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...

Monday, December 3, 2012

SonRise

I mentioned on Nov. 16 that I had shared the most important facet of my stroke journey on another blog. I was trying to take the easy way out and not have the work of double posting, but since this is the very most important part of my story, it needs to be recorded here as well. If you read no other post I write, please take time to read (and share) this one!


If you want to know what else I've been up to lately, I've recapped it all (many stroke-related thoughts) here.




From my prior post (condensed version):

Today I am thinking of the glory of sunrise, pale in comparison with the mental picture I'm about to describe, but the closest to what a camera can actually capture, of anything I can describe. My daughter asked me the other day about my favorite time of day, and I would have to say usually it is early morning now (a total reversal of the time of day I most dreaded, early in stroke recovery).

I have rarely shared the following story with anyone, for I know once my thought are "out there," there will be no way to take them back, reel them in and make them mine alone again. As I told my pastor, I have been quite shy about all this for the past year. Today, I share with you, not in sensationalism, but in wonder and humility:

When I had my first two, most serious strokes, I could not move, speak, hear, open my eyes, or in any way communicate with the world around me. I knew I was in bad shape, had heard the beginning of the 911 call being placed before I lapsed into unconsciousness, and we have pieced together that the following experience must have taken place just after I was loaded into the ambulance, when EMTs were trying to get any response from me but I could not hear them and was unable to respond at all.  My body was significantly posturing, I was not expected to make it to the hospital alive, and my situation was terribly fragile and precarious.

I, very vividly, consciously and lucidly, remember "waking up" and thinking through my senses one by one, looking for any response from my body or clue to what was happening to me. I could not feel, move, speak, see or hear anything. In fact, I had no sensation of being connected to my body in any way.


One of the first coherent thoughts, that I would have shouted out as a statement if I could was, "Don't pull the plug! I'm still here." Before even one wave of panic could overtake me, I was filled with such profound peace! I heard music (remember, I was totally deaf, and remained so to anything happening around me) unlike anything I had ever heard before - so beautiful! And while every other memory from the next several weeks remains vague and shadowy, most have slipped away all together, this one is crystal clear and bathed in golden light.

I have always before wondered about and somewhat feared death, but after this near-death experience, I felt cheated and angry that I had survived and was suicidal for about 6 months
(I just wanted to hurry up and get to Heaven, now that I had a foretaste) until my husband challenged me that if God wasn't finished with His plan for my life here on earth yet, neither should I be. I still feel great excitement and eagerness for Eternity, but I am much more willing to bide my time here on earth now.


After being challenged to find and fulfill God's purpose for my days on earth, it became evident to me that as wonderful as Heaven is that Hell must be just as awesome in terror. I promised God that I would spend the days assigned to me to help anyone who would listen to avoid such fate, for I cannot even imagine the horror.


So with that background in mind (I know how like a lunatic my experience must sound), you can see why I'm passionate about my views.


I believe that there is only one God, Jesus Christ. That to believe Him, I must abide by what He says, namely that He alone is God and there is no other, that He is the only way to the Father and that many paths are inviting, but only one leads to eternal life.


I believe that we are all born as sinners, separated from God, and the only remedy to clear us of our guilt, is acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the only sinless man ever to live.

It is not through doing enough (or any) right or good things, but by simple
faith that God is who He says He is and did what He said He did. It isn't just about believing the facts, but taking them to heart. If I tell you a chair can hold my weight, I can tell you that all day, but it really means nothing until I exercise that belief by taking my body and actually sitting in that chair to show us both that I believe what I say, that I am willing to act upon what I say is true. It is like that with God too. I can say He exists and maybe even say I'm willing to see the work of His hand in my life, but until the "good works" I do are because of my love for Him, an expression of my adoration and acknowledgement of all He has already given for me, not in effort to earn forgiveness or grace, they mean nothing. As Scripture says, such works are as useless as filthy rags!

Picture via Pintrest.
Don't worry, I'm not likely to try and cram these beliefs down anyone's throat, but it is clear exactly where I stand now. I wish you all peace (the intense kind, like I found in that ambulance) as you explore these issues for yourselves. Feel free to leave a comment or email me - jsaake AT yaohoo DOT com - if you want to talk more specifics. I am not an expert and don't pretend to have all the answers, but I'm happy to share what I am convinced about and explore questions to keep on learning! 

Here are a few videos I posted, mostly songs related to my thoughts surrounding this post. And the original post about my experience in its entirety, if you want a little more background.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. - Hebrews 11:9-10

Jennifer Saake's books and related blogs (and sometimes Facebook pages too):

First Published Book: Hannah's Hope : Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HannahsHopeBook

Book-in-progress on drawing on the fruit of the Spirit in times of trial: Harvesting Hope from Heartache or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HarvestingHope

Next book-in-progress: 6 strokes at age 39, Stroke of Grace or look on Facebook under "Stroke of Grace by Jennifer Saake"

Future manuscript in the plans: Given Me a Thorn, the apostle Paul's story as applicable to living with chronic illness, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GivenMeaThorn
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You are also welcome to join me on my other blogs at InfertilityMom (general life and motherhood after infertility and pregnancy/adoption loss) Inner Beauty Girlz (healthy, usually natural, affordable, beauty tips for body and soul) and the accompanying Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/innerbeautygirlz.


5 comments:

  1. Funny, I never got any peace. I could see but not communicate. I just remember pain and telling myself just to breathe.

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    1. According to my mom, I woke up in the ICU in lots of pain, but don't remember much until I was down on the main neuro floor of the hospital. She said when they were giving me breathing trials in preparation to pull my respirator tube, I wouldn't take breaths without being verbally coached, so they had to keep reminding me to breathe.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Jenni. I know it took a lot of courage. All I know is that heaven is more than what I can imagine and I look forward to being there in God's time.

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  3. Jenni,
    I am so thankful to read of your experience. At first I thought your Mother was writing on your blog, but it was you that had the strokes! wow! I am blessed so much by your story and pray it will minister to many, many others and bring them to faith in the Lord Jesus!
    Thanks for letting me know. I, too, have a story about infertility and you can find it here: http://www.deeprootsathome.com/now-i-value-life/. God bless you as we celebrate Easter and Jesus resurrection!

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    1. Jacqueline, thanks for your input. I have edited the blog description, based on your input, to clearly explain blog authorship here. :)

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