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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Re-starting Therapy

I restarted therapy this morning. I am seeing neuro-specalists for both physical and occupational. The occupational brought up the possibility of pursuing further speech therapy too, so we will see if anything comes of that.

It is always funny to see new therapists grow wide-eyed when I tell them we are homeschooling. I still haven't decided if this is because of my limitations and their doubts about the feasibility, or if is commentary on societal views on home education in general? I suspect it is some of each?

My physical therapist (who remembers my condition in the rehab hospital) was actually pleasantly surprised at the scope of my abilities and the advances we have seen over the past half a year. He is more concerned about my left arm and shoulder even than about my ability to walk.

At one point, I did something today (I think walking with a cane and then without any support, therapeutically, but not with permission to try outside of my house) and he commented that, when he had first met me in the hospital, he never would have dreamed I would ever regain to that level in my whole lifetime!

He says he envisions me ultimately walking with just a cane, or possibly even without an assistance device of any kind. For now I am still to use the walker, or at home sometimes the cane, but inside only. He said he could tell that I was going to be "a lot of fun to work with."

The occupational therapist was in awe that I'm even still alive to come into her office. She reasoned that it was probably my young age that had saved my life and been to my advantage. I told her it was God that had saved my life. My friend (thank you, so much, for taking me, Mandy) informed her that my survival was the answer to many prayers. She really didn't respond to any of that.

She did give me several new arm and balance exercises and explained a lot more of the consequences of cerebellum damage, and some good coping strategies to counter those consequences, I had not had explained before. She said she is very glad I am there with neuro experts now and that it was a very good decision to come their way.

We talked about some of my limitations and advances, such as how speech therapy had to really work with me to do basic mathematics in the rehab hospital because even preschool level, basic math confused me. And how now it is my 12-year-old's algebra that stumps me, not 2+2 anymore.

She also said that even as tight and non-functional as my left arm has become, that she has many other patients who would "kill" to have the kind of mobility I'm now finding in my left hand. She says my left arm would likely always be clumsy but that we are going to fight to regain what use we can from it.

She liked that I am making myself go through the Sign Language alphabet each day to stretch the muscles, tendons and encourage mobility, though I have some letters I can't form well and have to model movements with my right first, then mirror with my left, to bring about the fine motor movements I do accomplish. She noticed deficits in both arms, with the left being pronouncedly more extreme.

The therapists were not at all surprised to hear how I am doing, emotionally. The OT went so far as to tell me my reactions of emotional upheaval are "very common" and to proceed to tell me some things about my conditions that I had already known, but not shared with her yet. She asked if she could keep a copy of some of the research I had brought in to share with her, for her records.

I had a pretty bad weekend and Rick took a lot of emotional attack and fall out. I'll be seeing my neurologist this afternoon, so we'll see if he has any new insight for us.

Mornings still tend to be my hardest time of day. This morning I woke up smiling and peaceful. A rarity, but I'm thankful. This leads me to today's verse:
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. - Psalm 90:14


  1. Jenni - an encouraging update!
    I am thanking God for the ways He is leading and healing you ( both physically and emotionally ) and that your medical team is being made aware of how God is your strength though all of this. Amen. (( Hugs ))

  2. Jenni,
    I have trouble with my 13 year-old's algebra and I've never had a stroke!! You are such an encouragement. I have been reading your blogs and following your story lately. I don't know how you do it. I have to beleive that the nurses/doctors that have seen your progress have to either believe the greatness of God or BEGIN to really believe in His greatness. I pray that tomorrow you will have another peaceful morning and that more and more peaceful mornings follow.
    Take Care,
    Cindy Rasmussen

  3. Nice post about Balance Exercise it is very important for health

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