Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

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, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for 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. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.

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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Immediate Prayer Need

Prayer Need: Likely more emotional/mental than actually physical (I hope!) but I'm a mess today!

Last night, right before dinner time, I was sorting my pills for the coming week when I felt a sneeze coming on strong. Since the strokes, I don't sneeze politely, I spew spit everywhere because I CANNOT keep my mouth shut effectively when I sneeze anymore. I try covering both my nose and my mouth, but this is only semi-helpful...

Kendra, this picture is for you! <3

Knowing a sneeze was coming, I (too) quickly turned my head to the side in effort to protect the pills I was sorting. I turned the same direction that I had when my artery ruptured, just as I very forcefully exploded out a powerful sneeze.

I instantly felt a sharp pain in my neck in the area of my vulnerable, surgically repaired artery stents. I immediately felt panicked and stumbled (yes, my legs weren't working well, likely in fright) my way to the oldest other family member at home at the time, our 12-year-old, to explain what had happened (in case I lost communication ability, I wanted someone to know the details) and give her instruction on taking over dinner prep for her little brother while I went to go lay down. She said my pupils were dilated HUGE (again, I presume a fear response) and uneven (they have responded unevenly to dilation ever since the strokes, so this wasn't a particular area of concern to me).

I have to say, our girl was VERY responsible and took excellent care of me, tucking me in, checking on me every 5 minutes or less, bringing me dinner in bed, coaxing me to eat when I wasn't hungry, then actually sitting with me and refusing to leave my side all evening once she had her brother fed. I felt very well cared for!

I had spoken to my hubby by telephone and really downplayed the situation, telling him everything was fine and our daughter was being overprotective. This wasn't intentionally deceptive, just that I truly was feeling brave at the time we talked. When he got home an hour and a half later, I broke down and admitted I was terrified to go to sleep because, "What if when I wake up I am not me any more?!" I had obviously already escaped an immediate tear and new bleed, but I am still nervous about any damage I may have done that, at any time over the coming days, weeks or even months, could release a new clot into my brain!

Rick prayed with me and God calmed me enough that I could get to sleep, but it was a rough night. Not only did the physical pain at the artery follow me through most of the night, I kept having vivid PTSD flashbacks to various scenes in the hospital, especially the arterial check surgery 6 months AFTER initial surgeries, I'm guessing because I have more vivid memories of this event than the hospital itself.

This morning, my neck feels much better. Now I am dealing with the muscles and nerves I upset in the sneeze itself and/or my tension afterwards. My left shoulder HURTS, seemingly in the very joint itself. In fact, my whole left arm isn't very happy, but that feels like it is just Central Pain Syndrome getting in on the fun. My left jaw and side of face is angry (even my ear) and seems nike a nice little a-typical TN flair. Even the TMJ in my right jaw isn't wanting to be left out. And I've had a mild all-over headache since last night with occasional spikes of migraine-like pain intensity throughout the left hemisphere of my head. My upper back is pretty tense all over.

Basically I share specifics this morning for TWO reasons. First, I need prayer, that my mind will not dwell in a place of fear, that I can praise God that I woke up this morning and am still me, suffered no brain-altering event overnight, and trust God with both my immediate and long-term future. Next, I have been so detailed because, should something new happen, I want loved ones to give this exact documentation to my doctors so that they have a detailed account of how we got there.

And for the one specific critical person who I do NOT have the energy nor patience to deal with today (so PLEASE don't start! If you read this, you know who you are.) how could I say I am afraid of another stroke from a sneeze and also maintain that my first strokes were the result of a chiropractic injury? My explanation there is that people have been known to get artery dissections from sneezes, from turning to look over their shoulders to back a car out of a parking spot, even from getting their hair washed at a salon. If reasons can be as random as that, then why is chiropractic manipulation that forcefully mimics these same motions still practiced? I am where I am today, with two stents artificially embedded into my artery, was hovering over dozens of pills I take as a result of the first injury, even sneezed the exact way I did last night, all because of the arterial dissection. I feel terribly vulnerable to new injury now simply BECAUSE that artery has already been severely compromised by my chiropractic adjustment almost 3 1/2 years ago. Done rambling and defending my position preemptively on this one issue. As you can tell that is a bit of a sore spot.

After reading all this, if anyone feels you have a better grasp on exactly why I am rallying for chiropractic accountability, a petition for a bill to work toward a new law that would simply mandate the reporting and collection of data if someone does stroke within 120 days of a chiropractic neck adjustment (so no, if I stroked from a sneeze now, it would NOT be included in statistics!), please add your name at https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-bill-proposal-mandatory-reporting-of-chiropractic-stroke-vad-cad so we can get our petition up to 1,000 names and send it off to congress!

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