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, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day Thoughts

I went to my doctor about my right foot yesterday. It seems to be a "soft tissue injury," presumably from carrying my weight so unevenly and abusing that poor little foot with the bulk of the responsibility of carrying my body. I called and canceled today's scheduled physical therapy, because I am to be icing, elevating and staying off my foot as much as possible. Since  I can't even get an enclosed shoe onto that foot (one pair of rather unsupportive, but wrapping-around-me, gladiator-style sandles are all I even semi-comfortably tolerate wearing this week, even though it has been cold and rainy all week), I think therapy would be rather counter-productive at the moment.

The good news is that my doctor anticipates that the foot should be better within a week, as long as I take care of it. If it isn't, she will send me to a foot specialist to have another look. It doesn't look bad, hardly visibly swollen and not bruised or discolored at all. It just feels pretty sore.

It was a long day yesterday. I fell into bed without even doing my speech therapy exercises before bed, something I hardly ever miss. I was gone from the house from 11:45-7:30 last night, riding the special needs bus, "Access," from one appointment to the next. I explained to my therapist that this is intimidating, not because I'm not well cared-for, but because I have rarely been totally on my own any time in over 18 months, so I just don't have much confidence or self-reliance. I guess every time I do this sort of thing, I regain a little a little independence again. My counselor says that being in stroke recovery is my occupation, my full-time job. I certainly never dreamed that recovery would still be so much work, a year and a half into this journey!!! (Thanks to my mom who has set aside her own normal life to make me her full-time life too!)

From Facebook

Riding the bus puts me in contact with all kinds of interesting new people. Yesterday I rode with one lady who was in an electric wheel chair and had little control over her head, whipping it from side to side, like I did for several weeks after my last three strokes. It hit me hard that that's the exact position I would be in right now, had not God allowed me such healing over the past year. I sat behind her and fought tears, for her, for myself, for the entire situation, for nearly an hour.

Something that she could do that had me in absolute awe (because I cannot), was hold a baby! She got onto the bus with a child strapped into an infant carrier she held on her lap (ingenious idea!). Her hands were crumpled, but she had one thumb she could securely hook through the infant carrier, leaving her other arm free to gently pat the child's legs in comfort. She was obviously an excellent mother and I was enthralled with her skill and obvious devotion to this child. He occasionally made some contented little sound, but was otherwise the quietest child I had ever observed. It wasn't until she got off at her stop that I could see the exquisite face of the, I would guess about 3 month, little boy that looked exactly like his Mama.

It wasn't until the bus driver re-boarded the bus after escorting her to her door that the other lady on the bus questioned him about the child. I was stunned to learned that he wasn't a real baby at all, rather a life-like doll! I really had no idea. Apparently she has several of these, of various expressions, and travels with one of them daily, treating them as real children. How my heart aches! Eventually, maybe I will learn some of the back story there. I hate how the bus situates each client rather separately so that there is little chance for conversation or interpersonal interaction.

The lady behind me was nearly in tears because she heard me answer a brief phone call from my mom and she is struggling over the upcoming weekend without her own mother still alive. I wished I could have talked with her more too! The entire day was a profound reminder of my abundance of blessing in my own mom, that I have been ever-so-blessed to be entrusted with my children (twice over, not only that they are here at all, but this will be our first Mother's Day they have been home since the strokes), and for the leaps and bounds of health improvement I have been given, far beyond all medical anticipation! Yesterday was summed up with heavy reminders that, "But for the grace of God, go I!"

From Facebook.
An Open Letter to Pastors, A Non-Mom Speaks About Mother's Day (In spite of the title, this letter is basically non-religious in nature, and very good for anyone to read. Thanks to my Mommy for the link.)
LORD, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. - Psalm 16:5-6

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your sweet kind words, my lovely daughter!

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  2. I have heard of those dolls, but never seen them. Definitely sad. As for the full time job thing...I agree!

    ReplyDelete