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.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Of Tummies

I seem to be mostly recovered from my kidney stone now. I definitely lost some strength/muscle in the process, especially leg strength, but not as much as I feared I would. For not having been to the gym since before Thanksgiving, and for my jaw/ear to be acting up so much again (causes significant uptake in dizziness when ear gets this painful), I'm actually doing pretty well, I think. My bladder and kidney both still hurt a bit from time to time, but nothing like they did. That post-surgical 10 days of catheterization was the worst part of the journey! So glad to be past those days now.

I think I've shared that my mom discovered, a week before Christmas, on her birthday, not long after my surgery, that she currently has 3 more kidney stones of her own! She is taking pain medication, anti-nausea medicine, and two of the three stones are up my the mouths of each kidney, so not currently causing problems. The 3rd stone, an 8mm one (mine was 5mm and caused plenty of mischief!), is the one that sent her to the Emergency Room. It seems to be well-longed in her ureter, so as long as it doesn't try to move again, she is doing fairly well. She is doing fairly well in waiting for her January 9 scheduled surgery to remove 2 of the 3 stones. (They can't get them all at once as this would simultaneously obstruct both kidneys.) My parents are scheduled to be out-of-state for a missions trip for a few weeks, starting later in January, so please keep them in your prayers!


I had multiple strokes, so I don't have "an effected side," just a less effected and much more effected sides. So, in over two years of therapy now, the less effected side of my core is tightening and strengthening and slightly flattening now, but the more impacted side stays jiggly and floppy. It is starting be rather noticeable and oddly funny to have a half flatish / half jiggly tummy now! Just another weird little observation. Not earth-shattering, just something I never would have thought about when I heard of stroke.

I noticed, last Sunday at church, that the more stressed I am (activity, noise, conversation, movement, people, all "stress" and greatly tax my brain, even if it is good stress), the higher my pain levels. When we got there to be on the welcoming team, Sunday morning, I really wasn't in much pain at all. By the time the service started I couldn't even touch the skin on my left arm to scratch an itch, without stabbingly painful skin and muscle. This from just the praise band warming up and interaction with people. I was in a wheel chair, but had a hard time even supporting myself to transfer into the bench or handling the pain in my leg when one leg touched the other. Thursday, cleaning house with a friend, the activity caused similar results, but more deep numbness, especially in my feet, than scorching whole-body pain.

I haven't updated about my feet in a while. The left still turns purple some (blood pooling in it), especially if I don't keep it propped up, and both feet get pretty white when I get cold. I still tend to get chilled much more readily, and at warmer temperatures, than others around me, but now, when I warm up, I overheat really fast! The right foot, that was predicted to only continue to see a worsening of the cyst that didn't get removed because of kidney stone surgery instead, is still a little painful, but surprisingly MUCH improved and the bump/cyst has gone WAY down in size. I don't know if this is because I have hardly stepped outside the house since before Thanksgiving (I think 6 times since Thanksgiving, counting church services and doctor's appointments), because I'm in bed or at least in the recliner with my feet up most of the time, or because I haven't been wearing my beloved combat boots, but whatever the reason it is not seeming to be "cured" by a long shot, but does seem to be giving me a reprieve and making surgery no longer be imminent at the moment! We'll see what happen with a big couple of busy days this next week.

I wrote on Facebook today, I had a dream last night where I was trying to explain my passion for writing to someone. I told her, "I need to write like I need to breath!" Yep, about right.

Another dream that I had a few weeks ago, I wanted to get recorded before I forget. I dreamed that Kendra and I accidently met in person (not remotely even likely, but seemed so real in the dream!) at a museum where Rick and I went on our honeymoon. Actually, I didn't meet her there, but some of her family, and learned Kendra was back at the hotel, resting. As it turned out, we were staying at the very same hotel, and our handicapped equipped rooms were directly across from one another! We rushed back and I knocked on her door. She was in the restroom at the moment, but a family member (grandmother?) said she would bring her over to my room as soon as she was available. A few minutes later, Kendra was wheeled through my door and the dream ended with me yelling "Kendra!" dropping down next to her wheelchair (also an impossibility, because if I get down on the floor, getting back up is quite the process!), giving her a huge hug, and breaking into SOBS. No words were needed, but I cried so hard in the dream (unique, because, as you know, I typically cannot cry at all now) that when I woke up I actually felt the emotional relief and release of actually crying! I was exhausted the next day, but emotionally felt so emotionally light all day after "meeting" my dear friend and sharing this common bond.

For my friends on Facebook, there is a really interesting article on the perspective on time by a man who suffered TBI (traumatic brain injury) about a year before I did. You know time has been quite an odd experience for me as well.

Day 49 of 100
Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. - Proverbs 24:15-16



  1. I guess I ddn't word that very well about Kendra. We have met, in person, once nearly 12 years ago, been email friends before and since, and she hopes to come for a visit this spring, but meeting up by chance at my favorite museum is highly unlikely because travel would take so much planning for either of us.

  2. Girl, I'm gonna visit you one day! I have S watching for radiology conferences near you so that the Army can at least pay for part of the trip gosh darn it!