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...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This 'N' That

My friend, Sue and I, addressed 124 envelopes this week. If you count mistakes that required do-overs, probably many more than that! I would be nowhere near done with my list if it weren't for help. Thank you, Sue! We got it done! I think my handwriting was getting a bit better after all that practice! I guess I've written more number than letters, this past year, as they came easier.

I've also sorted 4 Rubbermaid big storage boxes worth of Christmas ornaments this week. Two are packed back up (with hand-made ornaments from my grandma, packed away since we aren't up to doing a tree this year), the contents of about one box is around our home (my son's train set, a few Nativity sets, some Christmas linens), and stockings have been found for Christmas morning. One box of less sentimenal items is being given away. I am so proud of myself to have willingly parted with 1/4 of the things I sorted.

Our 9-year-old daughter made gingerbread cookies this last week. I supervised and helped a little. Our 6-year-old was really into using cookie cutters. It wasn't like old times, but it did feel cozy. I found out my body just does not process wheat well at all. After three or four mall cookies, over a few days, I gained back 3 pounds just by adding that little bit of wheat! I guess good to find out before being tempted by holiday goodies.

All five of us are down with colds again. Our 9-year-old is really sick, her second day fully down in bed. :( Our 12-year-old is pretty sick too. Our 6-year-old feels just good enough to be a real hand full. It's hard because when I feel bad and really need help more than ever, we are contagious and need to turn all help away. (You understand, Kendra! At least it is not tummy flu at our house. You poor thing!) I guess if we are going to get sick, I would rather get it over with before Christmas. (Edited mid-morning to add, our 9-year-old just threw up. I managed to get her blanket in the wash by myself, and she got into the shower to wash the mess out of her hair, Fun times!) I had about one healthy week between viruses and infections. I'm hoping this round doesn't set my stroke recovery back so badly.

At this time last year I was still in the rehab hospital. I was starting to use a (specialty) walker under close supervision, but was in a wheel chair (or a hospital bed) any time I did not have direct supervision. I was taking meals in the regular dining room, on a regular diet, with milder swallowing issues and just a few food limitations. I still needed a lot of help, even with the basic like toileting, showering, or washing my hands. My vision was still so bad I could not read the big E on the top line of the chart. I'm so very glad to be home! I hope to never need to re-live the first year, especially the first six months, of stroke recovery again! Here are a couple of my stroke-related Christmas thoughts.


In water therapy, my instructor took away my floatation belt for most activity last week. It is MUCH more exhausting to work on staying upright without that safety support! I had no idea I relied on it so heavily. I'm glad the first day was only 45 minutes rather than an hour! It's a good thing, a step forward, but another reminder never to get comfortable where I am, but to keep striving forward! I still cannot be in water past my shoulders in depth, as I don't have enough strength to swim or to right myself if I slip under water. I've tried to drown myself, even with the belt on, a few times already.

I don't know if I will ever be able to trust my left arm or shoulder to hold me up so I can swim again? Generally, I love being in the pool now (I wasn't a huge fan of swimming before the strokes) and feel such freedom of movement. I totally dislike getting out of the pool and feeling gravity kick in so powerfully again.

Monday we had a different instructor than usual and she is a professional dancer (I've been told) so she didn't pace the class to my needs at all. I realized, part way through the class, that I was shifting most of my weight to my right foot in effort to stay balanced with her pace. My left foot was more purple (blood flow issue) by the end of class that any time in recent months. I guess walking has been the most important think to address blood pooling. Her I though purpleness meant to should keep my foot up more, but I guess it means I need to keep putting weight through that left leg consistently.

I don't know if it is the stormy weather, the exercise strain, the cold, or what, but my jaw (and my shoulder) are unusually painful and flared up the last few days. All I know to do if keep consistent on my stretches. Prayers appreciated.

Last week I was trying to reach over for my husband's hand in the night. I ended up poking him in the eye instead. Talk about inappropriate laughter! He came straight up, in pain, and I was in a fit of giggles. I felt terrible, but laughed so hard. :( My tears still come much too easily , and frequently when there is no call for tears, but seem to be calming down a little. When I cry, it is more "normal" crying down, not the body shaking sobs (usually) of before.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry y'all are sick too. That is so tough on mommas especially. I just had to sit back the other day when my daughter threw up and had a bloody nose and hubby had to clean it up. Very frustrating. Yeah for you on getting the laundry done though.

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