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...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday

Wow! Just wow! What a story. Please watch:

I had no idea of the back story behind these words. I will never hear this song the same way again.
"I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up ...

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn
My prayers are wearing thin
And I’m worn
Even before the day begins
I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
Heaven come and flood my eyes"
-Worn by Tenth Avenue North


"Waiting till you’re happy before you give thanks, is like waiting to be healthy before you take your vitamins." - Ann Voskamp


On the driving thing, my deadline for this neurological signature for trying to test and get my license back expires on the 13th. I am just not there yet, so am going to let the date just pass me by and stay license-less. Lots of mixed emotions there. Some relief, a LOT of frustration, a little anger and self pity. Kind of like I would imagine you might feel if someone drew a line in the sand and said if you weren't [whatever you hope to some day accomplish] by a set date, you had to just plan on a future without. Given the choice between walking and driving, I am thankful to have my legs and be dependent on others for transportation, but the loss of independence is still a blow.


Speaking of, if you have a Facebook account (I know some don't and that is totally OK), could you help me try to earn a little independence by clicking on this picture, then "like" or comment on it on Utah Trikes, please? Then if you are selected as a winner at the end of the month, I would be so very blessed if you would pass this along to me, please! I really would love to have a stable "bike" that I could ride, despite my balance issues, since I can no longer manage a traditional bicycle. This would be fantastic therapy and give me back a small measure of my own independence. Thanks so much!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=669691753073813&set=a.424908170885507.96752.269448736431452&type=1&theater

I have an MRI on the 14th and CT on the 18th, just because "it's time" since I haven't had either since the hospital. I haven't really seen my own pictures, so hope I might get copies then.


I had to do an under-five-minute video to be played at that WEGO health award dinner next month. (I won't be there as it is east coast!) It took me 4 hours to write and record a usable script and video. I'm talking pretty fast, so I hope anyone can understand me, but I gave them the written text in order to caption it as well, (included below the video here) so I hope everything will be all right. I have a blood thinner mystery bruise under my right eye, but hopefully it isn't too noticeable either.

video
WEGO Health "Rookie of the Year" Finalist Video

Hi, my name is Jenni Saake from StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com. In my early 20s, I co-founded an international infertility and pregnancy loss organization that is still changing lives to this day. I published my first book, on these topics in 2005.

I then turned my primary focus to advocating for women with various chronic illnesses, from fertility-related conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome to debilitating illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, or ME/CFS (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). This was truly gratifying work, yet rather informal, mostly via individual emails and hours poured into relationships via social media.

This all changed one morning not two and a half years ago when, at age 39, I was involved in a chiropractic accident that nearly took my life. Through nearly 2 months in ICU, a hospital’s neurological unit, a rehabilitation hospital, and two emergency surgeries, I came to understand that I had suffered severe brain injury and six distinct areas of permanent brain death via the dissection of my vertebra artery, causing multiple strokes.
Obviously, I was in no condition to resume advocacy at this time, was legally blind for many months and took the better part of a year to re-learn who to walk with a cane. Not quite six months after my own strokes, a dear online friend suffered her own series of near-fatal, significantly debilitating strokes, at only 35 years of age!
At that time I was just starting to feel my way back into the online world. So I began a very small blog, basically a personal journal, written from my heart to Kendra’s, giving her an insider’s view of stroke recovery that I wish I would have had the first several horrid months of my own terrifying and unknown journey.
About a year ago, as I continued making gains and expanding my own abilities, I began to notice random strangers popping up in my comments. And so I began consciously thinking about the needs of the stroke community at large, these survivors of brain attacks that kill almost 130,000 Americans each year and are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
I began transitioning my posts from being addressed to an audience of one, to being intentionally addressed to stroke warriors around the globe. I started sharing reviews of everyday products that I found uniquely useful. I couldn’t keep up with my email volume, especially since I still type with only my right hand, so I developed a “Strokie Pals” email exchange program, connecting stroke survivors directly with one another. I built a resource page, quick access to tips, tool and organizations my family and I wish we had known to access earlier. I started getting active in existing online stroke groups, making friendships and answering questions there. I also am working on writing a book in order to share my story and support.
Two unique aspects of my page are that, while resources and information are free to any visitor, since my own strokes and Kendra’s all happened in our 30s, I have a unique passion for younger stroke survivors. Over 1/3 of all strokes happen to individuals under the age of 65, infants, children, young adults and middle age.
Secondly, Stroke Of Grace is distinctly Christian in nature. I welcome anyone, of any faith or of no faith at all. Yet I make no secret of the fact that Jesus Christhas been my personal source of strength to carry me through this journey.
I am beyond thrilled to be named as a WEGO health finalist in the Rookie of the Year category. Not a rookie to sharing what I’ve learned the hard way in hopes of sparing others the same search, but a Rookie specifically in the world of stroke advocacy.
I would dearly love, and be so honored, to win this award because it was a 30-day blogging challenge from WEGO, about a year ago, that really set me on the course of discovering what I had to say and is when my blogging really took off. I know WEGO is highly respected in the health and advocacy worlds, and I am excited how this publicity might bring people to my page, allowing me to share hope with many more hurting hearts.
Thank you for the honor of sharing my story with you and for your consideration!


video
Flute, Day 18

  video
Jumping, Day 83 of 100
 
 
"You are made in the image of God, and there's a part of who he is that only shows up in this world through you. You may feel ordinary, but you're anything but that, sweet girl! You are a masterpiece. A bit of the divine. Extraordinary." ~ Holley Gerth (If We Could Have Coffee)
 
 

This one thing I know: I have been approved by God, entrusted with the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and my mandate is to speak [write], not as pleasing men but God who takes opportunity to test our hearts. - see 1 Thessalonians 2:4






 

5 comments:

  1. You are so far beyond awesome.

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  2. Jenni - how far you have come. I remember when saying one word was a challenge - blowing into a "party horn" would not have created a sound. You spoke with such clarity of articulation and not too fast at all.

    What a gracious thank you to those who honored you.
    To God be the glory - yes - but we rejoice for you, as well.
    Love,
    Lynn

    ReplyDelete