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...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jumping for Joy

I jumped for the first time in over a YEAR, yesterday at therapy. Granted, I could only jump an inch or two off the ground, only straight up (not sideways), and I had to hold onto a ledge (counter, sideboard, windowsill, etc.). I was able to do it a few times in a row at therapy, then a few more jumps, one at a time, to show family members throughout the day! This may sound silly, but it left me giddy, in a way even more exciting than learning to walk again, I think because although it is something I had missed being able to do, I hadn't obsessed over the lack or striven for it like I did with the ability to walk again. That I was able to do it (something I did not imagine would ever really happen again) without all the anticipation, took me by happy surprise. This new-found skill is what I'm ever-so-thankful for today.

I have been fighting a sore throat for about 12 days now. Originally it was from burning my throat (I had a couple of life-threatening broncho-spasms a few weeks ago, where my airway totally constricted and I couldn't breath at all, swallow, speak or move any air) when I had warm soup caught in my throat and couldn't do anything to move it. Finally, last Thursday and Friday I had about a day and a half with no sore throat, then I've been trying to fight off a cold since then. Yesterday, I finally gave up the phrase "trying to fight," when I woke up with little voice, and had to admit that I do have the cold now. I'm really praying this doesn't mess my ear up again, sine the eustation tube still can't equalize pressure well.

Yesterday came with a rude awakening in more ways than one. I'd either switched from the real meds to the placebo for my 8:30PM dose on Tuesday night, or from the placebo to the real medication. I woke up about midnight and was stunned to discover that my legs would hardly support me to walk again! I used the cane (even in my own home) to get around yesterday morning, but by about mid morning and an hour of focused therapy, I was getting around fairly well again. My speculation is that I have just made the switch to placebo and that the alternative pathways my brain has been building this past year just took a few hours to kick back in after the medication has been working so hard to bring the primary pathways back on line over the last several weeks. Of course, that is just my patient guess, not known medical reality in any way, but that's my current take on what's happening within my own body.

I also successfully took a bath tonight. We didn't make the water too warm, we set the timer for 15 minutes, and Rick helped me in and out, so we avoided most of the problems from last time. I'm thrilled we found a more workable solution. It still wasn't as enjoyable as pre-stroke, but it was better than a month ago!

Other than being very tired and drained today (this cold seems to put even the healthiest of people down hard in bed for a day or more), it has been a surprisingly tear-free day, for which I am also thankful. I focused a lot on unhappy memories from last Thanksgiving when I first woke up this morning, and felt rather melancholy at odd times throughout the day, but overall it has been a better day than I expected. Praise God!

I think there will be other big changes coming to our household in the near future. I hope to announce once everything is finalized in another week or two. This change brings both surprising relief intermixed with a measure of huge disappointment, but I think will be for good in the end, though it will be a massive change to our lives! Even the consideration of possibilities leaves me both excited and sad/nervous. I know I'm not giving much detail, but please pray for Rick and I to have wisdom in this very huge decision.

My parents came over today with homemade pies, stuck a turkey and several sides in our oven. Rick mashed potatoes and we had a lovely mid-afternoon dinner. I'm so very thankful for family!



My goal this year is to find reasons for thankfulness and my prayer is for the Lord to more fully restore joy in my heart again. It has been a long year, but God remains faithful. This last week, I feel as if I'm starting to emerge from a long, dark tunnel in a new way. I told my therapist, I now feel like I'm at about 70% acceptance to 30% frustration. That's much higher on the frustration side than a want to be, but a far cry from where I was even still a couple months ago. God is good.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:1

1 comment:

  1. Jenni, I am so thankful for your candor. I'm praying for you and Rick and hope to hear news of the mentioned changes soon. I can relate to the bath thing. I know how wonderful it was to take a shower for the first few days after my surgery. I had gotten a stool so I could just sit and enjoy the water. I just had to promise Sam I wouldn't shower when he wasn't home just in case I slipped or fell. We went to my sister's place for Thanksgiving. It was very nice.

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