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.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Forgetting To Remember

I'm super honored and excited to have an article featured (on the front page even!) over at The Laundry Moms today. I felt like writing something fun, light-hearted, non-stroke for once. Not bad for a strokie, I think. :) Please check it out and read a little more about Our Flock!

Monday was our 5th grader's graduation. She is officially in jr. high now! (Actually they are all stepped up a grade now, as today was everyone's last day of school for this session.) Big praise, there were NO balloon decorations at the graduation (i.e. no latex reaction) and I got to be there for the whole thing! After graduation, there was a campus tour that required a lot of walking and hill climbing and I was slow, but I did it, I kept up with the pack even though it was really hard! I kept thinking, as I was pushing her wheelchair around campus, "These people have no idea that I shouldn't be able to even dream of doing this!"
And then, we took her to therapy (She broke her foot several months back, then she was hobbling around on crutches, fell and broke her wrist too, so landed in a wheelchair not two weeks later because she could no longer hold crutches. Both bones have since seemed to heal, but she couldn't put weight through her foot due to the nerves having gone really wonky and hyper-sensitized while she was in the cast.) and the session was going really, really badly but then turned out to be the most successful session we have ever had! I'm was exhausted by that night (emotionally and physically) and spilled boiling water all over my one working hand.  
Thankfully I'm not in pain, or rather maybe I should say that my less-stroked right hand only ever hurt as much as my left more stroked leg hurts pretty much all the time. Actually it really hardly even hurt when I saw the title wave of hot water come sloshing across it, but I knew enough about the need to immediately get the limb into cold water and kept it iced for long enough that I got away with just a few small blisters and general redness. I couldn't use my hand to type for a couple hours, but figured that part out. As bad as it sounds, it truly was just more of an annoyance than anything. My yesterday morning it mostly just felt prickled by needles and like the skin was too tight for my hand, with only the ends of each finger and some finger tips (where your finger prints are) actually much truly painful. Today, even the tight glove feeling and pin prick feelings are receding and I'm down to just two visible blisters.
I have had a couple of big-deal-to-me moments lately. The end of last month, I managed to braid my own hair in two braids for the first time! It wasn't pretty or smooth, but getting enough movement, strength, or coordination out of my left hand to manage any form of hair braiding, even on my daughter, not to mention reaching up to work on my own head, wasn't even fathomable a few months ago.

First, I'm beyond excited that my hair is even long enough to braid again and secondly, now I am able to braid it well enough to keep it mostly out of my face for swimming or bedtime. :) Friday and today, a couple of weeks after I managed the double braids for the first time, I was finally able to get it into some rougher semblance of a single braid, down the back of my head, after several frustrating attempts.

I think it will be a while (like maybe never) before I can try this though:
Kendra, you'll appreciate this one. Even since my strokes, I have had to open bananas by the "wrong" end, single-handed, pinch style. Here's this morning's breakfast!

I picked it up, and without thinking I tried to use two hands and open it the way I used to open bananas. When I heard the snap/crunch of the stem, I was so shocked I froze. I just open a banana! With two hands! In pre-stroke fashion! Um, yeah, it's the little things sometimes! Stunning. :)

Two different friends posted the above picture on Facebook this week. I shared, "One of the weirder stroke deficits I face is "emotional liability" meaning that the emotional processing centers of my brain were badly damaged. For the first year this meant I cried ALL the time, and not just normal crying, but horrid sobbing, gasping, wailing, often shouting and screaming too. Not pretty. Now it means I can hardly ever cry AT ALL, even when I really need to. I love this picture!" The encouraging news is that I have now held a few recent conversations with Rick (I still usually cannot talk privately with him without crying even though I cannot cry any other time) without tears, actually cried in church on Easter when I was moved by the music, and gotten "misty" a few times now when reading moving passages. Slow, but progress!

Related to the above allergy picture, something else I have been researching over the past week, not really relevant to this blog other than providing a example of my research and reasoning abilities at this point, I have been gathering information about Mast Cell Activation on one of my other health blogs.

And I end with this amazing, 1-minute video of swans feeding koi fish! I especially love it because I have a doctor who calls me a "black swan" because my medical story is so unique. I couldn't help but think how God is using my black swan status to draw people closer to Himself. <3

Some friends and I have been talking about "why pray". I think it comes down to obedience. We are commanded to pray, "6. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. 7. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4) and 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing," for example.

It seems like there were other things to tell you, but it has literally taken me all day to write this post, so if there were other thing to say, I have no idea what now!

Oh, I ALMOST thought of one more thing I was going to tell you. The though flitted through my brain, but now it is gone. I want to say it had something to do with my arm, maybe shoulder, or swim class today as those are the shadowy images that keeps coming to mind when I try to pull that thought together, but I just can't quite figure out anything about that blurry, half-baked concept.

Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade. Romans 3:28


  1. A braid and a banana...wow

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Continuously praying for you.