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...

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Week

I've gone 10 days since my last post. I don't know if I have ever gone so long between posts here?

My hubby cut this beautiful first rose of the year and brought it to me from my garden. <3
So life has been rushing forward. Lots of medical stuff with our daughter, hours of research, lots of phone calls (my favorite, you know), physical therapy for her due to the nerves of her healed broken foot having become hypersensitized while in the cast and still not even being able to tolerate the gentlest touch nor bear weight on the foot. (The therapist says treating this condition is walking the fine line between therapy and utter torture, but if left untreated, the condition only worsens. He has seen grown, muscle-builder, men, in her condition, literally strapped down and yelling out in pain when lightly touched with a feather.) This pain could take a few months to resolve if it goes forward with appropriate healing. She's also still in the cast on her wrist. Please pray for R as we work all this out, especially as most of my regular driving team and back up drivers have various scheduling conflicts over the next month, so we are trying to work a crazier-than-normal schedule out with back-up-back-up-driving friend coverage. I am so richly blessed to have so many people willing and trying to help out here! Thank you to my new friend from the gym, Mary, who has jumped in and offered to get me to and from water therapy for the next few weeks. (Glenda, if you are reading this, I just heard about your injury and why I'm not seeing you at water therapy lately, so I'm praying for you!)
My left leg and somewhat my arm too, have been really stepped up in the pain department since my fall last month. I'm walking pretty well again, but ankle still feels tight and sore enough that I winced when trying to put my shoe on yesterday morning. It is just one of those things. "It is what it is." Stress is likely compounding it all.
I had broken a tooth on my "good" chewing side that takes all the brunt of my eating force now. The good news is that I went a few weeks forcing myself to chew with my more stroked, weak, numb-ish, TN pain side, so I re-leaned how to force my misaligned jaw to meet over there if it absolutely has no other option. I did have to fall back on many of my rehab hospital therapy trick for successful eating, but it was great to see how far I have compensated using only the right side of my mouth for most things now! Chewing on my left was painful enough that a few times I chose to chew right still, on the broken tooth and raw, swollen, bloody exposed portion of gum because that pain was significantly more tolerable than the trigeminal nerve pain shooting up the outside of my face if I tried with the left side.


I got the tooth fixed on Saturday, slept long and hard and was pretty miserable Saturday afternoon and evening, but had relatively normal feeling back in the less stroked side by Sunday morning. It was a very strange sensation to have my still numb-ish stroked side be the side with greatest feeling for an afternoon! It also made me newly aware of how much usable feeling I actually have back on the left side of my mouth, even if it is significantly compromised now. It is so nice to have a whole tooth there on the right again and no longer be fighting an exposed little portion of gum-line! Here's what I managed to do to my lip on Saturday while the right was totally without feeling (my laptop takes pictures in mirror image, so the big white bite mark and fat lip is actually on my right, even if it would seem to be on the left):

My sweet friend, Shelly, and I are co-hosting another season of the (in)Courager email / Facebook group for women with chronic illnesses. If this describes you, we would so love to have you join us this semester at (in)Hope. But if you are not looking for a small chronic illness community, please check out any of the 70 other, free, safe, amazing, women-only communities over at (in)Courage, only accepting new member this week, and asking for a participation commitment just until July 4. It is so wonderful to exchange messages and ideas and love with a small group of ladies who really "get it" about the unique challenges of your life. So single or married, infertile or empty nester, professional Mommy or fitting professional life around motherhood, military, struggling with anything from depression to cancer, wanting to hone the craft of writing, there is a special group just quivering with joy to welcome you into their "family" this week. Won't you please, join us! #incouragers #inHope #inCourage

 
http://www.incourage.me/community/incourager-groups

There is a song you have likely heard "1,000 times" already. I had too, but they gripped me with new power this month. I always liked the song, was moved by it even, but now I hold it especially dear. What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know you here.

Blessings, sung by Laura Story

This beautiful story still brings me to tears (even though I can't usually cry any more). http://www.faithit.com/people-stunned-chose-marry-him-they-said-never-work-3-years-later-couldnt-be-better-ian-larissa/ I know what it feels like to be trapped in your body like that man. You know what, it feels just like you and I feel every day, with the profound exception that when you go to see, or speak, or move your body, it doesn't respond like you expect it will. Others think you are less than intelligent because they see such a damaged exterior, know this is a result of brain injury, so automatically believe your thought processing must be just as badly damaged making your understanding that of a young child. I guess when physical needs, and to some extent even emotional needs now, regress to such childish level of needed care, the presumption that adult intelligence has followed suit is pretty normal, but it is frustrating to be treated that way when it is not an accurate picture of reality.

 
Yes, my IQ points did drop with my strokes (I was in the 160s and am now estimated to be around 130), but that doesn't mean I can't still handle intelligent, even complex, thought and reasoning, even when I can't get the words to come out as smoothly as they are flowing through my brain. I was frustrated in trying to verbally express myself the other day and exclaimed to my husband, "Really, what I write does make sense!" For me, the time to gather and compose thoughts through my fingertips works out so much better than trying to get the same ideas out through spoken words!


...so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. - John 16:33 MSG
 

4 comments:

  1. Agreed on the written word thing. I can express myself much better by typing than speaking. It just takes so much work for my words to get from my brain to my mouth.

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  2. I am sad to hear about the TN pain, and the pain R. is going through. You, and your family are in my thoughts, and prayers.

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  3. praying for you, and your dear daughter.

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  4. All medical procedures include some level of risk that can result in injuries or even death. When people are in need of a chiropractic procedure, they should thoroughly research the doctor who will perform the procedure and the medical facility where the procedure will be performed. Strengthening the standards of care for chiropractors is essential to reduce future problems.

    Modesto Culbertson @ D & Z Law Group

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