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...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eye Update

When we were dealing with infertility, I was often hit by how odd our everyday conversations would seem to the fertile word. Talk of ovulation and cervical mucus and bizarre medical procedures and on and on. Just everyday life to those living this reality. Today was the first I remember being hit by this realization concerning strokes, when a question, very matter-of-factly, was asked in my Facebook stroke support group today, "When you were dying, when your stroke happened, what helped you fight to live?"

When you were dying... Odd, but dozens have already replied back with very straightforward, equally factual and clear-cut answers. It's our reality. Several of us describe near death experiences. Some were clinically flat lined, dead, only be revived. Some never lost consciousness but simply faced the reality of progressing toward physical death squarely in the face. Only a few (one, so far, from the entire nearly 900 member group, actually) replied with not dealing with this reality because strokes didn't come very close to killing them. Death, a daily reality in my post-stroke life. I guess, if this isn't your world, such a question would sound rather unsettling!

Moving on to safer conversation, here is what I posted as a status update on Facebook last night, typos and all (though I have [edited in] a few corrections today to clarify for readability):

It takes forever to clear up my eyes after dialation [dilation] now. Guessing at what's on top [the] computer screen and keyboard reminds me a bit of the first few months post-stroke except without the doubled blurry pictures. I called my hubbt [hubby] tonight, not by looking ar [at] the numbers on the phone, but my having memotized [memorized] the keys! (Glad it actually rang through to HIS office and not elsewhere!) I offered him dinner from the freezer but couldn't read the labels so told him I thought it was either chilli [chili] pr [or] sloppy joes, but I wasn't sure what I would be thawing. Hw [he] laughed and took me out to dinner tonight. 

Today's neuro-opthomology appointment was only 3 1/2 hours long, an hour less than ouir [our] longest there! The doctor looked back at the records from 23 months ago and gave me at least five hugs and kept saying "Wow!" at the incredible improvement he was seeing. A nurse from all my prior appointments was teary at the improvemrnt [improvement] since me first visit! As my mom noted, "It was an exciting appointment! Dr. H is so much fun and loves Jenni so much. It was a tough appointment since it was in the same building where Jenni's urologist was shot last month."

So all my kids have been gone for the last few days. Our oldest in the San Francisco Bay area, touring tech companies and colleges with a school group, our younger two, playing with grandparents down in Fallon. I miss them, but realize how very wise it was for God to lead us to put them all in traditional classrooms this year. I have been exhausted, often sleeping 2-3 hours each afternoon of Christmas break while they have been home, feeling horrid that even with them home I'm too zombie-like to spend much productive time with them as I drag through even my wakeful hours.

With a few quiet days without the constant activity in our home, I am pleasantly surprised to find myself regaining some energy. Our oldest comes home tonight, the younger two probably on Thursday (the day of my mom's kidney stone surgery), then only a few more days to enjoy one another before they head back to school schedules next week. While I've been spoiled to have them home so much and know I will really miss them next week, I think the return to a less intense schedule and quieter routine will be good for me.


  1. I adore my monsters, but often think how much easier stroke recovery would be without all 4 under foot. Problem is, on any given day I can't pick which ones I don't want under foot ;) as for what kept me going, kids.

    1. I really feel like having them back home for one school year was the very best therapy possible for me, I just don't see it as a sustainable option for our family.