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...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

11 Months

I have noticed my regular updates are usually only read 20-30 times, while a monthly update is often read 160 times or so. I guess I better make this count then, even though monthly updates aren't really the bulk of the progress I share.

I made it nearly 3 weeks between crying breakdowns this month. That's a post-stoke record! Even when I did break down before we even got out the door to church this past Sunday (since I had already had an out-of-control cry, I made it through the whole church service without tears!) I manage to back under contol within about 5 minutes, also a record for me. Praise God!

This morning I cried again, but they were my first "normal" tears in 11 months. I watched part of missionary biography movie with my kids and when the men were martyred, I cried appropriately. The tears came when they emotionally should have, were not absolutely possessive of my body, then they dried up again when the the sad part of the movie was over. This was SUCH a relief and seems like a great gift for the 11-month anniversary!

My therapist thought yesterday that my 3-week gap between tears may be partially credited to the reorganization of my brain with The Listening Program. I think probably so too, but if that's the case, I so wish we had been using it earlier! Ultimately, I know the credit goes to God. Maybe it would have taken so long to see this progress and healing of the brain, even without other tools to aid the process? Anyway, the emotional has been even harder than the physical, so it is so encouraging to see this bit of light breaking through the storm!

The coldness and purpleness of my foot is also improving. All the exercise and being up on my feet more seems to really be helping blood flow. Last night I wore a tight sock-like ankle brace in the water for therapy and noticed my leg and foot were visibly purple and swollen compared to the part that was under the brace, so it isn't perfect yet, but even the purplishness last night was better than my average before! I have gone from feeling COLD all of the time to feeling HOT most of the time now. It will be nice when my body better learns to regulate temperature.

I am still going to physical therapy on a monthly basis, to check on progress and answer questions. They would rather I was still coming weekly, but we can only do what we can do. In the intrum, I am going to the gym at least twice a week, once (or twice) for an hour or so of water therapy, and an hour of "senior fitness" where everyone else in the class is probably 20-50 years older than I am. It is pretty sad that even in a "senior" class I can only do about half of what everyone else does and have to modify everything else to fit my needs. I have, so far, had to do everything seated, even if they are normally standing activities.

I felt significantly less coordinated in the water last night than I had a week ago, so I'm trying to decide if I am less coordinated, or just more aware of my lack with the passage of time? I really think last night it was a sign of physical exhaustion, as this is the second Monday in a row that I've barely been able to move my the time water therapy is over. They push you HARD in that class, even if I can't do many things and have to significantly adapt or abbreviate others for now. I'm so glad for the flotation belt they let me wear there, to keep me boent and on my feet when I lack so much balance. By the time I got home last night, I was tripping badly, even with the cane, over nothing but the floor and my own two feet.

My mom and I got another meal in the crock pot yesterday. It wasn't fantastic, but it was great to come in to hot food after my water class (thanks for doing this with me, Mom!) last night. We took a cooked pork roast out of the freezer, I added some natural chicken broth, pre-sliced mushrooms, and brocili pieces.

I cheated on my diet yesterday and ate a pop tart but I am almost back down (within a half pound) of where I was last week. Yesterday I was so discouraged by the 3-pound weekend gain that I was ready to throw in the towel and give it all up, but I am back on track now, I think.

This is international homeschool Spirit Week. The kids and I wore silly socks yesterday (I could not do Homeschool Away from Home day, as scheduled) and are in our jammies today. Fun! We are in week 11 of our school year already - even in normal school years we've been as late as Thanksgiving or Christmas even getting to week 6 or 7 before, so I feel really good about our progress so far this year!

For those of you who have been following along, you already know about my shoulder and ear. I have taken a week or so off from writing my current book to work on another project. Both are coming along slower than I wish, but well, I think.

My hair is getting long enough to be in my eyes all the time if I don't keep it pulled back. At first I used a barrette (thanks Robin!), then a headband. This morning I was able to pull enough back for a small jaw clip - it isn't smooth as I'm still trying to learn to do it single-handedly, but it is progress. :)

I guess the other major posts this month have been my thoughts on being Home Sick and reflections on My Own Private 9/11. If you haven't read the first one, you will probably want to, to get a better feel for my mental/emotional/spiritual state. The second offers thoughts on the life-changing events of a crisis, publicly known or not.
Job 27:10
Will he find delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?

P.S. If you are reading this from http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/ rather than my Facebook page, could  you please click on the little blue button on the left side that says, "Join this site" with Google Friend Connect? It would really make my stroke story more attractive to potential publisher if I had significantly more than 14 "friends" here when I query the manuscript! Also, if you are on Facebook, all my blog updates (and more!) are posted to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stroke-of-Grace-by-Jennifer-Saake/339888582731687 on a regular basis - I would love to have you join me there as well!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Jenni how encouraging to hear that your emotions have improved so much. I'll put that on my Thank you side of the prayer list. I look forward to reading your books when you complete them. I scheduled my pre-op tests yesterday. I also bout had a heart attack yesterday on top of my other issues when the mechanic called and told me how much the repairs to my car were going to cost. But I made a choice to thank the Lord that I had the funds in my savings account and trust him for the purchase of the next vehicle when it comes time. Being an accountant (auditor now) and due to the recession I've been discouraged we haven't been able to save as much as in previous years (on top of my health sitations) but the Lord always brings to mind...take no thought for tomorrow for it will take care of itself and God's promise that His provision will be sufficient for today and it ALWAYS is. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.
    A good thing is coming out of my CFS and other health struggles. My sister and I's relationship is growing and is better than it's ever been, except for when we were in grade school. We've also been opening up and sharing more of how being in a house with emotionally and mentally abusive parents (one of them being bipolar) affected us and we can now see that a lot of the damage to our relationship as sisters was not our doing but the circumstances in which we lived and the perceptions between us that we experienced. We are now better able to have a relationship and understand each other due to the different growth each of us has experienced from the healing and release the Lord has given us from the damage caused by our home environment.

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