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...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Almost 12 Months

At this time last year we still didn't have a clue what was coming. I can't even wrap my mind around this reality.

I had another bad dream this morning. It was lots of ideas mixed up together. It was like just after my strokes, at rehab, only it wasn't the hospital, it was more like a compound where I was locked away. The therapist was mean, critical, pushy and like a drill Sargent. I was able to walk, unsteady, about like I do now (so not a true picture of my wheelchair days in the hospital!). There were 3 teenagers there teasing me. Oh and driving was a big push too. Very upsetting images and actually a relief, for the first time, to wake up to this reality. I am home, I am safe, Rick is at my side, I am with my kids, I don't usually have to deal with mean or un-understanding people (though I've encountered a few with rude comments or ugly looks now), therapy is hard but not done with cruel intentions.

I told my primary care doctor this week that I had gained nearly 50 pounds since the strokes. (Though I've lost about 15 pounds since my highest weight, about 8 since I officially started my diet about 7 weeks ago. I had gotten VERY skinny in the hospital). She actually said she was glad I had gained that weight, not lost it, so it could give me energy for recovery, not added weakness. She is working with me to help loose some now, but really said weight gain is to my advantage during recovery. It really encouraged me.
Well, it looks like I should be able to start research study drugs either this next Tuesday or the week after that (still contingent on lab work outcomes). After my therapy evaluation this morning, I am absolutely exhausted! On a scale of 0-2 for most things, I scored a few 2s and lots of 1s and 0s. My therapist said not to be discouraged with the low scores - at least we have something objective to work with in the next couple of moths. Presuming we get started on time (a bladder infection would set us back at least a month, for example), I should be finished with active participation in the study before Christmas. 
I confirmed with my mom and we both think I have seen more improvement in this second 6 months than I did during the first six. (Emotionally and spiritually, especially so.) That's counter to everything I've been told would happen, but it has been my experience.

This has been a horribly draining week. Two kids with the tummy flu, one on crutches for a sprained foot for most of a week (at least it wasn't broken this time!), me still dealing with nausea, dizziness and exhaustion (either from moving my head wrong in the bathtub at the beginning of the week, from trying to keep from coming down with the kids' flu, or both), and LOTS of doctor appointments. So far, only about 5 or 6 appointments scheduled for next week (plus therapy), so after an intense 3 weeks of appointments, it will be nice to slow down and come up for air again! I don't know how my parents manage to keep up with it all either!

I did see my therapist (emotional) finally this past week. Thank you for all the prayers. The appointment far exceeded my expectations and God provided on many levels, answering several specific prayer requests about the meeting. It's been such a long wait, but I think it ultimately will be helpful!
The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GOD; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. -
Psalm 16:7-8 (The Message)


  1. It is hard to believe it has been a year. Whew, it had been crazy hasn't it!

    1. Hard to believe you are past 6 months! Past the point where I was when I started keeping this blog. Did I ever tell you that you were my inspiration to start it? I knew I wanted to be able to tell you in the future how things had been at each stage and I couldn't trust my memory, so I started journaling to be able to share with you, Kendra. <3

  2. Jenni~ I continue to think of you often, even though lately finding time to comment has been difficult. I am glad to see that you are in this study. I am praying that it is beneficial to you, but also that the results will be beneficial for so many more people through your participation.