Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months 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. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.

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 equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Score: Laundry One, Jenni Zero

I was reduced to sobs this morning, by half a pile of laundry and one unfolded flat bed sheet.

I had been folding for nearly an hour already. I use the term "folding" loosely because the folded clothes might not have looked a whole lot better than the unfolded pile. But anyway, when I got half way down the pile, I spent over 10 minutes trying to fold that flat sheet and my husband happened to walk into the room at that moment, to see me firmly biting my lip, a technique I have given in to (or biting my tongue) to try to prevent or stop tears when I am working hard not to cry or to stop tears once they have started.

He asked me what was wrong and that's all it took for the tears to start flowing, regardless of the deep, white tooth marks on my lip. He asked why I didn't ask for help, and in utter frustration I sobbed out that I didn't want to haft to ask for help for something so simple.

Poor Rick. After folding the sheet for me, he just sat there holding my hand while I sobbed and gulped and chewed hard on my tongue, telling me he was sorry that things were so different now. What a guy!

He waited until tears were past to leave for work, then he moved my walker out of the way (I hate how it literally comes between us) and just held me in a big hug. Of course I nearly started crying again, good tears just from the comfort, but it felt so good to be loved and supported/encouraged in this way! My primary love language is physical touch so it meant the world to me to be comforted like this.

The laundry pile is still only half folded (along with the pile still in the washer) but we are getting it slowly figured out, I think. I can't safely do the laundry on my feet (using the walker or appliances for balance, I still fall too easily). I've tried sitting on the floor and can't reach well.  This week I've been sitting in my wheel chair to move laundry, and while the chair isn't terribly maneuverable due to the confines of the small laundry area, at least it feels fairly safe, even it it is still quite a struggle.

I never imagined I would be reduced to tears over a "simple" pile of laundry!

My mouth's numbness is really bugging me this week. The inability to really feel my cheek was quite annoying while I tried to read to my kids yesterday. I seem to have some feeling (at least of pressure) in my teeth again, but the left side of my tongue and side of my cheek lack muscle control, causing them to feel fairly numb (I can feel pain in my tongue and front of my lip if I bite them) and them both to feel swollen.

I still often need to repeat myself or be "translated" for when I talk to folks. Words sound fairly clear to my own ears but I know what I'm saying too. When I was trying to read a long chapter book, the words did not sound so clear, even to me. It felt like my cheek kept getting in the way of my teeth and tongue. I guess I expected to have more feeling and control back by now. No one can really tell me what, when, or really even if to expect improvement.

My head and jaw are still very, very painful.While I had a bit of TMJ before, as I've described to my  mom, my very best days now are about like my worst days before the strokes. My bad days now, well I won't even go there...

On a bit of a different note, while I did have some minor memory issues a couple years ago, due to the cognitive impact of ME/CFS, it was nothing like the short term memory loss from these strokes! I can remember, in detail, thing that happened years ago (I'm so thankful to still have memories of my pre-stroke life with Rick and each of the kids), but can't reliably remember thing that were said or done 10 minutes ago.

I guess this is a result of the whole mild impact of the strokes to the right brain (home of long term memories) and significant impact to the left brain (houses short term memory). My six-year-old has figured out this deficit quickly and regularly argues with me when I ask him to do things telling me, "But Mom, you just said..." and since I honestly can't remember even having a previous conversation, much less saying or thinking something opposite, I have to often take his word for things, unless what I know he is telling me is contradictory to anything I would normally ever think or say. It has got to be very frustrating to my family or anyone who talks with me, but I think our son is learning to manipulate by taking advantage of the circumstances too!

I feel like I could be a whole host of cartoon characters:
Dory from the Nemo movie, "I suffer from short term memory loss. At least I think I do..."
Pooh Bear, "Think, think, think..."
Of course, now that I go to tell you my extensive list of favorite quotes, now I can't remember them! Hopefully, more to come in future posts.

I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. - Psalm 77:3
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. - Psalm 77:11
They remember that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. - Psalm 78:35
I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them. - Psalm 119:52
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. -  Psalm 143:5

God's Words: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. - Isaiah 43:25
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  - Isaiah 46:9
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. - Habakkuk 3:2


  1. Oh jenni, my heart aches for you, understands the frustration, even tho the source is different. You are an amazing woman and not only experiencing all this but chronicling it all to encourage others... Even your kids. I don't know how you do it, love you

  2. I am a two-decade friend of Kendra and I found your blog from her Caring Bridge site. Such a beautiful, poignant post, Jenni! May the Everlasting Arms embrace you in tangible, precious ways and may your remembrances from His Word empower you mightily and encourage you deeply. Praying for you this morning! Rejoicing in His Faithfulness, cathyd