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...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas is Coming (and stroke statistics)


Yesterday, I posted to Facebook, "2nd day of a feverish little girl down in bed, counseling (that has been postponed and rescheduled for a MONTH now) postponed due to counselor's health today, snow that stayed away overnight making up for it by dumping an inch in our back yard over the past hour, scratchy throat...sounds like a good day to curl up with a warm mug and do some editing/writing to try to keep moving my current book project, Harvesting Hope from Heartache, forward! Prayers coveted, please!"

 
 
 
Shortly thereafter I changed my status to, "Writing plans just changed. Boys being sent home from school due to weather. Home in less than an hour and I still need to shower..."

 
We did make a lovely afternoon out of the 11:30 send home of the boys yesterday. My parents (who were already out in the snow at a doctor's appointment, not mine for once!) came here for the afternoon. Mom cooked up hearty potato cheese soup, we cranked up the Christmas music and decorated the tree. :) I was fried by about 5 last night and exhausted enough that I finally slept well last night, for the first time all week!

 
Last year we didn't put a tree up at all and the year I stroked I had been adamant that we get all the planning and decorating done by mid October because God was telling me to be prepared for something big in our lives, I just wasn't sure what. So the tree stayed up for a while (maybe months? I don't really remember how long) until my moth-in-law came and packed it all away last winter.


This was the first year I've actually handled all my own Christmas decorations (thank you Kathy, for helping with some last year!) since before the strokes. It is bittersweet, especially when I have to hand over each ornament so someone else with better dexterity and balance can place it safely on a counter or hang it on the tree. I used to set up the (artificial, I'm allergic to fresh) tree every year. This year my dad had to wrestle it into the stand for me. I've got a great big crate going with ornaments and decorations I am letting go and seeking new homes this Christmas, but I'm glad I wasn't able to make these decisions yet last year as I would have given just about everything, even the really important, away. I remember last year, thinking that I would never again be able to use my china (still haven't, but at least can imagine the possibility again), have a Christmas tree, or many other traditions in life, so why keep the reminders around to clutter up our home? I'm so glad the last year has already proven me wrong in so many of those expectations!


Am I where I eventually hope to be again? Not yet. Am I amazed at how far I've come now. Absolutely!


So my house is strewn with Christmas clutter we didn't finish sorting yesterday, there was a two-hour snow delay for school today (of course, we got the call after everyone was already up and going, so no sleeping in, but thankfully our girl was able to join her brother my attending today) and hopefully things slow down now since Rick, who has been out of town, leaving the house about an hour before our girl started throwing up, is due back today!

video
Day 18 of 100
 
On The Stroke Coffee House Facebook support group, someone was recently asking about statistics. Another strokie posted these (along with the resources at the end of this list), so I'm sharing in case I need to find any of this information again:

• Worldwide, stroke is the second leading cause of death, responsible for 4.4 million (9 percent) of the total 50.5 million deaths each year.

• Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease (with which it is closely linked) and cancer.

• Stroke affects more than 700,000 individuals annually in the United States (approximately one person every 45 seconds). About 500,000 of these are first attacks, and 200,000 are recurrent attacks.

• Someone in the U.S. dies every 3.3 minutes from stroke

• Stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S.

• More than 4 million people in the United States have survived a stroke or brain attack and are living with the after-effects.

• Four out of five families will be somehow affected by stroke over the course of a lifetime.

Current statistics for stroke survival rates are:
• 10 percent of stroke victims recover almost completely.

• 25 percent of stroke victims recover with minor impairments.

• 40 percent of stroke victims experience moderate to severe impairments requiring special care.

• 10 percent of stroke victims require care in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

• 15 percent die shortly after the stroke.

• 7.6 percent of ischemic strokes and 37.5 percent of hemorrhagic strokes result in death within 30 days.

• While subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) represents only about 7 percent of all strokes, it is the most deadly — with more than a 50 percent fatality rate. Of the survivors, approximately half will suffer permanent disability.

• 22 percent of men and 25 percent of women die within a year of their first stroke.

• 14 percent of people who have a stroke or TIA will have another within a year.

• About 25 percent of stroke victims will have another within five years.

Risk Factors: Age, Gender & Ethnicity
• Women account for approximately 43 percent of strokes that occur each year, but they account for 61 percent of stroke deaths.

•Stroke risk increases with age. For each decade after age 55, the risk of stroke doubles.

•Each year, 28 percent of people who suffer a stroke are under age 65.

• The incidence of stroke in African-American males is approximately 93 per 100,000, with a death rate of approximately 51 percent. In African-American females, the incidence is 79 per 100,000, with a death rate of 39.2 percent. Young African-Americans have a two to three times greater risk of ischemic stroke than the Caucasian population of the same age.


• The incidence rate of stroke in Caucasian males is 62.8 per 100,000, with a 26.3 percent death rate. In Caucasian females, the incidence is 59 per 100,000, with a death rate of 39.2 percent.

• The estimated age-adjusted prevalence of stroke for Americans aged 20 years and older is 2.2 percent for non-Hispanic white men and 1.5 percent for women; for non-Hispanic blacks, 2.5 percent for men and 3.2 percent for women; and for Mexican Americans, 2.3 percent for men and 1.3 percent for women

• Cardiac heart failure (CHF) causes 75,000 strokes per year in the United States.

• People with uncontrolled high blood pressure are seven times more likely to have a stroke than people with controlled high blood pressure.

• The risk of stroke is two-and-a-half times higher in people with diabetes.

•More than 75 percent of Americans cannot name the most common warning sign of stroke — sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body — according to the American Stroke Association.

• Fewer than half of all individuals over 50 are actually aware of what stroke is, its signs and symptoms, and the importance of seeking immediate medical attention.

Brain Aneurysms
• It is estimated that up to one in 15 people in the United States will develop a brain aneurysm during their lifetime.


• Approximately 0.2 to 3 percent of people with a brain aneurysm may suffer from bleeding per year.

• The annual incidence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in the U.S. exceeds 30,000 people. Ten percent to 15 percent of these patients will die before reaching the hospital and more than 50 percent will die within the first 30 days after rupture. Of those who survive, about half suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

• Brain aneurysms can occur in people of all ages, but are most commonly detected in those ages 35 to 60.

• Women are more likely to get a brain aneurysm than men, with a ratio of 3:2.

Economic Cost of Stroke
•The total cost of stroke to the United States is estimated at $43 billion per year.

• The direct costs of medical care and therapy are estimated at $28 billion per year.

• Indirect costs from lost productivity and other factors are estimated at $15 million per year.

• The average cost of care for a patient up to 90 days after stroke is $15,000.

• For 10 percent of patients, the cost of care for the first 90 days after a stroke is $35,000.

• The percentage breakdown of the direct costs of care for the first 90 days after a stroke is:

Initial hospitalization – 43 percent
Rehabilitation – 16 percent
Physician costs – 14 percent
Hospital Readmission – 14 percent
Medications and other expenses – 13 percent

Sources include:
• American Cancer Society
• American Diabetes Association
• American Heart Association
• American Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology
•American Stroke Association (a division of the American Heart Association)
• Brain Attack Coalition
• Centers for Disease Control
• Hazel K. Goddess Fund for Stroke Research in Women
• National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
• National Stroke Association

Psalm 31:24 “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
 

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