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...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hearing and Health

I hit a wall, energy-wise, yesterday. I was go-back-to-bed exhausted all day yesterday, but while doing my therapy I just couldn't push myself enough to finish, no matter how hard I tried. I gave up about 4:30 and just couldn't function at all, so I went to bed and immediately feel asleep.

When Rick got home (with dinner, sweet man!) about 6, here said I looked terribly pale. By then my throat was sore and I was feverish. I was afraid I was facing an ME/CFS relapse and it was a terrifying consideration!

I ate a little dinner, went right back to bed, then my tummy started really hurting too, along with all-over body aches. This was actually a welcome symptom as Rick has been dealing with stomach pain since Sunday and our 6-year-old had hislimbs and tummy hurting several times on Monday and again today. Neither had any other symptoms beside some digestive complications, but my body seemed to mount quite the immune response to this little bug, something I have not typically been strong enough to do for years. Praise God!

I was feverish all night and still feel a little weak and sore and tired out today, but much improved over yesterday. I am SO encouraged to see symptoms resolving so quickly!

I still went to my hearing aid screening this morning. My ears have not improved nearly as much as hoped from the tube (they are slightly better than they were). I have had hearing aids recommended for both ears, especially the left. I cannot hear most consent sounds, with either ear. I can hear vowel sounds with both ears, better with the right than the left,

With the left, some sounds have to be as loud as a motorcycle revving, or louder, with no other sounds competing for my attention, for me to have any chance of hearing at all. I do best if I am in a quiet environment (rather than a group setting) and I can read lips while I am listening, so that I can put the sounds I do hear into context with the conversation.

Hearing over the phone with the left ear is an impossibility on the phone (no visual clues) and a challenge with the right.  With both ears, I hear lower sounds (Rick's voice) much more easily than higher tones (women and children). Hearing aids would probably bring my right ear back to nearly normal hearing and improve the left as close to per-stroke as possible, though there is likely to be some permanent levels of loss in the left. As my audiologist reminded me, that's why they are called "aids" rather than a cure.

Unless insurance and/or an aid organization (some require Social Security Disability approval before they will help - something I do not qualify for because I have not worked enough "quarters" in the past 10 years) will pick up a significant part of the costs, hearing aids are quite cost-prohibitive, so this is a significant (thousands of dollars) matter of prayer!

Just to record, while I am thinking about it, my digestive system has been quite messed up since the strokes. My own theory is that if the strokes could impact my internal systems from my head (eustation tube weakness) to my feet (poor circulation, thus a purple foot), then it is reasonable to presume my intestines, at least on the left, have also been weakened. The tummy bug, that brought along diarrhea for everyone else impacted, made me feel urgency like with diarrhea, but I am still constipated, even a 3 stool softeners per day for many months. Fun stuff (not)!

On evaluation, only my sense of smell and perhaps some internal organs and much of the right side of my body. seem to not be significantly impacted by the strokes. I still complain about smells sometimes, but am thankful to no longer seem as hyper-sensitive to all chemicals and fragrances! I am very thankful that my heart, liver, and a host of other organs continue to function sufficiently!

I had no idea how many systems have, blissfully, worked fairly well for so many years and I have taken it all for granted or complained about comparatively mild (some were pretty major, but I see most as fairly mild now, in light of all the current struggles) irritations. God's work in creation of so many intricately-balanced systems is truly amazing!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.- Psalm 139:14

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