May 09, 2023
306: Stroke Awareness Month Spotlight: Lee Stroy's Story of Survival

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, today's episode features a special guest, Lee Stroy, a stroke survivor and advocate for stroke awareness. Lee suffered multiple strokes and underwent rehabilitation to recover from their ef...

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In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, today's episode features a special guest, Lee Stroy, a stroke survivor and advocate for stroke awareness. Lee suffered multiple strokes and underwent rehabilitation to recover from their effects. He was featured in the documentary film A Teachable Moment, which follows four stroke survivors and their journeys to recovery.

During the interview, Lee shares his story of surviving multiple strokes, his challenges during his recovery, and how he has become an advocate for stroke awareness.


Key points:

  • The importance of recognizing the signs of a stroke.
  • The value of raising awareness of stroke risks and prevention. 
  • The role of rehabilitation in stroke recovery.

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Maya Acosta 00:38

This is the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast. And I'm your host Maya Acosta. If you're willing to go with me, together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life. Let's get started. All right. So welcome back to another episode of the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast. I'm your host, Maya Acosta, friends, for the month of May, we have a special guest who is going to talk to us about strokes, we're going to talk about, you know, how we can prevent having a stroke, and also the difficulties associated with rehabilitation. That's such an important topic for me, since we know that not everyone has healthcare equity, or access to quality care. My guest also has been featured in a documentary called a teachable moment. And I'm going to try to find a link for you so that you can watch it and it's an excellent film. But here's a little bit about the plot. In regards to this movie. It says, Each year, nearly 800,000 people suffer from a stroke. A teachable moment is a story of four strangers who find common ground after One moment changes their lives forever. And so please help me welcome Lee stroy. Welcome.


Lee Stroy 01:58

Thank you. My I do appreciate you have me to date. Thank you so much.


Maya Acosta 02:03

I also want to add that you were one of my earlier interviews a few years ago when I was in DC, for the PCRM conference and you came up to what what was the name of the hotel? It wasn't the Gaylord was it?


Lee Stroy 02:17

It wasn't a halo but I know it was I know you guys do that walk I can't remember the name offhand. But the I do see a 2018 I believe


Maya Acosta 02:26

2018 are so you were so nicely dressing and I was with my husband, Riz and you came up to the hotel and we conducted an interview. After the conference ended and you told us about your story, even then, I made sure to watch the documentary ahead of time because I really wanted to understand all of that. So I'd love to, for you to first sort of introduce yourself to my listeners in case they've never heard of you or seen the documentary. And tell us your story. And then I want to talk about the cost of rehabilitating because I know that initially you didn't have access to us. So tell us what happened.


Lee Stroy 03:04

Right? Again, my name is Lee stroy. Just like everybody else I thought health was for granted. I suffered three strokes on December 23 2016, I was only 38 years old. And what happened was I woke up that morning. And when I woke up, I felt something was a little off. I was numb I was bouncing up and down the wall. I could not articulate my words. I recall my wife was downstairs. So it probably took me about five to 10 minutes just to try to get her attention. And she probably looked up because in my mind, I thought I was calling out to her. But I was mumbling looking back at it like I couldn't get I cannot get my words out. And I was bumping on the wall. And when she looked up at me, I burst into tears because I've never seen that fear and that look in her eye. Again, I had no idea what's going on in my body. But like for me, she her sister had a stroke at a young age. So she knew exactly what it was. She called 911 immediately. And before I knew it, and I'm in the ambulance, and they're saying that, um, you know, you had a stroke, and it took me you know, I'm like, Okay, I'm feeling actually better. So, I've learned the phrase is called waxing and waning, but I had a stroke. So I was waxing and waning. So you're going in and out. So you're coherent. And then one minute, you're kind of mumbling and fumbling. And then the next minute, you're fine. So a lot of people go through these and they call them also ti TAs. And I think they're okay. And they decided not to go like for me. The ambulance took me to the hospital. So I was in there and a hammy an observation for about an hour or so. And I was kind of going in and out. And they're asked me Do I know my name? And they asked me something and I could not respond. I think he may have said, what's the day do you know where you were? And it was something off the wall where I saw again, I look up Okay, that's enough. And they took me and they rushed me in. They got an MRI and they told me I had a stroke. So What happened was, I'm in a hospital. Everything's good. They told me about, you know, blood pressure medications, cholesterol other patterns to get well, I went to sleep I was supposed to be released on Christmas day I woke up Christian state completely Nam, I lost the vision on my left hand, I cannot see I cannot get out of bed. They quickly diagnose me we have another stroke, they took me to the rehab facility. And at that point as I began my journey of recovering from a stroke, I can't


Maya Acosta 05:27

even imagine what it was like you said, your your, your wife gave you this look you had never seen before. And at that moment, you realize something was happening. You just didn't know what it was.


Lee Stroy 05:38

All I said was I'm sorry. And I started crying because I knew something to go on. But it was loved and I can control and I remember that clears day, I burst into tears. I just kept apologizing. And she's like, it's okay. It's okay.


Maya Acosta 05:52

Lee, that's very interesting. When you talk about apologizing did you feel obviously you didn't really know what was happening, but you knew something serious was happening? Did you feel like you were causing an inconvenience to your wife? Is that why you were apologizing? Or what?


Lee Stroy 06:08

Something that, you know, I'd never seen or felt like, you know, I know it sounds crazy. But that look on her face that fear that skin that panic, I just felt like, I'm just sorry that you know, whatever's going on. I'm so sorry. Because, you know, I didn't know what else to say was our you know.


Maya Acosta 06:26

So I watched the film, which I want to recommend that everyone do, you know, watch the film. And I held it a screening at a local library. And I invited a local stroke rehabilitation specialist to talk to my audience about what to look for, and what rehabilitation looks like. So now I know that you've become very involved in helping to educate the community about this. So one of the things that became very apparent is that in many ways your wife saved your life because she was there.


Lee Stroy 07:04

That's correct. Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and that's in one thing you mentioned in the documentary, and you look at the numbers, one thing about a stroke, it does not discriminate your age, race, nationality. And the misconception of what people think of a stroke is they think of as somebody that's elderly, like my grandmother had a stroke, but she was in her 70s. So you know, the misconception of that a Stroke can happen to anyone, right? And knowing the signs will save your life. It literally. So it's very important.


Maya Acosta 07:38

Yes, knowing the signs, and that's really important. I also want to add, because I'd love for you to talk to us about what we should look for, I want to add that. And then you might give me more of an update. As of today, the in the documentary, it follows the stories of four individuals, one of them produced, the film helped to put this film together. But now out of the four, there are only two of you left.


Lee Stroy 08:04

That is correct. Um, unfortunately, two of them did pass away non stroke related. They had difficulties with, you know, other conditions. But um, yeah, they did pass away since the documentary.


Maya Acosta 08:15

Okay, so I wasn't sure if it was a stroke. So it's not just the, you know, the stroke itself could be assigned that there are other things happening in the body. And the other two people had complications, that were still here later complications


Lee Stroy 08:31

correctly, I think they feel you know, when you have a stroke, you're never fully recovered. Right? It's in Germany, so like that, but they're, you know, when they passed away, it was other complications and what I think they both had hearts, but, you know, that's just one of the things that you can't you can't prepare.


Maya Acosta 08:48

Yeah, so what should we be looking for? Because I will tell you and I might have shared this with you already, Lee, but my mother who is living has been living with type two diabetes for many, many years, has suffered at least three strokes. And it could look differently for different people. She has in one case, my sister say that she just seemed delusional almost like not there didn't know what was happening to her. So it can present itself I guess, in different ways, depending on the individual but what are those common symptoms?


Lee Stroy 09:24

Right now maybe you're spot on a it does look different in every individual but one thing is the incoherent some people will say like, feel drunk, you see that they're kind of discombobulated. The common thing is that they may say something because sometimes I've heard stories of people that did not have facial droop like I had or had deficits but they were calling children by it you know the wrong name and saying the wrong dates and you know, kind of like it's a certain look but if you look in their eyes, you you can see that there's something not right and as a You know, and before I kind of go on, I just wanted to touch on this, that one of the things and you know, as far as prevention goes is to, we know our body. So when you know something's wrong, you need to go to a doctor, let's so let's stop self medicating ourselves, especially now to time we can Google every symptom, you know, make sure you go to the doctor. So in my case, I did go to the doctor about two weeks prior to my strokes, and they wanted to put me on all different medications. And my thing was that, you know, we're almost Christmas time New Year, I'm going to start that, after the new year, not saying that if I got on that blood pressure medicine that would have prevented the stroke, but the signs were there, you must, must feel much prior to when I actually had my stroke. And, you know, when I went ahead, so So realize that I am a type two diabetic, I did have high blood pressure, and also had high cholesterol into time.


Maya Acosta 10:55

Yeah, so thank you for for saying that. Because many times again, depending on the individual, we're either too prideful to say, to admit something's happening, or maybe even the fear, sometimes people freeze, they don't know what to do next. But if you are familiar with how you are on a regular basis, paying attention to those symptoms, can greatly impact how much damage can happen within that short amount of time. So reacting immediately, if possible. And I don't know what that looks like. But I've heard that if you can get to the hospital within a certain amount of time, there'll be like, less damage. Is that true? Yeah, that's


Lee Stroy 11:37

correct. Um, they, you know, the technology has changed since I've had my stroke there is they have the procedures that if you can get in within a certain window, they can actually almost reverse the stroke symptoms. And that's why time is always the essence, you know, so you can go in there, they can do a procedure, when I had my first trip, I think it was four to six hours. Now, I think they have up to maybe 1618 hours, I would not recommend anyone to wait, as soon as you're feeling something's wrong, you go to the hospital immediately. But yeah, absolutely, they do have different forms to actually can almost 99% reverse, you know, these things. And I tell everyone, you get a front of it before by your lifestyle and your choices you bait because it's so much easier to prevent a stroke than to recover from one.


Maya Acosta 12:24

Very, very true, before we go on to rehabilitation, is there anything else that we need to look out for what else happens to our body as we're having a stroke.


Lee Stroy 12:36

So as you're having a stroke, you It's in every state put it like this, in every state, when stroke, a stroke survivors have a stroke, they suspend your license, because your comprehension of things is out of whack. You had sudden your judgment is out of way. So you have to go back through a test just to get your license. So when you're, if you're finding yourself in this thing, know that your judgment is the number one thing that's affecting you. So you may think you're alright. And that's why when your loved ones see you and your balance and you know, you can't just, they can tell you that, hey, something's wrong, you know, you know, something serious is going on. And there's a difference between a stroke a TIA because a TI can be warning you that somebody is coming on, give you but you're going to experience the same symptoms. So some people don't, you know, a lot of people have TAs, and don't realize that they're on a break or something major happening because their body comes back to normal. But your body should not be going through, you know, if you watch athletes and have a concussion, that's kind of similar, you know, they get up all of a sudden, they're kind of, you know, a little wobbly, something's going on.


Maya Acosta 13:44

And I don't know if we talked about this before, when, when we were talking about your situation after that initial, the initial TAs that you had in 2016. Have you ever experienced, like a recurrence again, of a stroke?


Lee Stroy 14:01

Yeah, on fourth, I think the time that we actually met, I was just in the hospital, I had three strokes. I had about 13 or 14, what they call TAs, well, my body is you know, going through the symptoms, some people will kind of it cause runs parallel with vertigo a little bit. Our you know, our cerebral palsy is like certain things run parallel with it, but I was having TAS where I'm having a memory loss, that's another thing. You know that signs that you can recognize right away that you can get the words out and you know, in a lot of times it's going to be a deficit in one side or the other. So for my case, my stroke happened in my right brain, so all my deficits on my left side. So it also that's another thing because it's going to cater to one and again, not all strokes are created equal. But you can tell when you're you know, something's going on my case all three of mine occurred when I was sleep. So when I woke up, that's why they weren't able to provide The treatment form because they kind of realize the timeframe that the stroke occurred.


Maya Acosta 15:05

That makes sense. That makes sense. So in the film, we also see that everyone, all four individuals share their story. And then the journey through recovery. And what stood out was your situation of not having access to quality health care, you didn't, you weren't able to, you know, afford rehabilitation. And it was your little girl, one of your little girls who helped you tell us more about that, what that was, like? How, how this impacted your family?


Lee Stroy 15:38

Well, my, that's a good point. And I and I can say this, I was fortunate, right, you know, that we did have, we had amazing health care, we had, we had good health care, but the problem is, it's so expensive, we had to make a sacrifice. So, you know, I was in therapy for a year and a half. And each session was $50 copay. So you know, you I was going to fit, I was going to speech, I was going to physical and I was going to occupational so I was one of the lucky ones was still coming up with $150.03 times a week, set us back tremendously. And you know, we, at the time, I was making almost six figures and not making anything. So living in the metropolitan area is very expensive. And it's, you know, we're set up for dual income, and it so not only did it take our tech fact, to me, it put a lot of pressure on my wife, you know, and to put a lot of pressure on my family, because, you know, we were battling and again and I had insurance, so we had to find out alternative ways because we could not afford it to continue to go to therapy, because again, stroke is not a stroke is not like a broken leg, and you get your cast and you're going to instantly start seeing recovery. This is a hole, you got to read I had I was from a walker to a cane, my daughter, so you had to find little things. And again, I was met a man with pride. So I went from not able to be able to drive not able to provide my family to now have to figure out my new norm. So I still perform a lot, I suffered from a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression, I isolated myself, I you know, I was in a in a in a place of why me, you know, plus now taking eight, nine different medication never took anything before. So, you know, the documentary will show this, but the real life, it never stops. And it never stopped to even to this moment, right? So the thing is that you you know, even if you have good insurance and good posts, it's such a long process, you have to learn to be kind to yourself. And that's when I start to recover, you know, stop acting myself why and start to you know, appreciate the small things that I can walk 50 yards, you know, with a cane to walk my daughter to the bus stop. So I had to, you know, reinvent little things, change the goals. And it took me a long time to come to a place where I was able to speak about my strokes. And when I started to speak about it, it became real therapeutic. And you know, here we are now maybe six years later, and you know, this past year I coach high school basketball JV coach and assistant varsity coach, you know, I'm coaching AAU basketball, but I'm reinventing myself every day. And as we spoke before, one of the things I did was I changed my diet. You know, I became the V and I think I'm being big enough about five years. You know, just always, you have to now that I know I monitor my blood pressure. I monitor my sugar level I make sure I go to my annual doctor but I literally just had a dodgeball yesterday for my fiscal, you always got to check in but you know, you always got to keep pushing through.


Maya Acosta 18:52

Yeah, yeah. Oh, I'm so proud of you. And I'm so happy for you that you've been able to reinvent yourself find a new sense of purpose. And I mean, you look like you're 100% Are you? Like in terms of your rib? No,


Lee Stroy 19:10

you seem I still walk with a lamp, I still don't have vision out my life, I still have memory loss. But that's okay. You know, I just take it as a new norm. I just move a little slower, and I'm able to manage but um, it's funny I was I still have to stretch more. I still do a lot of principles that are doing physical therapy. And that's the one thing about anything life in general is just being consistent, and being flexible. And, you know, the stroke taught me so many things. I met amazing people like yourself, you know, there's so many amazing stroke survivors, but one thing runs parallel because, again, we don't never see it coming because if that's the case, we will do a lot of things. So what you do and your platform is amazing not only educate people about health, but let's get on the other side of it as well. Let's try to prevent that. Let's try to change lifestyle. You You know, I used to smoke cigars I haven't smoked cigars since my stroke to, you know, some of certain factors and I'm not saying go all vegan, it's it's moderations in everything, you know, everything in life is moderating God, I'm honored to your numbers and everything else to


Maya Acosta 20:14

that is true. And it's also, you know, I kind of feel like, in this, we're raised to self care, we just kind of live life, and especially when we're stressed, we do things to alleviate some of that stress, and it could include drinking or eating certain foods. So, uh, you know, a lot of us are having to learn how to take care of ourselves as adults. And because no one else will take care of us if we don't take care of ourselves. And so, yeah, I think we're speaking to a large population of people who could hear this message, just like you said, strokes don't discriminate, you can see it clearly in this film, that you guys, all four of you came from different walks of life, different level of education, different economic levels, all of it, it doesn't matter, people still are susceptible to having a stroke. And I admire the fact that you're working on the prevention end of it and helping to educate people. How else have you become involved in educating people? Because I was following you on social media. And I saw you working on some other things.


Lee Stroy 21:21

Yeah, yeah, I kind of got off, and I'm gonna get back on social media, but I'm still an ambassador for the American Heart and Stroke Association. So we do a lot of events in the community. Again, being a coast this year gave me an opportunity to speak to our kids about, you know, strokes, cholesterol and form. So it's so much it never stops, because thing is now that I had the shows, I can even see people in the store, you know, and just be like, Hey, how you doing? And you know, it's just a lot look at it. And, you know, you obviously want to respect your privacy, but you know, just tell them like, Hey, you look good. Like, you know, and you know, you'd be surprised what, you know what they say, and feminists are like, Hey, I appreciate that, you know, they had a stroke, you know, then I'm like, Yeah, you know, I can tell and I tell them my story, because again, it you know, it just to you, everyone that survived a stroke, has a choice I have, I have an uncle that is actually been bedridden from his stroke for about six years now. And every day, he chooses to smile, he chooses a smile it chooses. So that, you know, that keeps me that encourages me also, because you never know where to. But I do want to touch on something that you said, my, that's very important. And I think if I had to sum it all up, yeah, I had high blood pressure a little bit diabetes a little bit. I was slightly overweight, just a little bit. But the one thing is to stress. And the one thing that you have to manage stress, because if I had to say what causes stroke, stress, at that point, I was working 1214 hours a day, I just had custody of my oldest daughter, I was on, you know, just never sleep and never taken that time to self care. And a lot of people that have strokes here, they have a lot of things going on. But if you look at that, under underlying issue, that stress is a huge factor.


Maya Acosta 23:10

Yes, it is. It's it, we just think that we can be so resilient, and you know, burn the candle at both ends. And we'll be fine. As long as we wake up the next day. And it's like that takes its toll on the body.


Lee Stroy 23:23

Absolutely. Right. And you know, and you know, you think you're doing all this stuff, and your body will let you know that. Hey, it's time. It's time to slow down.


Maya Acosta 23:33

Yeah, yeah. So you talked about food earlier. And I come from a very traditional family, where we well, I say we not not i anymore. I don't even live near my family anymore. But I had an aunt who was the main Cook, the older sibling of my dad and the main Cook of the family. And so I once many years ago, I told her that I wanted to preserve her recipes, because they were traditional and that I wanted to help her write a cookbook. And she used to fry everything. What they use a lot of pork and the food and all of that. And so this was years ago, and then about maybe 10 years ago, it's probably been longer, she had a stroke. And she had one of those strokes Lee, where she became paralyzed period, like not even able to speak, and she's been wheelchair bound for about 10 years. And, you know, if it weren't for the fact that she has such strong faith in God, I don't know what else could keep her going because she is now everything for from having to be bathe, to having to be fed. She's at the mercy of everyone else. And I was recently there a few years ago for a wedding and I saw her again and I just thought oh my God, God just has given her This ability to continue living, despite her limitations, and she's so grateful, you can tell she's grateful for the life that she continues to have and the people that love her and support her. But no one wants to be in that situation. No,


Lee Stroy 25:15

no, no, no, you're absolutely right. And I'm from the south, and so that traditional eating the, the, the fried foods, the grains, and all the things that you're saying that things so when I go there and say I'm a vegan, they look at me Look at me, like, I'm an alien. But, but but I do. And that's, and that's one thing that we need to do as a community also to is, you know, be mindful, and I do work with a couple of dogs about desert zones that, you know, you can go get a Honeybun before you can get an apple. And that is something that we have to inform, you know, and it's a real and it's nationwide, you know, as you know, is so it's one of the things that, you know, some of the traditions that we had growing up, we realize now that this is not good for us, right? All the All, all the, you know, everything you want, Friday is Friday. But again, it's in moderation, too, right? You know, you can't have that in the sweet tea, and apple pie and ice cream. Right? It just, it just doesn't stop. And and if you do that, you gotta make sure you go walk, you know, sleep on that. And then that's how, you know, habits are formed. So yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, as far as Your Honor, I remember you telling me about that as similar to my uncle that, that, you know, you never know the people's strength and how strong you're like, I'm just, and that's what kept me going, you know, you know, my faith and everything else. But I was broken down to where you have to really see yourself. So now that I'm, I feel like I've met a better version of myself, I'll be you know, cheerful, transparent. So I'll be 47 in July, and I feel stronger and wiser than ever, because I went through this adversity, and it gave me a different perspective. So when situations in life come, it takes a lot from it, because it's like, hey, you know what, we're gonna get it done. You know, I, you know, I've seen I've talked to people, I've had some, like, let's, let's, let's bring it down some, and it's our perspective. And the hardest thing to do, and you know, this pandemic, and after we went through this, and, you know, it made people slow down, you see that everybody appreciates one another again, and now we're back open, and then now we're back off to it again, you know, and it just kind of tells you, you need to value the time available, just because you never know what happened. And like I said, I was 38. And my life changed completely. I mean, I met people that and, and mind you, I was day one athlete, I played college basketball, you know, I did work out, I did some things. So, you know, I didn't look like a stroke, it happened to me.


Maya Acosta 27:45

Right, right. And I want to go back to what you were saying, I was just, you know, talking about stress. And all of that is all of those components that when we talk about lifestyle medicine, we want to talk about prevention, the goal is to help prevent, because once you're dealing with a situation, it could be multiple things that the body is not going to face. And so managing your stress, eating plant based foods, walking, even just simple walks can alleviate the stress can get the happy hormone going in your body, but just can really help with a lot of things like weight loss, and all of that. And then the other thing is really the emotional support and the love and it looks like you have that with your family. They have been there, your your girls, your wife, they've really been there to support you this entire time. Right? Absolutely.


Lee Stroy 28:37

You know, meditation tool is another way that you, you know, you can take time for yourself. And again, when you have a stroke, it just doesn't have it to the individual and happens and impacts the entire family. Right. So when I had that Stroke Month, I believe my daughter's 443, and maybe five, four and three, and my son was 12. And my oldest was 18 that impact them not only in the moment, but also a toddler awareness. Right. They know what signs are. But initially when I first came home, you know, it was a fear because they didn't know. And I was going in and out the hospital. They didn't know what was going on. So you know, and that was another reason why I determined to put more emphasis on my recovery, not where I was now just where I want to be and want to get better. So they know that hey, that is all right. So now they you know, they know I had strokes. I do a lot of stuff and so, but they don't fear that, hey, I'm about to have a stroke. And I feel like that's one of my biggest accomplishments now that they know that I'm okay. Now again. We all know how life is but they know that hey, that Daddy's back. You know, I'm laughing and joking and doing different things and it's really a real thing. Um, I was talking to my friends like, you know, the best thing you can do for your family is is go to the doctors go you know, listen to the science, you know, and being a man it's not macho to punch to do go through, it doesn't mean you're less than man, even female doesn't mean that you have listened to it. One thing that I learned is you have time, you have time for yourself, and you got to take the time, if you can get on the phone and log on to Facebook, Instagram, whatever it may be, turn on the news, you have time to check your blood pressure, check your, all your doctor, make your appointments, you have time.


Maya Acosta 30:21

Yeah. And I feel like that became very apparent in terms of like, when you don't take care of yourself when the pandemic happened. The people that were the hardest hit, were the people with the least amount of resources. And probably the people that probably don't go often to the doctor, it's kind of cultural to, again, I go back to unless you're taught how to self care, you don't really know how to self care, someone's got to teach you. But if you live in a family that's on top of their health, and everyone's getting their checkups, you're more likely to be that way. And so that's why I value information, because we need to get the information out to the people that need to hear it. And also, I guess, you know, what impacted me was that one of your colleagues from the film, got very involved in fundraising and getting information out to people that need it. So if they can't afford rehabilitation, his nonprofit, and I don't know where he sat in with all of that today.


Lee Stroy 31:18

Right, right. Right, he's still, you know, we're still keeping up that legacy now. And that's the thing, you know, and that's the thing that I want to do better. And because a lot of the information is there, that sometimes there are public assistance programs that are out there free, but you won't know about, like, you know, as far as we have a service called, like Metro access, that will pick you up from your house to take you to your doctor's appointment, things are in place for the people that don't have insurance. You're absolutely right, as far as the pandemic hit, you look at the underlying condition, and it was high blood pressure, type two diabetes, and these were the, you know, the ones that were really sub more prone to, you know, to the, to the virus. So you're spot on with all of it. And, and you know, and I like the self care, and I love the fact that you say that so much my and self care is always evolving, and self care does not have an age limit on it. We always constantly self care until we leave this earth. And that's how we continue to grow. And I think a lot of people think, and a lot of you know, parents, mothers fathers will longest I'm taking care of my kids, as long as I'm taking care of the business, along with some taking care of this. I'm okay. And self care, self care. Self Care is,


Maya Acosta 32:34

I know that I asked my husband, often we have all sorts of conversations about health and the red tape to like all of it, you know, Western medicine and all of that. And I always ask, because I've lived that life, I was raised with very limited resources. I always ask what happens when people don't have insurance. For example, I have a niece who was recently diagnosed with type two diabetes. And I asked her a couple of things about getting check checked out, you know, getting her regular checks, checkups. And she said, I don't have insurance right now. And I and the first thing that came to me was like the population of people dealing with chronic diseases that can't afford medicine. So I and maybe there are resources, so that so then I said to him, so what happens with people that have type two diabetes that don't have insurance, you know, so, but so my whole point being that there probably are resources, we just need to let the puppy let people know about the resources and talk about what you can do in terms of lifestyle, so that you can help yourself as well.


Lee Stroy 33:48

I totally agree. Um, my brother in law had a stroke, also. And he actually went the holistic path. Right. And he is, he's a big holistic guy. And that's where his recovery was. And he's committed. And also, you know, holistic, if you go that it does, cause it does get very pricey. It's very expensive. But it's also commitment that, you know, he believes in too, I actually went that way also, as well, because the first thing they want you to do is take a medication and as I kind of went back and look at my stroke, so when they gave me a blood pressure it, it dropped my blood pressure too fast, so naturally, and what's caused the second and third stroke. Now, they can never point to that but if when I looked at the chart and talked to numerous neurologists, your body your body is conditioned to live at a certain rate. So yeah, it was a little high. But you know, you start putting different medication and part of my recovery was trying to kind of tweening back office on that because for a trip, they've given me medication for depression or give me medication for anxiety. I couldn't sleep so they're given medication for sleep, and then I was taking cholesterol blood, and they don't know. So they're throwing these things at Me and my body's trying to fight these things, even if I didn't have a stroke, let alone having three strokes, I cannot recover because my body is being torn and I can't feel and I can't get energy. So I don't know, really what's going on. So, you know, I am a big firm believer of holistic and self care, but you have to put the investment and you have to be committed to right. So, you know, that's something that, you know, you have type two diabetes, we have to sometimes you have to figure out how to get it under control. And then once you get it under control, then you can now kind of go different routes, right?


Maya Acosta 35:35

Yeah, exactly. And now, you know, earlier, I had an interview with the CEO of a telemedicine practice where all the doctors are trained in plant based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. So the patient would have a conversation like this remotely with the doctor, and then tell them you know, where they're at with their health, what their goals are, and then the doctor can create an individualized plan to help them you know, get to the where they want to be in their health, but it is out of pocket. It's not necessarily covered with by insurance. He was telling me about. Yeah, although he did say that they're they have something called like the super bill or something that after the the seeing the doctor, you can take this to the insurance companies for reimbursement. But at the same time, it's it's tricky, because like you were talking about your medication, and how you believe maybe that brought on the, the strokes again, part of what these doctors are trained in is in knowing how to de prescribe your medication so that as you improve your quality or their lifestyle, you're making better choices, your medicines will need to be adjusted so that you don't have to suffer with for example, hypoglycemia, or low blood pressure or anything like that. And your regular primary care physician may not be as available to do that for you, or maybe doesn't even know how to take you off medications.


Lee Stroy 37:10

Absolutely. They are ours, another daughter that has you know that that's there. You made a good point I do the fact that is individualized and when you take you know, different medications, they're not, you know, for everybody that anybody so anyone, minorities, anytime time taking anything, anyone with a Prill you're going to have an allergic reaction. So the first medication again, the blood pressure was I don't want to put out name but in an appraisal in my face world up and I was having a look. And I'm like, Why do you and every every young man and I talked to they're like, Yeah, first thing they give, they give us this. And it's just because they don't know, they're not doing it out of malice wanted out of textbook, hey, blood pressure, but majority of African American men and women are allergic to anything with this, you know, ending in Peru. So is knowledge, right? So it's not textbook. So when you have doctors like there, that take the time to find out what you know, what works is very important, you know, is very, very important, because, you know, they put me on medication that took me a while to get off of because then you come dependent on these medications that go to sleep, you know, you become dependent on these medicines. It's okay to feel a little anxious, right? You know, that's what we are so right, you don't need to have take this, you know, because we don't want you to have stress. Well, you know, this is a slippery slope, then as far as stroke survivors, trying to relearn their normal and find out what their normal is. That's a whole different topic for another day. Because, like I said, you're being pulled turn, uh, you don't know where you are, and you know where you are in your recovery. And I started to realize, two or three years after my stroke when I started be like, okay, you know what, let me see what happens when I don't take this while I'm still here. Are you telling me, you know, so everybody's on the process is all a process?


Maya Acosta 39:03

It is. And I can imagine that that anxiety that may continue to linger about a possibility of having another stroke or a heart attack it just once you get in that mindset that hey, I'm not as healthy as I thought I was, then Oh, my God, what's next? Like you start to kind of tell yourself some stories that can be frightening. But it looks and it seems like you're in a good place in your life today. And that's just so encouraging.


Lee Stroy 39:31

Thank you. I appreciate that. Again, I appreciate everything that you do. I appreciate it. Again, with maybe in Stroke Awareness Month is so important. I can't recommend like even in your local grocery stores. Now, they may be all five or 10. Right? Check your blood pressure. They have the monitors there while you're in line check that just you know, so you don't always have to go to the dock, take advantage of the things that are there. And again, you know, I was I was waking up prior to my stroke in In sweats, you know, so in cold sweats and my body was telling me and this was going on for years, that my body is telling me something that that's not normal. So don't get used to uncomfortable things with your body go see a doctor. It's a reason why. And at night, there was reason why.


Maya Acosta 40:19

Absolutely. And thank you for reminding us that there are blood pressure machines at different locations. And oh, my gosh, I'm so glad you brought it up. I remember, I used to playfully do that every once in a while at my local pharmacy. Just kind of be like, let's see what's today. Like they're men, they're there to save lives in many ways.


Lee Stroy 40:42

They are they are there. Absolutely. Are they? Yeah, so I used to do the same thing. It's like, it's just getting so you know. But yeah, the reason why. And if you see something


Maya Acosta 40:55

I've heard my husband talk about when he gives other individuals, it talks about resources, that there are some smaller blood pressure machines that you can have in your home just to check yourself throughout the day or throughout the week, that are not, you don't have to rely on going to your doctor. And they're not that expensive. And I'm starting to think that maybe I'm going to make a list somewhere of these things for people to who can afford to spend a little bit of money on their own machines to kind of know where to get these things so that they can feel more comfortable, like so you mentioned type two diabetes, having type two diabetes. The other day, we were having a conversation on the podcast about the continuous glucose monitoring system. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but it's like a patch that you can put on your shoulder or anywhere in your body. And are you familiar with it?


Lee Stroy 41:53

I've seen it but yeah, I got an idea. Well, you don't have that, you know, it's modern to you all that you are you don't have to prick your fingers is the guy that was a guitar player. And he's like, hey, no more pricking my finger.


Maya Acosta 42:04

Yeah, and, you know, and you can see on the app, how you're reacting to foods and even exercise because exercise actually does regulate your blood pressure, I mean, your blood sugar, so that can also impact your blood sugar and I so I need to make a list and put it somewhere on our website where people can look into these products if they're interested. Because that way, they're more likely to be more responsible for how they eat if they just don't have to prick themselves all the time. Because that's just painful.


Lee Stroy 42:36

Absolutely. And you talk about another free thing and kind of like a myth and a traditional thing we say, you know, you're you eat a big meal and oh, I got the itis some of that is now you might have diabetes because my mother has been at this and your sugar level is just so you know, was so low and ADA has such a huge meal and you're just out of it for hour and a half you know those are things that are not you know, we juggle a so good you got it you can't move but that's also know your sugar level was this low. Now you just in taking all this food and all of a sudden you just now on a sugar coma like,


Maya Acosta 43:11

yeah, although those things affect us. I'm so glad you brought it up. Because I've always wondered like, if people can feel when their blood sugar is high. Like, I tend to be hypoglycemic. And when I don't eat so I can feel when I'm going, my blood sugar is dropping, I can feel that, but can when it goes up. Can some people feel symptoms of that?


Lee Stroy 43:32

Well, I'm saying well, you know, that hangry thing is a real thing in this house, and my wife would be like, your sugar level was low, and I can start and I can feel and I can feel that a lot of time. And so I had to make sure especially when, you know, during the season, and I still have also not local schools that make sure that I eat regardless of how I feel, I gotta make sure I do eat because I can tell you know, I can tell my sugar level dropping, I can tell when it goes back up because it's almost like you know, Super Mario I didn't level back up and I'm ready to go like I have my snack and I'm back. So it is a real thing that a you know, people with diabetes and you know, a lot of it is to not realizing because unfortunately that is that's passed down next generation diabetes generation but I truly feel that it's generational, but it's also habits that were taught so we eat that Super Soul Sunday so it was so mindless eat that food. So we might not be necessarily as prone as we think we are. So with my daughter, one now out of my four kids, my youngest she's actually a Wii and now so she's been a vegan for about two years. And yeah, and just to see her and her energy and I'd say all my girls have great energy but it's like okay, yeah and so but we have to also make sure that we take her to the doctor to make sure she's you know, all or everything or numbers are correct to to make because you know, you gotta make sure you get the right supplements and especially, you know, she's only she's, so to make sure she's getting the right supplements, and but I'm proud of her. And I'm not saying that's the right way. And my wife is what they call the pescetarian that just eat seafood, you know, so, you know, we're all my wife will tell you, she's cooking two different meals almost every day. And so, you know, it's all a process and everything is in moderation. You know, everything. Yeah, I'm not, not gonna push the vegan on everybody, but I just say that, you try it, and you're given a week or two, and you'll see how your body responds, I think you will be like, hey, you know, I'm gonna stick with for a month and next thing, you know, you're at three months and six months, and you just, you just feel a little bit better. Yeah,


Maya Acosta 45:43

you know, if they have you to thank because you have been this wonderful influence in their lives by you know, eating more plants and taking care of your health. Now you're being an example to your own children so that they don't have to suffer when they get older. Because it's just like what you said, it can be generational in the sense that we, we eat what we grew up with, you know, we influence each other family gatherings and things that are just found in our diets as a family as a culture. That's how we influence each other. But now you're sort of changing the path for your own children. So that's wonderful.


Lee Stroy 46:21

Thank you. Thank you. I mean, so we're gonna guys do you know, being plant based, it's a real thing. And it was, it was almost a joke. I remember my father, I'll just say, so I passed away, have a heart attack and be like the same things that made on pass were the same thing we're eating at three pass, read and hold the fried chicken, harder greens, or any just passed away. Just the same thing. It is kind of a pattern, but, you know, yeah, we got to be better. Yeah.


Maya Acosta 46:58

I appreciate you so much, coming back on the show, and giving us an update as to how you're doing. And again, it's just very hopeful and encouraging to know that you're you're doing well, and that you're an ambassador to you know, advocate for this way of living to help others so that they don't have to suffer or ever have a stroke. So do you have any, like a final message for our listeners?


Lee Stroy 47:21

Again, I want to thank you for what you do and what you continue to do. I really appreciate you allowing me to be on this platform, again, with stroking Awareness month next month. And my life is always trouble awareness. So I just tell people just to listen to your body, and to be kind to yourself. That's it.


Maya Acosta 47:42

Thank you so much. And again, the film was called a teachable moment. And I like to promote it because you're in it. So your story really touched me. Yeah. And again,


Lee Stroy 47:55

thank you so much. Different things in a couple months. So I'll definitely get in contact with you. I'm with the American Heart and Stroke Association. So I'll definitely try to move you guys in there. Thank you again, so much for everything.


Maya Acosta 48:09

Thank you, Lee.



I appreciate it.


Maya Acosta 48:12

It's been listening to the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast with your host Maya Acosta. If you've enjoyed this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode. Feel free to leave an honest review as well at rate this forward slash HLS. This helps us to spread our message. And as always, thank you for being a listener.

Lee StroyProfile Photo

Lee Stroy

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, today's episode features a special guest, Lee Stroy, a stroke survivor and advocate for stroke awareness. Lee suffered multiple strokes and underwent rehabilitation to recover from their effects. He was featured in the documentary film A Teachable Moment, which follows four stroke survivors and their journeys to recovery.

During the interview, Lee shares his story of surviving multiple strokes, his challenges during his recovery, and how he has become an advocate for stroke awareness.