An Amazing Stroke Survivor Narrative

Stroke After Stroke; a rower’s pilgrimage written by Barb Polan is by far the best book written by a stroke survivor. Since I started year 4 of fighting stroke deficits, I’ve been overdoing it.  This weekend I took a forced break (my body said “no more” and shut down).  I spent the time in bed reading a stroke survivor book.  

You just have to read this book, it is by far the best book written by a stroke survivor. 

This is not the typical, I fought my way back, I work, I run, I fully recovered, and life is great, type of story. By the way, only 10% of stroke survivors can tell that story. Please don’t compare yourself to those survivors.

They did work their asses off and I applaud them but almost every survivor works their asses off, 90% of them, without those results. The ones who fully recover had a bit of luck on their sides too.

This is a –

Find your passion and use it to fight the stroke effects every single day and continue to fight even when you don’t see the results you expect;


Strokes suck but learn to accept and adapt to your deficits without giving up on future improvement

-type of book.

The book is Stroke After Stroke; a rower’s pilgrimage written by Barb Polan.

This book should be given to every stroke survivor with their hospital discharge papers. (To read when capable of course. It took me a good year before I could read a book.)

Barb’s honest and pleasant approach to the horrifying subject of stroke recovery is beyond refreshing. No false positivity, no negativity, just realistic & honest never give up optimism.

I wish I would have read it sooner but by the time I learned about it, I had already struggled through some pretty useless, miserable and negative survivor narratives, turning me off from reading anymore of them. I also didn’t think I’d have an interest in the rowing aspect.

Silly me, I should have known better. Rowing, although Barb’s physical focus, had little to do with the knowledge she so generously chose to share with all of us. Rowing is just her passion.

Barb provided an honest and optimistic account of life after stroke. Barb’s never give up attitude and creative problem solving is an inspiration.

Stroke recovery is a process not a destination. It’s trial and error. It’s finding your motivation to wake up every day to start the fight again with the hope for a better tomorrow.

Barb is a great role model. She dives into every new therapy with complete dedication. She evaluates her results and when something doesn’t produce results after a considerable amount of time, she moves onto the next one with just as much dedication and determination.

She never gives up.

I am inspired and motivated by people like Barb who learn, adapt, and choose to make the best of each experience despite never-ending challenges.

In addition to being inspiring and motivating, she’s a great writer. Stroke After Stroke is a very easy read. I read it in less than 2 days. I plan on reading it again – a little slower this time – to pick up anything I may have missed. (I had a stroke you know, my mind wanders)

I’ve read many books by stroke survivors claiming to be writers that weren’t. Barb is. One day I totally expect to find her name on the best seller she’s always dreamed of writing.

In addition to being a ‘real’ writer, Barb is down to earth. She priced Stroke After Stroke: a rower’s pilgrimage at an extremely reasonable price – $4.99 for kindle & $7.99 for paperback. More than worth the cost! You can be reading it within minutes with the Free Kindle App!

After you read it, make sure you review it on Amazon. I just discovered that the more reviews a book has, the more it is suggested to others. Don’t be shy – review it! This book needs to be suggested to everyone searching for books about stroke.

To read more by Barb, visit her blog: Barb’s Recovery.  

Thanks for writing it Barb!  It’s just what I needed as I dive into another year.

Remember to come back here to let me know what you think of the book.

Till next time - Have Wonderful Days - Leslie


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5 Responses to An Amazing Stroke Survivor Narrative

  1. Barb Polan October 27, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    Leslie, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t know who the heck you are. I ran into your blog at some point and followed it, so I get email and a link to each of your new posts, which I read, and can relate to. But,still, I don’t know you from anywhere else, I’ve never spoken to you, and I have no idea how you ran into my book.

    But thank you so much for your enthusiastic endorsement of my book. Your reaction is exactly what I was looking for. I’m looking forward to seeing your review on Amazon. Barb Polan

    • Leslie October 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      Not to be rude either but your response made me laugh. Did you write your book just for people you know? You make it sound like only people who know you would read your book, let alone give it a raving review.

      You write a public blog and have a book. There are probably 1,000s of people (or should I say lurkers) who know you that you don’t know. That’s what freaks me out about having my own blog. I know they’re out there cause I’m one of them. I read blogs on my phone in bed but have trouble commenting from my phone.

      I’m not sure how your book ended up on my Amazon book wish list but I’m glad it did and I’m really glad that I finally decided to read it. I think that seeing your name here triggered me to download your book this weekend instead of one of the other 50+ I have on my list.

      Just as you wrote the book you wish you had read after you had a stroke, I like to share what I wish I had found easily and much sooner after I had one. I’m not a writer so all I can do is share info, books, or products I find useful.

      I apologize if my enthusiasm made you feel uncomfortable. I try to avoid being negative so I avoid posting warnings, even though I find those useful too. Instead, I share what I like, enthusiastically.

      By the way, you really should promote it more. It needs to find it’s way into more survivor’s hands. Social media is fleeting and it needs to be promoted often to reach enough people. Your approach to recovery and writing definitely trumps the majority of the highly promoted survivor books available.

      I left out that I absolutely love that you call it “the stroke”, I felt so strange & alone not owning it as “my” stroke. I suppose it’s my way of preventing the stroke from defining me.

      I’m honored you read my posts, Thanks. I’d love to still be reading yours, but you have to write some more first. (not so subtle hint)

  2. Barb Polan October 28, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    There’s the thing: book sales are low, and the reviews are all (except 2) written by friends and family, so I know that it hasn’t reached a lot of people I don’t know.

    You’re right about it needing more promotion, but I don’t know how. Any suggestions? E-mail me at

  3. Geoff Wenker February 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    I also thought it was great book for stroke survivors and those around them.
    I must be one of the “other” reviewers.
    See my review on August 4, 2015 here:

    • Leslie February 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks for re-posting this Geoff. I’ll have to be more careful.

      It’s funny that you were one of the “others” and you also found this post. Have you read any other survivor books?

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