Starting October 25 of 2011, "InfertilityMom," 39-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes, all due to vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office. The largest two strokes were brain stem and cerebellum bleeds. Jenni remained hospitalized until nearly Christmas and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care (please read more and watch short video). Jenni is now walking (with a cane or wheeled walker), has recovered much eye-sight, some hearing, partial use of her hands, cares for most of her own personal/toiletry needs, and is currently writing three books, maintains multiple blogs, and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Near the five-year recovery mark, Jenni has renewed her pre-stroke excitement about the unique Lilla Rose hair Flexi eight jewelry she sells and has finally regained enough hand/arm function to regularly use! (The biggest ongoing losses at the 4 1/2-year point of recovery are left-side nerve pain, inability to drive, loss of homeschool teaching capability, significant sound processing issues (often triggering nausea), and some profound physical ability limitations such as a limp, balance challenges, clumsy use of right hand and only large motor function in left hand.) Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equipts you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Jenni is clinging to God's grace through the entire experience. Here is her unfolding story, documented in her own words (typing with only her right hand), as she perceives it happening in real time, messy, honest and to the glory of God...

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

There's much I could say but only one thing really on my heart. Please, I ask of you, once again, to uphold our marriage in prayer. God knows the details but we do need your prayers!

I ask, too, that you would pray for me to have wisdom and clear direction as I seek much-needed counseling. The last several days I have been a teary mess! Just as I my physical healing is progressing much faster than it would on its own, with the tools given me in therapy, I believe the wisdom and guidance of a counselor will aid my emotional and spiritual progress as well. I didn't think this would be an easy journey, but folks, this stroke thing is just plain hard, all the way around. Much harder than anything else I have ever faced.

The last thing the chiropractor said to me before he started the adjustment that led to the strokes, was, "Just relax," so I am having major trust issues these days, especially when it comes to health-care providers! Last week was especially taxing with so many different appointments all week long. Starting on the 30th (as currently scheduled) next week looks just as hard, with several new specialist to see and tests to endure. I still have two appointments that I'm awaiting returned call to schedule. It's a lot to keep track of and not let any balls drop. I'm not good at this professional patient thing! It's often so very scary.

Today I walked into therapy, carrying my walker. The therapist smiled and said that while this was not a way walkers are normally used, that he was glad to see me experimenting with walking skills. He says that because of my tachycardia (balance challenges) I am still at unusually high risk of falls, but we are making progress. I still use the walker extensively, to catch myself whenever I loose my balance (a lot).

Today I walked in grass without the walker forr the first time. I was shocked by how uneven smooth-looking ground actually felt. My therapists (2 still walk with me, for safety) had to catch me several times.

I also walked and had to scan a large room for a scavenger hunt. My kids probably would have found all the cones ("hidden" in plane sight) really quickly, but it was a real challenge for me!

I was exhausted, sweaty and stinky after that exertion (never thought I would describe a walk across a small lawn that way) but I still managed 15 minutes on the seated step climber after all that. I felt like throwing in the towel after just a few minutes, but pushed on and more than met my goal of 1,000 steps. The therapist has stopped slowly decreasing the tension in the machine to teach me muscle control, and has moved it to a significantly higher level, to be a cardio workout. I still managed to log 1,049 steps in those 15 minutes!

Please continue to keep my friend, Kendra in your prayers. She is still in ICU (over a week now) and had surgery for a tracheomstomy today (something I, thankfully avoided all together). While I am still having some swallowing issues, I really feel for Kendra!  For perspective, I was only in ICU for six days, the first time around!



5 comments:

  1. (((Jenni)))

    As I said on HP, I absolutely hate this for you, but I am thankful that you are able to share your journey.

    Praying for you, your marriage, and your family.

    julied

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  2. Jenni I was thinking about you this week..National Infertility Week. You said in your post today about the strokes happening after a chiropractor adjustment. I missed that before I guess. How do they explain the relationship? My daughter Kim who wrote her story in Dear God, Why Can't I Have a Baby? goes to a chiropractor for her back. Praying for you dear friend.

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    1. Janet, I haven't said very much about the chiropractor for legal reasons, so this very well may be the first you have heard about it. Google "stroke" and "chiropractor" together and the search results will pretty much explain what happened, especially if you add the phrase "vertebral artery." Basically, chiropractic work on your lower back tends to be fine, but it is the neck that should never be touched!

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    2. Thank you Jenni! I'm passing this on to my daughter--the one who shared in the infertility book, Kim. She was telling me about the chiropractor adjusting her neck and I didn't feel right about it. I'm sharing this with her.

      I'm so very sorry all this is happening to you. I can't imagine why you have so many challenges...I know it will be more of a testimony but I'm sure you're thinking enough already God...I have enough material already. Praying for you dear friend and your marriage. Hugs, Janet

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