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, October 27, 2014

Thanks and Depression

Jennifer Saake, Oct. 25, 2014, 3 year after first two (of six over a month) catastrophic strokes.

A friend added this to my Facebook page on Saturday, saying, "In 3 days..in 3 years ..!!!".

I'm in a small group where one of the members posts a thankfulness thread ever day where we all list at least one or three (or more) things we are thankful for that morning. Here are mine from today:
Made it through a really nasty wave of depression yesterday, slept in an extra hour this morning, headed to the shower and thankful there will be a shower stool to hold me up.
Also thankful I got to do a really spur-of-the moment fun treat with my kids, last-moment yesterday and see utter joy on their faces. Top it off with picking up a bucket of chicken for dinner and getting to spend the evening with both of my parents, first time since Mom came home from the hospital! And we have figured out the complicated transportation schedule for my family this week since neither my mom nor I have driver's licenses now and the kids have an especially complicated week with one campus on half days and the other on full days.
My daughter insisted the fall decoration had to go up yesterday (she's been asking since early August
 ) and the house truly does look cozy this morning. 
Love the butterfly hiding in this picture!
So why depression? I'm just tired of my body being unreliable, for gains only to backtrack. I've been choking when I drink (or try to breathe and swallow my own spit) a LOT the past few day. Sunday I was really in a lot of extra pain too. So when I choked on a sip of warm tea badly enough to nearly need to leave the room, I was simply discouraged. I'm sure a little bit was post-"holiday" let-down too, being the day AFTER my stroke anniversary that I successfully built up well enough to not have more than a flicker of reflective sadness that morning. I really expected tears to start trickling down my face as I sat in class on Sunday, but of course they stubbornly refused to offer such relief.


I AM still making gains. Several times recently I've either intentionally or unintentionally, walked off without my cane, within the past 9 days, even a couple times in crowds, something that was still impossible to even fathom just a month ago! But there are also discouraging reminders that I'm still far from "normal," like the incredible dizziness that has been an issue off and on for the past week (especially this evening) or the trigeminal nerve and jaw and ear and neck pain that feels like the side of my face is trying to explode when I yawn. And hiccups...hard, loud, painful, unrelenting, 15-45 minutes at a time, several times this week. I'm guessing it is the sudden change in weather, the bitter cold mornings, that are upping my nerves and neuro system reactions this week?

Pretty much describes how I feel much of the time right now, as long as you add the words "With God" to the end of the first line.

Mom is home now and I would say about 99% mentally, 80% physically (stamina being the biggest issue). We are blessed she was given so much recovery SO FAST! She is currently without a driver's license either, so between 4 adults and transport needs of 3 kids, we have 2 driver's licenses. We are studying Gideon in Bible study and the day the doctor brought up the real possibility of seizure (automatic loss of license until you have been seizure-free for several months) the lesson was on how God whittled down Gideon's army from 1:4 odds to 1:450, to be clear that the battle was won ONLY in the power of the Lord. We were getting too confident, felt we had things in pretty good control being down just one license now, so being down two, we know this is only do-able with God!


For Kendra. Happy Fall!
Funny story on the decision making front. For nearly 3 years, my mom has been my primary driver, so when we went most anywhere, she was usually right there to help me work through whatever I needed. I have a hard time making decisions, but I didn't realize how bad (and how much she has helped me with this) until Dad drove us to KFC and we tried to order a bucket of fried chicken for dinner last night. I got overwhelmed with the menu and turned to her for suggestions. She just got home from a massive stroke-like event where, once she began to talk, a simple question like would she rather have peaches or pares for lunch was a crisis! So I looked to her for help with the menu and she stared back blankly and said, "You want ME to make a decision?" We had to call my dad over in order to choose what to order. Surprise!


Much better pictures of my butterfly cane.

Just because I'm a proud Mommy, quick update on my living miracles. On Saturday our 11-year-old princess took 1st place (perfect scores from all judges) in a local singing competition. Since one of the judges had been from the competition where she didn't even make it past the finals in a different competition over the summer, this really made her feel good! 

On Sunday, our oldest spent the afternoon at a college recruitment fair (already! sniff, sniff) with his Dad, while my parents and I made a last-minute choice to take the kids to a fun dress-up event in the parking lot of a local church. The pony rides were the highlight of the afternoon and oh the joy to see them have such a care-free time since Mommy is never spontaneous any more!!!

Our 3rd grader is just 2 1/2 chapters away from finishing his 5th grade level chapter book for this months book report. Not bad for someone who will still tell you he "can't read." :p



The rest of today's pictures are a tour of our Autumn and Thanksgiving decorations:





















 

2 comments:

  1. I just wish I could come over and we could choke on our tea together. We would be a laughing, choking, hot mess!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Would love to give you huge hugs, love you.

    ReplyDelete