Brain on Fire – Bill Gasiamis is the founder of the Recovery After Stroke community which is a resource for stroke survivors and their carers. He also hosts the Recovery after Stroke Podcast.
Bill was inspired to set up the Recovery After Stroke community because of the lack of support for stroke survivors when they leave hospital and having had personal experience of 3 strokes himself. Today he provides personal coaching to stroke survivors and provides resources, support and a community to help those who have suffered a stroke.
Bill had his first stroke at 37 years old (a brain haemorrhage), with a second a few weeks later. On the road to recovery he then sustained a third stroke 3 years later which necessitated surgery. However in those intervening 3 years, Bill radically changed his lifestyle and outlook on life which meant that when he had to undergo surgery he was in the best shape he could possibly be.
Not only is Bills story astonishing in itself but the fact that he recovered from brain surgery in half the time than his Doctors predicted is testament to the extensive work Bill did on himself to change his mindset, belief systems and lifestyle. His curious nature and thirst for knowledge around the brain, mind body connection and lifestyles of stroke victims makes him an excellent advocate for a more healthy, balanced and sustainable life.
Strokes – they are one of those things that somebody close to us has had, or at the very least we know someone, or a relative of someone who has had a stroke at some point. Maybe our parents or grandparents suffered strokes. But what does this mean for us? What’s amazing is that most of us associate strokes with old age even though many people who have strokes are young!! In the UK strokes are the 4th biggest killer and there are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK. More than 400 children have a stroke in the UK each year, and almost 2/3rds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability.
My Brain on Fire conversation with Bill gives a practical insight into what suffering a stroke feels like, the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent another stroke and some practical suggestions you can take away and apply to your own life!!
In this interview Brain on Fire – Bill and I discuss:
- How bill had his first Haemorrhagic stroke at 37.
- The early symptoms of a stroke and how they can be misinterpreted for something else.
- Why early medical intervention is critical (even if you are busy).
- The biology of a haemorrhagic stroke.
- The story of Bills second stroke and the effect it had on his brain and body functions.
- The massive impact Bills second stroke had on his ability to carry out everyday tasks and the extreme fatigue he suffered in the immediate aftermath.
- Bills realisation that he was mortal and his hope that life would give him a second chance
- Why the first 24 hours after a stroke is critical to saving the brain.
- How you are monitored in the aftermath and the picture Bill’s neurosurgeon was able to build of Bills brain with MRI scans in the weeks and months after his second stroke.
- Bills 30 month process of healing his body, stopping drinking, working less hours and becoming a better version of himself.
- How he had his third stroke 3 years after his second stroke and the surgery necessary to stop the bleeding for good.
- Bills amazing work on himself, his state of mind, body, weight, meditation, counselling, coaching, and how he did everything in his control to become the best version of himself.
- The shocking news that his mother in law passed away 10 days before his brain surgery.
- Bills journey of self-discovery and how he was the only one getting in the way of himself. How he looked at his behaviours and habits and tapped into his own self dialogue.
- Why negative self-talk has such a detrimental effect on recovery.
- How checking into his heart was such a turning point in giving Bills work meaning and purpose
- Why opening up, facing his fears, confronting & confronting them enable Bill to make big steps forward.
- Bills education on the heart and gut and why you must get out of your head and into your heart and gut.
Stuff we discussed during our conversation
Professor Jill Bolte Taylor
Dr Michael Merzenich
Dr Norman Doidge
UK Stroke Facts
How you can link up with Bill and the Recovery After Stroke Community
Get involved with the Positive Impact community here