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...

Friday, March 20, 2015

It Was NOT My Fault!


Last time I posted, it was with an urgent prayer request. So very, very much has happened since then! First of all, good news, other than some continue jaw, shoulder and general muscle soreness, I seem to have come through that scare quite well. Thank you for praying!


One thing that has intentionally NOT been mentioned here before is that we have spent the past year undergoing some pretty intense medical investigation for one of our children, to the extent of many specialists (both in town and out of state). We learned yesterday that the biggest, most scary, highest mortality, shortest life expectancy issues that were being considered, have now been clearly ruled out. For this, a huge sigh of relief. Ongoing prayer appreciated as we face they "what then" and "what next" questions in this child's care. As you can imagine, between all of our needs and not having a driver's license, this has added quite a stressful added dynamic to my own recovery journey - between the two of us, I now have 27 different doctors speed dialed into my telephone! While stressful to juggle it all, I figured just keeping our medical schedules sorted out has counted toward good brain training and organization skills!!!


Along with this child's long term health picture looking better than we had expected it might, I share this non-stroke-related part of our family's journey because it does have direct baring on my own strokes. Ever since this research odyssey was undertaken a year back, in small measure, a contributing factor to why we landed on this path of investigation in the first place, was directly because of my strokes.


I had been told by many, many Nay-Sayers that a chiropractic neck manipulation could not have possibly been the real and only cause of my strokes. You can only have such information forced upon you so many hundreds of times before you begin to wonder if perhaps they could be right. Maybe my strokes really were, to some extent, my fault, the failure of my own body, thus perhaps I was unjustly giving a particular "good" course of treatment a bad name? While I had also had repeated medical confirmation that I had no known standard stroke risk factors, I heard the propaganda about how "safe" neck manipulation is and how "impossible" what happened to me actually was that, coupled with several other issues our child was facing, I began to really wonder if our circulatory systems held an underlying cause, a non-standard stroke risk factor?


The scariest condition that seemed to fit all symptoms, including vascular fragility, was an inherited condition seen in only 1 in 250,000 children. Ah Ha. Several doctors agreed that, given our family history, including my strokes, this needed to be genetically investigated.


The results are finally in. We do NOT carry this condition. Our circulatory systems are fine. In addition to the overwhelming emotions I am processing for our child, may I say I feel overwhelming relief, personal vindication even? I did NOT stroke because of fragile veins that were going to stroke anyway! My chiropractic accident was exactly that, chiropractor-caused! Our child is not at unusual risk for a similar incident. I did not realize how terribly badly all those challengers had messed with my head, my heart, my perception of motherhood, until we got an "all clear" answer to this question and finally put the doubts to total rest!


I hate the way that an entire profession has worked so hard to shift an accountability from themselves so that victims of chiropractic injury actually are blamed, made to feel responsible! The only responsibility I had for my own strokes is that I willing entered that chiropractic office of my own free will then consented to a "safe" treatment without being aware that there were any such reported incidents or known risks. If you would like to see a change to our legal system so that if anyone strokes at or shortly after a chiropractic neck adjustment, such data is collected and reported somewhere (right now it is not, thus the chiropractic industry continues to maintain the safety of this procedure as there is no statistical evidence being collected anywhere!), please take two minutes to add your name to the petition requesting such a law in the United States!!!  https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-bill-proposal-mandatory-reporting-of-chiropractic-stroke-vad-cad


In addition, this week has held news that I am getting my first pair of bifocals (not stroke related, just old age!), my overall hormone and other blood tests are looking the best they have in my entire adult life, my hearing had dropped to it's lowest level since my major ear repair surgery in 2012 ("I don't like this at all" was my ENT's commentary), thus a 3rd in-office surgery (tube implant) was preformed. (The Eustachian tube is finally seeming to heal enough from stroke paralysis to properly manage ear pressure once again, but the eardrum itself still maintains enough injury to not be capable of transmitting sound well without assistance.)


Last week I learned that I have three more teeth to repair in my primary chewing side. Those teeth just seem to be literally crumbling away because of the double-duty that is now demanded of them and intense strain that is constantly placed on them from doing about 98% of my eating work. Prior to the strokes, I had only had one cavity in my entire life! Interestingly, my numbish, non-chewing side is the "dirtier" side of my mouth. While I was repeatedly complimented by both the dental hygienist and the dentist of the state of health and cleanliness of my teeth, the hygenist could instantly tell a difference and let me know which side was my numb one because it was not quite as clean nor well-cared-for as the other. I would think that if one side of my mouth were going to have issues it would be the one I apparently can't clean as well, but I guess those teeth get off easy since they rarely get used now.


Every now and then I still stumble across "new" information I haven't seen before. This morning I found the very initial prayer request Rick sent to or church members, early that very first day (before they had even figured out I had stroked). "This is not to create alarm, but to keep everyone informed. Today at about 10:30 Jenni has a seizure after getting a chiropractic treatment. She was brought to the Renown Downtown Hospital, via ambulance, She has been unresponsive, and has had a CT scan, EKG, spinal tap and an MRI. She is now being moved to the ICU, and we will need to wait and see. She has a slew of doctors, all not sure of what she has, so please please pray."
No commentary as I don't really even know how these reminders make me feel. Startled. Rather sick to my tummy. Overwhelmed with thankfulness at the care of family and prayers of friends. Blessed and heartbroken to read the "please please pray" urgency in my husband's voice when he didn't know if he would still have a wife that night or not. Sort of numb...

1 comment:

  1. While it is a different medical situation, my son has to be carefully cared for. He has a rare genetic condition and he is effected both mentally and physically. He keeps a vigorous schedule of therapists, nurses and teachers. They all come to try and get him to do things the doctors told us he would never do.

    Jacqueline Hodges @ Dr Koziol

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