You are currently viewing After Stroke Depression & Recovery with Angie Burke

After Stroke Depression & Recovery with Angie Burke

Episode #71August 10, 2021

Depression after stroke, also called post-stroke depression, affects approximately one third of stroke survivors at any one time after stroke. When stroke survivors experience depression, they are more likely to have fewer gains in their recovery, a poor quality of life, and increased risk for stroke in the future (Towfighi, et al, 2017).

Thankfully, there is help for people living with depression following stroke. Treating depression not only improves the stroke survivor’s mood, it helps with other aspects of recovery, including physical, cognitive and intellectual benefits.  Find a mental health provider who specializes with older adults and complex medical problems here.

In this interview, stroke survivor, Angie Burke and I discuss:

  • The experience of being a nurse for 26 years, having a stroke, then becoming a “patient”.
  • The unseen challenges that come with having a stroke- like grief related to loss of identity, ability, career, and the way things were.
  • After stroke depression and psychiatric hospitalization and treatment
  • Angie’s journey of going from “stroke victim” to “stroke survivor”
  • Recommendations to other stroke survivors
  • Recommendations to friends and family of stroke survivors

About Angie Collins-Burke

Angie Burke was a Registered Nurse and worked for 26 years at the hospital in her community, specializing in palliative care, until  On September 23, 2013 she suffered a large stroke and was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. Following an episode of depression, she became more determined than ever began exercising daily, and eventually became an amateur bodybuilder. In May of 2017 she competed in her first amateur bodybuilding show. She also started volunteering as a stroke mentor, at the hospital where she’d worked, and as a volunteer with Heart and Stroke Canada. After being encouraged by many to write a book, she was introduced to Suzanne Cronkwright and together their efforts resulted in “Just Pick Up the Peg: A nurse’s journey back from Stroke.” They now write a monthly blog for Psychology Today. com.

Resources mentioned in this show


Related Episodes & Resources


If you or someone you know is in crisis or struggling with thoughts about harming themselves or others, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.



Towfighi, A., Ovbiagele, B., El Husseini, N., Hackett, M. L., Jorge, R. E., Kissela, B. M., Mitchell, P. H., Skolarus, L. E., Whooley, M. A., Williams, L. S., & American Heart Association Stroke Council; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (2017). Poststroke Depression: A Scientific Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke48(2), e30–e43.

Dr. Regina Koepp 0:01

Angie Burke is a registered nurse who worked for 26 years at the hospital in her community specializing in palliative care. On September 23 2013, she suffered a large stroke. Along with paralysis, vision and cognition changes. She was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. After some time rehabbing in a trauma center, and then a rehab hospital, she returned home and was determined to improve. But gradually, her mood began to spiral and she fell into a major depression and had to be hospitalized for treatment following a suicide attempt. She became more determined than ever began exercising daily, and eventually became an amateur bodybuilder. She also started volunteering as a stroke mentor at the hospital where she had worked for decades. After being encouraged by many to write a book, she was introduced to Suzanne Cronkwright. And together, they wrote Just Pick Up the Peg: A Nurses Journey Back From Stroke. I hope that you enjoy today's podcast with Angie Collins Burke.

Dr. Regina Koepp 1:15

I'm Dr. Regina Koepp. I'm a clinical geropsychologist, which means that I'm a psychologist who specializes with older adults and families. And this is the psychology of aging podcast, your go to resource for Mental Health and Aging.

Dr. Regina Koepp 1:37

Angie Burke, thank you so much for joining me on the psychology of aging podcast to share your story about being a stroke survivor, and building a life that's meaningful for you. And that word is intentional stroke survivor and I'm looking forward to talking about that in this interview. So thank you for for being here with me.

Angie Burke 1:58

Thank you for having me. I'm honored, I'm truly honored.

Dr. Regina Koepp 2:02

I'm so glad that you're here. I think sharing stories, personal life stories, makes this work the most meaningful. And and I know you have, as in your profession as a nurse, you worked in palliative care. And can you share a little bit about your professional life in palliative care and as a nurse, just to kind of set the stage of what your life was like before you had a stroke. And then we can move into what life is like after

Angie Burke 2:30

I had a crazy, hectic life, life as most people do prior to my stroke. I have two grown children, a husband I've been married for 30 years. And as you alluded to, I worked as a registered nurse. So I had to deal with shift work. But I loved palliative care. I thought in my heart that was what I was meant to do and why I was here. I left every day feeling as though I had helped somebody and I had made a difference.

Dr. Regina Koepp 3:00

And then how long into your career you said about 30 years before you had is 20 years

Angie Burke 3:07

years. I was I had been a nurse for 26 years.

Dr. Regina Koepp 3:10

You have a great book called just pick up the peg where you talk about your journey. And your experience with having a stroke and your journey back from stroke is the subtitle and nurses journey back from stroke, then I highly recommend your book. It's a wonderful read and very human and an enjoyable. I just thank you for that. But can you talk about what it was like to have the stroke you kind of document that in the book but I think it's so helpful to hear it from from you directly.

Angie Burke 3:44

Honestly, I thought I had a migraine. I had a history of migraines, and it wasn't getting better. My husband took me to the community hospital actually where I worked. And I received treatment for a migraine and I was released home. We came home and I was down in our bedroom. I was going to get ready for bed. And my husband heard a crash. He came down the hall. He found me I was on the floor. I was having a seizure. He noticed that the left side of my body wasn't moving. And I only remember bits and pieces because I was out for most of it. So my husband is kind of filled in the blanks. But apparently I was trying to speak and it was completely garbled. Once I come out of the seizure then I completely went unconscious. He put me in the recovery position but then I was trying to get up and he had this no honey you need to lay down. And the last thing I remember was being loaded in the back of the ambulance. And I could see the lights flashing off our neighbor's home and I thought this should give the neighborhood's something to talk about and then out and I don't remember much after that.

Dr. Regina Koepp 4:51

You were taken back to the same hospital you worked at?

Angie Burke 4:53

I was taken back to the same hospital I worked at- to the emergency department.

Dr. Regina Koepp 5:00

Wow. I mean, just the cruel irony. And then how long did you stay in the hospital after you had the stroke or when did you even know it was indeed a stroke.

Angie Burke 5:10

Unfortunately, because I didn't present as a typical stroke person, I would say, I mean, I was, I wasn't overweight, I didn't smoke, I didn't have high blood blood pressure, I did not have one, one risk factor for stroke. It took three days to actually diagnose me as having suffered a stroke. And once the diagnosis was made, and it was from a carotid dissection, so a tear and actually formed in one of my carotid arteries, I was immediately transported to a major trauma center in Toronto because our hospital, we don't have the facilities to care for somebody that's had a stroke as serious as mine. So I was in Sunnybrook, I ended up in the ICU, and then the step down unit and eventually the medical unit. But once they deemed I was medically stable, I was transferred to a rehab hospital in the city, because again, our small community hospital didn't have a stroke specific rehab program. So I was in Toronto for well over a month away from home terribly homesick, and not a lot of support. Because of course, my friends couldn't come see me. My husband was overwhelmed with everything. Then after that I was transferred back to the hospital where I had worked for some more rehab. And then eventually I did some patient rehab.

Angie Burke 6:21

My goodness, do you do any physical therapy or occupational therapy to this day?

Angie Burke 6:41

No, no, my therapy ended. I'm almost eight years out now. I still work on my recovery. And I have found other avenues for working on my recovery. But I'm done with the officially official therapy portion of my recovery.

Dr. Regina Koepp 6:58

So eight years out, so that means was the 2013. December Yeah. So you describe just the sort of logistical experience of having a stroke and and the medical system, a little bit of that. Can you talk about about the emotional experience? What was it like for you to kind of go through all of that. And I mean, that's a long time in the hospital, and in different stages of the hospital. Can you share a little bit about the emotional journey?

Angie Burke 7:34

I can remember vividly even though I was in and out of consciousness when my family doctor came into our house, my hospital room before I'd been moved from my community, and told me I had a stroke. I mean, I was in complete disbelief, because again, I didn't have any risk factors. It didn't make any sense to me. And I mean, I was like, No, this can't, this couldn't have happened. This doesn't make any sense. And I started firing questions at my doctor that I knew he couldn't answer. But in that moment, I was just so full of disbelief. And I think one of the hardest parts, as I kind of alluded to was having to do my recovery and my rehab. In a city where I didn't know anybody. People couldn't come to see me because they were two hours away. I was so horribly homesick. Once I finished therapy, my evenings, for there was nothing. And I spent a lot of time crying. And you know, why? Why me? Why did this happen? What am I going to do now? I just had so many questions. And of course, there were no answers.

Dr. Regina Koepp 8:43

And how old were you when this happened?

Angie Burke 8:46

I was 46

Dr. Regina Koepp 8:47

Wow, I'm 45. That's, and you had two kids? How old were your kids?

Angie Burke 8:54

My oldest son at the time. I can't remember the ages. But he was in his first year of college. And my youngest child was in high school, I think, I think grade 12 I again, I can't remember their ages. But so they were at least they were we didn't have young children that we had to worry about getting babysitters etc.

Dr. Regina Koepp 9:18

I mean know, want to experience these experiences with your young adults. It's an important time in their life too with launching and building their own adult identities and separating from you and building their lives. You know, there's a lot happening at that stage of life. That you know, a mom, it's helpful to have a mom there - you there. So then you return home and and then there's building a life back at home. And I know in the book that you talked a bit about your experience with depression and what that was like and some of the unseen challenges of having a stroke? What's pretty apparent on the surface is when people have a stroke, there could be paralysis on one side of the body, there can be speech changes, swallowing changes. But there are some unseen changes that happen. And I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about what some of the unanticipated or unseen challenges you faced were?

Angie Burke 10:32

Well, as you probably know, negative emotions don't like to hang out long. I think I experienced every negative emotion known to man, I went through frustration, I went through anger, I went through Why me? I went through anxiety, depression, I mean, you name it, I think I despair. And unfortunately, it all built into anger. And my poor husband took the brunt of that in the form of displaced anger. And again, frustration, because I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. And I frequently would lash out at him. My older son who was away at college, I don't think he was fully aware at the time how bad things were. Because he was removed from the situation. But my husband and my younger child, who was who were in the home at the time, saw me with all these struggles.

Dr. Regina Koepp 11:32

How long did that last that period of struggling?

Angie Burke 11:38

It, it still does to this day. But instead of being in the forefront, it's now in the background. And every now and again, I'll have a bad day. And, you know, something may frustrate me. And I guess that's with pretty much everyone. And but it's it does consume me now as it did during my early stages of my journey.

Dr. Regina Koepp 12:00

Yeah. When did it reach its peak? Like what was I know, in your book, you talk a bit about how severe the depression got for you are this maybe this kind of tornado of negative emotions? Would you describe a bit? I think there are so many people who, whether or not they've had a stroke might be surprised by mental health symptoms, especially the negative symptoms, like, Where did this come from? And I don't recognize this in myself. But sometimes this this tornado of negative feelings or negative emotions just kind of take over. Would you talk would you be open to talking about and the experience with depression? Absolutely.

Angie Burke 12:45

I was before the the jokester, I was the one always pulling pranks at work and making people laugh, upbeat. So for me to go into a depression was completely not expected. I had, of course, cared for patients, and learned about depression, but then to actually live through it. I could have never imagined such a dark and painful place to be in my life. I had been diagnosed by a psychologist in Toronto is being in a major depression. But unfortunately, she was unable to care for me because she was two hours away. But I was I made mistakes. I mean, I thought I can beat it. I'm strong. I don't need help. I can do this. But unfortunately, I couldn't. And I continued to spiral. And I wasn't aware how badly I was spiraling and how severe I was, it was getting, and my husband would try to help me and I would lash out at him. And he didn't know what to do. He was just beside himself. And one night, unfortunately, it all came to a head when I'd had enough, I couldn't do this anymore. I was done. My family would be better. Without me. I was worthless. I was just a burden. And my husband caught me on the kitchen floor with a handful of pills. Luckily, he walked into the room and he batted them out of my hand. And I he ended up taking me to the mental health unit, again, back at the hospital where I had worked to receive professional treatment. And I can remember him when we were waiting for me to be transferred up to the unit crying and I said Why? Why are you crying like this is a good thing. I'm finally getting help. And he said, but I couldn't help you. And I said if if I had appendicitis, for example, and you had to bring me here to get treatment. Would you be crying right now? And he said, Well, no. This is the same thing. The only difference is I'm mentally ill I'm not physically ill. And so I finally started receiving the help I needed in the form of medication and in the form of counseling to start to cope with, and work through all of the emotions that I was struggling with.

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:15

Thank you for sharing that. So we don't talk enough about mental health journeys, and the struggle and the recovery, I can still relate I had my own pretty serious postpartum depression with suicidal thoughts, and I just, I can still relate. So thank you so much, and how essential getting help is with you know, professionals, and that we don't have to do it alone that there is some excellent help for us. And, and with mental health care and support and the support of your family, you began to make a life that you loved and you became a bodybuilder. But I don't want to jump there just yet. Because you were talking about something so important you were talking about before the stroke you were a prankster you were a jokester, you were kind of it sounded like the life of the party joyful.

Dr. Regina Koepp 16:16

And and then in your book, you talk about the sort of identity crisis. Can I read a little bit of that to you? Absolutely. So you wrote, I was a registered nurse. My opinion was valued, and I often advise other members of the healthcare team. I completed complicated drug calculations faced crisis after crisis and had to think quickly on my feet, I oversaw the well being of others. I was a wife and a mother, I offered advice to our children I listened to and process their concerns, and offered a variety of solutions. I felt as though I was somebody they could look up to and be proud to call their mother. I can, pleaded many of the household tasks. And I saw this as showing love for my family. These were very important roles to me. I'm fast forwarding here. And then you write then the stroke. Although still a nurse, wife and mother, I was unable to complete my usual pre stroke responsibilities. My previous roles were forever changed or gone altogether. I felt lost, useless, weak, frightened, insecure, stupid, lazy, and unreliable. I went from being kind, caring and happy to angry and miserable. Suddenly, everything I revered was taken away. I'd always taken care of others, and suddenly, I couldn't even take care of myself. I was thrown into an identity crisis and wasn't sure how to cope or how to begin to get out of it. And so how was that for me to read that?

Angie Burke 17:53

Um, yeah, oh, it still hits a nerve. I'm sorry. Even eight years I losing my nursing career. I mean, losing all of my roles were difficult. But losing my nursing career was probably the hardest. The hardest event for me to accept in all of this, I think I knew right from the beginning in my heart that I was done. But I sincerely hope someday that I could go back. But I remember, after my son, my neurologist had done an assessment. He said, unfortunately, you're done. You can't go back and I cried all the way home. And a few times when I was admitted to hospital because of various things that happened to me in my journey, I would lay on the stretcher. And I would see the nurses running around. And I was like, that should be me. I mean, I have 26 years experience, I have all these courses, I have all this knowledge. I could be helping all of these people. And I'm laying here on this stretcher. It's, that's not the way it's supposed to be. It's It's when, what what do I do, I had thought my entire life that I will my whole life. I wanted to be a nurse. And this is why I was here. And this has been one that was taken away. I just I just have never felt so lost in my life. And I didn't even know where to start to try and rebuild my life. What like I just was so lost. I just didn't know where to start.

Dr. Regina Koepp 19:26

You were describing so much grief. You had lost so many aspects of your identity and then your career because you had really worked so hard for that and become the helper and then became the person who needed help. It's so just the cruel irony again. How did you work your way back? How did you go from you write in your book "stroke victim to stroke survivor"? What was what was that that journey like for you?

Angie Burke 20:02

Initially, it was to try and find a purpose again. But as I said, I didn't know how to do that. But as I've learned on my journey, sometimes things come into your life that you couldn't have imagined. And things just evolve. I received a phone call from my, who had been my boss, and the hospital where I'd worked had just opened an integrated stroke unit. And they wanted to start a program of volunteers, called Pierce fostering hope in which stroke survivors would go into the hospital and meet with patients on the unit that had experienced a stroke. And she immediately thought of me, because of my nursing background, I knew the hospital. And I didn't know how that would go. I didn't know if I could walk through those doors not being a nurse if it would be too much. And I was terrified, I would cross the line, being a volunteer, but I ended up going. And that was, I think, what finally started to breathe life back into me again, I was back at the bedside, I was helping people. And even though I wasn't a nurse, I was still able to use some of my assessment skills. And I was I felt like I had a purpose again, but I knew, okay, I have a purpose. I'm helping people because that is my purpose. That's, and that was what initially started to breathe life back into me again.

Dr. Regina Koepp 21:26

How long after your stroke? Did you have that experience?

Angie Burke 21:30

It was after I had gone through the depression. So it was probably two and a half, I would say about two and a half years after my stroke. I started doing the volunteering.

Dr. Regina Koepp 21:40

Wow. That's a long, two and a half years.

Angie Burke 21:44

It was a long time. But I needed that time. I needed that time. I didn't see it at the time. But now looking back, my purpose was to start to recover. And to work on me. I didn't see that at the time. But I do now.

Dr. Regina Koepp 21:59

What was it like at the time

Angie Burke 22:04

I was bored to tears, I couldn't leave my home. My license had been medically suspended. I was having seizures. But one of the things I learned when I was going through the Depression was how important it is to get your feelings out and to acknowledge your feelings. And I didn't always have somebody to talk to. So I started sketching. And I would sketch how I was feeling. And a lot of those pictures during that time were pretty dark and depressing. The first picture, I think I drew was of unnai crying. And it said there was a puddle forming. And it said despair. And the second picture I drew was of a mount coming down, getting ready to smash nursing nurses cat, but it was a lot of my time and it passed the time. And it took my mind away from all that negativity, when you're in a bad place. One of the most dangerous things to have is too much time on your hands. Because you can just get into that whole negative circle. And so the drawing was was fabulous. It got my emotions out and past the time.

Dr. Regina Koepp 23:15

You know, on the cover of your book, there is an eye with the tear falling. Was that one of the drawings?

Angie Burke 23:23

It was. part of it's missing and where the puddle where it comes down and the puddle is the word despair. Because at that time, that's exactly where I was.

Dr. Regina Koepp 23:34

Do you know Chrissy Thelker, Angie?

Angie Burke 23:38

No, I don't.

Dr. Regina Koepp 23:39

She is also Canadian. But on the other side of Canada, she's she was diagnosed with vascular dementia several years ago. And she wrote a book also, she was on the podcast. And the cover of her book is also an eye with teardrops, and talking about sort of the grief after her diagnosis with dementia. I have to connect you after this interview, because there's so many parallels in your story. And and both of you have just made beautiful purpose filled lives, following some pretty you know, traumatic health experiences. So I have to connect you after this. I think you too would really get along and you're both Canadians.

Angie Burke 24:31

Okay, let's move let's move from stroke victim to stroke survivor. I want to read something from your book because I think this is a really important especially for families that are recovering from stroke. I think this journey that you're describing is so important to give family members hope and to give stroke survivors hope. And so, you wrote after my stroke some people refer to me as a stroke victim. And some as a survivor, I didn't give it much thought, What difference does it make? They're just meaningless titles? Or are they? In the beginning, I was a victim. I didn't ask for this to happen or wake up one morning and decide, I think I'll have a stroke today. However, I didn't have to remain a victim. When I identified as a victim I dwelled and how unfair it was. And I felt powerless. nothing was ever going to change. I focused on everything negative and felt sorry for myself, I withdrew from others, made excuses. And if anyone challenged them, I immediately became angry and defensive. I was setting myself up for failure and did nothing to work toward my recovery. I remained in this mindset for the duration of my depression. Depression is so brutal like that. Once I identified as a survivor, I felt strong and resilient and focused more on positives. Look how far you've come. Instead of making excuses, I developed strategies to work toward improving, feeling sorry for myself was getting me nowhere. I became determined, and were telling myself, you can do this. I made improvements. Can you talk about this experience of moving from stroke victim to stroke survivor?

Angie Burke 26:23

Once I got past the worst of the depression, and I realized that I needed to not only work on getting over that hurdle, but I needed to find that determined woman I had been in the rehab facility. I didn't know if I could ever find her again. But I think my aha moment was one day I realized, this is entirely up to me. If I want to get better, and I want to improve, I have to do the work. Nobody can do this for me. And the doctors, the nurses, and the therapists can give me every tool in their toolbox, but unless I decide to use them, I'm going to be stuck where I am forever. And I didn't want that life. As I as I mentioned, I wanted to find a new purpose. Well, if I'm going to do that, I've got to work on getting better. And it was after that aha moment that I made it because of my goal every day to do at least one thing to work towards my recovery. And I started fighting back with everything I had.

Dr. Regina Koepp 27:28

And then you became a bodybuilder. What? Where did that come from? How did you how did you become and y'all I mean, I'm, I'm new to the south. I'm you know, 11/12 years into the South. But I'm from California. I did not grow up saying y'all. But now I will. Because y'all, there are pictures in this book of Angie. With an incredible bodybuilding body. And this all happened post stroke.

Angie Burke 28:00

It did I had never even been inside of a gym prior to my stroke.

Dr. Regina Koepp 28:06

Okay, tell us how did how did this get inspired? How did you become a bodybuilder after your stroke?

Angie Burke 28:13

As I had said before, many of the things that have happened to me, post stroke have just evolved. I didn't go looking for them. I started doing something had no idea why I was doing it. When I first started, I had a little I think it was a one or two pound weight. And I was trying I was just trying to get my left arm stronger once once it started moving again. So I bought a little cheap weight set. And I started lifting and after a while I had to go up to the five pound weight and this progressed and I'm spending a fortune on weights. This is ridiculous. And I loved it. I loved it. I loved how it made me feel. I love seeing the changes in my body. I love feeling myself getting stronger. So I saved some money and I said to my husband I I want to join a gym. I've never been inside a gym. No, I'm I think I was 48/49 at the time, I've had a stroke. Yes, good time to join a gym. So I did he took me to a few gyms and when I went into the one, I spoke to the trainer and there was an immediate connection. I liked the energy in the gym and I said okay, this is the place. And I started working with the trainer. And I told him what I you know, I wanted to get stronger. I was scrolling through my social media one day and I saw a friend who had competed, I thought oh, I want to do that. I love her physique. And so I started working towards becoming a bodybuilder.

Dr. Regina Koepp 29:37

Whoa, and now Are you still bodybuilding?

Angie Burke 29:40

I am actually I love it. I really do. Now unfortunately gyms are closed here and they have been but we have built a fairly decent gym in our basement. My husband is also now into bodybuilding. He joined the gym with me. He said I'll join for 30 days but I know I'm not gonna like it. Yeah, four years later. So we, it's good because we keep each other accountable. So in the evenings now we'll come down to our little home gym, and we'll do a list. And I love it. I just I really honestly enjoy it.

Dr. Regina Koepp 30:17

Well, speaking of your husband, you also write about the shift in your relationship with having a stroke and, and all these role transitions from you know, I'm, I'm, there's a feeling like, I'm no longer a wife, I'm a person to be cared for, and he's a carer. Where is your relationship at? Now, in terms of your roles? You seem very independent. I know, you're, you're now living with epilepsy, is that right? Correct. And, and where's your relationship at now? How are the two of you doing?

Angie Burke 30:53

My biggest struggles that I have now are with cognition. So I struggle, especially at night, when I'm tired neuro fatigue, I really struggle. And sometimes I'll be trying to do something and I can't, or I'll get a letter from the bank or, or whatever. And I'm reading it, and it's, I don't, and I have to go to him. So obviously, he doesn't have to help me as much I'm independent with my dressing, etc. But I still do have to ask them for help quite often. And you know, sometimes I'll, I'll say him still, you know what, you didn't sign up for this. And he, he's such a sweetheart, he's been so good. He's one you remember, for better for worse. So he doesn't make me feel like I'm a burden. Unfortunately, I do it to myself.

Dr. Regina Koepp 31:36

And that's still there?

Angie Burke 31:41

Not as much. But still, sometimes when I have to go to him for help, I'll, I'll feel like I sometimes say I feel like I'm a child going to their parent for help. But I have to realize that I have a brain injury, and not to be so hard on myself, because I tend to be hard on myself. I'm guilty of doing that. But and he, you know, he's so supportive, and he's so good. But I do sometimes still feel like I am a burden.

Dr. Regina Koepp 32:13

I'm so comforted to know that your relationship is withstood all of these transitions and challenges and that you're practicing self compassion. What would you say? What would you recommend to people who have recently had a stroke? Who are, you know, learning about their body and themselves and their relationships? After stroke? What What would you recommend?

Angie Burke 32:40

First of all, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, whatever it takes, only look back to celebrate how far you've come. One of the worst things that I did and you can do is to look back, and we all do it, but it the stroke happened, and nothing you can do is unfortunately going to change that. So try to concentrate on moving forward. Setting goals for me was huge. When I was in the rehab hospital, they have team would come around and once a week, we would set some goals and then develop a plan. And when I came home and I finally got my fight back, I started doing the same thing it worked there, why reinvent the wheel. So I would sit down at my kitchen table every week, two weeks, whatever. And I would write down because you got to write them down, write down my goals that I wanted to achieve, and I would put them somewhere prominent. So I would see them several times a day to keep me laser focused on moving forward rather than looking back.

Dr. Regina Koepp 33:47

And what would you recommend to family members of people who've just had a stroke or stroke survivors.

Angie Burke 33:55

One pattern that I noticed from my own journey and from also working as a stroke mentor is the focus is seems to be entirely almost always on the person who's experienced the stroke. But it's affected the caregiver, the family as well. So don't be afraid to admit when you need help and when you're overwhelmed, and to seek out supports and resources in your community that can help you seeking help, which I have found is not a sign of weakness. It's actually a sign of strength because you're admitting, okay, I'm I'm not coping or I'm overwhelmed. And I need someone to come in here and help me deal with this. And so don't be afraid to seek out support and help if you need it. Yeah.

Dr. Regina Koepp 34:41

It's so important and valuable. Well, Angie Burke, thank you so much for sharing your story and sharing your insights as, as a nurse as a wife as a mother as a stroke survivor. A stroke meant Where can people buy your book and learn more about you?

Angie Burke 35:07

I have a website. And it's all one word small letters, Angie Collins And on there, there are links to the blog that my co author and I sue Kronk. Right? Right. There are links to some YouTube videos I've done. There's links to radio interviews, and they were also links there to purchase the book, Amazon is one of them. And that's where you can find me and learn more about me, my bio su Cronkite's bio are there, there's a short blurb about the book, etc. So that's probably your best spot to go.

Dr. Regina Koepp 35:43

Excellent. We'll link to that in the show notes and make sure people know where they can buy your book. And I highly recommend it I I recommend it for people who have had a stroke and are in recovery for family members. For professionals. I think it's a wonderful book, and, and it's called just pick up the peg and nurses journey back from stroke. And I know that the title has some significance, will you share a little bit about the significance of the title?

Angie Burke 36:12

Absolutely. It happened during an occupational session therapy session when we were trying to get my left hand working again. And my task was to pick up these pet pegs that were on the table. And there was a board in front of me a wooden board with holes drilled in it and I was supposed to pick up a peg and I was supposed to put it in one of the holes. Well, of course my hand would work. So I finally started talking to my hand, and I looked at it just just pick up the peg. That's all you have to do just pick up the pig. And that's where the title came from.

Dr. Regina Koepp 36:47

From picking up the peg to bodybuilde...your story is incredibly inspirational. So thank you so much for sharing your physical journey and your emotional journey, the seen and the unseen.

Dr. Regina Koepp 37:03

I so admire Angie's willingness to share about her emotional journey following stroke. If you are concerned about the mental health of a loved one following stroke or for any other reason, I have a free download just for you. It's called the memory loss and mental health guide for older adults. And I'll link to it in the show notes. Also, if you or somebody you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 that's the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Again, that's 1-800-273-8255 That's all for today. I hope that you enjoyed this episode. And if you do, I would love a subscription and review. And the reason is that it helps people to find this show. Alright, I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.

Did you find value in this podcast episode?

Help others get access to the podcast by subscribing and leaving a review wherever you listen to podcasts.