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...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Discoveries

I am formally launching my Stroke Products Review page, so if you know of any companies you would like to see featured here for other survivors to find, products that help meet your uniqu needs, please let me know about them or send them a note directing them to my page. Thanks! http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html

Rick and I were just talking about my 2 year re-birthday (anniversary of stroke) later this month. On one hand it just doesn't seem possible already. On the other, "before" seems like forever ago, a whole other lifetime ago. I broke down. I really hate how easily and uncontrolably tears come sometimes, especially when I'm alone with Rick (since I usually CANNOT cry any other time)! *sigh* I posted to Stroke Coffee House, "I hate how easily I loose control and burst into tears sometimes. Just sayin'."

Speaking of weird emotions, I now love minions. I used to laugh histarically over certain words and prases, like "quack" or "horse poop" (especially in Spanish) that first year after the strokes. Doen't ask me why. These were just sure-fire laughter. Every now and then, one of these will strike me as funny, but not so predictably now.

Any kind of slap-stick still usually catches my funny bone, though not to the extent it did my first year. I even watched an episode of the Three Stooges without cracking a smile the other day! They were my humor heroes last year! But minions, they are like the Twinky (or Tic Tak, according to our 13-year-old) version of the Stooges (104 rather than just Three, according to the same son). I get such a kick out of their juvinal humor! I told my husband that I think he gets much more of a kick out of seeing the stupid things that make me loose myself with laughter now, rather than the things themselves. I feel silly for finding these thing SO funny, but I just do now!

I was trying to swish out the bath tub (with a long pole, no bending over) today and my left leg was all wobbly and ataxic (shaking) within about a minute! When I was in the tub (only like my 5th or 6th bath since the strokes, though I do regularly shower ;) ) my entire left side, started shaking within minutes and I had to have Rick come fish me out. I guess it was a reaction to the warm water, or kind of a hype-shivering as the water cooled a bit or something. I'm not really sure - the weirdness of stroke survival never ends!

Something kind of funny I'm discovering is that, now that I've finally been able to fight off a little weight, if I pull my abdominal muscles in I can make my tummy a little bit flatter again (realitive term), but ONLY on the right (less stroked) side! I knew that the strokes impacted me head to toe on the left - eye, ear, face, jaw, neck, shoulder, digestive system, hip, knee, leg, muscles, foot, toes, circulation, central pain, and more - but the last time I was skinny enough to notice any flattening of my stomach, I didn't have enough control of any of my muscles (not just abdominal) yet, to work on pulling in that left side. Now I'm rather lopsided, with a bulging and  jiggly tummy on the left and a tummy that is starting to show the dividends of diet and nearly two years of aggressive physical therapy and muscle training / toning, on the right. Not life-shattering, just interesting! Will the new discoveries ever stop?

By the way, my recent report that I was down 19 pounds over the past year was faulty. The batteries in my electric bathroom scales were just loosing power. In a year I'm only down 10/11 pounds. I didn't figure it out until the sales were saying I had lost another 12 in this past week alone! This post-stroke weight is really HARD to fight off!!! (And suddenly it is rather deflating to learn I have really only lost 10 after believing I had lost about 20 as I've watched the scales slowly start to drop over recent months.)

So, we finally have a probable answer about why the left side of my jaw got knocked off joint so that the upper jaw was dropped down behind the lower jaw, causing so much pain, not allowing me to open my mouth wide for months, agrivating mild, pre-existing TMJ, and triggering the TN face pain. It is speculated that, as a result of the terribly lax facial muscles resulting from the strokes, this was an accidental result of the same traumatic intubation that scared my trachea. Mmm. I know breathing was more important than the function of my jaw hinge at that point, so I'm glad they were able to intubate, but it is kind of one of those "learn new thing every day" moments when it was finally explained why.

At least the upper jaw is back on top of the lower jaw again, after months of very painful exercise and therapy, as evidenced by my ability to more widely open my mouth again AND by the fact that my left jaw is able to "click" (classic TMJ sign) again, something it could not even do for many months. After nearly two years of double duty chewing food and such, my right jaw joint clicks often so seems to be developing TMJ as well, but thankfully not TN other than a very occasional "lightning bolt" type momentary, shocking flair up.

I am pondering lots on "forgiveness" recently. Hopefully I will have more thougths to share there in coming weeks.

I still am fighting my cold, though some improvement over last time I posted. Still feverish at times, but no other potential signs of infection, thankfully! It is frustrating how long and hard this one is hanging on without just becoming sniffles. We stayed home from church today. It was actually nice to just have the family all together for a whole day, with no one leaving the house! I missed our church family though.

(I'll be coming back in to hopefully add pictures tomorrow, but technical glitches are keeping me from adding them yet.)
Then the LORD asked Moses, "Who makes a person's mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say," - Exodus 4:11-12 (NLT).



3 comments:

  1. Insulated shoes from LL Bean that fit over my huge afo! I'll send you the link again if you need it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have one of these belly clamps to open jars
    http://www.completecareshop.co.uk/disability-elderly-aid/952/belliclamp_jar_&_bottle_opener.html

    I don't know if it is this exact product from here as I was given it from the hospital when I left (in the UK). I find it really helpful and it means I don't have to ask people to open bottles and jars for me. Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.

    I like minions too. My son (24 yr old) often mimics them, it's very funny.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love and prayers sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete