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, August 20, 2012

3 Therapists

I say all three therapist today. It was a long day!

Both my physical and occupational therapist spent the bulk of their hour-long appointments working on my shoulder. My OT taped the shoulder (latex-free tape) in the position she wants me to hold it, since the muscles won't hold it in place on their own. I'm now wearing a day-time wrist base to support significant weakness and pain there and have been adding neck stretches and strengthening exercises to my routine to cope with left arm and especially shoulder pain.

My PT did tons of shoulder massage and ice therapy and spinal positioning (I don't know what that was actually called, but involved me balancing my spine on a narrow piece of hard foam so the shoulder would be free to relax), then said he would call my primary care doctor to talk about imaging needs this afternoon. Still no word on my MRI yet. I think it is a bad thing when your PT makes faces as you describe symptoms (basically an "Oh man!" look, things he was apparently hoping I would avoid), then calls you an "interesting case."

I guess I can take comfort in the fact that he also called me, "Over-Achiever!," when he said I could take a break but I kept going on one machine when he turned his back today. He rolled his eyes in pleasant surprise and gave me a questioning look when I said I hadn't used my walker in a few weeks and was walking around the house under my own power, about half of the time. Of course, he had previously given me the OK to try these thing, he just seemed surprised I am actually doing them. He also seemed very happily surprised ("Holy Cow!") in my balance and turning progress since he last say me. I'm still really slow and unsteady, but there is progress.

I got my more comfortable, long-term leg/ankle brace today and will hopefully be able to fit into and wear a wider selection of shoes now. :)

Speech Therapy went well and all to quickly. I could happily chat with R. for hours! She was amazed at the progress she has seen in the two weeks she's been working with me. I'm listening to some computer modified classical music she loaned me, every day. It seems to be helping my speech to be flowing smoother, with less hesitation, clearer pronunciation, and hopeful some additional cognitive function will be an end result. In the meantime, my ear doctor is really interested and excited to see that is does seem to be retraining my brain to work with my post-surgical ear and restoring some hearing ability (minor, but sooner than he would expect) already!

Speaking of hearing, I'm not scheduled to go back to the ear doctor for nearly two more months now. :) He vacuumed out my ear on Friday, suctioning out old blood and lots of medication he had filled my outer ear canal with while I was under anesthesia. To say the suctioning felt strange is an understatement, but the ear drum seems to be healing well and I am starting to hear (faintly and unclearly) a few more sounds.

Thank you to K. and her family for watching our youngest son while I was gone this morning. Thank you to my parents for their faithful driving and care for our children most days, making it possible for them to be home and still cared for when I have to go off to therapy or a doctor. Thank you to Rick's parents who took care of them for all the months I was learning even to care for myself. And ongoing thanks to C. who comes every Thursday to clean and listen and keep our house flowing relatively smoothly (much smoother than it would without her!) these past many months.
Don’t offer parts of your body to sin, to be used as weapons to do wrong. Instead, present yourselves to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead, and offer all the parts of your body to God to be used as weapons to do right. Sin will have no power over you, because you aren’t under Law but under grace. - Romans 6:13-14


2 comments:

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  2. Jenni, So glad to hear that you are doing some walking without the walker. I think and pray for you daily. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it through work this afternoon but I think I can now after reading some of your posts on Facebook. The Lord used you as my uplift today. I was fading and fatiguing as I went throught the day and becoming overwhelmed with so much going on. My last blood work showed my body is breaking down my muscle tissue. I had more blood work on Saturday to hopefully determine what muscle and why. I'm also having and MRI this Saturday to rule out MS since I've been having difficulty walking, especially up stairs and doing anything required for beinding the knees. I've gotten so I have to only look my calender to the most recent doctor appointment -- after all the Lord says take no thought for tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itsself. He gives us the strength we need in the moment/day and that is sufficient. I'll send snail mail soon.

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