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, December 29, 2014

Wings




The first thing I have to share is a bad night I had one night this past week and the positive outcome of that night.


I woke up about 3 in the morning with severe neck pain (even though I brought my own pillow, my body did not like sleeping in a different bed) that reminded me of the head pain that had sent me to the chiropractor just over 3 years ago. I prayed and rehearsed Bible verses about peace and fear over and over in my mind and debated about waking my husband or not, but keep having flash backs to my strokes, then falling asleep and reliving all the vivid details and imagining new stroke scenarios now. I don't think I stayed asleep for longer than 20 minutes in a stretch for at least three more hours. By then the physical pain was slightly resolved but the mental anguish had exulted higher than it has been in months.


Around 6:30 in the morning, in that dream-state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, I wrestled with God over the belief I was having another stroke, only this time my "reality" was to be "awake" through the entire thing, aware of every detail, yet unable to communicate what I knew to be happening within my own body to anyone around me. 


For the first time since my own real strokes back in 2011, I found myself asking the Lord to let me survive, let me live to see all my children grown, not allow me to leave my husband without me.


Perhaps this sounds like a startling "first," but when you consider that early on I was angry that I had lived, then considered hastening my own journey to Heaven, then grappled with seeking purpose and understanding and contentment with God's call to keep me here for this season, that I am actually embracing, clinging to the NOW where God has me, is startling and hopeful and encouraging. This marks a dramatic shift from a heart seeking to be content in biding my time here and a longing to more fully strive to be excited by some of the reasons I was created, placed here, kept here.



A recap of recent days:

A week ago Friday I had a 2-hour interview with three sweet ladies from my hospital's publicity group, an hour of that on film with two big light and two cameras just a couple feet away from my face. That night I went out to hubby work Christmas party. I love playing dress up, though it does take a lot out of me.

God can take the most ugly and transform it into a thing of beauty.

Last Monday, two of those ladies met me at my new gym to film my water exercise class (had been on a two week trial membership there, with last Monday being the first day of the official new membership my in laws blessed me with for Christmas - what a way to make an entry, showing up with a film crew on my first day as a member! LOL). That afternoon my parents took us across town for an emergency orthodontic repair for our daughter.


Sunday was our 15-year-old's birthday. After dinner that night, I went out into the cold and learned about muscle "spasticity" on a whole new level, when my left leg suddenly locked up and refused to take another step when it hit cold air after coming out from a warmer building. My hubby steadied me and helped me hobble to the car, thankfully avoiding the piggy-back-ride we actually considered.


The weekend through Wednesday morning found me madly cleaning, organizing, doing laundry, wrapping gifts (quite a trick with clumsy hands that can only master gift bagging but not tape scissors or wrap, or a long-enough term memory to even know what is in the bag I just packed before I get it half way from our bedroom to the tree - I only made one major blunder in forgetting my brother-in-laws gift at all, but I got to be as surprised as our kids were on Christmas morning as they unwrapped their gifts) and packing.


Tuesday night we attended a Christmas Eve-Eve service and I wore ear plugs (to help me be able to tolerate the neuro stimulation of the music. Even though I already have much hearing loss, what I do hear, I do not process correctly, thus cannot tolerate loud sounds without nausea and confusion and physical pain.) and Signed (because I could not hear myself sing) all the Christmas carols.
Early Wednesday afternoon (24th) we were all loaded in the car and headed to my in-laws' farm about an hour away.


Thursday, we spent with 11 family members and two bathrooms, later in the day, joined by an adopted sister and her friend as well. I was in bed around 8pm, both Wednesday and Thursday nights! Christmas Day had been a month-a-versary, and it took me until Saturday evening to even realize this landmark had passed without notice!


Friday was a rest and family games day. The 27th marked exactly 20 years since I learned my body not only disliked the idea of GETTING pregnant but that CARRYING a baby was to be equally as challenging. I'm still trying to unwrap all the emotions of miscarriage when mixed with a mother's earthly grief, longing and loneliness and the wonder my own near death experience and transformed understanding of Noel's Heavenly reality.


Saturday, we came home to piles and PILES of clean laundry to be sorted then all those Christmas blessings to get put into new homes. I also took my first shower since Wednesday one I had access to a shower chair and hand rails again.


Sunday was church, then roast left overs with in-laws and more games. About 4 more hours working on that clean laundry yesterday afternoon!


Today has been water therapy, my parents went and adopted a cat, trying to plan meals for the week ahead.


Tomorrow, my friend Kathy comes to help un-decorate my tree, we take our daughter back to the orthodontist, then tomorrow night we are getting together with some dear friends, visiting back here from out of state. Their son was our 15-year-old's best buddy when they were 4 years old!


Insurance and some family medical testing feel like a yo-yo ride too. Not even planning to work on my book anymore until kids go back to school Jan. 8. I still haven't finished all that laundry putting away yet.


This past week, we did confirm my decision that I am going to cut a few inches off my hair. Not that I don't love the length it has finally reached, but because I cannot manage this length alone now. I want it to still brush my shoulders or come a little bit past, but I've got to be able to get a brush through it myself, something that I haven't been able to do in at least 6 or 8 weeks now since the length has become unmanageable.




















2 comments:

  1. Hi, Jennifer! I'm stopping by from Grace and Truth. Thank you for sharing our image and helping us spread the word. What can I say? I like so much about you already! For starters, your name is awesome. And I am also an MK, so we have that in common. I also have some chronic health concerns, although nothing as limiting as what you have experienced. Your story humbles me! I look forward to getting to know you better.
    Jen :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. It inspired and encouraged me. Looking forward to reading more from you!

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