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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stress and Release

I have kidney stones. Been dealing with issues since Saturday morning, tentative diagnosis Monday night, CT confirmation yesterday, urology appointment tomorrow (oh, and Rick's birthday Friday - some year he will get to celebrate a birthday without his wife physically falling apart)! I have mild kidney swelling and sometimes go several hour between being able to void my bladder. As I told a friend, with whom the two of us joke they should base a soap opera on two medical experiences we have gone through  between us (except no one would believe it because it sounds too made up, all the crazy stuff we go through, including her bout with flesh-eating bacteria and more!), I think I've got this life experience pretty well covered here, so another one to check off the bucket list! ;) Sorry if you aren't a Spoonie - a little chronic illness humor most of my readership may not relate to.

On that line of thought, I have a strokie friend who paints compulsively now. The other day she complained that she felt rather woozy and light headed from the fumes. I teased her that now we knew the "real" reason she loves to paint so much, the cheep high! Another strokie friend chimed in with, "Don't do that! Paint fumes might give you brain damage, you know." ;P My husband thought our humor was tasteless. As three friends joined by the common bond of stroke brain injuries, we all thought it was pretty funny. If someone else had tried those jokes without sharing our common ground, I would have though it was tasteless too, but with our "club" it is pretty funny to find some levity in all the craziness!

I wish I could find a way to post a video from Facebook. I saw a really funny one this morning, crude and bathroom humor, but I can't stop giggling. Gross, and not advertising a product I would even buy, but if you have facebook, the direct link is https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4606452751679&set=vb.1003215525&type=2&theater . Most of the things I find funny right now include bodily functions about on par with my 7-year-old's humor level. I call it "minion humor." As my doctor says, "laughter really is the best medicine," so that gives me permission to act like a kid in this department, is a pain coping mechanism and good for stress levels too!

The up side to CPS is that, so far (now the 4mm stone hasn't passed yet, so it may get a whole lot more painful before it starts to get better) this pain that everyone tells me is "worse than childbirth" has only been running up to about a 6 on my pain scale because I know what pain can mean and this isn't it yet! A friend asked how I was doing pain-wise and I told her it hurts, but after CPS, sublexed shoulder, hyper-stimulated ovary during fertility treatments, 3 miscarriages, 3 natural fairly full term labors, one that tried to rupture my cervix because it wouldn't dilate properly, years of fibromyalgia and endometriosis, TN (trigeminal nerve) pain, dislocated jaw, a couple of broken bones, and multiple surgeries, so far I've been thankful that, compared to any of those experiences, this pain is actually pretty doable, so far. Mostly I'm just really run down, tired, foggy-brained, and my back is much less painful if I stay flat in the warm waterbed (sort of like having a giant heating pad under my back).

Maybe I'm just in denial about what's yet to come, but right now it feels about like relatively mild endometriosis. People ask about pain management and basically I have few options. I'm allergic to just about every prescription pain drug known to man, so pretty much I just use Tylenol (took 2 yesterday and that's all I've taken this entire process) and have Tramadol I can take with Benadry, then crawl in bed with my Epi pen in case the reaction gets too bad - that's the prescription I seem to tolerate the best. I see urologist tomorrow for 4mm stone. If we get through all of this soon enough, I'm scheduled for a foot surgery on the 25th. Interesting month.

No big stroke news today other than to say, antidotally, several strokies have now told me that they never had kidney stones until after their strokes and several have now had multiple attacks. I have to wonder if this is related to all the sitting recovery demands or somehow tied to internal paralysis or anything? Maybe there's no real link at all. Just thinking out loud here...

Kathy is coming to take me to do battle with DMV today. As of Monday night, I found out that all the weeks of jumping through burocratic loop holes has pretty much been for not and I only have through the end of this business day (kidney stones or no) to accomplish a whole new direction in paperwork and a different specialist's signature (that I need to go in person to make sure actually happens) and such. Have a stroke and get treated like a criminal by your government, two years later, because they didn't bother to tell you that they didn't accept what you already went out of your way to submit and thought was fully cared for long ago. Well, I'm going to do what I can do today. Beyond that, if I loose my driver's license for good, it is what it is. :(



  1. Jenni, can so relate to all you write today! I have been having a lot of trouble with kidney stones, and have laughed because it definitely ISN'T the worst pain. our sense of humor can always help us to find some relief from all the seriousness of our situations. It isn't that we don't "get it", it's just that we can only be serious for so long before needing some release! My running joke with my hubby when he asks how I'm doing is, "I've been worse!" Ha! Understatement.
    I have paralysis of my bladder and other systems, so I think the kidney stones are related too, you're not alone in that. The sedentary lifestyle we have to have doesn't help either!
    And I also have lost my driver's license.... so miss it and will probably never be able to get it back. It's a hard thing, harder than most people would realize.

    1. Glad to hear I'm not crazy about the pain, Shelly! Everyone acts like I am. Is this pain a "picnic in the park"? No. But could I pull off attending a literal picnic in the park without anyone guessing I'm much uncomfortable? I really think so!

  2. I've had gall stones a few times and that was painful. Praying for you.

    1. I had a gall stone scare before my strokes. No stones found, but pretty nasty anyway. Feeling for you, Ruth!