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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bearing My Heart

I just posted a story on my InfertilityMom blog that I consider to be the most profound, soul-bearing, some might consider TMI post, I have ever shared online. It really belongs in this stroke journal, but since I just posted it elsewhere, I would love if you go there to read it (because I'm trying to take the easy way out and link instead of copying and re-posting here. Something I plan to still do later unless hit count indicates that it has been well read by my stroke readers). I would say this is the very most critical and pivotal part of my stroke story!

While I am revealing such intimate details, here are a collection of nearly all the pictures this camera-shy gal has allowed to be taken over the past year. These take a ton of guts to post, because I have so hated seeing what the camera (or mirror) tells me about my body changes this past year.

I did have one exciting, new-to-me revelation that a friend (also with severe brain damage) shared with me this week, concerning our loud and uncontrollable tendency toward laughter. Now I will try to think of this tendency (that I have hitherto been embarrassed about) as the spilling over the joy of the Lord. :)

It was the right side of my brain (linked to left side of my body) that was primarily affected by my strokes. I don't *think* I still have many of these issues (at least not too profoundly anymore), but then again, it says I wouldn't probably realize if I did, so who knows? This week, The Stroke Network posted the following helpful information:  

What is right hemisphere brain damage?

Right hemisphere brain damage is damage to the right side of the brain. The brain is made up of two sides, or hemispheres. Each hemisphere is responsible for different body functions and skills. In most people, the left side of the brain contains the person's language centers. The right side controls cognitive functioning (thinking skills).

Damage to the right hemisphere of the brain leads to cognitive-communication problems, such as impaired memory, attention problems and poor reasoning. In many cases, the person with right brain damage is not aware of the problems that he or she is experiencing (anosognosia).

What are some signs or symptoms of right hemisphere brain damage?

Cognitive-communication problems that can occur from right hemisphere damage include difficulty with the following:


left-side neglect




problem solving


social communication (Pragmatics)

Attention: difficulty concentrating on a task and paying attention for more than a few minutes at a time. Doing more than one thing at a time may be difficult or impossible.

Left-side neglect: a form of attention deficit. Essentially, the individual no longer acknowledges the left side of his/her body or space. These individuals will not brush the left side of their hair, for example, or eat food on the left side of their plate, as they do not see them or look for them. Reading is also affected as the individual does not read the words on the left side of the page, starting only from the middle.

Memory: problems remembering information, such as street names or important dates, and learning new information easily.

Orientation: difficulty recalling the date, time, or place. The individual may also be disoriented to self, meaning that he/she cannot correctly recall personal information, such as birth date, age, or family names.

Organization: trouble telling a story in order,giving directions, or maintaining a topic during conversations.

Problem solving: difficulty responding appropriately to common events, such as a car breakdown or overflowing sink. Leaving the individual unsupervised may be dangerous in such cases, as he or she could cause injury to himself or herself, or others.

Reasoning: difficulty interpreting abstract language, such as metaphors, or responding to humor appropriately.

Social communication (pragmatics): problems understanding nonverbal cues and following the rules of communication (e.g., saying inappropriate things, not using facial expressions, talking at the wrong time).

What treatment is available for individuals with right hemisphere brain damage?

A person with right hemisphere brain damage should see a speech-language pathologist (SLP), a professional trained to work with people with communication disorders, in addition to his or her doctor.

The SLP will work with the person and develop a treatment plan designed to improve his or her cognitive-communication abilities.

How can I communicate more effectively with a person with right hemisphere brain damage?

Ask questions and use reminders to keep the individual on topic

Avoid sarcasm, metaphors, etc., when speaking to the individual

Provide a consistent routine every day

Break down instructions to small steps and repeat directions as needed

Decrease distractions when communicating

Provide appropriate supervision to ensure the person's safety

Stand to the person's right side and place objects to the person's right if he or she is experiencing left-side neglect

Use calendars, clocks, and notepads to remind the person of important information

P.S. I reported on Kendra's story yesterday. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, it is highly (emotionally) entwined with my own, so you really will want to take a few minutes to read!
Psalm 19:8
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

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