Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

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. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.

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.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Videos and Scopes

From Daily inspiration from Jon Acuff, via Facebook.
The strokes have given me a sickening and profound new fear of heights (I'm guessing due to their messing with the balance center of my brain). Love this picture! (Well, not at all the picture, as it makes me want to throw up, but both parts of the words!) True, all the way around!!!

What to write? I'm feeling fairly quiet this week. I'm rather out of ideas about what I should even share. So here goes randomness.

Let's see. First I want to tell you about an article at Five In Tow, titled Ordinary Days. It is a bittersweet little piece about an adult woman's reflections on her childhood loss of her own father. The bit that rather shook me was, "Someday, you’re going to slip right out of your body and your kid is going to be left grappling with the loss.  It’s kind of strange how one soul can be free and another weighed down by the same event.  You will be gone, and they will be here, remembering."

This made me catch my breath as I reflected on the fact that I nearly died a year and a half ago. For a long while I was mad at God and really thought it would be better for my family if they didn't even have to deal with all the changes in me. I just wanted to be gone, spirit freed. It has taken me well over a year to begin to understand their perspective, how the same event that could have been so freeing to me would have been equally weighty for them, for the rest of their lives.


Tomorrow, I get a scope of my vocal chords (camera in through the nose, then down the throat). When I talk to strangers, it is still usually, "What?" with an occasional, "But the strokes didn't effect your speech, it sounds like!" With such a wide variant in reactions, I really don't know what to think! The scope should tell us what level of vocal chord paralysis still remains. It is required in order to evaluate me as a candidate for a new speech program I'm hoping to get into, on the advice of my current Speech Therapist. I am really focused on ST because I hope to have a public speaking ministry some day. Please pray I don't throw up on the techs (that I'm able to go at all) as I am pretty queasy today and don't want to gag tomorrow!

Next, I guess I should give an update on my weight loss efforts. The weight is still a battle. My system is doing better, but could take a couple years to find the combination that really gets it under control. Still yo-yo-ing within my same 5-pound window, so no loss actually. :( At least no real gain either, as there were a couple weeks there where I topped my regular little window and saw 170 for the first time in my entire life (the highest I even got pregnant was in the 130s to low 150s, depending on the pregnancy and what weight I started at).

Lately I'm about 164-168ish, but haven't seen the 150 for many, may months now. I should be/would like to be 120-125. My old "high" used to be 143, so 170 may seem an "I wish" weight to some readers (and I wish to in no way mock your struggles if my 40-50 pounds of needed loss seem minimal), but it is pretty hard to cope with for me! I love the article at MyFriendTeresaBlog on how if feels to want to hide from the camera if you aren't at your ideal weight! Tonight I signed signing up for Beyond Diet (if you are interested in signing up, contact me first as I will be happy to walk you through how I found a coupon for 15% off their services), a set of lots of healthy meals plans and message board support. Hopefully this will help with my post-stroke frustration in meal planning too.

I did read just this week that when the brain is working SO HARD to cope with the simple requirements of life (like breathing, heartbeat, circulation, etc.) it burns a BUNCH more calories than normal. So in addition to a feeding tubes, nothing by mouth, then baby foods in the hospital, this accounts for the dramatic weight loss there. I was down around 110 or maybe even closer to 100 when I got home from the hospital. While there, once I could take liquids by mouth, they were feeding Boost-laden chocolate milkshakes 6 times per day, just to try to up my coloric intake. I have to admit I rather liked that part and was fairly addicted to chocolate milk or milkshakes once I got home!

I'm kind of thinking the whole brain work burning calories is why my doctor saw the weight gain as a good sign because my body was no longer burning every calorie (plus some) I took in, just to survive. She also said the gain provided more energy to burn off during my therapy sessions, whereas, continued loss would have left me too weak for recovery. Add to this massive metabolism changes, not being able to burn calories via walking for much of the first year, along with brain changes causing serious food cravings and lots of high calorie foods gifted to me that first year, and I guess it really isn't too surprising that at soon as my body stopped just burning to fight for basic survival, I ballooned! 

Still, I would like to convince my body that it shouldn't be hanging onto the pounds now! If only hours and hours of therapy each week were doing anything to melt away my growing buldges, but alas, no. I would like to think the creeping scales were, in part, attributed to muscle weight being higher than fat, but my huge belly bulge (that has been mistaken for pregnancy) tells me otherwise.

My eyesight is still too messed up for me to feel safe/comfortable trying to drive yet, to see back over my shoulders. I have already seen so much improvement in such a relatively short amount of time that maybe someday it will still be possible? Two doctors agreed and my eye doctor signed off on my permission to reinstate my license months ago, but until I am confident in my lack of endangering anyone else on the road, I won't be getting behind a wheel. Risking by own life is one thing (like I do every time I get in the pool for water therapy), but putting anyone else at risk is simply not an option! It is a fine balance between the need to "get back on the horse" so to speak (not letting the fear of driving keep me from even trying) and the realistic evaluation of what I believe to be in the best interest of fellow drivers.

My feet are good (I was recently asked about the foot pain from my boots that had to be medically evaluated a few weeks back), though I've noticed if I'm up on them for a few hours (like out shopping after church), that my toes go numb and either or both feet start to really hurt, no matter what shoes I am wearing. I think a wheel chair still needs to be my default when we are out for long.

 Getting up once I'm down.

I'm not quite sure what to do about the post stroke pain, also called CPS, short for Central Pain Syndrome. (They say 40-60% of us get it.) It is getting pretty bad and there are not really any strong pain medications I don't react to. My left leg hurts most of the time, as do my shoulder, neck, jaw, and upper arm. My hand hurts quite often now too. Last week I almost had to quit water therapy because the water pushing against my left leg just hurt!!! But I move SO MUCH better in the water than out of it, the pain will have to get a lot worse in order to drive me out of the water. I guess I'm stubborn like that.
Hand therapy / recovery video with prior hyper-mobility (double jointedness).

Our daughter still says {yet another!) hurt foot, but she isn't complaining as much nor as often and she is able to do pretty much anything and everything on it now (she spent the day running around a water park last week, climbing the stairs, splashing and playing) so I am not too worried about the likelihood of it being actually broken anymore (as we thought from the x-rays, but the orthopedic surgeon decided not to cast).

Remember my rose garden? I have just posted a few updated photos I took there this week. over on my original post. But here are a few other views from my garden right now. :)

General exercises (part 1)

Not much else going on here. All the kids are home for the summer. {Happy dance on my part, at least in my heart, since not in my feet! :) } We still haven't heard anything about school for our daughter, so I would really appreciate your prayers for an opening there, and to put our minds to rest, we would love to hear this news very soon! We are working on moving our oldest into his own room (he has been sharing with our youngest and we no longer need a school room). All the kids start the new school year on Aug 12 (early this year)! Thanks to the home school moms who are helping me sort curriculum, clean out or old school room, and are evening hosting a garage sale for us this next weekend!
Single-handed hairdo.

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galations 2:20


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Denise. Your email was the second one I read this morning and it made my day. I am pasting it here so I have a more permanent record and can find it again when I look. Thank you!!!


      My Princess,
      My child, I love your mouth because it is Mine—ready to be filled with My words. Did you know that I’ve anointed your beautiful lips with the power to speak life to a lifeless world? While others are using their lips to spread worthless words, you, My princess, have the privilege of changing people’s perspectives and empowering them to make life-changing choices that point them to Me.
      Your words will be more valuable than priceless jewels. I want you to come to Me in prayer every day and I will line your lips with love, wisdom, and encouragement and make your mouth My masterpiece for all who hear you speak.
      Your King and Counselor

      “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”
      ~Colossians 3:16-17~

      Denise, honored to be a daughter of the King

  2. So much to say....let me know how your scope goes.

  3. God bless Jennie! From GMG, Roxana. Seeing that your daughter is getting better, great!!! What a wonderful ork the Lord is doing in you! Keep the good work, may God continue showing His healing touch through your life!