Amazing????

Is this a sign I am going in the right direction?  As I was completing the final edits on my blog this week, I received this from Keith:

Today, I’d like to send you a thought about being happy with your life after having a stroke.

First of all, I realize that this is a weird time with the whole Covid thing going on. It is tough when you can’t see your family and friends like your used to. Even when you do, you have to be careful and “Social Distance” yourself.

Then, with all of the chaos that is taking place for us right now…anger, injustice, racism, and just a question of our own future, it makes for a tough time.

But, I’d like to talk about your own personal happiness right now.

It’s as if no-one wants to show their good attitude to others due to all of the problems we see in our society today.

We feel guilty when we show a positive attitude, especially after having had a stroke.

We ask ourselves the questions; “Who am I to be happy? How can I be the one who is leading the way by being a positive influence out in the world right now? Should I be depressed and down due to what I have went through?”

Please allow yourself the permission and gift of being happy!

Yes, you can be concerned about all of things that are going on in your life currently.

At the same time you can still work toward making your life, and the life of others, a great place to be.

I’ve been generally happy my whole life.

Not that I haven’t been broke and lost it all in the past, failed many times (more than I want to admit), felt tired and ready to give up, moved around and around trying to find my place.

I’ve been depressed and discouraged, especially after having the stroke.

No doubt I’ve also been very lucky, and blessed with so many great friends and family (not to mention my incredible wife) in my life.

But being positive with all of the STUFF we have gone through is a CHOICE!

It is sometimes very hard to change, I get it. However, you can make this change if you need to. 

I am reminded of my own Dad when I am feeling sorry for myself. He has gone through a ton in his life…Had cancer when he was in his 30’s, lost his business, broke his neck (was shoeing a horse, and got pushed over into a huge tractor tire), had a stroke recently, and yet still has a great attitude at the age of 83. We tease him and tell him he has 9 lives!

He has made the choice to be happy.

I know it’s not always easy! It’s difficult to find happiness in life. Remember, you are not the only one that has gone through tough times. We all do.

However, you can make the choice to work on yourself and grow your own joy.

Don’t be ashamed of being the one who chooses to be happy.

It can be a great power for you, and set a great example for those you care about and love.

Have a great week!

Keith

This is the kind of thing I want to focus on in my blog…and I received it AFTER I wrote my blog. I don’t know about you, but I think this was a sign that I am going in the right direction!

How about this….

What if I become a blogger?

I can write about what others are doing…relating to stroke recovery…and how OTHERS can benefit.

I THINK I had this idea before, but I am not sure; you know the reasons!  If I just blogged about it…and silenced my voice, I would hit all the items on my list.

Regarding the list: when the pandemic hit around Covid-19, I had sometime to think about what is next. I looked at new sites, and thought I could add value. I found this one lifeafterthestroke.com where I could add what I learned.  I have it parked on my website (www.mybrainllc.com) until I figured out what to do next.

I will share with you what I wrote down and how I reached the conclusion of what I want to do next.

What CAN I do?

  • Ask questions (I am really good at asking other about their problems)
  • Get people to talk
  • Get people to open up
  • Positive outlook
  • I always smiling

What CAN’T I do?

  • Talk ( I CAN’T talk about myself…even if I have prepared)
  • Talk to people who have communication issues
  • Talk to people who want ME to talk
  • Think clearly

What do I want to do NEXT?

  • What if I could stay in my home and work?
  • What if I could write; it may TAKE a little longer (and the grammar would be simple text), but I could do it.
  • Who would want to talk to me?
  • How can I get them to reach out?
  • Think about the people who have reached out.  How did I handle that?
  • What if I became a blogger about stroke recovery??
  • Could I think of new ideas?
  • What if I added items from other sites?
  • Could I start collecting them?
  • What if I just stayed on my site and did this. Would anyone follow?
  • How do I build followers? 
  • Offer program to stroke survivors through hospitals??

That’s it: I could be a blogger!

  • Work from home EVERYDAY
  • I can write about what interests me
  • No more travel…it  was great for a while, but now it is time to do something else
  • I can now travel for fun…and to see my family

Stay tuned for my life as I branch out into the future; I am excited about what the future holds and how I can transition my site.  I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey.

 

A Special Keynote speech….

I delivered a “special keynote” speech at OHSU for a group of Thailand professionals who were at OHSU for a week.

I was unsure if they were hearing my speech, so I decided to test it on my own.  In the beginning, when I say “In March of 2008, I suffered a massive stroke,” I put smile on my face; at least 50% of the audience smiled. At that point, I had to slow it down, so maybe they could get a feel for what I was to say.

It was challenging giving my talk, but fulfilling that they were there to learn.  Not once did I see the attendees look at their phone…and I appreciated that.  We gave them a copy of the book, Painful Blessing. That is me, the tall one in red in the center.  That felt really good to say that.  And who said I didn’t have the Christmas spirit!

That is Connie Amos next to me.  We think the world of Connie and will do anything she asks.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!  I will be talking the next
two weeks off.

30 Years of Marriage Celebrated last week….

Commitment is everything!

This was my 30 year wedding anniversary; we spent it at The Nine’s Hotel in Portland! What a great time we had; unfortunately, we both got sick!

We came home the next day and we both felt a little off.  We spent the next 2 days  sleeping/napping.

Not quite what you want 30 years a marriage to bring, but we slogged through it. I wanted to go on a cruise for this miraculous 30 years, but that didn’t come to be.  We settled on the Nine’s and it was great to be there.

I think THAT is why we are so happy.  My wife can give you some others, but here are mine:

1. Marriage is 100%/100%, NEVER 50%/50%
2. Simple acts of love keep 2 people knitted together
3. Never go to bed mad
4. Always compliment each other
5. Be happy with what ever you are doing….even if it is going for a walk
6. Wake up and Bless each day you are alive
7. Commitment is everything; be committed to each other

OK, I said that already in the first line, bit I think is is important. Now you know our secret; please reach out and share your secrets.

A New Record…

 

I know what you are thinking…what is this?  This was one of my goals this year!

It means that I went 171 DAYS of 10,000 steps…or more. For someone like me, I would just sit all day. But when I set this goal, it got me out there everyday until I achieved it.  Last year, me goal was 170 day…and I hit that!

With the rain coming, I decided to put a home gym in my living room…where I can workout even when it is raining.

So be prepared for me setting BIGGER goals next year!

Note: My blogs have been infrequent this last month; I tell you WHY next week.

 

One last speech coming up for the year…

I have one more speech to do this year…and this will be my biggest to date.

The audience is the International DI  Society in San Diego. Not only does my wife gets to see her mother, the event is at the San Diego Marrioitt Mission Valley where we stayed before.

I am nervous because I am testing a new slide advance system. After a month of practice, I used the system for the first time last week…and it was a bit rough.

With this system, I hold the unit (on the right) in my pocket and advance the slide that way.  You would think it was easy, but it isn’t!  I always have to read my speech, but this time, I  got lost…twice!!  Since I was so focused on the slide advancer, I forget where I was.   I don’t know if people caught it; maybe they though it was part of my speech.

After reading the speech over 1000 times, I still have issues delivering it correctly.  I figure when I am great at delivering the speech, I will retire!

I could have wrote this article about something really cool!

I just read the article and the device looked like something really useful.  I will sign up for the free trial and let you know how it goes; fingers crossed!!  Check out the article:

“I was in the hospital and thought I’d better catch up on emails. I pulled out my phone and couldn’t read a thing. The nurse told me that the stroke had affected my vision and ability to read. When they brought in flashcards, and I couldn’t name simple things like a hammer or pencil, I cried. I realized my recovery was going to have to be my work,” said Patty Geer, Director of Finance, Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, and stroke survivor.

I was 51 and too young for the rest of my life to be over,” said Geer.

In June 2019, the American Heart Association released a study showing that working long hours for ten years or more is associated with stroke and that people under the age of 50 had a higher risk of stroke when they worked long hours for a decade or more. This is compounded by the trend of Americans working longer and retiring later.

Digital therapeutics and neurotechnology have the power to change how stroke victims recover, but with more Americans working longer, there’s a need to put recovery directly into their hands through digital therapeutic mobile apps.

For stroke survivors like Geer, getting back to work is more than a mental necessity, it becomes a financial one as well.

Constant Therapy is a mobile app from digital therapeutics company, The Learning Corp. The app is designed for people who have had a brain injury or cognitive disorder to give them direct access to clinical exercises that can rebuild their cognitive, speech, and language functions.

Built by neuroscientists and clinicians at Boston University in 2012, the Constant Therapy app digitizes therapy through a Neuro Performance Engine (NPE) that creates a highly customized and detailed map of each user’s strengths and deficits across 80 different categories.

The company says the program in the app delivers the optimum combination of exercises uniquely tailored to each user’s needs.

“The NPE in the app is self-learning and adaptive ability to produce new exercises is limitless. Every 3.5 seconds, a patient completes an exercise, teaching the program in the process,” said Michael Evers, CEO of The Learning Corp. “More than 100 million tasks have been completed by Constant Therapy users to date, allowing the NPE to discover new ways to improve individual tasks, fine-tune the sequence of therapies, and update current protocols, speeding up innovation in brain rehabilitation.”

Evers says that Constant Therapy moves recovery into the patients’ hands – giving them anywhere, anytime access to evidence-based exercises to help rebuild the brain.

“In a trial, patients with access to Constant Therapy did four times more therapy which resulted in a significant improvement in the patient,” added Evers.

A 2019 retrospective study published in Frontiers in Neurotechnology compared outcomes among patients using tablet-based therapy at home and those who complete the same therapy in a clinic. The study found that home users took less time to master tasks than users who only practiced in the clinic. Home users also practiced therapy more frequently than clinic users.

The app can be used by the consumer on their own or is available on referral by their clinician as a complement to in-clinic programs. Currently, Brooks Rehabilitation, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Kessler Institute, Memorial Hermann, Shirley Ryan, and Spaulding Rehabilitation are using the app with stroke patients.

“The cost is $25 per month which is less than the cost of an average single session with a clinician,” added Evers.

“Our platform is powerful because it gives patients a more active role in their recovery [..] and it utilizes credible tech to impact patient lives in a measurable way,” added Evers. “This is a product that’s been developed around real patient usage and proven clinical recovery methods, making it a tangible application of technology versus a theoretical concept.”

Evers believes that traditional therapies developed decades ago just haven’t kept pace with innovations in health that can change the way people can now independently monitor their exercise, diet, and sleep.

“People want access to legitimate tools that help them manage their health,” added Evers.

After her stroke on Christmas eve in December 2017 which left her with cognitive and short-term memory challenges including aphasia, Geer was set on returning to her position as finance director at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport.

Geer says she worked hard to recover with the help of a speech-language pathologist alongside Constant Therapy which she says put her back at work only three months after her stroke.

“I looked at it like ‘this is my job now, getting better so I can get back to work,’ I called it homework,” said Geer. “It was something that I could do at home every day that makes you feel like you’re making progress because you can see it – the app helps move you along. It gave me a sense of accomplishment because I could see real advancement as I went through the exercises.”

Geer says the app was a natural fit for her since 75 percent of what she does every day at work is on a computer.

“Outside of work, I use my iPad and I would play Words with Friends and then open Constant Therapy; it felt like it was in my wheelhouse,” said Geer. “Until I used the app, I never would’ve thought this was something you could do that actually helped. Using tech in this way was an important part of my recovery.”

Holy Cow!

I had the privilege of seeing Dr. John Maxwell receive the Master of Influence award the NSA Influence conference last week.

After an AMAZING speech, Dr. Nido Qubein interviewed him.  What a wonderful experience; I have goose bumps thinking about how impactful that was on MY life!

Dr. Maxwell spoke about his early years as a paster and the good advice he got from one of his coaches: it is not about YOU….spread the GIFTS that YOU were blessed to receive.

His talk turned the conference around for me.  Dr. Maxwell is a bit older than me and he keeps writing everyday.  While I can’t write or form clever sentences, I can enhance my speech…a little at a time.  He inspired me to keep doing what I am doing.

Look at me…I am SOMEBODY!

Check out what NAHU has done from my career.  I know that it is up to ME to get exposure, but still….

NAHU Speakers Bureau – Speaker Information

Gordon Viggiano 
My Brain LLC
Wilsonville, OR
Work Phone: (503) 454-0887
Fax: (503) 855-5908
Chapter:
Web Site: https://mybrainllc.com
E-mail: gordon@mybrainllc.com
Video: View Now!

We were a typical family: we lived trying to do things right — working hard, providing for the family, following Christian values. On Gordon’s 51st birthday, out of nowhere, a terrible thing happened: he suffered a massive stroke! One might say we were dealt a dirty card, but we see it differently. The experience has been a true test of faith and perseverance.

Our journey of recovery is still in progress. Gordon is now 11 years post-stroke and we are happy to report that he is getting better all the time.  We will discuss this life changing experience and the lessons that have come along with it. Our hope is to inspire people and help them see that good things can happen, even when one doesn’t think it is possible. Gordon is certainly not fully recovered from his stroke so this isn’t an “I did it and you can too” speech. I am in the middle of my recovery and so my perspective is from “the trenches.” I am now the disability guru; a true stroke to success story!

Visit the My Brain LLC website for more information.

Most Requested Topics

  • Motivational
  • Disability

Speaker Reference:

Farren Baer 
Sr Vice President of Education & Professional Development
1212 New York Ave., NW  Suite 1100
NAHU
Washington, DC 20005
Work Phone: 844-257-099
E-mail:  fbaer@nahu.org

 

Why Am I Different?

Jill is writing this one…

One of the hard things about my sweet stroke surviving husband is that people often assume he is fine. That he can think clearly and that he can make sense of the world around him like anyone else.  This is sometimes true…but not always true!

Sometimes, he can participate in conversation and make perfect sense.  Then there are the other times. He will participate in a conversation and suddenly say something completely off-topic, insulting, nonsensical, and/or abrasive/aggressive.  I want to say “Please forgive him!  His brain doesn’t work right!” But the words are already out there and the other person is offended and no amount of explaining changes that.

For anyone out there that we have offended/insulted/freaked out, I am sorry.  Please understand it was not intentional. It is the stroke talking.