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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Perspective

From Facebook
Today's question from my stroke group was, "What did you do for work before stroke? Are you able to work now?" My answer is Wife, Mommy, homemaker, homeschool teacher, author. Thankfully still a wife (though I was doubtful many times that first year!) and Mommy (it took 8 months for our kids to get to move back home, but they have been home for over a year now), but I still need lots of help managing our home, my kids are now in traditional classrooms, and I'm trying to write books again but my 5th grade just got a 70% on an English assignment I helped her with (she usually gets straight As without my "help") so we'll see how that goes.

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On Saturday afternoon I wrote, "Waiting for a friend from out of state to show up for a visit. I haven't seen her since before my strokes. I'm sure we will have a great time, but I'm rather nervous!" After a wonderful, too fast, 6 or 7 hours together, the next day I wrote, "It went well. We went out for "coffee" and ended up grabbing both dinner and desert... She's a nurse so wanted to hear all the details. Through her eyes I could better see how very much I've lost, but also how very miraculously far I've come."

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Early last year, I wrote about how very slowly time was dragging and how I wondered if things would go differently once the kids came back home. Finally, this week, I heard myself saying, "I can't believe it is nearly October already!"

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It took nearly two years to feel like time was moving normally again, but this is one area where my perspective is pretty normalized again. Maybe not "normal" in that, if anything, time feels like it is speedy by too quickly now, but this is so much better than the snail crawl I felt locked in for so very long!
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For those following my VERY SLOW and incredibly hard fought weight loss efforts, I am now down a total of 19 pounds from my very highest post-stroke weight, still about 20 pounds to go to get back to the weight I had fought my way down to prior to the strokes, the weight I was the day I first entered the hospital. Of course, I lost another 15-20 during my nearly two months there, then was unhealthfully too thin, but I would very much like to get back where I started almost two years ago! I am back into size large clothes again, but not mediums for a while yet! It has been a wild ride, fitting (swimming) in everything from extra smalls to (squeezing) into extra larges, all within about a year and a half! Glad that, right now, the scale seems to be concistantly crawing in the right direction!
 
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Quote: Learning to live with upside-down situations isn't easy, but it is part of life. - Barbara Johnson

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Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. - Proverbs 30:5, NLT
 
 
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

23 Months

I was asked this morning if I could say just one thing to a new strokie, what would it be. I think I would tell them something like, "It seems forever, but time REALLY won't always seem to crawl so slowly. While your life may never be exactly the same again, it really does become livable again. {hug} Hang in there!"

Speaking of saying one thing, I was looking over our 7-year-old's homework from last week and he was asked if he could wish for any one thing and have it come true, what would he spend that one wish upon? He wrote, "I wod wish that my mom wod be betr." That really hit me in the heart!


From Facebook
I wrote last week on The Problem of Pain. I need to add a new experience yesterday where I was sitting in a weird position and after about 5 minutes of pretty intense pain I was just trying to ignore, I realized that if I changed positions I actually COULD do something to relieve this one! I hadn't been wiggling or squirming or anything all that time, just living with it because that is what I usually have to do and moving usually hurts even more. So once I realized what I was doing, I changed positions (probably how I was putting pressure on a nerve) and that particular pain turned off like a light switch. That's the first time I know of that my body was sending a legitimate pain signal telling me to change what I was doing because it wasn't good for me and I failed to respond because I am so "used" to ignoring pain.

From Facebook
I guess my pain post from last week brings you up to speed on my CPS, TN, TMJ (jaw), ears, shoulder and things like that. My eyes have been a little blurry again at times lately, especially that left one, but things usually refocus fairly quickly. I seem to be able to, usually, look all around me, even behind, to the right with single vision most of the time now! To the left thing still double pretty quickly to my side, I think even more quickly than a month or two ago, but compared to last year, things are so very much better!

I still seem to be managing pretty good large motor function out of my left arm (when I remember to use it) but do usually find it much more comfortable to carry pulled up close to my body rather than free-swinging. I am still walking with a cane outside my house most of the time (often without it at home because of less chance of distraction and less "traffic" to cause loss of stability) but had to give up on the goal of carrying it with my left because I often just end up dragging it with that arm and it doesn't offer me stability that way, so I went back to carrying it with my right. If I'm holding a cane in my right hand, I can't carry much with my left so kind of have no free and reliable arms to use much when I'm in public.

I still haven't quite figured out what to do with the social convention of shaking hands when my right is occupied with the cane - the solution I usually default to is switching the cane momentarily to the left, shaking hands with my right, then switching the cane back to the right. Not terribly safe/stable, but no one ever gave me "lessons" in how better to manage here. I often think of Kendra and other friends who can't shake with the right much at all. It is just awkward for everyone involved! Anyone have suggestions?

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I've got my rose garden about half way re-claimed from two summers of mostly wild growing. The half I haven't done yet has lots of volunteer trees growing in it now, so someone else is going to have to get in there and pull them or cut them for me as I'm not strong enough yet. It feels nice to see half of the bushes tamed back again even though it is fall and they will soon sucome to frost for the year! So far, no falls in the roses since early summer! Almost took a digger this morning, but God kept me upright! Climbing through there this morning, cane in my right hand and dragging my little gardening bench eith my left, stepping over uneven ground and previously cut thorny branches, I thought I would love for my OT who first taught me to start walking again, to be able to see me now! I really think he would quite be in awe!!! I figure my garden is great physical and occupational therapy too!

Concerning brain reorganization, yesterday I actually thought to pick a toy up off the floor and put it away myself rather than ignoring it for several days and thinking "someone" should deal with it. I also managed to help our daughter get an entire sink load of dishes prepped and loaded in the dishwasher last night. This morning I put away all the silverware by myself! These perhaps seem like rediculously small tasks, but are all HUGE steps of progress for me. I am so excited! I still had to ask my husband what to do next (make breakfast) when I got up to see my kids off to school this morning, but with a little coaching, I think things are starting to come along.


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I'm not really making any progress on my books right now. :( Lots of thinking (most of which I will forget) but very little actual writing. I've decided my rose pruning hours alone with God must still be great for brain development and reorganization, but wow I wish you could actually read some of the amazing thoughts that flitter through my head in those hours. I would like to read a book like that! I thought with not homeschooling this year I would have time heavy on my hands. That's not been the case! Everything I do takes me so much longer than it did before, so that probably accounts for part of the speeding hours?

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Last week, I had just gotten in the shower when I heard the doorbell ring. In the past I might have jumped out, grabbed my robe and run for the door. Last week, I knew that wasn't even an option (for one thing I can't break into a run no matter how hard I try - I tried again today, nearly fell in the living room, grabbed for the bird cage to catch myself, got my thumb stuck, and nearly broke it as my body continued moving forward while my hand stayed trapped between metal bars) and that I would likely fall and hurt myself just trying to stand up quickly from the shower bench and rushing to step over the shower threshhold. So I just heard myself say, instead, "Oh well. If it is Publisher's Clearinghouse here to give us money, I really hope they come back!"

I continued to shower then heard the door open. "Mom?" I called out. My parents have a key to our house, so I hoped that was them and that I hadn't left the door unlocked or that someone was breaking in! Waiting for my mom's answer, I sat there caculating how quickly I might be able to get up and around the shower door to reach my emergency beeper right outside the shower in order to push the panic button before a criminal got me! About that time, I heard Mom's voice, so I knew all was well.

The funny things that go through my mind now that I know my old responses would no longer be possible! After I finished my shower, my mom combed out my wet tangles, they blessed me with my favorite kind of salsa from a chain they visited on our trip that is no longer in our area, and we got to visit with my parents a bit, I told them they were even better than a visit from Ed McMan and I was very glad no police had to be involved. :)
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I guess Disney just announced they will be tightening up their disability access program and there will no longer be instant access to rides for disabilities. I had been looking forward to the day I could manage Disneyland, but with this ruling I think that potential was just moved back by several years, if not made impossible all together. Too bad that so much abuse of the program was made so that those of us who really need it can no longer use it. :( Hopefully the new options will still make the parks useable for most. I would be happy to be pleasantly surprised if this change does not impact my own timeline as much am I think it likely will.

I'm pretty sure at least one more big piece of news was intended for this update, but since I have NO idea what that might have been, I'll log off for now.


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James 5:11
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
 



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Problem of Pain


Facebook - But really I love bears. <3
I almost feel as if I am "fighting something" these past few weeks. I'm unusually tired (still nothing like full blown ME/CFS days, just unusual for me compared to prior months) and just feel slow and dull and sometimes downright stupid these last couple of weeks. I have things to do, meals to prepare, a house to clean, a book to write, emails to answer, phone calls to place and return. I feel terribly unmotivated to actually do any of it, especially the phone calls that are so terribly draining (due to mental strain, conversational fatigue, hearing loss, and still a little bit of speech struggle). I am so VERY thankful to my mom who does all our laundry care and Rick who does everything he can possibly think of to help me out.

I guess, when I really take the time to think about it, the answer is probably pain. I feel I'm in a catch-22, because if I talk about what hurts, how much it hurts, I am putting more mental focus there than I want to be. The pain wears me out, but talking about it doesn't help, so why wear others out with it too? I don't want to be thought of as a complainer. And many I would tell live with their own forms of pain already, so why add mine to their concerns. Making them aware of each day's status doesn't help anyone, so why bother.

This is me today. I feel like I must be forgetting something important!

Or maybe I already am seen as a complainer. I do mention pain a little. But what I mention and how often I say anything is so very downplayed from the mental gymnastics I battle just to manage moment by moment, that I wonder how I'm preceived by my loved ones? I wonder if they have a clue to what extent these symptoms drain me???

This week has been especially bad. Tuesday night, all my poor hubby had to do was come to bed and when he got in, the movement of the mattress was all I needed to audibly cry out in extra pain. :( Of course then there are the questions of "Why didn't you tell me?" I ask, in return, "What's the point? Why bother?" Telling doesn't change anything. This was me on Tuesday night:


My face isn't in as acute pain today, but the whole thing is still pretty touchy ever snce I had a simple ear exam on Monday afternoon. I had no idea that a little otoscope, with no extra looking / touching / digging / or other procedures, could trigger sch a nasty pain attack! (My recovery has gone well from my 3rd ear surgery, by the way, and the ENT was pleased with the visible healing of all but the nerve itself.) For my own information, I'm posting a more detailed version of the above picture because I want the reference informatio such as names of nerves. For what it's worth, my specific kind of TN is type 2, or ATN.


This morning my shoulder was acting up, the CPS pain, like a TN attack, but in my left arm and shoulder and neck and upper back. So I was one mass of pain from above my ear, through the ear, across theside of my face, down the jaw, then right on down my neck, through the shoulder and down to almost mid back on the left. I noticed these last couple days that even my right (less stroked) hand (especially thumb and forfinger) and even arm are getting rather sore and stiff too. :( Maybe I can just chalk all the extra pain up to weather changes as fall comes upon us??? I'm still quite sore now, but nothing like a few hours there this morning. I'm no longer feeling like I'm going to throw up from the pain. It's still coming in waves of sharper pain, but they each last only a few minutes now.

I tried to take a nap (a couple of times, actually) this morning. I haven't been able to sleep today because the pain was too great. When I gave up this second time I noticed that, while not doubled, my vision was pretty blurry again for several minutes. When I couldn't just shake it off, I went to the mirror and studied my eyes to be sure one wasn't crossing again. I had my good hand on the emergency beeper around my neck and was ready to push it in an instant if things didn't look right in the mirror.

Everything looked OK from the outside, so I went through all the "FAST" stroke evaluation steps (except, thankfully not needed to do T for time to call 911!) and realizing my existing deficits with face, arms and speech, didn't find anything new or concerning there either. I guess I am just having an "tagged photo" few days.
 


Sorry today's thought aren't more uplifting. Writing is my outlet. I don't even think very many people actually read this (thank you to anyone who does carve that time out of your lives) but I just needed to say it all today. Thanks for listening!
Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. - Job 7:11
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; - Job 13:15a
 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Counting the Cost

My brand new lap top seems to be trying to flip out on me. :( So if I fall quiet again, you likely know why!

From Facebook
I didn't have any one big thought to share, but lots of little ones are starting to pile up, so I figured I better put together another little update, pasting together several recent Facebook interactions I've been having along with some thought on energy expense. Oh, and PLEASE be sure to take 3 minutes out of your life to watch this video at http://gawker.com/this-three-minute-commercial-puts-full-length-hollywood-1309506149. (Sorry I couldn't figure out how to link it but you won't want to directly link it here. Bring tissues when you watch though!)

 
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We were blessed to attend the 8th annual I Hope You Dance gala on Friday night. I think this was the fifth time we were able to attend. Last time we made it, 2 years ago, was just weeks before my strokes! Here's a picture from this weekend (I'm the one with the pink flower in my hair):

 
Some of my ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) friends who hadn't seen updates wanted to know how I'm doing. I replied, "I am doing well! ME/CFS wise I've been at least at about 70% improvement (up to 90% and holding for over a year!) since before the strokes. Stroke wise I am doing very well for someone who should have died or should still be hooked up to life support and in a nursing home."
 
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This morning, I posted to another page that my beautiful rose garden has been terribly neglected these past two summers since my strokes. (My amazing husband did get out there and love on my plants on my behalf last summer, but I could not get out there to baby them at all myself.) I worked on the garden one week early this summer, but I don't usually get up early enough to get out there when it is still shady (I literally am allergic to the sun since the strokes and break out in bleeding blisters if it touches me), so it has gone to weeds this summer. I got out there for an hour this morning while it was still in the shade and managed to reclaim about four plans without falling! Only about 16 more and dozens of volunteer little trees to shop down left to go! Hopefully I get it re-claimed this fall and next summer will stay on top of it again.

 
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And concerning a truck contest I entered, I had to answer why I wanted to win it. I wrote, "I would like to win for my husband, Rick, who believed in me and fought for me when the doctors gave him no hope and told him to give up! He clung to our marriage vows even when I tried to throw them away. He has been driving a beat up old car without air conditioning to keep paying my medical bills that are estimated to run a million dollars or more over the course of my lifetime (all without financial aid that we seem unable to qualify for on every level). I want to do something to say a little thank you for all he is sacrificing!" 
  
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As I said, we went out Friday night. We came home just after the formal program, but long before the party was over. I was asleep within half an hour of getting home. Rick wheeled me around an airshow for two hours on Saturday morning. I came home and crashed for nearly a three hour nap. We went to church on Sunday morning, and as is typical for me, I slept most of Sunday afternoon. I LOVE people. I'm rather extroverted and thrive on human contact and communication. But people simply exhaust me now! The mental requirements of following conversation, being in crowds with all the movement and sounds for my brain to process, is just physically taxing and we know the cost of socialization is high. I don't want to hide from life, but I just need to plan hours of sleep into my schedule for any such energy expenditure. (This still differs from my CFS day because while I still need tons of sleep, that sleep is actually usually quite rejuvenating now!)
  
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One more story from Friday night. I had gotten to spend some time talking with the guest singer at this event two years ago, about a month before I stroked. She ended up being seated at our table Friday night. I had transferred from my wheel chair to a regular banquet chair (something that would have been unthinkable a year ago because I wouldn't have been able to stay upright without chair arms to hold me in!), so she surely saw my wheel chair folded up behind me, but in the context of a fundraiser dinner for chronic illness, this wouldn't be a surprising sight in the least. I weigh about 30 pounds more than I did last time we met and my hair comes to my shoulders rather than to my waist, but though there were changes she surely noticed, she made no indication that she even guessed what has happened in our world since we last met in 2011. It didn't even beg to become conversationally addressed! I honestly don't think she had any idea I had had any strokes. I was so terribly and visibly disabled even a year ago. This is pretty mind-blowing and exciting to me that I doubt she could tell anything she wouldn't have just discounted as part expected manifestations of a chronic illness. Wow, I felt pretty "normal" meeting her for this second time!
 

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I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. - Psalm 9:1

 

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Broken Emotions and Reasoning

It has been an interesting week of self-reflection. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that when I tell people I had strokes, I typically get blanks stares and a total lack of understanding about what that actually means. I think back to my own sketchy, pre-stroke understanding, and I'm not surprised. So I'm thinking of changing my explanation and saying I had a couple of massive brain bleeds (I actually had 6 strokes, but four were relatively "smaller" and not life threatening to the extent of the first two) or maybe even use the term "brain hemorrhages." I think that might better explain "stroke" to the general public and sounds more attention-grabbing and understandable. I could then add on something like, "You know, strokes." and sort of slip in stroke education that way.

I have given a pretty lengthy and detailed description of brain function, specifically kinds and locations of strokes, here, if anyone is really interested to read it all. I think this would mostly interest stroke survivors themselves, families or caregivers of stroke victims, or medical or therapy professionals. I don't know that the average member of society would have much desire to wade through these explanations, but from my point of view, it is pretty fascinating! (Of course, I welcome any clarification on information I might mis-understand or be mis-representing there!) It was originally posted a couple weeks ago, but has been significantly edited and added to twice since, so I wanted to point out the post All In My Head again.

From Facebook

I haven't talked much about PBA much lately, in part because symptom seem to be quieting down for the most part, something for which I am so terribly grateful! But one experience last week is worth documenting here. After weeks and weeks of being unable to cry under any circumstances, my husband put on an emotionally manipulative "chick flic" one evening last week. It was the kind of movie I would have called a "good cry movie" before the strokes and would have shed tears through most of the second half of the film, had I been watching it prior to my strokes.

I sat there as an emotionless lump, wanting to cry at several points, but totally unable to even force tears of release even when I urgently felt I needed too. Instead, there was much laughter and battering with my teenager and husband about how I should be sobbing but could not turn on the tears.

Then, about 10 minutes AFTER the movie, my husband and I talked about mundane scheduling issues, there was absolutely no emotional trigger involved, and suddenly my voice unexpectedly broke and, even in front of our teen (who I discovered early on I typically could no longer cry around), I blurted out, "NOW I'm going to cry!" and I broke down in uncontrollable sobs. The tears could and would not be held back no matter what I tried.

Then the hick-up sobs became mixed with hysterical laughter, for I felt so very ridiculous sobbing over my husband's work schedule the next day. My son even asked, "Mom, are you laughing or crying now? I can't tell!" which only produced more tear-laden hysterical sobbing. Poor kid!

This went on for several minutes, then, like a light switch, as suddenly and unexpectedly as the whole storm had broken, it was over. No sniffling and shuttering and tapering down of tears, just sobbing one moment and totally calm the next! I picked up right where the conversation had previously left off and felt nothing unusual other than a wave of utter exhaustion.

So as soon as we had our schedules settled, I went to bed. I had no more than touched my head to the pillow in that dark, quiet room, than sobbing overwhelmingly shook my frame once again. I had no idea it was coming and had anyone asked why I was crying, their guesses would have been as good as mine. I utterly, gut-wrenching yield to the tears (not that I had any choice in the matter because they were here no matter what!) and cried it out HARD for another good ten minutes or so, then once again the tears were gone as suddenly as they started. Then I felt better than I had all evening.

I guess the tears had just bottled themselves up for so long that the pressure finally built up enough to demand release, and once the chemical release valve was satisfied, that was that??? How very odd to experience such profound physical signs of emotional expression that were totally out of sync with my emotional experiences of the moment. This used to be a pretty-much daily constant in the early months of recovery (outward expressions of vile anger and tear-laden distress when I inwardly longed for loving gentles or did not feel angry or tearful), but hasn't flared up in this extreme for a while now. No more tears since that evening, so I really hope we aren't headed into another cycle of inability to release valid emotions!

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Similarly, I am gradually becoming more aware of the break down in my logical reasoning abilities. This week my husband expressed frustration that I keep making new dinners, all the while the refrigerator was becoming more and more chaotic and crowded with leftovers and food was going to waste. He asked me if I would be willing to clean out the refrigerator the next day, sort through and dispose of spoiled foods, organize what was left, and make an effort at getting current food eaten up. Physically, I have that capability now. Mentally, the thought had never crossed my mind. As I told a friend, a few days before his request, it was starting to cross my mind that "somebody really should do something about this refrigerator," but that where the logic train stopped. It never even occurred to me that I was the one building this problem nor that it was now both within my physical ability (something that hadn't been true for so very long) and family obligation to be that "somebody" who could do anything to resolve the issue. As soon as Rick explained exactly what he needed, it was like, "Of course! I can do that!" But without his prompting, I would still be trying to stuff more left-overs into a bulging fridge!

Kathy has been coming to clean my house every Thursday for well over a year now. What a blessing!!! And how beautiful that this casual pre-stroke friendship has birthed one of my closest confidants along with keeping us in a livable house. As my kids say, "Ms. Kathy is totally family now!" We are just working on weaning the weekly help down to every other week, so I felt like I did a pretty good job at keeping up the house over these past two weeks before she was back yesterday, but after seeing how my kitchen (and rest of the house) sparkles today, I realized how very much she does here that I still simply miss!

Yesterday we talked about the fridge and my non-logical information processing since the stroke. For example, Kathy pointed to a cup on the counter and asked if it needed to be put away or washed. I replied that it should be washed out but to be careful because it had been sitting there for several days, untouched, so was likely "growing something" by now! We talked about how strange it was that I could give her that precise warning, yet it had never occurred to me that prior week that I could have, or should have, ever taken care of that cup myself. Kathy is so sweet and understanding and will do the nastiest of jobs with a gentle, willing heart (what a picture of Christ, of true servanthood, she is to me!) and she said this part of my personality change, "Is just who Jenni is now." As simple as that, but still odd to learn to work with.

Later in the morning she picked a piece of paper trash off the floor. I thanked her and noted that I had been stepping over that trash and thinking that somebody really should pick it up, for four days straight now! We both laughed at my honesty. :) So my new goal is to not only see things that need to try to be addressed, but when I think to myself that "someone" should do a certain job, to try to stop and ask myself if I could possibly be that someone. We'll see how it goes...

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I so wish my video camera was still working. I really want to show you pictures of my hands! I used to be a nail-biter before the strokes, but then mobility issues and jaw misalignment broke me of that bad habit because it simple wasn't possible anymore. For the first time in my life, I am struggling to keep  my nails short enough not to cause injury to my family (my poor husband!) and don't have the dexterity to trim them well (and never think of it when my mom or husband can help me), so haven't cut them in months.

If you could see a picture, here's what you would see. On my right hand my thumb and pointer (typing) finger nails are worn down to the tips of my fingers. I use these two so much that the nails never have a chance to grow, but are forever being dinged, chipped and simply worn nearly to the quick. The other three nails on that hand  grow the whites out just barely past the ends of my finger tips, so they are longer, but still pretty short.

On my left hand, my ring finger and thumb are my most frequently used fingers. My ring finger is the only one strong enough to usually maintain extension and support itself for me to turn off lights, push buttons, etc. with that hand. Though the most painful and generally the most stiff, I do have flexation in that opposable didget and try to put it to work pretty often too. Both of these nails are slightly longer than any of my right hand. The next longest nails (visibly longer than thumb or ring finger) are my left pointer and middle finger. These are both worn down enough that you would never guess they represent months worth of growth, but they are out there enough to be pretty dangerous , especially since I have very little, very clumsy, fine motor control of that hand. These are fingers I try to use, try to challenge as much as possible, but they aren't so responsive nor cooperative. There is a pretty nice stripe of white nail showing over the tips of these fingers.

My pinky has broken and regrown at least twice since it has last been cut. Even so, I use that finger infrequently and inefficiently enough that there is currently as much white nail showing there as there is pink! It is the one that people notice. It is the one that draws compliments. It is the one that most frequently causes people (especially my husband!) bodily harm. It is the picture of what I think a long nail should look like. Too bad it is only there because I neglect that hand so much. I always prayed for long nails, I just never stopped to consider the potential cost.

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OK, Now I'm off to try to call (have I mentioned lately that I really  HATE telephones?) my insurance and get some sort of resolution as to if, and if so, how much, they are willing to pay toward voice therapy for me (this would be critical in my mind if I am to pursue public speaking), starting next month if we can swing the cost. Thank you for praying for a specific need for me, yet again!

Psalm 27:5
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What I'v Been Up To


I haven't posted here today because I have been busy else! Here's my update from one of my other pages.
 
I'm also still pretty zonked from another latex allergic reaction (thankfully, no hospital this time!) this past Sunday, so while I'm getting back on my feet, I'm not up to a whole extra blog post today.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Striving for "Best" Not Just Better

I think I must be fighting a little bug today? I usually get up about 6:30 to see the kids off to school. The last two days I have gone back to bed when they left at 7 and slept until about 8:30 (I usually can't actually get back to sleep after they leave). Today I couldn't even get up, so by sweet hubby managed them while getting himself ready for work too, and had them all come back to kiss me before they left, but I never got up. I finally woke up at nearly 9:30!

I'm up, and I'm not worried about an ME/CFS relapse because I actually felt rested when I finally did wake up. But I am feverish this morning, so even though I feel fine (other than sleepy again - I think a nap is in order!), I'm taking it easy. Rick is already planning to take care of dinner, bless his heart! I'm hoping to get some writing done before the kids get home this afternoon.

Facebook
Oh, and friends have asked how I am doing with the kids gone each day. Wonderfully, actually! Yesterday was the first day since their first day (nearly a month ago) where I have missed them so much to be counting the minutes until they got home. Today, not feeling great, I am actually looking forward to crawling back into bed without guilt! After nearly eight months of them living away from home, just being gone for a school day is quite doable, because I know they are coming home each afternoon! Plus, it lets me focus on me for the hours they are gone and know they will soon be home again with exciting stories of the day.

Given the circumstances, I think the kids are happier to be around other adults who don't remind them of the family crisis during their days. Our 7-year-old was in tears twice after he got home last night, once while out playing with his friends and just thinking through the experiences of that first year and specifically when I almost died in the beginning, and once because he had spoken disrespectfully to me at dinner and was devastated that maybe he had hurt me. If being out of our home for a few hours each day brings joy to my kids hearts and temporarily removes them from the burdens of simply living this reality and also makes them more eager to be home for the hours that they are, praise God!


Facebook
Nothing big to share about this week, so I wanted to re-address something I never posted last week (or maybe from the week before, I'm not sure now?) and tell you about preparing for our first scheduled dinner guest since my stroke. (We have had a couple of casual, spur-of-the-moment dinners with friends, but nothing I really took time to prepare for.)

Facebook - Just because it is beautiful and looks yummy. Two of my favorites, chocolate and roses!

Something I posted to a stroke group on Aug. 27:
I am EXHAUSTED today and was so very stressed yesterday. Hubby says that by the time he got home from work last night (about an hour before guests were due) I was so stressed that my face was all rashed out. The multi-tasking of trying to put together a simple meal after making the house presentable (not clean, just passable) about did me in, but I calmed after he had been home about 20 minutes and the evening went well.

Also, we (the Stroke Coffee House Facebook group) were having a conversation about stair climbing and if we each find it easier to go up or down. I replied:
I do better going up too, but I used to make my therapist laugh but telling him that going down was a sure thing because I always knew I would accomplish that goal, one way or another! ;)

Facebook - Funny, that's totally how I felt even a few months ago. Now, not so much. I want people to see my story and not give up, not because I haven't, but because of God's faithfulness to sustain!
 
Quote of the day:

"Good enough" is the enemy of "best." - Unknown
 
Verse of the day:

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. - Romans 8:39
I have had a horrid fear of heights since my strokes (seems related to the balance issues I'm facing from brain injury and is gradually improving a bit with other symptom improvements) and this verse really caught my attention anew, with the opening line being "Neither height..."