Holy cow; it has been 10 years since I had my stroke.
Thinking back, my future looked bright:
I was finally earning good money, starting to save for college, saving for retirement, putting savings into my HSA. Things were starting to click. Then BAM…the stroke hit me. My goals…gone. My life…changed. My future…unknown. I really didn’t think of the effect the stroke would have.
In the beginning, I lost my ability to use my right side. My wife was able to stay home with me and work on my recovery. My thinking was that I would be working is 6 months. How wrong I was!
With help from my wife, we worked through a few different options.
First, I wanted to get back into my business of consulting telemarketing reps. This was tough for me because I couldn’t talk. We both realized this in a few months. I still can’t believe Jill stayed with me though the terrible six months when I was feeling that I could talk; I couldn’t get out more than a sentence. Not good for a sales consultant!
Then I decided to work with Scott Olsen. Scott was a trainer and we both had similar clients. I would help him build his pipeline and offering the telesales training as a supplement to his training. We got off to a great start. Soon, I realized, that they were actually buying Jill…not me. I still couldn’t talk!
In the meantime, Jill prepared a speech for me that I wanted to deliver to my friends who got me thought these tough years. After 6 months of writing (for Jill) …and another 8 months of daily practice (for me), I was able to deliver my speech…1 time…to my audience.
Not being able to talk was my biggest challenge. Even now, after feeling confident that I had a great conversation, I cringe with how terrible I sound when I play back the recording. How could I sound so great…in my head…and turn into sounding so bad.
It is what it is. Thank god for my disability income. I don’t know where I be without the little steam of money coming in each month.
There is ONE thing that DOES bother me: the loss of my car and the ability to drive:
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
I invited Gordon and Jill Viggiano to speak to our group of about 100 financial advisors and insurance agents at our monthly luncheon meeting here in Omaha, Nebraska.
What an impactful story we heard! We saw and heard, firsthand, how disability can strike anyone, at any time. In Gordon’s case, this was a massive stroke that nearly killed him on his 51st birthday. If it wasn’t for his humble income replacement coverage, the Viggiano’s would have been financially ruined.
Gordon and Jill have experienced unbelievable hardship and trials since Gordon’s stroke, but their perseverance, faith and love for one another helped them conquer these great storms. After hearing from Gordon and Jill, everyone came away inspired and truly blessed.
Our NAIFA members were both inspired and will have a renewed passion to share the need for income replacement insurance (aka disability insurance) when doing holistic financial planning for their clients.
We had the privilege of having dinner with the Viggiano’s the night prior to our luncheon. After speaking with Gordon at dinner and hearing him at the program, it became very apparent just how much painstaking hard work went into his speech. It’s truly remarkable how far he’s come.
Gordon’s wife Jill is a true hero. Her perspective is especially helpful because many times we are the ones helping someone else through a life changing event. Her unyielding faith in you and God is truly inspiring, and your story needs to be told to as many people as possible!
Jill wrote a book “Painful Blessings”, discussing the struggles and the victories that she and Gordon went through, it is outstanding! Advisors can use this book as they discuss the need for disability insurance, simply by giving it to their client to read as they ponder their decision. Each person who attended the lunch meeting received a copy of the book.
The presentation is surprising, gripping, educational, motivational and inspirational. I recommend Gordon and Jill for any group that could use a little of any of the above!
Gordon and Jill, thank you and may God bless you always!
Richard A Mangiameli, LUTCF, FSS
President Elect of NAIFA Omaha
RAM Insurance and Financial Services
A warehouse along Macadam Avenue in Portland houses a maze of cardboard, almost like an adult version of children’s forts.
The cardboard has aided Oregon Health & Science University in designing the rooms inside its planned $340 million patient building, parking structure and guest house that will break ground early next year.
In an unusual move, OHSU and ZGF Architects are engaging all the various groups who will use the building in the planning process. Doctors, nurses, patients, engineers and housekeepers all have given input over the past five months.
“It’s given everyone a new perspective on how we can craft everything,” said Dr. Reid Mueller, associate professor in the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “Everything from the way the hallway flows to the positioning of the chair when you’re sitting with your family member and the importance of privacy in the recovery area.”
One patient who has participated is Jill Viggiano, whose husband had a stroke seven years ago.
“I have no medical background at all, it’s like stepping into Oz,” Viggiano said. She suggested the waiting room in the new building contain more distractions for family members, including kids — “something to play with and look at and be a kid and not feel like they’re annoying everyone else.”
The Center for Health and Healing South, as the new building will be called, will sit just south of the existing Center for Health and Healing, which contains doctors’ offices and outpatient space. It will also be a little shorter, at 15 as opposed to 16 floors.
The entire project will encompass 750,000 square feet. It will include 48 “extended stay” rooms and 76 guest rooms above the adjacent five-story garage. A small park will remain next to the patient building.
CHH-South will also contain space for surgery, interventional procedures, outpatient clinics for cancer, cardiovascular disease and gastroenterology, a pharmacy and imaging and lab space, conference center, parking garage and space for Knight Cancer Institute clinical trials.
An oval-shaped “mission control design” will allow gastroenterology, cardiology and pulmonary procedures to share a central core and some nursing staff.
“One of the great things about the space is that we’re integrating with other specialties,” said Dr. Gene Bakis, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. “Patients are best served by multiple specialties. Here we’re going to be feet away from each other to promote cooperation and collaborative thinking.”
I meant, Valentines Day. I know what you were thinking…
My bride went to see our son, Tom, and I stayed at home working on our taxes. Working on your taxes is not fun…and I thank god for not having me major in accounting. But I digress.
With Jill gone for a few hours, I decided to plan for our Valentines dinner…which I did. I went thru old cookbooks…
and found a delicious recipe : Creamy Tomato with Hoop Cheese. It sound disgusting, but is it wonderful. Instead of hoop cheese (horrible), we used ricotta (great). Try it…it is fantastic.
I used to cook, before I had my stroke. I would peruse through my various cookbooks and pick out something (always vegetarian) that Jill would eat. I would serve Chianti and cook dinner for my family. It was really fun.
But is different now. My kids are in college so Jill is the only person I must impress. Thank god she is easy. My cooking has been replaced with just choosing the recipe. However, I am not giving up on cooking yet. You may remember…thatI cut an orange…so we will see!
KKPZ featured Jill Viggiano on their recent radio program! Did you hear it?
If you didn’t to listen, KKPZ gave us a link to the program so more people could hear our talk. Actually, the talk was mostly Jill speaking. I had trouble getting my words out! If you listen closely, you MAY hear me mutter a few things.
When you listen to it, send me a note (back to this blog page) and let me know what you thought of it. Was it too long, too short, was there good info on it, etc.
I just met a guy who I hired at my old company in Hayward, California. Of all the people who I had the privilege of hiring, David was my favorite. We first saw each other AFTER I had my stroke; I don’t remember much about out conversation. David reached out to me a few days ago and we set up a meeting at my favorite Starbucks.
Jill and I were really excited to meet him. Prior to our brief meeting in 2008, we hadn’t seen each other for 17 years! But getting back with David was like old times; I didn’t want it to end. I just laughed and laughed at all the funny things he said.
We spoke about the problems he has gone through, we laughed about the funny things that happened to us and we spoke about our children-the future leaders of the world.
We had spend 1.5 hours with him and we both were sorry to leave. I feel blessed to spend time with someone so special.
Then…after all that…he gave me a lead to call. What a great person!
I was good, but Jill is BETTER. She effortlessly delivers her talk with conviction and empathy. Every time I withess here delivering her talk, I get shivers down my spine. Don’t tell her I said this: She’s fantastic!
AND Jill is getting rave reviews: I pulled a couple for you to read:
“I love this book. An inspiring account of a family responding to tragedy with optimism, humor, faith and perseverance. A rerminder of how connected we all are and how we can help others.” John Stoops
“Read your book today. Inspiring! Took your book to my son’s baseball game and could not put it down for more than 5 minutes at a time. I could have easily missed the entire game to read this amazing story. I was glued to my seat reading your story in the sunshine and in the rain – found myself chuckling out loud, and even shed a few tears.” David Sorensen
“Jill and Gordon share some of their great life learning’s and advice that I love. I also really appreciated the bible verse quotes as it really helped connect what Jill and Gordon were going through to how to look to and use God during these extremely challenging times.”Cara Taylor
… “She tells an honest story that demonstrates not only her strength of character, and the depth of maturity in the children (reflecting the character of the parents) but also of her humility to accept what life has offered, but a resoluteness of will to recover and move forward.” P. Griffith Lindell