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...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CATASTOPHYSING

I'm afraid I'm really back in a shopping habit again. When I think of what stroke does to the brain, the impulsivity and acting out much like alcohol causes (think of someone being falling-down drunk, slurring their words, making poor choices, having bad judgment, loss of memory, getting drunk and behaving in ways they wouldn't ordinarily, then think of the hangover that follows and you are seeing cerebellum impairment in action! This has been my reality for nearly 2 1/2 years now, but thankfully not the vomiting too often now!) I can justify that there could certainly be worse ways to be living out of control, but in reality, I really do need to learn to partner with God in being self-controlled in this area! (Nothing as humbling and convicting as writing on the fruit of the Spirit while still living in human sinfulness.)


I've been pretty quiet for the past few weeks as we have been praying through and processing yet another loss, the ongoing reality of stroke! :( As you may remember from earlier this year, I was having a terrible time with the neurological stimulation of music at our church. After weeks of talking with church leadership, striving to make adjustments on both sides, and lots of prayer, we have come to the point of accepting that God is closing this chapter of our lives. We are doing our best to stay in contact with friends from our old congregation, but we are actively seeking God's direction as we search for a new church home.


It wasn't exactly purely a sound issue, for though I have much hearing loss already, my ears hurt from the "loudness" of the drum and electric guitar. If that had been the only problem, I likely would have tried to keep toughing it out. But there was so much more neuro-involvement, with the entire left side of my body itching and burning, and aching, skin and muscles alike, then it got to the point that I was throwing up from the music too. It is odd that this wasn't an issue for about two years, then became that way. Perhaps a sign of some neuro healing that my brain became sensitive enough to react when it got stirred up like that?


So we are currently trying out an early morning traditional style service (I commented to my husband that with all the grey hair there it is the same demographic as my water aerobics class) with no drumbs or synthesized instruments. They also have large screens, meaning I can easily read the lips of the pastor or whoever is talking, and the preaching has been solid from everything we have heard so far. They have Sunday school and other children's programs and a youth group where J.'s best friend from homeschooling days is active. It seems like a great fit for our family so far!


My dear Bible study buddy (who I first met when she was a random lady from my church who took on a weekly shift to come sit with me one morning a week after the strokes) is 41+ weeks pregnant and being induced early this morning. I want to be excited but find myself so fearful that something will go wrong for mom or baby during delivery. MY REHAB HOSPITAL PSYCOLOGIST CALLED THIS "CATASTOPHYSING" WHERE MY BRAIN HAS ALREADY SURVIVED A WORST-CASE SENARIO AND WILL NATURALLY EXPECT A WORST CASE SENARIO IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION NOW - but I still don't like this particular stroke reaction! This will be the first newborn I get to hold since stroke, so I'm the most emotionally invested in any pregnancy I ever have been, since my own! Please pray for calmness of my own heart and safety for K. and baby A.


To keep myself occupied today, keep my mind from such worry, I took the kids outside to play (it was comfortable sweatshirt weather for a few hours) and I managed to get the entire half of my rose garden, that remained untended all of last summer, pruned and rather-well weeded today! It took from 10AM-4:30PM (minus a short lunch break) to accomplish that much, but I was able to cut down over 30, 5-7 foot volunteer saplings that have sprung up since the strokes, trying to overtake my roses, but I didn't have the strength to cut last year, even when they were smaller then. A white butterfly (OK, moth maybe) came flitting by when I was out there! :)


The 2012 growing season, I never got into my garden at all, but I know my husband took out some frustration on the roses he knew I so cherish. Last year I got out there a few times, but only ever got to half of the plants at all, and really only had 2-3 I regularly kept up. This year I've only worked out there this once, so far, but got 2-years worth of growth addressed on the one side that's been so badly neglected. My neighbor saw me out there today and I said, "It has been nearly 2 1/2 years. Maybe this summer I can keep up with my roses finally." She expressed doubt (I have nearly 2 dozen plants) but I feel really good about what I accomplished today. Hope I can keep it up now! I sure am sore tonight and know the gym in the morning isn't going to be so easy, but I am proud of me!

 

My kids are home for spring break (well two are anyway, one is down visiting grandparents at their farm this week) and, other than orthodontist and orthopedic surgeon (yes, our daughter has yet another broken foot since Friday) on Monday, the week has been pretty much centered around them and I've enjoyed it immensely. Yesterday, each of our little ones had a friend over it play for the day. We had doll houses and Lego building contest and lots of laughter. It felt chaotic and wonderfully "normal". I've manage mac and cheese (twice), grilled cheese, and canned soup for all of our lunches, even enough for visiting friends yesterday. Today my daughter and I were just talking about how, less than 2 1/2 years ago, I couldn't even sit up in bed or swallow on my own, so it is amazing that I can manage  to produce simple meals on my own now!


Kendra, check this out. I can see problems with the design (what if the person in the wheelchair is the first person to get to a location and there is no one up above to push the button?), but think this looks pretty cool!


Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
“More, more.”
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
Psalm 4:6-8 MSG
 

2 comments:

  1. I'm down with a cold that is rattling my brain....I think I missed something. Sorry. As for the church issue, I go to night service mainly because there are less people and less chance of getting sick, but also because it is much more low key.

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