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Our stories on CBS Eye on Detroit!

January 4, 2019 3:57 pm

By: Tony Muggs <3

Natalia on CBS

Tony on CBS

Hi to all of you beautiful stroke survivors out there!

Firstly, thank you all for your continued support of Rock The Stroke. I feel privileged to be a part of this website and Natalia is truly a wonderful, caring gal!

In early June 2018, I received an email from a producer (Paul) over at CBS 62 Detroit, a local affiliate of the nationwide CBS broadcasting network. He was interested in possibly interviewing me when he found out that I blogged for Rock the Stroke. I should add that he found out from a coworker of his who had ties to a music festival that I was involved with this past summer. Word travels around fast especially in the local Detroit music scene!

Paul was a pleasant man to correspond with via email. He wanted to highlight Rock the Stroke on a morning segment entitled, Eye On Detroit. Upon my first email reply back to Paul, I asked if he’d be interested in interviewing Natalia, whom I thought should get the lions’ share of credit (if we’re being honest). After all, she was the visionary to start this wonderful website so young stroke survivors and caregivers had a network and a place to go to get real answers (I don’t have to remind anyone of how lonely and helpless it feels when a loved one suffers a stroke). So the three of us sussed out some possible dates.

As fate would have it, it just worked out that we would all join up at Walk The Line to SCI Recovery  in Southfield, Michigan. on my stroke anniversary of September 4.  In stroke years, I’m 17!  Woohoo, I’m almost legal!

So why did we decide to be interviewed at Walk the Line? Well, when I was recovering in out-patient rehab at R.I.M. (Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan) many years ago in downtown Detroit, I’d often stay to workout after therapy in their gym/rehab facility called the Brazsa Center. On the 1 1/2 floor of Brazsa was an oval track among other machines with myriad therapists working with all types of survivors. I’d strap on 10 pound weights to my right arm and right ankle and crawl around that track for an hour. It was there that I met the future owner of Walk the Line (and survivor), Erica and her future husband, Ira Coulston. Erica was so bad ass and amazing, she actually started her own recovery center.

Fast forward now to when I met Drew and Natalia.  So it turns out that Drew started going to Walk the Line when he was still living in Michigan sometime shortly after we met (small world), so naturally Natalia and I thought it best to have our interview at a location like Walk the Line that truly cared about therapy and recovery (the photos you see on the Rock the Stroke homepage were taken there, too :)).

We were both interviewed separately but on the same day. Natalia went first. She recounted her story of the day Drew suffered his stroke and all the pain it caused them. She was Drew’s champion. She worked to make Drew’s life better and helped him answer all of the hard questions in terms of health insurance, therapy visits, life adjustments, and the like. I sat off camera with Natalia’s husband Joseph as we listened to her tell her story. She was so brave and I felt like a proud older brother. She then told the viewers exactly why she wanted to start Rock the Stroke. It was because there was nothing like this website when Drew suffered his stroke. No safety net or anyone to lean on for sound advice or important information. I think Natalia is a hero for starting this website personally.

I went next. My story was like peeling back an onion, only to find another layer.  I made my answers short and concise. I added a bit of my past life as a bass guitarist on the Detroit music scene and as a scrapyard manager for my brothers’ business. I talked about my progression from total paralysis to wheelchair then from walking cane to AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis). I ended the interview by saying that I just want to help other stroke survivors if I can.

I know the pain and suffering you’ve gone through and I’m coming from a place of gratitude and love. I’m still in therapy after 17 years and will never give up. So if ever you need a shoulder to cry on or some tough love, I’m yer guy.

I hope this all inspires the next gen to do something selfless and thoughtful like Natalia did and affect peoples’ lives for the better.

Best, tonymuggs

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