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. 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 equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Renewing

Maybe I've figured out why depression was coming on stronger all of the sudden, these last few weeks. I talked a lot about The Listening Program (my music therapy) early on in this blog, but not recently addressed it. The idea is that I listen to computer enhanced classical music through headphones, 15 minutes, twice a day. It is designed as either a 10 or 20 week program. I've gone through the 20-week cycle, fully twice now, and am still doing it because it helped organize my thoughts and emotions that profoundly.


 

The instruction say don't do ANYTHING else while you listen to the music, no eating, no talking, no watching t.v., no reading, basically the ideal would be eyes closed, no distractions at all, 30 minutes a day, every day. Try doing that as a mom of three! (Not complaining about the motherhood part, in the least, just saying the directions are rather impractical for everyday life!)


The first 20 weeks, I did pretty good at finding undistracted slots to fit in 15 minutes, twice every day, to do this. By the second 20 weeks, I still did it, but often was looking at the t.v. or reading a book, working on the computer, or even occasionally ate a snack, while I listened.


Over Christmas break, the kids home from school for three weeks, I got lax. I still do it occasionally, but no doubt I've been rather hit-and-miss in this goal, often only getting 1 of my 2 sessions in each day or going days with none at all. :( The other side to this coin is that I've been trying to use this time specifically for Bible reading this time around, so that while I'm physically renewing my mind, God is renewing my heart in those same moments.




So, if I've been lax in music therapy, guess where else I've been lax? When I realized this this morning, I adjusted my course and want to try to get back on track, both with my head and heart. I'm not ruling out a medication increase, but I want to give music therapy and more time with Jesus, an honest try first!


Somewhat along these same lines, I'm still trying to crawl my long hallway, forward and backward, 3 times a day. When I first started, it probably took me close to 15 minutes to accomplish one lap. Yesterday, I was able to do all three laps in a 15-minute time-frame! It is sweaty, exhausting and TEDIOUS. Often I mentally write blog posts, books, etc., during this time. But I get rather board with myself after a while.


Yesterday, I was half way down the hall on my frontward crawling portion of my very first lap. I almost quit, then and there. I was just fed up and wanted to throw in the towel. Then God challenged me to think through how many fun, old Sunday School songs I could come up with.


Now, I sing SO much better than I did that first year, because my voice has some range and tone again, but so much worse than pre-stroke. So if I weren't home alone, I never would had the guts. But knowing it was just God and me, I started to try to belt out the words as I crawled.


This offered several benefits. First, it broke the tedium, gave me something to thing on besides the next knee and hand placements, thus made the time seem to pass much more quickly. In this vein, because I could not fully focus on only next hand and knee placements, it created a more challenging task for my brain to process, like walking and chewing gum at the same time, something it took me a year and many more months to figure out. I made many more mistakes in the crawling, lost my balance a few more times, but these are all good for my brain, therapeutically. I wouldn't have been able to start with more than just crawling, but once that became tedious, even if still far from perfected, it was clearly time to up the game!


Third, it is working on my voice and throat muscles. Because I don't like my own singing voice any more, I don't practice and exercise it nearly enough, certainly far from daily. If I want to regain, this is important. Maybe there are other benefits I'm missing here, but lastly, the other important benefit I'm seeing is breath support. I was majorly panting after yesterday, but I know this has got to be great for my diaphragm and breathing!


So my new therapy challenge, to anyone who wants to try it, is commit to crawling daily, forward first, then eventually add backward, then add singing. Can only help. I know my shoulder and left arm have greatly improved through this process! And one more benefit of the sing-crawling I just thought of, it really lifted my spirits as well. :)


My husband met a 10-year chiropractic stroke survivor at a dinner he attended last night. Guy stroked right in the office, here in Reno (different office and doctor than I saw). He lost his legal appeal at state supermen court level and eventually had to file bankruptcy. There are still a few visible deficits, I guess basically only if you know the backstory. My husband said that he is doing well enough now that unless the guy had told him about his life pre-stroke and the changes, he wouldn't have known the issues. It took about 4 years for his world to stop spinning enough that he could even sleep at night, without a mattress on the floor and one foot out of bed, touching the floor to ground him!


My friend I asked you to pray for yesterday, one is back out of the hospital and home on light activity and lots of fluids to give this baby more time before she is born. The other looks like she will be soon traveling back to LA for a follow-up surgery for the spinal fluid leak. Can't imagine a plane trip will be any fun with a spinal headache. :( Thank you for your continued prayers!

 
These videos are so good for me. Not only do you see the tasks I am working on each day (and I can look back and see progress), but most days they prompt me to work on at least trying to brush my own hair before I film! :D

video video
Flute, day 15
 


video
Jumping, Day 80 of 100
 
 
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2
 

2 comments:

  1. I'm gonna leave crawling to you my friend as I have yet to conquer walking.

    ReplyDelete