Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months 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. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. 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 equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Random Experiences

Today was our first day of homeschool co-op for the semester. The day went well (kids were so happy to be back, though it was very odd not having our oldest there!) other than a few hives from some latex balloons in the building. Thankfully, no breathing issues this time. Strangely, it was only my worse stroke-impacted (left) side that I hived hardest and first. I still have a few swollen, painful, or bloody lumps on that left side, while the right fully cleared with a couple hours and one dose of Benadryl. So I guess it is time for more Benadryl and off to bed.

A few random things to tell you first. Last week, K. (who come nearly each Thursday to clean our house) commented on how strong my right hand has become. I lifted a heavy stoneware (that used to take both hands for me to lift, pre-strokes) over to her with just my right hand. My wrist held steady as I lifted it. While both sides of my body still carry some residual stroke impacts, the right is learning more and more how to compensate not only for its own areas of weakness, but for the left side's significant, remaining lack as well. Last week, I think I grumbled some reply about doing what you have to do, out of necessity, but really I am very thankful for these growing abilities. Thanks for the encouraging observation, K! :)

I tried to carry a book in my left hand today and was able to accomplish the task (I couldn't even hold on to a single piece of paper with my left hand, for a long time!) . I did need to hold the book pulled tight into my chest though (even though I have more range of motion with that arm, than ever before, I seem to use the arm less and less without intentional effort, and tend to keep it clenched and/or pulled up against my body most of the time unless I'm really thinking about it now), and when it was time to let go, I had to pull it out of my left hand with the right, in order to release my own grasp.

On Tuesday, I managed multiple quarter laps across the swimming poll. I also made it the full length of the pool once (one direction), but could only make it a few strokes at a time, between breaks to try to catch my breath again, to make my way back. I swam right next to the pool wall so I could keep grabbing on to it, whenever I needed. I told my mom, when it is a matter of extending my left arm or not taking that next breath (I have to take a fresh breath after every single stroke now), that sure is good incentive to get every last bit of mobility out of my arm that it could possibly give! I still can't stay above water when trying to swim on my left side, but use both arms fairly equally, and turn my head to both sides (turning my head is still not easy), when doing a forward crawl.

I have had two pretty intense migraines in the past four days. I typically avoid medication like the plague, but Monday I broke down and took a prescription pain pill so strong that I hadn't had one since I had been out of the walker (at least 6 months). I was amazed how terrible my balance was on that drug and wonder, while I was having to take it regularly, if that wasn't contributing to my imbalance and inability to walk all those months, a bit?

Speaking of pain, it has become fairly obvious that as the left side has regain feeling (v/s numbness) but the nerves are not returning to normal function. I cannot even let my children snuggle me on the left side, because it hurts too badly. It is very painful to even gently rub or scratch an itch on my own left arm, or to do stretches and gentle touch my own left foot with the right arm. Even taking a step is irritating to my left foot, the pressure of the foot against the floor bringing pain. My left neck/shoulder/jaw/face are pretty much always really sore, even if they aren't being touched. I think this is why I have had such terrible headache issues this week, because the left side of my neck (opposite side of where I stroked, because remember, my dissected artery and brain bleeds were all on the right, thus impacting the left) is so intensely sore this week.

I think we will, overall, just have to be aware of this issue, but because I react so strangely to most medication, I don't know that it will be terribly treatable. The only part of my body that still lacks any feeling is a portion of the left side of my mouth, making things continue to taste strange in that part of my mouth. As I have told my therapists repeatedly, I DO have feeling on most of the left side of my body now, it just isn't normal in sensation. To a very much lesser extent, the right is also more pain sensitive and unnatural in response to touch, but compared to the left, it feels quite "normal" now.

I am waiting to hear back from the endocrinologist's office. I may or may not be able to pursue the testing he has ordered before he will work with me. I was already planning to spend a few hundred dollars on the testing he has ordered, but depending on the billing code their office plans to use, insurance may or may not pick up several thousand dollars worth of blood tests I need too, even though there are absolutely some issues that need to be addressed. The returned phone call will determine if I can continue to pursue his care or not.


I thought of a couple more random thoughts to share the next morning, after I wrote this.

All of 2 Corinthians 4 is beautiful, especially as worded in The Message. Today I leave you with this:
Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God...
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken...
We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! - verses 1,2, 7-11, 13-15

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