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...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas changes

I got up this morning and put on the same shirt I'm wearing in this picture:
I have avoided wearing this shirt this holiday season (even tough it is covered it tiny, adorable candy canes and bows) because the sight of it reminds me too much of the hospital. I told my husband that there was no day better day than our oldest's birthday (thank you for 13 wonderful years, Son!), to intentionally wear it and work on "making a bad memory into a good memory," so that's exactly what I am doing. Hopefully the sight will now remind me of this amazing landmark of celebration rather than of my final days in rehab.

It looks like we will be having a white Christmas. We woke up to a dull brown world, but by early afternoon it was all white and is supposed to keep snowing, off and on, for the next few days. I make my husband really nervous when I'm walking on ice (he's so sweet and protective and so careful for me!) and I make really funny footsteps with two feet and a cane, but the snow is pretty.

Tomorrow morning (presuming it is not too icy and snowy to go), our youngest two will be participating in our yearly church Christmas play. I am so eager to attend in person, rather than just on video, from a hospital bed, like last year! We may even get to see a friend, who was a fellow patient in  rehab, there in the morning! :)

I think I finally got all my Christmas cards in the mail. If you don't get one and want to read our family letter (mostly detailing my strokes), please get me your mailing address (Sue F., Debbie, I know I don't have your current addresses, and probably several others either - the letters include some details not shared here) and I will get one in the mail, even into the new year, if I hear from you. I am sad that most of my letters won't get to their destinations by Christmas day, but I met my goal of having them to the mailbox before the 25th. :)

I had a nightmare last night that I was in a really horrid car crash, that I had driven into the back of a semi truck, and that's what had caused all this damage. My loathing of photographs played a big part in the dream too. After I had cried all my fears and frustration out once again, and my husband assured me it had only been a bad dream, I lay awake thinking for quite a while. That's about what this feels like, as sudden and life-changing as a semi truck against a little car. I wonder how long I will continue having dreams of being able-bodied and feel it all suddenly jolted away? My counselor says (from several different thing I have shared with her) that I have post-traumatic stress. I just know that my mind loves to find creative ways to keep reliving the panic and desperation and loss. No fun. :(

This next week I will attend the largest family gathering I have been to since my strokes. I'm excited to see everyone but a little nervous too, especially with such fragile and unstable emotions.

Other big changes our coming to our family in a couple weeks, a total change in my daily routine. This will take some work to get used to, but we pray that it will turn out to be a good change in our schooling plans, in the end. The reasons mentioned in the other article are valid, but considering how much therapy and how many doctor's appointment we are still trying to juggle, the change in daily schedule will hopefully be helpful from this perspective as well. Not easy, but good I hope.

I can use the extra time (next fall) to focus more on writing, as I currently have three different manuscripts in progress. I had hoped to have one manuscript ready to submit to a publisher by the end of this year, but it is going to be 2013 at this point.

May God comfort you and make Himself so real to you, as we celebrate His birth this week, and throughout the year to come!

Rather than a Bible verse, today a quote:
"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come in a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
It's true, Mr. Grinch.
Christmas is a great celebration
Of the one who came to save all the nations.
The angels sang of Joy at His birth,
And wished for peace upon all of this earth.
May all of our hearts grow three sizes this day,
And pay forward His love as we go on our way.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you wearing that shirt again. I have tons of clothes that I avoid also. As for bad dreams, I have them all the time too. I wish my meds would make them go away for sure. I wake up in tears all of the time.

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