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...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Anniversary Eve

40 months (3 years, 4 month) ago, my life was still normal. By late tomorrow morning, I will not be able to make the same statement. It is amazing how quickly life can change!

Last February I recorded this video sharing my story. Today I recorded much of the exact same script again (edited, updated and significantly shorted from 5 to 3 1/2 minutes) to submit it to the Neuro Film Festival and to be able to have an auditory and visual comparison of my progress over the past year.

This year's video.

Same basic script from one year ago, for comparison.

Something I noticed about myself today is that my eyes do not always both track when I read. I never knew that, but in this blooper outtake you can clearly see how my eyes initially tracked together, but after the first look away from words and then back again, one eye just stares straight ahead while my other eye is actually tracking the words. Wild!



Playing around YouTube today I discovered Jenny's story. Yes, we have the same name. She spells Jenny with a Y and my name is spelled Jenni with an I. ;) Yes we are both young mom stroke survivors. No this is NOT my own story, but I share it tonight because it is such a good visual documentation of the stroke recovery journey. I watched it and "cried" my way through that (felt all of the emotions of crying, even though I usually CANNOT get the physical release of actual tears now), feeling for Jenny and her family and remembering my own journey. My initial thoughts were to thank the Lord that I was "never that bad," then to realize, actually, yes I was.

Jenni Saake with an I (me!) taken at about six weeks after the strokes. No feeding or breathing tubes (still on soft foods and thickened liquids diet then)  but holding up own head and able to sit alone with moderate support. Eye remained this visibly paralyzed, causing over 60 degrees doubling of vision, for several months.

Our deficits may have been different, but my fragile life was just as precarious at one time. I couldn't hold my head up or sit up either. I had no trachea like Jenny (or Kendra!) because, against expectation, I was actually able to start breathing on my own with just verbal reminders, within that first week on a breathing tube. But I did have a significantly crossed and paralyzed eye. I never (other than briefly, for transport for the special needs shuttle from the main hospital to the rehabilitation hospital) needed a big wheel chair like that, in part because I could not even tolerate (nausea, severe vertigo, blood pressure drop, heart rate racing) being upright long enough to sit up in one - by the time I could handle being that upright long enough to use a chair, I had enough trunk and neck support for a standard chair. I had a feeding tube through my nose for the first several days, then we were able to go to an IV with no "belly button straw". I didn't use it long, but came home to a hospital bed too. I rode home from rehab in our car rather than an ambulance. I was hard to understand and didn't always make much sense (remember Mom "sitting on lions" last year!), but could talk later the very same day they removed my breathing tube. The intense similarities in our stories were learning to eat, swallow, control drool, physical therapy, cuddling kids from a hospital bed... This is going to be both HARD and amazing for you to watch too, Kendra!

Jenny with a Y (not me, but oh the memories!) - recovery photo documentation.

In considering the possible identity confusion of posting another Jennifer's story on my blog, I found this on Facebook:
Jenni with two Ns but an I instead of Y, throws a lot of folks. I guess it "should" either be Jeni or Jenny or even Jennie. I like to be Jenni though. grin emoticon Saake (pronounced like the two small words "say" and "key"), well, it is more common to get it wrong than, right, so we won't even go there!
I still can't get my camera phone to talk to my computer on a regular basis :( but if I can figure out a way around my technical glitches, I hope to start participating in #OneBeautifulThing each Friday. I know it is only a Tuesday, but here is a picture from last September (yes, that is a wild horse eating the lawn in our front yard - one beautiful thing about living in northern Nevada!), paired with a handwriting sample from earlier this month.


 

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy for You. You are doing so well. And i love to hear You family talking here. There is so much love and care. =)

    ReplyDelete