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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Monday I had all three therapies. All my therapists commented that I didn't seem as on my game as usual. R. (speech) in the afternoon even suggested I go to bed and try to get some sleep when we were done.

In OT we used therapeutic ultrasound on my wrist. I think I'm going to be watching ebay to try to get an affordable machine of my own! It is strange to watch the visible transformation of my hands as the right one bulks up with muscle and the left becomes skinny and skeletal. I don't know if it is visibly noticeable to the untrained eye yet, but having studied these hands for 40 years, it is sure obvious to me. :(

In physical therapy I kept wincing hard enough that my therapist keep stopping to check on what hurt. All the "normal" pains of my jaw, shoulder, etc., but nothing unusual. Just frustration with myself for all the times I keep not getting things right with how to command my leg or arm or do tasks.  He really wants me to work on carrying my left arm to my side, rather than drawn up before me, to try to ease a measure of the pain in my shoulder and to help balance my body better - so much easier said than done!

This time we used a different piece of equipment than we ever have a I was trying to "jump" or kick off a platform (while lying on my back) and land on it with both feet again. I learned that even my right foot isn't terribly coordinated and my left foot nearly kicked my therapist in the face several different times before he moved to safety behind the machine to protect himself!

We did do another walking evaluation. A normal score is 24. Last time (maybe 5 weeks or so ago?) I scored 8. This week I scored 12! I think the difference was that I used the cane this week and I don't think I did last time we tested. He asked again, incredulously, if I was sure I still wasn't using the walker at all.

Yesterday my parents drove the kids (including their cousin, who leaves today) on a field trip up to South Lake. I was invited to go along. In my eagerness, I pictured myself using the cane all day. In their wisdom, Rick and my parents strongly suggested I take the wheel chair also. I'm so thankful that they did. We primarily went up to a traveling Lego Land play exhibit (our youngest two won a bridge building competition with a long span of bridge that could support over 50 pounds of weight) with a side stop to sit in the shade and watch the kids "wade" in the lake. (A six-year-old's definition of "wading still seems to be a full-body immersion experience! The 9 year old didn't come much closer to meeting my definition.)

The Lego place was indoors, so after my dad had wheeled me to the building, I wanted to walk. After about 1/2 hour my right foot (that still supports most of my weight when I stand or walk) started burning and tingling. Soon, the foot was completely numb and I was stumbling badly, even with the cane. I'm so glad I had the chair to default back to. Both feet got so swollen the the pattern of my socks left obvious mark on them yesterday. By last night, there were obvious bruising on both.

Today I'm exhausted and not moving very well. We need to get back on track with school though! I'm so thankful we have a homemade lasagna waiting in the fridge for dinner tonight!

I've been thinking a lot about nursing homes and how blessed I am this week. In the main hospital, there was very little hope of any kind of meaningful recovery for me. I can remember some conversations about if I was even a candidate to attempt the rehab hospital or if I should just be discharged to a long-term care facility? My husband tells me there was also serious consideration of a nursing home about 1/3 of the way through my stay at the rehab hospital. My life could be so drastically different right now! When I fall so short of my own expectations, I'm trying to keep it in perspective that at least I am even home with my family. Thank you to Rick, my parents, Cathy, Latricia, Rick's parents, my therapists, our church, and so many other friends for making this possible!
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. - Romans 3:23-34
I'm trying to remember that everyone "falls short." Perfection is not where the bar should be, so why do I get so mad at myself for missing that mark so badly?

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there Jenni! Thank you for sharing even though it is painfully hard sometimes. Being this transparent lets others know how they can pray much more specifically for you and even pray specifically for those who are helping you.
    You are still in inspiration to me.
    Lisa Schlosser Borba