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. Jenni remained hospitalized until 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. 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 equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Update after I posted this morning's video: "Slept for over 3 hour this afternoon (well, technically, started in the morning). Groggy and still tired, but at least functional in time for kids to come home from school!"
Friday, September 26, 2014
I just posted last night, then updated with this picture this morning:
The two things I do remember than I want to add is that it really hit me, overwhelmed me, yesterday morning to be standing (that alone is a miracle!) in my kitchen, capable of making an entire meal without any help, not only for my own family, but for another too. Stirring, balance involved, organizational skil to think though each stage of the tasks at hand, ability to carry such tasks out! Just WOW! Thank you to ALL who fed our family for all those months when I could manage none of this. How very amazing to get the chance to do something similar for another. I don't even have the words...
prior post), this would be my third re-birthday and we would be celebrating all the things you celebrate with a 3-year-old over their lifetime achievements, learning to speak more clearly, crawl, walk, run, count, basic addition and subtraction, write legibly enough for someone else to read without too much struggle, learn enough voice control to sing, not at an adult level yet, but progressing that way. I'm almost three years into this re-learning the basics thing and I guess right on track. :)
|And here's what you would see when you came inside, our very first wedding present.|
|This week's roses on my kitchen table (not as fresh as they looked yesterday, but still bringing me joy).|
|The sign from Abby that got me through those days in the hospital.|
|Butterflies from Kendra.|
|My "changing direction" bountiful rose branch, Kathy. From Jenni's Theological Gardens. ;)|
Thursday, September 25, 2014
2 years, 11 months ago, today, I had my first two strokes. (Also see More Thoughts at 35 Months once you finish this post.)
|My favorite new quote. "Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods." - CS Lewis|
|Gardening in progress.|
Today was a Kathy day. My garden (about a dozen rose bushes, with a literal swamp and all the accompanying water-loving plants like willows and cat tails and more kinds of weeds than I can name!) running right through the middle of it all, has been mostly weeded today and all but three bushes pruned! There were dozens of volunteer trees growing in there, several higher than I am tall, and we got them ALL out! We even reorganize the garage a bit, making it much safer and more spacious for me to get through! I don't know how I would manage if God hadn't put this woman, her dear sisterhood, listening ear, kind counsel and utter physical ability in my life!
|After about 8-10 man hours of labor (mine and Kathy's, over a couple of weeks), |
See the "Saake Swamp" on the left? That was a solid forest of weeds, cat tails, willow bushes, aspen volunteers!
|Jennifer Saake, almost 35 months post-stroke. (Sorry it is a bit blurry!)|
Today, I'm thankful that I got to sit at my new (to-me) bistro table in my rose garden for about 5 minutes this morning and watch wild horses eating our lawn just yards away!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
No, I'm not retiring from blogging! I'm just ready to retire some items. My "Failure is NOT an Option" hat that has served well as my pool hat for a year or more now, was already a broken-in hand-me-down when I started using it. It captures my determination well, as Kathy recently put it, "With God and Jenni, nothing is impossible!" But that hat is literally falling apart and the Velcro back keeps catching on, tangling with and badly pulling my long (Yeah! Growing!) hair.
Saturday, my mom and I found a couple of new pool hat options for me at over 70% off! I have an all-white one with cute flower and blue with white poke-a-dots now. :) I had thought about designing my own to say something like, "SURVIVOR" on one line and "6 strokes, age 39" on the next, then maybe "StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com" under that, but both VistaPrint and CafePress only give me Velcro closure options and would be around $20. Since I paid less than $4 for each of what I just bought and the back styles don't pull my hair, I dropped that idea for now.
|Not looking at the camera because my vision is still quite doubled to turn my head to the side and move my eyes to look straight in front of me! Still dizzy from that attempt, but at least you can see my new pool hat. :)|
For me, a crisis issue was Tupperware. Yes, plastic storage dishes! It wasn't until toward the end of my rehabilitation stay that I began to grasp that many friends and family members had been working hard on my behalf, for weeks, to be sure that I came home to a safe, clear, orderly, adapted home environment. I remember blurting out to my husband, "Just don't let anyone touch my Tupperware cabinet!" little knowing that it had already been completely overhauled weeks prior. (I still wonder why this was the one issue that really stood out to me, but for whatever reason, it was.)
We rolled in the door upon discharge and my husband proudly wheeled me around the house opening drawers, cabinets, closets and showing off many of the changes that had been worked in our home over past weeks. I was livid, left utterly violated and betrayed. All the love and effort poured out on my behalf was seen as more uninvited change heaped upon my already-shattered heart, threatening to suffocate me with my own lack of sameness. The home I had longed for, dreamed of, craved, no longer felt as mine, safe, welcoming. I know now that everything accomplished was intended as blessing, but at the time when I was so frail and frightened, the changes seemed overwhelmingly daunting!
|Work in progress...|
|I thought the lighting on a kitchen chair was amazing one morning this week.|
As you may be able to guess by now, from all the photos I'm snapping, I got a new cell phone, a special slide out keypad model that I'm learning to text with a bit and is actually a little easier for me to hear and see on than our home phone. It is great for staying in contact with my many doctors and immediate family, though I am still not a happy phone "chatter" anymore. What excites me the most is that I now have a camera I can use without having to drag my laptop around for the webcam (and it takes mirror image photos anyway, so written words, the direction I hold anything, etc. comes out backwards) and I am so proud of myself for learning how to upload the pictures from my camera onto my computer, something I never could figure out with my old phone! Here are my first couple of pictures:
And a "selfie."
The weed-overgrown garden Kathy and I worked towards reclaiming (a few hours and 4 large trash can worth) on Wednesday.
My first roses I have managed to salvage into a bouquet in three years! This made me SO happy!!!!
Typical state of my "nest."
I spent 13 hours cleaning it up and reorganizing my chair corner this weekend. Now it looks like:
I love bears and roses, so a friend had a flower pot specially designed just for me, several years back. Fun to practice shooting photos on!
And more pictures, just for the fun of playing with my new toy:
And some pretties from our girl:
Praise! I had another hearing test yesterday. My left ear is up from virtual deafness to nearly 75% potential in the lower sound ranges! It does still drop off significantly with higher tones, but I can actually hear about 3 out of every 4 words spoken in a male tone with that ear now!
Our marriage has been one constant STRESS for 3 years straight (though really, for nearly 20 years of chronic illness before that too, just not at this level of intensity). My counselor's goal is that we are to strive to reclaim that marriage can be fun and joyful, not just a thing to be endured. This morning was great. Praying for not only continued endurance, but more and more fruit from the endurance thus far! Yesterday was our 265th month-o-versary. Satan may come to steel, kill and destroy, but Jesus, the Overcomer, is STILL winning this battle!
May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of God's love and the endurance that is given by Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 3:5 GNT