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...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Stats, Tips and God!

Concerning the alarming phone call I mentioned in Wednesday's post. My mom (Betty Camp)'s words best sum up what I are able to share yet:
"Dealing with and mourning the death of our wonderful family doctor over the weekend. She cared for 5 Saakes and 2 Camps wonderfully. We will miss her. It is almost like losing a family member. She was also our friend. We went by the office yesterday and cried with some of the staff."
It has been a really rough week. (I did finally shed about 3 small tears after I went to bed last night, but it is beyond frustating to be the only dry eye in a group of mourners, like I was yesterday. I so need the physical release of some tears here!) I easily get panicked when I think of where this leaves us medically, but dozens of times a day, God reminds me to trust His plan with that.

Today is I high pain day. I just HURT. Don't know if it is heavy-hearted grief that has the physical pain revved up or what. That would be my guess. Canceled Bible study this morning and slept until almost 10. Long afternoon and evening ahead, so resting while I can.

Congratulations to our oldest and the Reno Coral Academy of Sciences, Metal Falcons team for winning their FTC robotics competition last night. Now on to Las Vegas next month!

Joshua is to our far right, back row.
This afternoon my mom (who just started driving again last week - yippie!) and I go help our youngest and their team fisish up preparations for his Lego competition on Saturday, then head to our daughter's campus for her honor society induction. These kids just amaze me!

A compilation of stroke statistics posted today on one of the stroke groups I participate in:
Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that's 1 out of every 19 deaths. On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes34% of those 795,000 US strokes occur to people under the age of 65. Only about 2-3 % are pediatric strokes so that leaves about 32% 18-65.
One of my all-time favorite phrases!
I came across an old post of mine from November, 2013. It hit me how very glad I am to have this journey documented! I had already forgotten several of these details! What blessings in my husband's response to my "3rd stroke" (what I would later learn hadn't been one of my strokes at all, rather Paroxysmal Sympathetic Hyperactivity or a "Sympathetic Storm"), God's grace in sending a pastor friend to pray just when I was giving up the fight, and the ongoing uplifting of your prayers and tangible acts of love through prayers, quilts and gifts that helped pull me through the very hardest days. If you have been part of my story, even the "smallest" or seemingly least significant parts, thank you for praying me through. I can never express that adequately enough.

I am involved in very many different online stroke support and/or informational groups. One of my personal favorites, an imaginary "coffee house" where strokies gather to chat about anything and everything stoke-related, is led by a stroke-survivor-become-friend named Amanda Breckenride. Amanda has an amazing story of God's grace after her aneurysm rupture and strokes at age 35, requiring life flight in 2001. A nurse, with a beautiful voice, who wrote her own songs, Amanda was left unable to walk, talk clearly or sing. She has created an entire line of YouTube videos from one stroke survivor to encourage others along the journey of reclaiming what was lost. Here is one such video. I tried this one (intentionally recorded sideways to help us better focus on the specific oral training) this morning and could hit about 3/4 of the notes with accuracy, but had next to no breath support nor melodic fluidity between notes. To think where Amanda has come from and hear how far she has come now, I am hopeful for continued improvement in this area as well.

Amanda Breckenridge

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