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...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Anatomy of a Brain

My participation in the stroke drug study is pretty much over. I went last Tuesday, anticipating to bring home my final week's worth of medication, but when my doctor coded me into the computer, it said I was finished with the medication phase. I go in this week, just to finish up a few things and say goodbye to the wonderful office staff, and I do an exit interview, but otherwise I am done. Maybe I will be invited to the final phase of the study as well, but if so, that won't be probably until later in 2013.

The big, unspoken decision I asked you to pray about a few weeks ago is still not to resolution, but looks like it should (hopefully) be finalized this week. Thank you for your ongoing prayers.

I think I've rather stunned most of you into silence since last week's post about my near-death experience, but thank you for your continued friendship, support and reading of this blog. I don't know how you are "supposed" to respond or react to the announcement. I don't even know what I am supposed to do to process all this! We are entering uncharted waters together.

If I know you in person (and have a current mailing address) you should be getting a Christmas letter from us soon. I still can't write well or quickly, so a friend from church is helping me address about 100 envelopes. For every two she addresses, I maybe get about one done, and mine look like they are written by a Kindergartener, but as long as I think the post office can likely make them out, I'm going with it. If you get a note (please be sure to send addresses if you want a letter and you have a new address within the last two years - jsaake AT yahoo DOT com) you will be able to tell at a glance if I addressed it myself or if Sue did (the difference between huge, childish scrawl  and neat, tiny, adult script). Even Sue seemed amazed at how nice my handwriting used to be (and how much it has changed) when she saw what I'm doing now, compared to the old writing in my address book. And that is with over a year's therapy to improve it! I'm told that in the hospital, I would get proud of writing efforts that were still illegible, at all, to anyone else.

I know I had 6 different strokes. I know the largest two were in the brain stem and cerebellum, while the smaller clot-caused strokes were farther up in the brain, in various lobes. I was beginning to think (from other's descriptions) that maybe the cerebellum was housed somewhere within the brain stem itself?

I had to look this up for myself and find the two distinct structures that were severally damaged and give me so much grief. Initially, it was the cerebellum damage that doctors seemed to focus on so much (specific kinds and complications of balance issue, reflexes, and more), saying I had "cerebellar disease" as a result of the stroke damage. At about 6 or 7 months, they started speaking with much greater emphasis (or at least I was more aware of the concerns and comments) concerning my brain stem, thus leading me to the confusion on anatomy.

I guess both stokes were (in my surgeon's words) "quite significant" and damaging in their own rights. For anyone else who wishes to gain a clearer understanding, here is a sketch of a health brain, thanks to Wikipedia.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

1 comment:

  1. Girl, I celebrate you writing at all. My handwriting is currently messier than my 4 year olds.