Developing the skills to master opportunistic change, disruption, and challenges has always been a part of my life journey. While presenting my life before audiences big and small, I always share “The Miracle” story. This story offers applicable tips, touch points and take-aways for many audiences.
On February 9, 2015, following a great day of work in pharmaceutical sales and a workout in my hotel gym, I strolled in a southern California mall with a good friend. Suddenly, my energy was drained, and I had to sit down immediately! When I regained my bearing, I realized that the vision in my right eye was impaired. Unbeknownst to me, I had just experienced my first stroke, a TIA.
The following morning, noticing no improvement, I drove over an hour to my hometown of Bakersfield, California to see an Optometrist. After a full examination that didn’t reveal any noticeable deficiency, the doctor urged me to have an MRI or CAT scan to examine my brain for any possible abnormality. I left his office with the intention of getting an MRI within the following week. I went home to lay down and relax.
Two hours later, I awakened to tingles that overtook my body, a spinning room, and no control of the left side of my body. I attempted to stand up, but immediately fell to the floor. As my face began to contort, I realized I was having a stroke. I lived alone but as fate would have it, my son Devin had just moved in two weeks prior. Having just enough strength to yell out, I screamed Devin’s name. He rushed into the room immediately and found me on the floor. He dialed 911. That was stroke #2.
Within 45 minutes I was in the emergency room of Adventist Health Bakersfield. As the hospital staff worked diligently to find the cause of the strokes, I suddenly felt my body contort into the fetal position. I blacked out for a short time. Following that episode, I noticed that the entire left side of my body was paralyzed. I thought to himself, “I’m going to die today”. That was stroke #3. I stayed for a total of 8 days there with four of them being in the ICU.
I was released from Adventist Health on February 18, 2015 and transferred to Encompass Health & Rehabilitation Bakersfield, spending two weeks in their care. There, I learned to walk again and how to properly use my extremities on the left side of my body. I had to rehabilitate my speech and the damage to my right eye caused by the first stroke. I developed a blind spot that is still present today. The doctors wished me well and said to me, “It’s a miracle that you’re not paralyzed or dead”. On March 4, 2015, I was released from Encompass Health.
I spent the next spent the next 6 months in outpatient and home therapy. Miraculously, with remaining residual effects I was able to return to my career by year end and the life I knew before that fateful February day.
Through life’s challenges, I have built a history of leadership resilience, a reputation of buoyancy, and success in all areas of my life. My personal story of perseverance and mastery of the adversarial growth process does more than just engage audiences. It also moves their spirits to take intentional action in their personal lives, careers, health, businesses, and more. Through my adversity I have found my true purpose in life.
I empower people to master opportunistic change, disruption, and challenges. Thrive, not just survive!