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...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good News, Bad News

It's been a mixed week with high highs and low lows.

My friend, Kendra, remains in ICU after being air-lifted from Alaska to Seattle. I have talked to mutual friends who have spoken with Kendra's husband or sister, but I have not gotten to talk to them directly. Please keep Kendra and her family in your prayers!

Still on the bad news front, my dentist has referred me to an oral surgeon for my jaw. I am currently working on making this appointment and will be taking more x-rays before we make a final decision. I am hoping to avoid surgery with therapy, as pain has gone down significantly and mobility has somewhat improved with treatment, so I would like to stay on this path for a while longer, to see if we can avoid another surgery. When I could barely open my jaw wide enough for the dentist to cram in "bite wings" in for tooth x-rays, in addition to the inability to move the jaw forward with opening as it should, the dentist didn't hesitate to send me to a surgeon for a referral! Now I mostly only have significant pain when yawning or otherwise trying to force my mouth to open too widely (like withTuesday's dental exam). If I need surgery now, how bad was it before, when I was in constant, agonizing pain?

As for good news, my regular (not the neurologist) eye doctor is seeing enough improvement in my vision that he no longer needs to see me back in three months, but instead in six! While my sight continues to change, literally, moment-by-moment (something that does not look doubled when I start a sentence might well be doubled by the time I finish speaking), generally I am starting to see single images sometimes again! If there is any movement to see, or an object is more than few inches from my eyes, it will most likely be two pictures. But if an object is very close and perfectly still, it might be a single picture now. Dual images often overlap,and while this is very confusing, I am thankful that my vision is moving somewhat closer together! My therapist says my eyes are tracking so much better than they used to and that I might actually avoid eye surgery in the end. I would love to surprise the neuro ophthalmologist (in a good way) when I see him nest!

The other great new comes from therapy, both occupational and physical. The occupational therapist  had me do some assessments yesterday, and while the left hand still only moves at 1/10 the speed/accuracy of the right (and it moves slower than it should too), I am thankful that it does move a bit now! Physical was even more encouraging today because I walked (without support, without weight, without a guard belt, with the stand-by assistance of two therapists who only needed to catch me 2 or 3 times in about 15 minutes) up and down the hall,carrying a tray for the first time. We added a pitcher (that I only dumped over once),then also a cup that I managed never to spill! I also walked over uneven surfaces in sock feet, then doing the same but carrying a cup half-filled with water. I only spilled a few drops of the water. I am to start walking without the walker, a little every day, here at home, only when someone is here to supervise.

Tomorrow is the audiologist.


I have written 1 more full section, or 3 more devotionals for my fruit book this week I have 9 more sections (or 27 devotionals, out of a total of 46) left to go, then start querying publishers. Thanking the Lord for this progress.

I am using a gift certificate to get my house cleaned right now. :)

The kids will be home for the weekend in a little over an hour! They will maybe be coming home for good in about 5 more weeks, Lord willing.

3 comments:

  1. Jen dear, wonderful progress. How tiring it must be that double vision! I remember that all to well. I complaint to my mom all through my childhood that I saw things double. She never believed me. I think I was 12 when a PCP told my mom that my eyes needed correction, she was dumbfounded! I had eye surgery on both eyes to correct the double vision, twice. I still feel it though, when I'm really tired the muscles of my eyes are strained, it like they would like to relax but can't because the surgery shortened them. It creates headaches.

    With regard to your jaw pain, have you considered acupuncture? It's one of the areas that that can help remarkably. Just thought I should mention it. I can understand of you're apprehensive about alternative medicine, considering what caused your stroke,but I think acupuncture will be different. Some insurances will pay for your stroke related acupuncture.

    So happy to read you're making so much progress, I wonder how you handle all this. Not that ypu have a choice of course. But managing all my conditions , that I know you have as well

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  2. Blogger cut me of, how rude! :-) what I w trying to say was that managing all these conditions is exhausting , I can't imagine what it must be like to add a stroke to that. Isn't your ME acting up? How do you handle all that? Massive admiration Jenn!

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