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.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Inward Renewal

If my tests all come back normal, I'm in the research study! I'll have 6 weeks of the drug, intermixed with a placebo. I won't have any idea what I'm taking when. One doctor has access to unblind the study results in an emergency. Otherwise, no one knows when I'm off or on the drug until well after the study ends. I should start in a week or two.

The funniest part about my intake evaluation was when a nurse was drawing blood from my right arm and the doctor was simultaneously conducting a neurological exam of my left side. I was hearing, "Raise your left knee and try not to let me push it down," while at the same time trying to keep my other arm still around the needle. The bruise is surpringly small, considering the circumstances!

The nurse said I was a hero to everyone in the room (all 6 of us crowed into a 5x7 foot exam room). That was encouraging to hear. :)

A nurse measured my oxygen saturation level on Thursday. It was 96 (%?) on my left hand. Just for kicks, I had her also measure on my right, where it was 100. She was amazed at the difference, but I was not at all surprised in the difference between effected blood flow on that left side and my normal levels on the right.

It seems there was one other significant thing about the study or my intake interview that I wanted to share with you, but I can't remember now. If I think of it, I'll try to post.

I go back to my neurologist in 3 months.  It was 4 months after our first meeting, shortly after the hospital and 6 month between appointments this time. I am discouraged to be going backward now.

Most of you have heard of my friend, Kendra, who had a couple of serious brain-stem stokes in April. We have such similar questions and issues, that while I hate she is living through this, it is a blessing to be able to share experiences! She told me recently that she doesn't think doctors even really know what to do with us because we are probably the only ones of us our caregivers will each ever see in a lifetime. We "should" be dead, after all. What do you do with a dead person who hasn't actually died?

I am still dealing with significant TMJ jaw pain, though this has recently been liked (by my neurologist) as also having atypical trigeminal nerve involvement/pain. My ear surgeon says this makes so much sense, meaning I may have some hearing loss, and definitely ear pain, from my TN rather than just my hearing nerve, as first though.

Speaking of my ear surgeon, I was released from his care yesterday. The scar tissue was successfully, surgically removed thus mechanical hearing ability (from the paralyzed eustation tube, creating so much internal pressure on the middle  ear and causing extensive scar tissue to bind the bones of the middle ear) has been restore. My hearing is, indeed, better than it has been since the strokes, but still far from ideal. The other day our daughter asked me if she could have some "hand sanitizer," and I questioned why she wanted "pants and a tiger"?

I have been referred back to my audiologist (this is the first time when I've been released from any super specialist and downgraded to the care of just a regular specialist, so it's quite the celebration!) to consider hearing aids again. Nerve issues cannot be addressed or corrected with hearing aids, so more extensive testing would need to be done to find out exactly what is going on or if I'm even a candidate for hearing aids now that we have done what we can through surgery.

Since insurance doesn't seem willing to help even if hearing aids could help, and we don't have an extra $7,000 laying around, we will just wait and see how I do for now. We already know hearing aids are our next step (if they might even help) if we go back to the audiologist, so it doesn't seem prudent even trying to go back to her right now. In the hospital I said I wanted my eyes and feet back. Since I have some use of each of those, I'm prone to try to prioritize the reality that this is not my eternal home and thus downplay some of these other issues.

I cut my finger this morning. It's not a bad cut, only about an inch long. No stitches needed. Since I'm on blood thinners, I tend to bleed a lot, even with a small injury. I just bled through the first band-aide and that took nearly two hours. I've only used sharp knives a few times over the last couple of months and managed not to cut myself at all until today. First time in nearly a year of unpredictable muscle movement - not bad.

I am in one of the last legs pushing to finish my current book that I hope to submit to a publisher for consideration by the end of the year. Please pray for wisdom, clarity, God's timing, direction to the perfect publisher for this project, and protection of my family. Thanks! Writing without my full, previous cognitive function or sharp memory is an interesting experience!

I'm down a total of about 13/14 pounds since my highest weight, about 8 since I officially started the diet. I still have a long way to go, but I miss dairy terribly (I'm a big cheese eater and enjoy yougurt, sour cream and creamed cheese too), so I am going to talk with my general doctor about diet options on Tuesday.

It is very weird to feel. Because I have been doing so much therapy, my right leg is getting very solid, firm and strong. The left leg is squishy.  Such a strange difference!

Next week there is at least one (sometimes two) appointments nearly every day. I HATED that the kids were gone those first eight months, but in reality I wouldn't have seen them much anyway. I was going to 1-3 appointments every day. Now I usually only have 1-3 appointments per week, though this October is pretty crazy, with the culmination of many 1-month, 3-month and 6-month and weekly appointments all converging this month. I'm so thankful for all the driving and childcare my parents offer! I'm keeping them both especially busy this month!

By the way, is anyone available to come watch my kids (or maybe at least have the 6-year-old dropped off at your house this coming Thursday afternoon, as the older two could stay home alone, if needed). I would need to leave about 3:20/3:30 and probably be home between 5:30 and 6. I have a ride, but not child care, for the counseling appointment I've been waiting for 5 months to go to. Please call me, message me on Facebook (best choice), or email me if you are local and can help out that day. Thanks!
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:13-18


  1. I can't imagine how frustrated you are about the hearing aids. I am frustrated for you.

  2. Hi Jenni,

    Love reading your updates. There is a 7 year old boy from Hanford that had a stroke last Saturday. He is up in San Francisco. If you look up Hudson's Healing on facebook updates get posted. It was started so people could pray for him & easily read the updates.
    I am still praying for you...
    Lisa Borba

    1. Thanks Lisa,
      I started following Hudson's story, thanks to you. I have to tell you, your notes are such an encouragement. Thanks!