are an important part of everyday life and a great tool to use in our recovery.
With pilots it is such an ingrained habit and procedure that using checklists not only tells them what to do. It informs how they think about what they do. And that logical and det
Surfer, Author, and Survivor Blake Hill's Journey
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Blake Hill is an over achiever with an easy going attitude. Talking to him, you get the sense of a calm guy going with the flow, but underneath, he is paddling like crazy to get to the next big wave.
After surviving a stroke, the turbulence in his life continued to increase, to the point where he was biking up a mountain in Canada and knew it was time to write Westfalia. We explore the events leading up to his mainly auto-biographical novel in this episode.
To listen to episode, click the player above or click this link.
About Blake Hill
Blake is often thought of as a quiet person. Put a strong cup of good coffee in him and he becomes a chatter box. Although quiet on the surface his brain is always engaged and bounces from thought to thought. If you ask him his greatest accomplishment in life. It would be his role as Dad. Blake has two amazing children. He has spent countless hours flying on airplanes and traveling the world with his pro-surfer son. They have chased waves from California to Europe, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and countless other destinations. He’s the proud dad of a daughter who’s strong and independent with a passion for dance.
Blake’s professional life began in the movie business doing lighting for movies and TV shows. During this time period he would balance working on set with cultivating his passion for writing. His day would typically begin at 3am. He honed his craft for writing screenplays while also working on the set of movies. Over the years he amassed a collection of ten screenplays and a children’s book along with having his poetry published many times.
Once his children were born he chose to quit the movie business and focus on his kids. This was truly an amazing time in his life and a true gift from the universe. He is truly grateful to have had so much time with his children while they were growing up.
There’s an adventurous spirit that lives within his soul. He’s been riding motorcycles since he could walk. He’s raced motocross, hare n’ hounds and spent days riding across the Mojave Desert and camping under the stars. His rides across the USA have taken him through blizzards, tornadoes, and across the Arctic circle.
His passion for life was dimmed one day when he encountered a stroke. It was as if a light switch had been turned off. This experience was beyond humbling and fueled his passion for living even more. He’s not only physically strong but he’s mentally fit. The stroke tested his will and mental fortitude. He kept the event private with only a few friends knowing about his mental capacity. He was challenged by the everlasting question of; how are you feeling? His focus was on healing and getting his memory back. He didn’t want the constant reminder of what had happened. His physical self is truly one hundred percent. His mental self is challenged occasionally with loss of memory. He is extremely grateful to be where he is today on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Blake’s typical day begins at 4am with an awesome cup of coffee, splashed with cream while spending some quiet time with his two dogs. He works out with free weights, resistance bands, hikes with his dogs and tries to surf every day. He believes that keeping active mentally and physically is the key to happiness. He’s 55 years old and with each and every wave he surfs, he strives to ride the next one better than the last. He truly feels blessed for his amazing life.
You can find Westphalia at Amazon* or wherever you find your books.
Blake's method of writing combines old school and new.
He starts with a distraction-free environment. To keep himself in the mindset of writing every time, he listens to the same music -- Jackson Browne's Solo Acoustic Volumes 1 and Volume 2.*
He also does all his drafts on yello
100% with Stroke Survivor and Porn Star Misha Montana
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(If you don't see the audio player above, visit http://Strokecast.com/Misha)
Misha Montana puts 100% into everything that she does. From her prodigious and impressive collection of tattoos, to her work ethic, to her unconventional career choices, to now her commitment to raise awareness of the challenges of post stroke life.
Misha joined the stroke club this past spring when her COVID-19 infection spawned a blood clot that slipped through her PFO and lodged in her brain at the age of 31. Despite memory and energy level challenges, along with lingering hemiparesis, she quickly returned to work, determined to not let her stroke stop her.
Misha Montana is an adult film star/Director and the Chief Brand Officer and Production Manager for AltErotic. Misha lives in Reno, NV and Los Angeles and cares for her special needs son. In her off time Misha is a cyclist and bodybuilding enthusiast with interest and education in political science and psychology. Misha suffered a stroke on April 14th, 2021 and had heart surgery to repair a PFO shortly after. Misha is an advocate for stroke awareness and is extremely passionate about the cause.
What is a PFO?
A PFO, or Patent foramen ovale, is a hole inside the heart. Roughly 25% - 33% of people have a PFO, including me.
The heart has 4 chambers -- two on the right and two on the left. When blood comes into the heart, it enters on the right side. From the right side of the heart it goes to the lungs to dump carbon dioxide and pick up oxygen for the rest of the body. From the lungs, it goes to the left side of the heart. Along the way, blood clots that accumulate in the system naturally get filtered out. The left side of the heart sends this now oxygen rich blood to the brain, toes, and everything in between.
At least that's how it's supposed to work after birth.
Before birth, while we are still building organs and body parts in the uterus, there is no oxygen for us to breathe. There's no air. We instead get all of our oxygen nutrients, and other stuff through the umbilical cord attached to our mothers system. Since there's no air, there's no reason for blood to go from the right side of the heart to the lungs. It goes straight from right side to left side through the PFO - the hole between the right and left.
That hole is supposed to close on its own shortly after birth when we start breathing air. For most people it does. For up to a third of people it does not.
As we get older, that hole may or may not cause a problem, depending on how big it is and how prone we are to developing blood clots. It allows unfiltered, unoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and go straight to the left side of the heart and on to the rest of the body.
When a blood clot sneaks through the PFO, bad things can happen. That's how Misha had her stroke. A clot formed as a result of her COVID-19 infection, slipped through her PFO, and lodged in her brain.
She has since had her PFO surgically closed. It's a fairly simple procedure, as internal heart surgery goes.
Other folks on this show have also had PFO related strokes, including Christine Lee in the pre-COVID times.
My PFO did not cause my stroke. Mine was due mainly to high blood pressure. As part of the stroke protocol at the hospital though, they did find the PFO. A follow-up exam afterwards, which involved an ultrasound device put down my throat (thankfully with some awesome sedation) confirmed it was there, but likely too small to cause a problem. They decided to leave it alone.
But now I have a ready excuse for why I was never an endurance athlete.
Driving After Stroke
Misha talked about driving herself to the hospital. Jo Ann Glim did the same thing when she had her stroke.
Both will tell you now not to do that. It's a bad idea.
Of course, I don't blame them. At
Texan, Stroke Survivor, Writer, Hiker, and One-handed Guitar Player shares his Story
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The name "Avrel" means either "Elven King" or "Wild Boar" depending on who you ask. Fortunately, while Avrel Seale is not boring, this multi-book author and stroke survivor is the guest on Strokecast this week.
Our discussion of course covers Avrel's story, but we also get into a discussion about the nature of Generation X and how all this discussion of generations came to be. Avrel also has some great insights into the writing process.
His latest book is "With One Hand Tied Behind my Brain"*, so after you listen to our chat, pick up a copy from your favorite book store.
(For the full content, audio, and video in this story, visit http://Strokecast.com/Avrel)
Avrel Seale has authored 10 books, including memoir, humor, philosophy, history, religion, and unsolved mystery. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kirstin, and three sons.
In 2018 at age 50, Seale had a major hemorrhagic stroke that left him partially disabled. His story of survival and adaptation, With One Hand Tied Behind My Brain: A Memoir of Life After Stroke*, was published by TCU Press in 2020. His one-handed guitar playing was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.
In 2017, his memoir Monster Hike: A 100-Mile Inquiry Into the Sasquatch Mystery* was published by Anomalist Books to positive reviews. Wendy Garrett of KCMO Talk Radio in Kansas City called it “fascinating and compelling.” Nick Redfern called it “highly entertaining … a witty, amusing, and adventurous saga.” Andrew W. Griffin wrote, “There is something Walden-ish about Monster Hike that I did not anticipate when I first picked it up … as much about ourselves and our place in nature as it is about ‘monsters.’ ” And Loren Coleman named it one of the 10 Best Cryptozoology Books of 2017.
Dude: A Generation X Memoir* was included in the Austin American-Statesman’s “Best Books of 2008.” Staggering: Life and Death on the Texas Frontier at Staggers Point (2014) chronicles the arrival of Seale’s ancestors in Texas in the 1820s and 1830s and the tumultuous events and brutal conditions of the pioneering years.
Seale often writes and speaks about the Baha’i Faith. In addition to numerous articles about the religion, his books The Hull, the Sail, and the Rudder (2006)*, True Freedom and the Wisdom of Virtue (2007)*, and The Tree – A Spiritual Proposition (2008)* deal extensively with Baha’i concepts.
Though predominantly a nonfiction author, he has written two novellas — the afterlife comedy The Grand Merengue* and The Secret of Suranesh*, which he originally wrote and co-produced as an independent feature film.
His latest book, Nuts: Down the Nueces River With One Stroke, is awaiting publication.
Seale grew up in McAllen, Texas, the son of writer Jan Seale, the 2012 Texas Poet Laureate, and composer and conductor Carl Seale. Earning a bachelor’s of science in radio-TV-film from The University of Texas at Austin in 1989, he returned to the Rio Grande Valley, where he started his writing career as a reporter and a columnist for the McAllen daily newspaper, The Monitor.
In 1992, he returned to Austin and served 16 years as editor of the UT alumni magazine, The Alcalde. From 2011-2015 he served as speechwriter for the president of The University of Texas. Since 2015, he has been a writer and editor in the university’s news, marketing, and development offices.
Subject Matter Expertise:
Stroke Baha’i Theology 19th century East-Central Texas History Crypto-hominology (sasquatch/bigfoot) Persuasive Writing The University of Texas at Austin
The core principle of neuroplasticity is the cells that fire together, wire together. The more you do a thing, the more connections will form in your brain to do tha
Great for providers and survivors!
I recently discovered this podcast, and it has impacted my work as a neuropsychologist. I just started working more with brain injury survivors, and I've already learned so much from this podcast! The host is so knowledgeable and helpful, and I've been recommending it to my patients!
Great Podcast ... Peter Levine’s book helped me immensely in the hospital while recovering from a stroke in 2019.
A Must Listen to Podcast!!
WOW! This podcast explores so many different areas of need and interest for stroke survivors especially for the younger person. I love that Bill intersperses personal survivor stories with cutting edge research and topics that are often “untouched’ ( Sex and stroke). As a speech-language pathologist who has worked with Stroke Survivors and their caregivers for more than 25 years, this podcast really hits the mark. Monroe is funny, real and doesn’t hold back on sharing the nitty gritty details, including his personal story. THRILLED TO HAVE FOUND THIS PODCAST and will share with all my peeps ( patients and professionals).