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...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Really 15 Months (Swimming)

I've already given my update for this month, but I want to post an update before I forget:

I SWAM today, really swam! I never got up on my sides like I had been trying last week (I'll have to try that again next week, but the other lap swimmer were eager to get the pool back after our class, so I ran out of time to try today), just a "crawl" (breast stroke?) on my belly, but I used both arms and did REALLY well. I wasn't even using any form of floatation assistance! I stayed on the shallow end, where I could touch the bottom at all times, when I needed to.  It was EXHAUSTING so I would huff and puff and take several minutes to catch my breath after each 1/4 lap, but I felt strong and able in the water, for the first time ever today.

I never was a great swimmer before the strokes, being more of a survival style doggy paddler when I needed to keep my head above water. I really didn't even like to fuss with swimming pools much, finding all the clothing change and such to be too much trouble for the limited amount of pleasure. Now I LOVE the water, the freedom of movement it provides, and hate the effects of gravity that seem almost crushing again when I get out. Today, I felt so strong swimming that I started entertaining ideas of competing in the Special Olympics someday (probably a silly dream at this stage, but honestly what plays through my head when I think of today's swim).

I know I still have a LONG way to go, but two comments that really made me feel good are when my mom told me that I didn't even "look disabled" in the water today and when a friend stopped me in the locker room after class to say, "You swim better than I do now!" I do think it is more than valid to say that I swam better today than I typically did before the strokes. I can barely straighten or extend my arm, out of the water. But in the water I could work it to take full swimming strokes. Lots of energy and concentration were demanded of me, but I did it!!! Crazy that just last week I couldn't even support my weight and hold myself up in the water with a floatation belt! Missy, thank you for challenging me when I was ready to accept a limitation!

The one draw back from using my arm so much (and I have noticed this before, just not to such an extent) is that rather than using my left arm more as a result of the exercise, I actually use it less and draw it up more tightly to my chest in the days following such exertion. Today I keep intentionally having to remind myself to relax my left arm and unclench my fist as I find it pulled so tightly into my chest and my hand so tightly grasping itself that my nails are digging deep, purple groves into my palms. It's like the more I challenge that arm, the more exhausted and uncooperative it becomes the rest of the time.

Also I have to say something to my beautiful blessing of my long-awaited daughter:
Love this quote: God will not protect us from what He wants to perfect us through. - FamilyLife Art of Marriage Session One
(Answers some of the questions I had about the strokes in light of verses like Psalm 4:8.)
Psalm 71:20
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.


  1. Replies
    1. Ya go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dear mom I want to tell you thanks for the birthday card and hi The Queen of Brussels Sprouts