Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog. (You will notice many typos in older posts. I intentionally never corrected them, as they helped document my cognitive abilities at various stages of recovery.)

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. Jennifer 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 wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months, God clarified Jennifer's theology on healing and showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 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. (Please see temporary update note above!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013


What to say about today...

OK, here's a big one for me. I think the first day I'm actually saying these specific words. I am thankful to be alive. This isn't to say that I'm still not convinced I would have been better off if I had died two years ago, but it is a declaration that I'm joyfully embracing all God still has for me here, thankful for my husband, my children, my parents, my friend, the very gift of time. May my days be never squandered, always to His glory! For this opportunity, I am finally ready to voice the words that have been terribly slow and fragmented in coming, "I am thankful to be alive."


Two years ago, my goal had been to progress well enough in therapy, including doing "family training" to learn how to help me transfer from bed to wheel chair to toilet and so forth, to be able to have a few hours visit back home for Thanksgiving. Instead I had more strokes and ended up on several days of doctor ordered bed rest, more scans, an MRI where the tech and my nurse were both shocked by my wild head bobbing that they typically only saw in severe injury car accidents, then finally the decision was made on that Wednesday that I did need emergency surgery to repair the tear in my artery that keep clotting and causing more strokes.


What happened next could only be counted as miraculous. There was no doctor locally who could even attempt my delicate surgery. I tried to imagine a six-hour drive to a larger hospital in California, picturing myself riding over in the back seat of our car, but in reality I'm sure everyone else was probably making ambulance ride plans, since I was still on an IV, antibiotics (but had an antibiotic infection), still actively throwing blood clots, and was probably much too medically fragile to even consider a car ride since I required an ambulance just to travel the half block between hospitals still), but a car loaded with pillows was the solution that seemed logical to me!

Then, we learned that both the doctor I would have been driving to see in California AND a Christian anesthesiologist (married to one of the moms in our homeschooling community, so he had already been praying for me for a month already) were both scheduled to be in Reno and on call at our hospital the next day! So I was slated for semi-emergency surgery in my own hospital, first thing the next (Thanksgiving) morning. The doctor normally came over to Reno for a few days, once per month, and as God would have it, these were his scheduled few days that November! So I could get the same level of care as if I had traveled to a big hospital, but without the travel!

At 7am I was wheeled into OR. I woke sometime after noon and remember telling my mom I wouldn't be coming to her house for dinner that day. I don't think Rick or my parents really celebrated Thanksgiving that day (other than that I was still alive and had come through surgery without further damage) either.
As I later learned, I had actually undergone two complete surgeries that morning, as the first arterial stent had been successful, they closed up my surgical site and were bringing me out of anesthesia, only to witness the artery bulging and threatening to rupture again, a little higher above that first surgical site. To prevent yet another, fairly instantaneous stroke, they had to quickly put me fully under again, puncture the other side of my groin, and feed a second stent up to the injured artery.
That night back in ICU was miserable as I was on NBM (nothing by mouth) orders and my orders got mixed up in the long holiday weekend, so I went over 24 hours without even receiving IV fluids. Post surgically, with a huge (quarter inch?) arterial line hanging out of my arm (looked like a THICK IV line, but directly into the artery in my wrist, not connected to any fluid input, but a blood-filled tube somehow related to my surgeries that morning) and two large, painful groin punctures I was dehydrated and BEGGING for fluids but the visiting rotational nurse wouldn't even double check on why my records did not order her to hook up the IV line that was already in my other arm to the bag of fluids hanging right over my head. When my mom and the on-call doctor both got there in the morning, they were livid at my neglect overnight! When the dressing was changed on my groin punctures, both leg arteries tried to bleed out, so this huge male nurse was throwing all his body weight onto the incisions to get them sealed back up. Some of the worst memories of my hospital stays, but thankful that's behind me!

Day ? of 100 (haven't done it yet, will edit in later), so happy Thanksgiving!
John 14:27 “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

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