Episode 121 – Heart Health, Exercise, and Thriving in a Post-Stroke Life

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Air Force Veteran Tamsen Butler was fit and healthy when she experienced a sudden stroke at age 41, which was later found to be related to a birth defect in her heart.  She’s become an advocate for heart health and has used her experience to change the lives of many people in the process.

In this week’s podcast, we discuss:

  • Why being healthy and fit is so important, especially before you have a health condition
  • The importance of community in healing
  • How her military experience helped shape her
  • What led her to advocate and educate about heart health

 

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Transcription:

Intro: 00:01 This is the Eagle Nation podcast where we talk about building richer lives and stronger communities. We have inspiring guests to have real conversations about things that you care about.

JJ: 00:13 Alright everyone. Welcome back to the Eagle Nation podcast. This is JJ Pinter and I’m here for a special February heart health month edition of the team are to be evil nation podcast with a super special guest, air force veteran heart health advocate, Tampson Butler coming live from Omaha, Nebraska. So Tamsen, thanks so much for joining us today.

Tamsen: 00:35 Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

JJ: 00:37 If you would’ve asked me, heart health is one of these things that’s really interesting. If you would’ve asked me a few years ago if I ever would have been doing a podcast talking about heart health, I would have laughed at you likely, but you know, just I turned 40 this last year. I see friends around me that are my age or younger that have had issues with their heart health and I think it’s a really timely pertinent topic and especially related to what we do here at team rwb. And so I’m very excited to be able to record this podcast today, especially with someone like you who’s got a really special story. So I’m, I’m excited. Thanks for joining us and I can’t wait to dive into it.

Tamsen: 01:13 Yeah, I’m excited too.

JJ: 01:14 I’m one of the things that makes this podcast works so well with Tamsen is that though, this isn’t what her story is about, is that she is an air force veteran, so maybe I’d love to, if you could give us just maybe a couple of minutes and tell us about what that experience was like for you before we dive into the more meaty stuff.

Tamsen: 01:30 Sorry. Yeah. I did four years active duty in the air force and then follow that with four years as an active reservist.

JJ: 01:37 And where did you spend the majority of your time?

Tamsen: 01:40 I’d say the majority of at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada,

JJ: 01:43 Aka a Las Vegas.

Tamsen: 01:46 When they told me my first duty station was vegas, I was like, are you serious? Let’s go. Like sign me up. Yeah, it was fantastic.

JJ: 01:54 Yeah. A lot of people, when you talk to them, they will tell you that my experience, that they were stationed at Nellis and they neglected the fact that it’s in Las Vegas for whatever reason. What did you do? What was your job?

Tamsen: 02:05 I was a chaplain’s assistant, so you know, the Geneva Convention doesn’t allow chaplains to carry and he started weaponry with them, so I was standing next to him with a weapon.

JJ: 02:14 A schmuck would not be the word that I would, that I would use to describe. I always saw the chaplain’s assistant in my experiences in the army as being kind of like the the person who maybe has easier. There might be. They might be the first step in someone that you might talk to if you had an issue that you wanted to talk to the chaplain about and they’re kind of like the first easier step of person to talk to maybe potentially.

Tamsen: 02:42 Yeah. I did experience that a bit and let me clarify that. I’m calling myself a schmuck. Not all other chaplains assistance. I think a lot of chaplains’ assistants work very, very hard. I just saw myself as kind of silly standing there with a weapon. I don’t know. That’s just my experience, you know? Awesome.

JJ: 02:58 And you’re in Omaha

Tamsen: 03:00 right now, but you’re not from Omaha, correct? No, I’m from southern California. My husband was also air force and he retired here out of offit or first base

JJ: 03:09 in Omaha and southern California are very similar in temperature. Oh yes. As a native Midwesterner, I think Omaha sounds just delightful.

Tamsen: 03:23 You know, it’s not a bad place to raise kids and that’s what everybody who lives here will tell you.

JJ: 03:28 So how we got hooked up with this phone call was, you know, we have a partnership with the American Heart Association and we thought it would be February is heart health awareness month and so we want it to be able to do something that was little bit more tangible to talk about it and put a little bit more of a, a real face to it and in Tamsen has a story that is unique to her, but it’s not really that uncommon. You just don’t hear people talk about things, talk about it as much and she’s become an advocate for heart health and things surrounding that and I wanted to have her on the podcast to talk about this a little bit and just have some very real conversation about heart health and especially as it relates to people who are, you know, a little bit younger in age. So if you wouldn’t mind sharing your story, that would be awesome. Essentially of just a vectored in a little bit maybe of just, I don’t want to steal, steal the story here, but how you had your first encounter with heart health.

Tamsen: 04:26 Sure. Yeah. Well, um, you know, as healthy as a fitness instructor, I still am now, but I’m 44 now and when I was 41 just out of the blue with no sort of symptoms whatsoever. I had a massive stroke and my kitchen with my kids watching. It was fantastic. That’s sarcasm. And the way that I knew is that it’s called fast. The F stands for facial drooping. One side of my face was lopsided than the other. And then the a stands for arms. I couldn’t lift my arms up above my head and the SS for slurred speech. I couldn’t speak either at t stands for time, which means you better get to the hospital because when you have a stroke, your brain is actually dying at that time. So they got me to the ambulance and off to the Er and all that stuff. And long story short, it turns out that I had, I was born with holes in my heart, which actually is a pretty common occurrence.

Tamsen: 05:21 Um, most people who have it don’t ever know that they have holes in their heart, but I have holes in my heart and some sort of genetic mutation that makes my blood clot just a little more than it should. So it got a clot and went through that hole in my heart and up into my brain. So it was just kind of the perfect storm. And so I usually bring up to people when I talk about this, that I was an air force. I’m an air force veteran because those of us who have served know that we’re pretty well checked out physically and so it’s a mystery to me how it was never discovered that I had a hole in my heart or anything like that.

JJ: 05:56 Yeah. There’s so many

Tamsen: 05:58 things I want to ask you about this, so yeah, so you went through the whole, I think it’s dod, Merv, right? The Department of Defense, medical examination, review board like that, that process, and then yeah, when you’re in the military you spend a lot of time getting looked at and physicals and all those kinds of things. You were a fitness instructor, so. So you were healthy. Mostly a plant based diet. I mean everything they tell you to do to be tip top shape. I was doing it

JJ: 06:23 and I have so many questions I want to ask, but I wanted to even start by this. This might sound super silly or unintelligent or whatever, but as someone who’s not been involved or not around this very much, I don’t know why, but I never would have associated a stroke and heart health. I guess I would’ve. People would’ve said heart health to me, I would have thought about blockages or heart attacks or something like that and I guess I would have always thought about a stroke is like a neurological condition and I now listening to you explain it to me, it makes perfect sense, but I, I wonder if I thought that how many other people in the world I would not consider a stroke when you’re talking about heart health wouldn’t even think about a stroke being something that was within that realm.

Tamsen: 07:10 Oh yeah. Because they call it a brain attack because it attacks your brain and you know, I came out of the stroke in my recovery and all of a sudden I was a heart patient. It was the strangest thing to me. They’re like, here’s your cardiologist. And I was like, okay. And then I, they told me, you know, you had a congenital heart defect when you were bored and it’s like all this stuff came out of nowhere and it was very related to the heart. Not just my brain,

JJ: 07:31 no. Did you ever, if you’re looking back on it, did you ever have any symptoms? At all in your first 41 years of your life that you could look back at it now after the fact and say maybe that really was a symptom and I ignored it. Or was it just completely out of the blue?

Tamsen: 07:50 No, it seemed like it was completely out of the blue, but after I had. Because I had the holes in my heart fixed about two months after my stroke and after I had that fixed, there’s some things that I have that just went away. Like for example, I used to get ocular migraines occasionally and I haven’t had one of those ever since my heart was fixed and also when I used to do cardiovascular fitness, my face would just get beet red, like almost embarrassingly beet red. And so I’d have a hard time running. Things that took a lot of cardiovascular health were very difficult for me, so I always enjoyed strength work much more because I was embarrassed about how red my face would get and now I don’t have that problem. Now that my heart is fixed. So I guess, you know, there were some abstract signs there, but nothing that tangibly pointed to, hey, you have a problem with your heart and you better get it checked out.

JJ: 08:36 Now I’m interested to dive into the actual, and I don’t mean to bring up bad memories here, but like the actual when it happened because something I hear this is so interesting to me because usually I’m doing podcasts about things that I, that I know about and I don’t really know much about this, so I’m just kind of learning as we go here. But I hear stories the time about people who have, they display symptoms of some kind of a heart condition, but they ignore it or they choose to not acknowledge it or something along those lines. When this happened to you, did you immediately know, um, that it was a stroke or were you in denial for some period of time or thought it was something else?

Tamsen: 09:26 You know, on some level I absolutely knew it was a stroke because I remember when I used to work for this one credit union in my little cubicle, we had these little checklists, you know, this is what a stroke looks like and as it was happening to me in my mind I kept just go that’s a stroke, but then it seems so absurd because as a 41 year old woman, totally healthy. I was like, why in the world would I be having a stroke right now? Right here. This makes no sense. So it was kind of 50 slash 50. I knew that it was a stroke but I kind of didn’t believe it at the same time.

JJ: 09:59 And the process of like getting into treatment, I mean like I assume you called the ambulance and went to the hospital. I mean like was the hospital. I got to imagine that they don’t see many fit younger people with strokes. Did it take them awhile to figure out what was going on or were they like vectored in on it? Immediately?

Tamsen: 10:21 They figured it out pretty quick and we were super lucky with that because I’ve talked to a lot of survivors who had to kind of convince their doctor something’s really wrong. They get sent home thinking it was a migraine or they’d walk into the er or get pulled into the er and somebody will be like, what drugs are you on? And they’re like, I’m not on drugs. I haven’t been doing any drugs. There’s something wrong with me. So I was really quite fortunate that right away they realize what was going on and got me treatment right away.

JJ: 10:46 What did. This is something I’ve always been interested in. When you say treatment, like what? What is, what does treatment look like? Like what, what, what is that? Both in like an acute sense like immediately and then you know, after the fact. So you obviously had to have surgery to fix the holes in your heart. But

Tamsen: 11:05 yeah, in the hospital at the emergency room, they gave me a medication called tpa and what it does is it goes and breaks up the blood clot so that you stopped losing brain basically. And that’s probably the biggest reason why I don’t have severe, severe disability is because they were able to break up that blood clot and they said if the TPA didn’t help, they were going to have to go into my head and cut it open and get the clot out of there. So I was really glad that the TPA worked. I wasn’t in any sort of way to consent to the TPA so my husband had to do all the consenting for me because at that point I couldn’t speak. I had lost my words because of the blood clot. Do remember that I do some of it, you know, it Kinda goes in and out in my memory. I don’t remember all of it and sometimes my husband or my kids will fill in the gaps for me.

JJ: 11:53 And then on the recovery side, this is something I wanted to talk about after the kind of acute mi, you know, maybe life threatening portion is over with and you’re left with the recovery or the potential recovery for this. Were you aware, were you like acutely aware of how far you had to go? Or how much work you are going to have to put in to to recover, to get kind of back to normal.

Tamsen: 12:24 Yeah, I mean absolutely. I think most stroke survivors face that and it’s really daunting, you know, cause it’s like going from being a healthy woman to all of a sudden being able to walk and talk. As you know, it’s, it’s enough to, to really dark in your day, you know?

JJ: 12:40 And so what were some of the things. Let me, let me take a step back. I’ve heard my mom was an occupational therapist and I’ve, I’ve been around some people, we have some friend of a friend who’s a physical therapist and something I hear from them is that

JJ: 12:56 when they’re working with someone who’s recovering from an injury or a surgery, is that they will, they can generally get people back to some percentage of their previous use back to kind of a minimum buyable product so that they can use their shoulder again to drive or whatever. And then people stop, they stop doing physical therapy. They stopped working on their recovery and they never returned to normal because they don’t, they don’t want to do the work that’s required to get there. Like they only will do that kind of the law, the minimum amount of work to get it back usable. Then they stopped and. And so for, for you, I’m interested when it comes into to mindset as it relates to like putting in the work for your recovery did from the very beginning, were you just like, now this is a challenge I want to get after it and crush this or was it an evolution as you were going through the recovery process and I don’t even know. Maybe it’s maybe you’re still going through it. I don’t. I don’t even know.

Tamsen: 13:54 One of my favorite stories about being in the hospital. Not that I have many favorite stories. One of my favorite stories about being in the hospital is they had transferred me to a regular room in Icu after the Er and such and I couldn’t move my leg very well because half of my body wasn’t working and what other people had mentioned. One of the medical staff had mentioned that they didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk or not, and so it was online in the bed. I was like, yeah, I’m at a walk. What are you talking about? Of course I’m going to walk and a week before this I had taught a class where we did a wall sit challenge and as everybody’s groaning and saying, I can’t do this, I can’t do this. I’m giving them like this lecture about how you know your legs are stronger than you think and you can do things that you can imagine and all that.

Tamsen: 14:36 So I reference that. So I’m giving, you know, me from the past is giving me in the present this pep talk about how my legs are stronger than I realized. So I took my left leg and I flopped it over the side of the bed and then just started pushing it back and forth with my hand. I could control it a little bit. An occupational therapist walks in and they’re like, oh yeah, you’re going to be fun to work with. Like, yeah, I know. I was like, I’m going to walk again, so don’t worry about that.

JJ: 15:03 Tamsen I’m interested in in community community is obviously a big part of what we do as a team rwb, but I’m interested in if community or having a tribe was an important part of your recovery, a, but then be your identity as a member of this new subgroup. Right. You know, middle aged stroke survivors or, or whatever it is. I’m interesting. If there was a change in your community or if it was, if that was important to you at all.

Tamsen: 15:37 Oh, absolutely. I was really lucky to get hooked up with the American Heart Association pretty early on as before I had my stroke. I was a writer professionally, so one of my things that I do is I was trying to write again, so I’d write about my experience so they found a piece I’ve written online and contacted me and asked me if I want it to be the keynote speaker at their expo one year. So I went and just after that I just got thrust into the community of survivors and it, it really was great for me because it felt like, you know, these people understand what I’m going through and you know, I might be able to help them a little just like they’re helping me and you know, it’s a pinpoint it a little more. Then I met my two friends and g and Sarah and they’re also young stroke survivors and the three of us just decided that we were going to be a trio of advocates for heart health. And so we formed our group astronomy’s and we try to, you know, we try to be what we were looking for when we’re in recovery is what we say.

JJ: 16:33 And if you don’t know this, feel free to tell me how common is a stroke for someone you know, say in their forties. I, I have no sense of perspective.

Tamsen: 16:44 Know it didn’t used to be so common, but I don’t know the numbers, but it has increased over the years. For whatever reason, younger people are starting to have stroke. Stroke does remain the number one cause of severe disability in the United States.

JJ: 16:59 My guess would be it has something to do with the sedentary lifestyle, fatty food and like the fact that obesity is going up in American a pretty substantial way would be factors, but you know,

Tamsen: 17:12 I wouldn’t be surprised by that, but then you look at people like me who didn’t have any of those factors and you’re like, well, why? Why did this happen? Of course we know why it happened for me, but yeah, it’s just. It’s increasing the incidence of younger stroke survivors. It’s definitely increasing.

JJ: 17:28 Yeah. If someone is listening to this and you could give them some advice about, I want to look at this in two different ways. One, if you could just give the average person some advice right now and just to say, hey, you’re navigating life. You’re doing your thing, you’re taking the kids to school, know whatever you’re doing. What’s something that you

JJ : 17:50 would want everyone who’s listening to this to know?

Tamsen: 17:55 I want them to know that it’s time now to get as fit as you can and to be as healthy as you can because you never know when that storm is. Gonna hit and I mean, I may not be a stroke. I mean, God forbid it’s a stroke. It could be a broken ankle, it could be you know, some, some sort of pull in your back muscle or something. No matter what you face, it’s going to be easier to recover and easier to deal with it if your body is as healthy as it could be now

JJ : 18:20 and then if there is someone, if you, if you’ve had some kind of a stroke or something else, given your experience recovering from that and being a survivor, is there, is there something that you would want someone to know if they have that same experience that you had?

Tamsen: 18:41 When I encounter people that have had a stroke, oftentimes I tell them to give themselves a break because it’s. I mean, yeah, we have our physical deficits and stuff, but the hardest part of the aftermath of the stroke is the mental deficits that we have. Because I mean, it’s a brain injury, it’s not a traumatic brain injury, it’s an acquired brain injury, but it fundamentally changes who you are and how you process information and so it can be really frustrating and really lonely and a lot of stroke survivors deal with anxiety, depression. I know ptsd gets thrown around a lot, but it’s definitely something that stroke survivors deal with and a lot of people, you know, they feel less than because you know, why am I so sad? I lived, why should I be so sad right now? But it’s just your brain is damaged and you need to give yourself a break and seek out help when you need it. Don’t be embarrassed about that.

JJ : 19:34 Yeah. That’s a very common theme in the veteran community is that, you know, it’s not uncommon. Your mental health, you have challenges with your mental health in the same way that you have challenges with your physical health and you can go get treatment with your mental health.

Tamsen: 19:49 Yeah. People can help you with that stuff. I mean, it may be medication, maybe therapy. I don’t know what it looks like for everybody, but I mean for me in my instance, they can pinpoint the area of my brain that was damaged and part of the area was where, uh, anxiety disorders are housed. So I have a propensity toward anxiety now and at first I was super embarrassed about it and then I tried to look at it logically and I was like, it’s literally damaged in that part of my brain, so it’s no surprise that it goes haywire sometimes. And once I acknowledged that, you know, and what’s my doctor and I was like, what can we do about this? And they gave me some meds and now I’m way better about just, you know, day to day life. But had I been too proud or something, I’d just be rolling in it and be miserable.

JJ : 20:32 What are the things that you do now every day to make sure that you stay healthy and to make sure that you have a healthy heart? Because I have had a repair to your heart repair. I don’t know. To what extent did that, you know, puts you at some elevated risk? Maybe in the future or maybe it doesn’t, I don’t even know, but what are the things that you do now to make sure that you keep your health where you want it to be?

Tamsen: 20:58 Set a goal of five to seven hours of exercise every week and so I just logged that and follow it and I try to do more intense exercise than easier exercise and I find that just meeting that goal is great, but it also just overall it makes me feel better and it keeps me moving. It keeps me active and everything.

JJ : 21:17 What do you like to do?

Tamsen: 21:18 I liked the most. I never got out of that habit. I mean I enjoy some good cardio strength work is my absolute favorite

JJ : 21:27 Olympic lifting or

Tamsen: 21:30 no, just body weight resistance and you know like I don’t go to body pump, but things like that, like classes like that I enjoy quite a bit.

JJ : 21:38 Is there anything, do you think, and maybe the answer is no here, but do you think that there’s anything that you either learned in the air force or any habits you picked up in the air force that influenced the way you thought about or that you attack your. Your recovery or.

Tamsen: 22:00 Part of the mindset that I acquired from being in the military was that sometimes you just have to do something even if you don’t feel like doing it and that helps me a ton because there’ll be times when I’m like, oh, I just don’t feel like getting this thing done, but I just know that I have to just do it and just buckle down and get it done.

JJ : 22:18 Is there a. is there a resource? Is there a place that you would direct people if they’re listening to this and maybe they have a family history of heart disease or maybe they’re looking at themselves in the mirror and saying, you know what? I’m not as healthy as I should be right now, and if I’m being honest with myself, I’m probably at an elevated risk. Where would you go? Where would you direct them to go to to learn a little bit more and to figure out some ways that they. Some strategies.

Tamsen: 22:46 I mean you can get some basic guidance from the American Heart Association website. They have some good stuff on there as far as like getting started and such. I mean there’s so many great resources. Personally, I feel like go to a credible Jim and talk to a rep, reputable trainer to get started and I mean it’s not even a sense of you need to go get a trainer and pay for a trainer for the next 15 months or whatever, you know, just talk to somebody. Say I need some help. Maybe figuring out my nutrition a little better and getting on a schedule of working out. And I think if you could start that and continue on with it, it’s going to help you in so many different ways.

JJ : 23:22 It’s so. It’s so crazy when people are prioritizing how they spend their time. The thing that generally gets bumped is exercising, taking the time to eat right, to prepare healthy meals and they get bumped in for everything else. If you look at it objectively, those are the that allow you to do everything else and you should be doing those first. If you’re concerned about your job or your family or everything else because you’re going to be more productive, healthy employee, you’re going to be a more energetic parents. All these things. It’s just. It’s very. I don’t know. I’ve always thought kind of nonsensical and the way that people, people look at it sometimes.

Tamsen: 24:10 I think a lot of people vastly underestimate the importance of nutrition in their lives too. You know, they, they get in this mindset that it’s all about how much fat does this have? How many calories does this have? Instead of. I look at it as how nutrient dense is this? How is this going to help my body before I shove it in my mouth? Basically

JJ : 24:28 pimps, and this is a, a, a pretty incredible story. How did you decide you wanted to become an advocate? Because many people just kind of experienced this and they’re embarrassed about it and they don’t want to talk about it. They want to hide it from people. Yeah. You’re out front, like telling your story and sharing it with the world and like it’s, you know, it’s probably hard to be talking about this experience where you had a stroke in front of your kids all the time. Like I’m imagined that was very unpleasant and it’s probably not fun to talk about all the time. But you’re out there doing it. Where did this come from?

Tamsen: 25:02 When I was in the Icu the first night and you know, my husband had got home, the kids had gotten home and I was just there by myself and so I was trying to use my phone to try to find some stories on there about people who had the same experience and then gotten better because that’s what I really needed to hear at that point. But I couldn’t find anything and I was getting really frustrated. There were a lot of stories about people who had my same kind of stroke, you know, and had miraculously learned to walk again. And that’s like all they talked about, they didn’t talk about them thriving or you know, reclaiming their lives or anything like that. So I decided then, you know, two things. The first one was when I got full movement back, I was going to get a tattoo on my arm, which I did. And the second thing was, well it’s a heart with a that’s a amended heart with an umbrella over it because the implant they put in my heart looks like an umbrella. They said. So the other thing that I said to myself is I’m going to be that story that somebody finds when they’re lying in the ICU, desperately wanting to hear some good news. And so that’s where it came from for me.

JJ : 26:04 Awesome. And has it been received pretty well?

Tamsen: 26:07 Oh, absolutely. The stromae is a organization that Sarah and Angie and I started or kind of a global presence now. We started out, we were going to write a book together because I used to write books before I had my stroke and so we were all going to write a book together, but then it just kinda turned into this thing of all these other stroke survivors who wanted to tell their stories too and to connect with each other and stuff. And so we kind of became like a social presence globally now and it’s been just amazing and fantastic and more than we ever imagined it would be.

JJ : 26:40 That’s really fantastic. So in to advocate, you also have, you know, grassroots organizer Slash nonprofit founder under your belt as well.

Tamsen: 26:55 Yeah, it’s not the direction I thought my life would take, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

JJ : 27:01 Right.

Tamsen: 27:03 What kind of books did you write? Nonfiction books mostly about personal finance.

JJ : 27:10 That’s very interesting.

Tamsen: 27:12 I enjoyed it quite a bit, but my brain doesn’t work that way anymore. So I still write, but I write, you know, for smaller publications now and website content, stuff like that.

JJ : 27:22 Oh, that’s really interesting. So what are you doing as a parent? So here’s the question I’d like to ask, now that you know much more about this than the average person, what are you doing differently with your family? Um, because I, I want to make sure that I raise healthy active children who are as prepared to encounter the hardships of life as they can possibly be. Is there. What are you doing differently with your children, you know, based off of what you’ve learned that something I could do or someone else who’s listening could do.

Tamsen: 27:57 Even before my stroke, my husband and I were very, uh, we put a lot of importance on the kids being active and healthy. So, you know, we’ve always tried to maintain good dietary standards with the kids without being overbearing about it because I’m not trying to give them some sort of complex about eating or food or something, but I always try to make sure that the stuff I serve at the house as nutrient dense and we don’t have a lot of junk in the house ever find something physical that they enjoy was a bit of a challenge for my son. It was easy for my daughter because she’s a dancer and she loves dancing so she stays out of it that way. But with my son we tried, you know, baseball. Then we tried part core, which we thought he would love, which he liked. Okay. But it wasn’t till we found martial arts for him that he really just blossomed and found out that he love that it’s been so fun watching him become this strong young man as he does. Oh, what is it called? Tank. Pseudo Tang Soo I think spelled.

JJ : 28:57 I don’t want to pretend like I’m a martial arts expert,

Tamsen: 29:01 nor am I, but it’s really just fun watching him do it because they challenge him and push him to points where he would never push himself if they weren’t standing there pushing him, you know, I was talking to another mom who’s like, how do I make sure my kids are healthy? I’d say, you know, instill in them good eating habits and find something that they really enjoy doing this physical.

JJ : 29:21 Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you giving us some of your time today. It’s incredible that you went through this like super traumatic experience and then used it. We’re able to turn it into a positive and really share it with the world and educate some of the world. And me personally, I would, uh, I would not be or know a lot of this content had I not had this conversation with you, so I really thank you and I guess what I would say to people who are listening, it’s heart health month, so use this as an opportunity to, to reflect maybe and think about some ways that you can change your life and as Tamsen says, you know, you got to be healthy before the storm hits and right now is the time to do that because the storm has hit. So maybe you can find a way to get more healthy in this month of February and community is important. So, so find your tribe right now and then you don’t have to do the work later. Uh, I would. You don’t offer that a team already. Each chapter might be a good place to meet some people and stay active. But there’s also lots of other cool places that you can do that as well.

Tamsen: 30:32 If I could add to that, I’d say if you ever find yourself in a situation where you think to yourself based on the symptoms, you know, it sure feels like I may be having a stroke, you know, just call nine slash 11 please. I mean even if you’re not so sure, go to the emergency room and get it checked out because if you don’t, you could just die right there on the kitchen floor like I would have if they hadn’t called an ambulance for me.

JJ : 30:55 Don’t be too proud, I guess is the word right.

Tamsen: 30:58 And don’t feel embarrassed or like you’re wasting medical staff’s time or something. Just go get it checked out

JJ : 31:03 as we used to say, don’t be a tough guy. Be objective about it. Better safe than sorry. And the worst thing that can happen is that you can, you know, go to the hospital and find out that it’s something else. The worst thing that can happen is you could die on the floor.

Tamsen: 31:21 So. So let’s avoid dying on the floor. So always.

JJ : 31:24 Yes. Yes. Thanks so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. This was an awesome, really interesting conversation. It always amazes me when I looked down and we’ve been talking for 40 minutes and we just started and thanks for all you do. Keep it up. We’re going to continue following you and if, if anyone wants to read some of your writing or learn a little bit more about what they’re doing and what you’re doing or keep up with you, where is there a spot that I can direct them to

Tamsen: 31:52 on website which is [inaudible] dot com. S t r o m I e s it’s a word that means stroke, homeys. We’ve put the two words together. Um, and that has links to all our social media and everything on there.

JJ : 32:05 Awesome. And we’ll put some links to that in the show notes so that people can find it as well in case they want to reach it because they want to reach now. Well thanks for having me. Yeah. Attempts to. Thanks. Thanks so much. This has been awesome. Thanks. Thanks for everything you do and keep up the hard work.

Tamsen: 32:18 Well thanks for everything your organization does to you guys are doing good things.

JJ : 32:22 No.

 

 

Comments on Episode 121 – Heart Health, Exercise, and Thriving in a Post-Stroke Life