Strokecast

Episode 060 — Meet Peter and Ria Evans

I just walked by so many wonderful things not acknowledging them, I can't believe how today I feel that the scales have fallen from my eyes. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

 

(English transcript available at http://strokecast.com/MeetPeterTranscript)

 

In this episode, we get to meet stroke survivor Peter Evans and his wife Ria.

Peter survived massive hemorrhagic stroke in 2017 that left him with cognitive challenges and partial vision loss. It turned his and Ria’s lives upside down.

Their attitudes are really amazing though. They’ve taken this horrible event and are determined to extract every piece of value from it that they can. Peter, with Ria’s support, is using his writing skills to drive increased support for stroke survivors. He’s becoming a regular guest contributor to the Strokecast blog. He’s become a supporter and advocate for support groups, and Ria is speaking out about the importance of advanced directives and other documentation so spouses and partners can most effectively support one another in times of crisis.

I've suffered something terrible and at the same time, I feel like I've won the lottery. I am now looking at life as just an absolute free do-over. There are some things that actually are better now. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Craniectomy

In this episode, we do talk a little bit about finding Peter’s skull. For those who may not be familiar with removing part of the skull as treatment, it’s not uncommon in the treatment of stroke — especially hemorrhagic stroke.

In the case of a serious brain bleed, the blood can create additional pressure on the brain. Additionally, the trauma of the stroke can cause brain swelling. This results in too much pressure on the brain tissue as it gets pressed against the skull.

One way to relieve that pressure is to remove part of the person’s skull. When the swelling subsides, surgeons can put that part of the skull back in place. Often survivors who have temporarily had part of their skull removed will need to wear a custom helmet to prevent other injuries. Long time listeners may remember my conversation with Whitney Morean at strokecast.com/Whitney about her own experience with craniectomy and cranioplasty.

The brain is ... when it doesn't have information it kind of makes things up. Like my vision on the left it kind of makes up what's actually over there. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Bio

Peter Evans Headshot54-year-old Peter Evans, originally from Long Island, New York, currently resides in the Marina del Rey section of Los Angeles where he lives with his Wife Ria and an incredibly headstrong Yorkshire Terrier, they call Geronimo.

Peter had a massive hemorrhagic stroke in 2017 an event he says nearly killed him but which, strangely, he acknowledges has helped bring Ria and him even closer together as a couple, reinvigorating their marriage and leaving Peter a kinder, more grateful and overall happier person.

Like many others, Peter first came to LA hoping to break into acting in film and television, and it was that which brought Peter and Ria together when they worked together on her cable public access TV show and a feature film they both produced on the set of which he says they fell in love. “She may have stolen my heart,” he says, “but what she gave me back in love and support over these past 20 years, on balance I feel like I’m a millionaire—Definitely feel like I came out a huge winner on that deal, the day I met Ria!”

Ria Evans Headshot

 

Growing tired of endless auditions and poverty wages as an actor, Peter decided to move into the corporate world when an old college friend of his said, “Hey, I know you’re still into that acting thing, but there’s a job here at my company I think you’d be perfect for and really love.” And boy did he! He got to use his French Language skills and travel internationally quite extensively as he worked as the project manager of a small international team where he helped launch the company’s many international Web sites across Europe, Australia and Japan.

Peter continues to this day contributing on-line content for Stroke resources and putting his years of Project Management to good use, paying it forward to all his fellow stroke survivors.

I make myself into my own experiment. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Advanced Directives and Power of Attorney

An Advanced Directive is typically a document you complete describing the kind of healthcare or resuscitation that you want (or don’t want) should you become incapacitated.

A Power of Attorney is typically a document that you sign authorizing another person to make medical, financial, or other decisions for you if you are not able to in a particular context.

These are important documents to think about and execute before you need them. You can find some resources in the links below so you can explore them further. Many hospitals are happy to supply some of these documents as well. Or consult an attorney or lawyer practicing in your community.

Regulations can vary state-by-state and can impact spousal rights, domestic partner rights, and other family configurations.

There are lots of templates available so make sure you pursue the right path for yourself and your family.

It's so important to have advance directives and for you know, your trusted spouse or whomever to be able to make decisions for you. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Program Note

You may have noticed that this episode is coming out earlier in the week than normal. Over the next few months, I plan to increase my posting frequency as I work with some additional content contributors. I think we’ll be hearing from Peter again. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the additional content. You can post in the comments below or email Bill@Strokecast.com.

What we think we see is not always exactly what we see. The brain is putting things together. And they say the brain does that very same thing with memories. Don't believe everything you think. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Hack of the Half Week

Peter’s hack is to be kind to yourself. A brain injury changes things. It turns life upside down. You may not be able to do everything you used to do. You may not be able to think as clearly or quickly as you used to. You may not be able to pursue the same intense pace of life you did before.

That’s OK. Cut yourself some slack. You’re going to need more sleep. Get it, and don’t feel guilty about it.

You have permission to be kind to yourself.

If you feel tired take a nap. That's one of my biggest piece s of advice for anyone new in stroke is make sure you get rest. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Links

Peter Evans on LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/petermevans/

Peter’s Strokecast Articles

http://strokecast.com/Peter

NeuroNerds on Impostor Syndrome

https://theneuronerds.simplecast.com/episodes/imposter-syndrome-677d4757

Wil Wheaton on Depression

http://Strokecast.com/DepressionLies

Emily Clarke (Game of Thrones star) on her strokes

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/emilia-clarke-a-battle-for-my-life-brain-aneurysm-surgery-game-of-thrones

Strokecast on Luke Perry

http://strokecast.com/LukePerry

Strokecast with Whitney Morean

http://strokecast.com/Whitney

Strokecast with Maggie Whittum

http://strokecast.com/Maggie

State Advanced Directive Resources

http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289

Power of Attorney by NoLo Press

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/durable-power-of-attorney-health-finances-29579.html

And I was like, look at all these marvelous people. I mean if anyone's listening and hasn't been to a survival group, you don't know what you're missing. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Where do we go from here?

  • What do you think about Peter and Ria’s story? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out Peter’s Strokecast article by visiting http://Strokecast.com/Peter
  • Subscribe to Strokecast in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don’t get best…get better.
God I'm more grateful. I just don't take anything for granted anymore. -- Peter Evans #Stroke Click To Tweet

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

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