Jill’s remarkable story is featured in this book!


Everyone has a story to tell.  Gordon and I are included in this book of stories by seven local area people, all facing challenges, all looking for hope, and all learning to rise from their circumstances to find meaning.  It is an honor to be included with these people and humbling to read their stories.

Would you like to read it?  Our story is #5: Letting Go.  We have 5 copies to give away.  Simply click here and fill in your address.  Upon receipt, we send out the first 5 books.  Better hurry!

Wait…ANOTHER email?

PainfulBlessingCvr-Front-for-webI know what you are going to say: not another email?  But this one is different.  He had a similar stroke that I had:

Hi Jill,

Thank you so much for the response. Yes, speech is continually a struggle for Tim as well. Probably his least favorite therapy. I agree any little gain is huge for us too because as time goes on the larger gains don’t come as frequently so celebrating the little things is the way to go. Some days however it seems like 2 steps forward 5 steps back depending on how he feels or just “if it there” that day. Some days he just can’t get his thought process of motor movement working especially with speech and the other day when he was trying to take a step. He just could not figure out how to step up a step. Something he does lots of times a day everyday and for whatever reason it just did not work that day.

I am very lucky that Tim’s attitude has always been positive. It is almost a blessing and a curse because yes he was positive and not angry or depressed but a negative because I think it took him longer to realize the importance of practice, practice, practice. I think it took him getting  tired of me not knowing what he was trying to communicate to realize that it just was not going to come without working on it.

Interesting tidbit, Tim also suffered a dissection of his carotid artery. His was the interior and it just broke off. No clot, it was just empty. The Neurologist said it looked like he suffered a trauma with stress that might have gone along with being a body builder. Tim is nowhere near the body builder type.  I follow a lot of support group feeds and I don’t see dissection too often as a cause so it thought that was interesting when I read that Gordon had a dissection as well.

In the beginning I kept trying to figure out why this happened was there something I missed, etc. But over time I have realized that I cannot focus on that because there is no answer and by constantly focusing on those things was not good for me. What kinds of things have you found to be helpful to keep your own sanity so to speak? (You know when those days creep in that put you in the mindset of can I do this, am I doing everything that I am supposed to be doing, am I making the best decisions both financially and medically for everyone, etc).

Tim…you are not alone!

I received another email…

winning cover

I received this email recently:

If you have had a stroke or are a care giver of someone close to you who has had a stroke this book will help you. It was hard to read because it brought back so many hard memories. I’m glad I read it though. I especially liked the last chapter and the parts at the back where she gives ideas to those who want to help when you are in crisis. It was also good to see the milestones she noted in the back. We are 3 years out and my husband still needs his two hour nap. Maybe at 4 years like your husband he will be able to make it through a day. I found that encouraging. I’m so glad we live in Canada and did not have the health cost worries you had. Thanks for writing about your experiences.

2 quick ways to share my post


Photo: The Better India

If you want to share with others, I added something to my website.

First, you NOW can email it to select users.  Just select EMAIL in the SHARE THIS list and enter any person you want to send it to.

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OR just added it to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, ETC and ALL you people will have access to my post!  That’s it!

I am starting to get traction…


I felt I was ready last year to start marketing myself, so I started AGAIN to record my calls. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to hear me speak. Even one year later, I still can’t believe what is coming out of my mouth.

Before I make the call to my prospect, I generally have an idea of what I want to accomplish; I have a whole sequence that I lead him through.  I picked up this great suggestion at last years NSA meeting after speaking to Laurie Guest.  I told her I couldn’t communicate properly with people and she suggested this:

  • Get email and phone number
  • Send 1 0f 3 initial emails
  • Send 2nd email
  • Call for appt ONLY
  • Please take 2 minutes to view this video I did on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Kv2dfxMF8ItIt really explains my predicament!

Then, I play him/her the video:


Now, I am gearing up for a number of follow up appointments. After almost a year, this is starting to gain traction.   I need to take it to the NEXT level.  I will let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

Has someone suddenly gone to the hospital? Then you should read this!

I was told that Josie King Foundation had as link you can use in case you are or a family member is in the hospital.

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Being a patient or having a loved one in the hospital can be stressful and confusing. You are in a new environment with lots of information being given to you. There is so much to think about and to process- the names of the doctors and nurses, new medications, scheduled procedures, questions to ask, and so much more. It can be a bit daunting.

The Josie King Foundation has created a Patient Journal app. Patients and families can use this app to easily record vital medical information, stay organized, keep a permanent medical record, and share the notes with doctors or anybody else via email.

The Patient Journal app is now available for free download on the Apple iTunes App Store link:

Using the Patient Journal app is easy. The app opens a list of prompts about information that should be tracked during a hospital stay.

To enter notes, click on a category to learn more about it and type away.

You can review the information you have entered, and can even scroll through the daily entries to get an overall view of a patient’s changing condition.

At any point, you can email the journal to a doctor, a loved one, or yourself to keep as a permanent record of the hospital stay.

The Patient Journal app can be reused for subsequent hospital stays.

If you have any questions or comments about the app, we would love to hear them. You can email app@josieking.org, and we will get back to you quickly.  Go to the Josie King Foundation for more information.

Jill is amazing!

Gordon and Jill Viggiano crop

Mike Lee was all set to interview both of us…but only one could speak.  Can you guess who that was?  Jill saved the day…again.  Here is the full interview…uninterrupted by commercials.

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GOOD NEWS…you may be able to work again!

Do you know a stroke survivor who is 64 years old or younger, who receives Social Security benefits due to a disability and who wants to get back to work?

Good News!

The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program can help by providing career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement assistance!

This free program provides career development assistance to anyone aged 18 to 64 who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) because of a disability.

Is Ticket to Work a Good Fit For You?

Ticket to Work can help a stroke survivor decide if working is right for them, prepare a stroke survivor for work, help a stroke survivor find a job and help a stroke survivor be successful on the job.

To get started, call the Ticket to Work helpline at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).

A customer service rep will explain the program, answer any questions, verify eligibility and offer to mail you a list of service providers to assist you in getting back in the work force.

How Ticket to Work Can Help

Through Ticket to Work, a stroke survivor can work with an employment network or a state vocational rehabilitation agency or both, depending on their needs.

For example, a stroke survivor could begin with a rehab agency and then receive employment assistance through one of Ticket to Work’s employment networks.

Ticket to Work provides this online tool for searching for employment networks in a stroke survivor’s local area. You can answer questions about work goals and work history and be given a recommended list of service providers or you can do a search by zip code and state.

As part of the Ticket to Work program, you agree to work for a specified income level and complete necessary education or training requirements.

Benefits of Ticket to Work

By participating in the Ticket to Work program, you also are working toward attaining greater financial independence, including reducing your financial dependence on Social Security benefits.

The Ticket to Work program includes work incentives that may allow a stroke survivor to keep his or her Medicaid or Medicare coverage, and choose from part-time and work-from-home alternatives.

For more information on work incentives, register for a free online webinar held on the fourth Wednesday of each month.  You may also wish to review The Red Book, a reference source on work incentives from Social Security Online.

To learn about how other people with disabilities have used Ticket to Work to re-start their careers, check out these video success stories.

Source: Posted by Lucy Lazarony of StrokeSmart

We were featured in AphasiaToolBox!


Gordon and Jill Viggiano is a couple who were on the fast track in life. Gordon was a successful sales executive, consultant and entrepreneur; Jill spent 19 years working in commercial real estate before retiring to become a full time mom.   All that changed when Gordon turned 51. On his 51st birthday, Gordon suffered a massive stroke with aphasia.

Gordon is now 7 years post-stroke and he is happy to report that he is getting better all the time. He is certainly not fully recovered from his stroke so this isn’t an “I did it and you can too” speech. Says Gordon: I am in the middle of my recovery and so my perspective is from “the trenches.”

In his presentation “My Brain Has A Hole In It,”he discusses this life changing experience and the lessons that have come along with it. his goal is to inspire people and help them see that good things can happen, even when one doesn’t think it is possible.

Despite his aphasia, Gordon is an inspirational and motivational speaker;  You can book Gordon for speaking engagements; visit his website: mybrainllc.com

Gordon’s wife, Jill, focused her skills and energy on his recovery and is now assisting him in his day-to-day needs as well as in his speaking career.  Jill’s book – Painful Blessing: A Story of Loss, Recovery, Hope and Faith, is about her spouse and caregiver experience, shedding light on the real life impact of acquired brain injury, and providing hope and encouragement to those facing significant challenges.

Additional articles on Gordon and Jill are available.

If you have questions about how Aphasiatoolbox.com can help you and your aphasia , please contact us or call us at 724-494-2534. 

For a viewing of the complete email, click here.