Why did he have a stroke?

Why did he have a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. There are many factors that may contribute to having a stroke. The cause of some strokes is never known. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer Americans die of stroke now than even 15 years ago.

A number of risk factors are related to stroke. Stroke risk factors include:

Lifestyle risk factors

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy or binge drinking
  • Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Medically treatable risk factors

  • High blood pressure — risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
  • High cholesterol — a total cholesterol level above 200 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm.

Other risk factors

  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack.
  • Being age 55 or older.
  • Race — African-Americans have higher risk of stroke than do people of other races.
  • Gender — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women. Women are usually older when they have strokes, and they are more likely to die of strokes than are men.

high blood pressure more than doubles the risk of a stroke.

The factor with the strongest link to stroke is high blood pressure which more than doubles the risk of a stroke. Talk with your healthcare professional about what may have contributed to your stroke and actions you should take to avoid secondary strokes.

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.

I found something that will help you!


Come Back Strong is a national movement centered on the blue return symbol for stroke recovery, hope, and survivorship.  THERE ARE MORE THAN 6 MILLION STROKE SURVIVORS living in the United States today—a number projected to increase to 10 million by 2030. Come Back Strong is the first-ever movement to spark change for the stroke community.

With your support, we will ignite a nationwide conversation to help others learn about stroke and provide support to millions of stroke survivors and their circle of support.


Championed by National Stroke Association, providing stroke survivors with hope after stroke so they can begin their journey to recovery and Come Back Strong. The road to recovery looks different for everyone—but there is a road and there is a recovery—and it is emotional, physical, and spiritual.

We asked and listened to stroke survivors and caregivers across the U.S. While they told us personal stories of unique challenges and conquests, there was one common thread. Stroke hits as a sudden and shocking loss that eventually gives way to hope.


The visual strength of the blue return symbol signifying the process of stroke recovery, hope and survivorship.

The return symbol is intentionally left open, reflecting the drive of survivors to return to their former self, and the opportunity that exists for a new normal.

For more information, go to: National Stroke Association  or the Join Us page

Improve Recovery With Family Teamwork

Stroke recovery doesn’t need to be a solo effort. From balancing a bank account and programming television remotes to driving stroke survivors to physical therapy appointments and helping them bathe, family members and close friends can make a significant impact on the recovery and everyday life of a survivor no matter how modest the task may seem.

When Fred Brock, 56, suffered a series of strokes last year, his family assembled to care for him in his San Diego home. “It felt really good [to have the help] because we’ve always had a real close family and whenever there’s a problem, we rally together and take care of it,” he says.

His daughter, Wendy, works as an accountant, so naturally she manages the family’s finances. His son works in construction and, “if anything breaks down around the house he takes care of it,” Brock says. And his niece regularly drives him to appointments, although Brock boasts he once again is able to drive himself.

Roles of Recovery

Much like Brock’s family, each member can lend a specialty to aid in a stroke survivor’s recovery and take over any tasks the survivor may not be able to complete by themselves.

If you love to cook, offer to prepare meals. Are you skilled in troubleshooting computer issues? Teach a stroke survivor how to restart the WiFi and download helpful apps on their phone. Perhaps you’re a fitness buff and can visit a stroke survivor once or twice a week for a walk around the neighborhood.

Even family members who live out of town can contribute with a variety of caregiving tasks that can be done from afar. Pay bills, send flowers and letters of encouragement, or serve as a lifeline via phone.

Embrace the Help

Although Brock’s pride didn’t get in the way of family coming to his aid, not all stroke survivors openly seek and accept help. That’s a mistake, Brock says.

“Physically you’re limited on what you can do and you just need to learn your limitations and work with that the best you can,” he says. “And try and keep a good sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?”

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!

We are answering your questions…3


How is your marriage now?
Our marriage is good!  It is a good thing because we spend all day, every day together.  All the things that made our marriage good pre-stroke are the same things that make it good now.  We appreciate each other’s strengths, work ethic, sense of humor, and willingness to compromise.  We have created new routines that work for both of us, giving us some variety in our days.  We have found our New Normal and we have found peace.

If you could give your pre-stroke self any advice, what would it be?
Buy more disability insurance!!  The financial pressures of disability are not fun.  Fortunately we had some disability insurance—thank God.  Without it, we would have lost our home, I wouldn’t have been able to stay home and take care of Gordon or be there for the kids.  Our outcome would have been completely different, and not in a good way.  We don’t have much, but we have enough to provide a stable, relatively normal home environment.  What a blessing.

How has stroke changed your lives?
Every part of our lives changed because of the stroke.  Gordon’s active, successful, productive life as a sales consultant is over.  My life of being active and involved in the community is over.  The plans and vision we had for our future are gone.  Our resources are limited so our opportunities are limited.  It took time to make peace with these changes.  We all mourned the loss of the life we worked so hard to build.  However, our new life has its blessings:  we appreciate each day we have together, we don’t worry about the future, we are grateful for what we have.  It certainly is not the life we planned but it is a life still filled with joy, love, and meaning.

Why did Jill write Painful Blessing?
I wrote Painful Blessing for several specific reasons, none of which were that I was dying to be a published author.  Reason #1: acquired brain injury, such as stroke, is devastating, scary, and lonely.  We can’t be the only people to experience the crazy unpredictability brain injury brings, but it sure felt like it.  Reason #2: even after all these years, recovery is ongoing.  There have been no shortcuts, just relentless hard work.  Reason #3: We want to bring hope to others going through their own challenges.  We encourage people to examine their life’s foundations.  Are those foundations unshakeable?  Reason #4: to encourage people to persevere through their challenges.  Life will probably be different on the other side but that is ok.

What role did your Christian faith play in your story?
Our Christian faith is the sole reason we are a success story.  When Gordon was lost in the fog of his stroke and I was facing the terrible realities alone, only the knowledge that my loving Savior was carrying me kept me from stepping in front of a bus and making the whole thing end for me.  Well, Jesus and love for my children kept me away from a bus.  Gordon’s is a story of recovery, mine is a story of surrender.  When I gave up thinking I had control, fully surrendered to God, fully acknowledged His power, and fully put my life and our future in His hands, everything was better.  Trusting Him allows me to accept our new life and embrace each day as it comes.  He has never failed me.

What are your favorite audiences?
My favorite audiences ask questions and engage in wonderful discussion after we speak.  I love the interaction with those who are willing to share, question, and relate to our talk. Each audience listens from its own perspective:  medical professionals, business professionals, young people, old people, men, women, survivors, caregivers, and everyone else.  The questions and discussions reflect the personality of that audience.  Everybody experiences obstacles at some time in their lives and our story is really about overcoming obstacles.  Our time together is meaningful and interesting and we all leave the room with hope.  I love that.

Jill Viggiano

We are answering your questions…2


How did you get started with public speaking?
Early in Gordon’s stroke recovery, when we knew nothing of the journey ahead of us, we naively thought he would be fully recovered in 1 year.  We thought we would have a party for all the wonderful people who helped us and we would all celebrate the end of a horrible year.  At the 1-year anniversary of the stroke, Gordon was nowhere near recovered so we decided to postpone the party until the 2-year mark.  He had to be recovered by then, right?  At the 2-year anniversary, Gordon was still in terrible shape so we agreed we would celebrate full recovery at 3 years.  At the 3-year anniversary, we finally understood that recovery was probably going to be a lifetime pursuit and that maybe we should just have the party anyway.  Gordon agreed but he said he wanted to talk about the experience at the party.  It took 6 months to write “My Brain Has A Hole In It” and 8 months for Gordon to practice enough to deliver the speech.  On the 4-year anniversary, we had the party and Gordon spoke.  The overwhelming feedback was that Gordon needed to tell more people—and here we are!

How are the kids?
When the stroke happened, Rachel was 14 years old and Tommy was 12.  If those years weren’t hard enough, adding the chaos and devastation of their dad’s stroke pushed them in ways I never wanted for them.  The threat of losing their father and their home as well as the loss our lifestyle and routines was life changing.   It was painful, scary, and de-stabilizing.  The good thing is that the kids were able to see their parents stay committed to their marriage, be supportive no matter the circumstances, and rely on their Christian faith in good times and in bad.  Our kids are young adults now and are choosing their own paths.  We are proud of them and the choices they are making.  I don’t think we really know all the ways the stroke affected them.  They don’t like to talk about it.  Our hope is that they are able to move past the sad memories, have strong, stable marriages of their own, and appreciate the blessings of family and faith.

If 100% is full recovery, how recovered is Gordon?
I would rate Gordon as 80% recovered at the 7-year mark.  His memory is quite good.  We continue to see improvement in the right side of his body.  While his right arm has movement, it isn’t useful, controlled movement.  Language and cognition are the real problem.  He has dramatically improved his ability to converse but extended thought and expression are still out of reach.  Add any stress to the conversation and his language stops.

Jill Viggiano

You are live???












Yup!  image001

Mike Lee heard so many great things about me, that he want to interview Jill and me.  Unfortunately, I did not communicate with him that my verbals skills were EXTREMELY weak.  He found that out after a few minutes.  Luckily, Jill was able to help.  I rephrase that: Jill carried the entire interview… I said maybe a couple of words.   I must say, Jill was fantastic…then again, she always is!  Mike said he would send me the audio file so you can listen and I hope to have next week.

Mike Lee  ‪#‎DifferenceMakers‬, 1pm Fridays & 11am Saturdays PST on True Talk 800Gordon and Jill Viggiano share about their “new normal” after Gordon’s near fatal stroke dramatically changed their lives. Read Jill’s book, “Painful Blessing: A Story of Loss, Recovery, Hope, and Faith.”

'#DifferenceMakers, 1pm Fridays & 11am Saturdays PST on @[111824588848797:274:True Talk 800]…@[710352915:2048:Gordon] and @[100002531756189:2048:Jill Viggiano] share about their "new normal" after Gordon's near fatal stroke dramatically changed their lives. Read Jill's book, “Painful Blessing: A Story of Loss, Recovery, Hope, and Faith."<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> mybrainllc.com<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> www.createspace.com/4735394<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> www.truetalk800.com'

New stuff..on my site!

So now, I am bringing Amazon to my party.  How, you may ask?

First, in the side bar:

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 4.09.32 PM

and then in the Media Center where I list a few good books to read:

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 4.03.27 PM


Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 4.05.09 PM

You just click on the browser, and the link will take you to the store.  Of course, Amazon keeps popping Painful Blessing on my site:

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.24.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.23.52 PM

Let me know if this is useful, or if there is anything else you would like to see.