Book Review: Hope after Stroke

Speech and Language Pathologist, Tsgoyna Tanzman recently presented me with a copy of her new book, Hope after Stroke.

Sprinkled throughout the book are hopeful, inspiring stories from survivors that Tanzman personally worked with as she helped them on their journey of recovery.  These stories are well written, captivating, passionate, connected.  She regards and treats her patients as real people who deserve a chance – who indeed, with her, do in fact, have a chance.

I am thrilled to be one of the stroke survivors she chose to include in Chapter four, “The Secret Sauce of Recovering.”  Although Tanzman was not my speech pathologist during my recovery, our paths later crossed as professionals.  She chose to include my story because I was one who made hope real by recovering to the extent that I regained a full life of focus and purpose as a professional social worker, author and speaker – and, of equal importance, a mother and homemaker.

We all need hope. I as read through Hope after Stroke, I reflected on my own journey and recovery from a catastrophic stroke.  Hope was what I needed most. Hope and faith; focus on what I can do, not what I cannot, lay at the core of my recovery.

As I lay in the hospital on life support, my thoughts were my only companions. I was unable to move, to breathe on my own, or communicate with the outside world. I hurt everywhere, but I could move nowhere. I was trapped in my paralyzed body. It was as if I was sealed in a glass coffin. I had no idea what a stroke was, or why my body would not move a muscle.

As a patient, suffering from locked in syndrome (total paralysis), with a one-in-a-million chance of survival, and wondering what had suddenly happened to me, along with the many unanswered questions swirling in my head, this book would have been a great tool for me and my family.

Tsgoyna’s book is an essential guide for stroke survivors and caregivers going through the process of surviving a stroke and reclaiming their lives.

She explains how to recognize a stroke, what it is, what it does, and what to expect on one’s journey of recovery. The book, Hope after Stroke, explains the different types of strokes; the terminology commonly used, and contains numerous resources to assist survivors and caregivers. It includes essential takeaways at the end of each chapter for quick reference.

As a professional, and a stroke survivor, I have a deep appreciation for Tsgoyna’s book that shares valuable insights from her perspective as a professional.  (One of the most valuable team members on my recovery team was my speech pathologist. The ability to communicate is extremely crucial in the survivor’s recovery.)

On my journey, I was eventually transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to acute rehabilitation.  I had to relearn everything; how to crawl, walk, swallow, dress, speak…

The inspiration to keep going was fueled by my determination to eventually help others suffering similar circumstances and helping them reclaim their lives.

I am deeply grateful for the social workers, and other professionals who guided and supported me through this time in my life. Their example planted the seed that eventually led to my seeking a higher education. I eventually returned to return to school and obtained a Master’s in social work (MSW).

Publicity on my story of surviving locked-in-syndrome, my recovery, my book Paralyzed but not Powerless, and speaking engagements have given me the chance to offer encouragement and hope to thousands of survivors and their families. My story of determination and focus, include the secret ingredients necessary for exceptional recovery as outlined in Tsgoyna’s book: Gratitude, Humor, Persistence and Acceptance.

Now, as a social worker, my personal experience of surviving the stroke enhances my empathy and understanding as I help individuals and families struggling with many of the same challenges.

I strongly recommend Tsgoyna’s Hope after Stroke.  You or your loved one’s odds for recovery will greatly improve when armed with the facts and principles outlined in this book. It is a wonderful guide to survivors and caregivers.  Remember to order your copy from on Amazon!