Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog.

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.

Jennifer 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. (Please see above temporary update note above!)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stories From My Week

Last night I felt really grumpy. I shared with a few friends, "I hurt tonight. Not DEEP. Not my worst pain ever, not by a long shot. Not even enough that I want to take a tranquilizer unless it gets more intense between now and bedtime, but nice aches all through both side of my core, up into my lower rib cage both in front and in back, even down into my personal area. This is seriously getting exhausting and flat out old! My surgery consult with the general surgeon in still 15 days away and then I'll have to wait for surgery after that, until it fits everyone's schedules! Thanks for listening to me whine a moment. I know it could be (and often has been!) so much worse! I'm just tired of it and annoyed tonight!".

A friend scolded me for saying I was whining because I was simply stating facts. I replied, "Yes, I was whining, true statement because I know how grumblely and complaining my spirit feels, my attitude is, while posting this!"

We both (she had had a bad day too) decided it was time to call it a night and ask God for a fresh start.

This morning I woke up and told her, "My tummy hurts today. Yes, deep, sharp lower right pain today, but this isn't with a whining attitude this morning, just factual. Thanking God for the attitude reset!!!"

An update to this sitution from my post earlier on Monday is that I have my general surgery consult set for July 30. Scheduler does NOT think he will be willing to do my appendix as all the tests and scans have not shown a visible problem there, even though GYN says it should come out while she is in there. So now it is just a wait and see game again. After that consult, when he decides if he will or will not participate in surgery, we will get a date set for at least the hysterectomy.

I have another loved one in my immediate circle in big need of prayers. I am not free to share details at this time, but God knows exactly who and what. Please carry this serious concern before the Lord with us! The prayer need is urgent!

Here are some great thoughts from my new friend, Sam Ward, also a brain stem stroke survivor from earlier the same month I stroked.
Dads, imagine your little child coming to you with a splinter in his finger saying,
"oh, most gracious earthly father, I humbly approach your recliner chair on a busy TV night, knowing you may have had a rough day at the office and therefore you probably won't even want the talk to a lowly wretch like me, but I have a splinter in my finger...I'm really sorry to bother you but I can't get it out myself."

That would be weird. Really STRANGE. No, most dads would be out of the chair at the sight of the first tear.
Kids know how to talk to their dads when they have a need. "Dad, will you help me " or "Dad, I have a splinter." So why not talk to your Heavenly Father like your father. He IS your father. Just TALK to him. A lot. He loves you.
“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “ LORD, I am coming.””
Psalms 27:8 NLT

Here'a a though-provoking and inspiring story making its way around Facebook right now, credited to a Mike Suddaby:
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”
And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less
Feel free to F♡LL♡W ME for recipes, inspiration, motivation, laughter and more!

I found this posted on Facebook this week. Good thing I don't drive. With my short term memory issues, this would totally be me!

Speaking of texting a driving., I have a friend whose brother was killed by a texting driver. This short video is sobering to watch, but a good reminder for us all about distracted driving:

Back to the short term memory thing.... Yesterday Rick got out of bed at 5 am for a moment. While he was gone, I took something of his. When he came back, he took it right back and I started LAUGHING. He teasingly asked me why I was laughing, know why full well.This event had happened all of 10 seconds earlier (if that) and I had NO CLUE and could NOT figure out why! But when he asked, I honestly could NOT REMEMBER! I even begged him to tell me why because the lack of memory was so upsetting, but he must have thought I was still joking as the need to know what had JUST happened seemed ludicrous and unfathomable, so he didn't answer me.  I was annoyed, but tired enough I fell back to sleep anyway. When his alarm actually went off for the morning, I sat up in bed stating, "I know why I was laughing!" I could them recount the story in detail, but while it was still unfolding, could figure out the details for anything. Odd! Much like when I start a question or statement and loose my train of thought before I even finish voicing it and have no idea what I wanted to say.

Need a funny now? This woman, after surgery, had me laughing until the tears were running down my face (and I normally CANNOT cry). Her mental processing and reasoning skills made me feel for My poor hubby! The logic of a befuddled brain. What I must have put him through! Rick, thank you for loving me even all the times I've been just about this logical, easily saddened or angered!!!

This is just a neat idea I want to hang on to:

So if there continue to be too many "political" hot issues popping up that are needing to be addressed from a mental processing standpoint, I guess I may need to create yet another blog (or get busy posting at InfertilityMom again even though I am still trying to work out blog migration) to post all my views on these matters there, so I can keep this one focused on just stroke recovery, but these ARE issues that are taking up much of my mental real estate, so deserve some minimal mention here as well.

Child born at 24 weeks gestation. Real baby!
I'm just sickened over the recently exposed evil that Planned Parenthood has been selling aborted baby body parts at the highest level of the organization. No matter where you stand on when human life begins, selling human body parts is illegal and depraved!

My heart is also broken over the Iran deal and how it abandons some American citizens in torturous conditions there in Iran. Anti-Israel and Anti-American. Hurtful on two counts!!! Congress still has the final say here, so please act!

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
James 1:21 MSG


Monday, July 13, 2015

Life Continues

I used an iron for the third time since my strokes this week. I almost didn't mention it, because then I should confess I only used an iron 1-3 times a year before the strokes, so 3 times in just under 4 years isn't terribly far from my usual! (Yes, go ahead and laugh. I know that's a rather pathetic admission.) I handled the heat OK, didn't burn myself, and thought it might be good therapy, but ended up doing absolutely every bit of everything, even cutting patches with sizzors, with only my right hand, so I guess there was little benefit out of the process beyond accomplishing 4 much-needed ironing pieces!

Here are a few Facebook updates from this week:

So after 5 (actually I'm IN #5 right now) significant pain cycles in a row, every 3 1/2 - 4 weeks and lasting a week+ every time, but growing longer with each occurrence, the decision is that I will be having a completion of the partial hysterectomy I had nearly 7 years ago AND likely taking out my appendix too (as my mom's was chronic for many months before it became acute, so add Endometriosis likely growing there as well, this will hopefully prevent me going right back under the knife again, immediately following first surgery, if we do them both at the same time). I met with the GYN surgeon last week and will be meeting with the general surgeon (appendix) when they respond to my referral next week. For now, I'm in a lot of pain and just praying these two things actually do care for the issue!

This morning, I shared with a few friends,

Yesterday was hard. Friday and Saturday were really bad tummy pain days. Yesterday, NO tummy pain, but my left arm and leg were really heavy and angry with post-stroke pain. I was just "off" all day yesterday, really poor balance and several near falls, unlike I have done in months. One, I really "should have" broken (or at least badly twisted) my left ankle or leg, but by God's grace I did neither! MAJOR PRAISE! Today, I think the stroke weirdness seems much better so far, but tummy is getting angry again. (I guess it is a "pick one" game I never signed up to play! Better than both being angry at once though!)
Our 9-year-old acts like he may be trying to come down with pink eye. We also just dropped our 12-year-old off at a camp (staying in local dorms so I know we can get to her in 20 minutes if there is a latex issue or broken bone or anything) last night and she won't be home until Friday late - for some reason I'm much more anxious and emotional about this than I have been with either of the boys going to attend their camps over the summer or even our 14 year old flying out of country last year! 

And in response to someone I had not heard from since just after the strokes, who was checking in for an update:

I'm coming up on 4 years since my chiropractic adjustment that broke an artery in my neck, leading to 6 strokes, in late October. There is much that has not resolved, like I need a cane, am no longer able to homeschool my kids, can't drive, my emotional responses are still out of whack, but MUCH has improved, like our kids were able to move home after 8 months, I came home from the hospital in a wheel chair and made it to a walker, then a cane, I now work along side the friend who still comes to help me care for our house rather than just watching her, I plan and cook about 4-6 meals a week. So major progress from originally needing to be on a feeding tube and breathing machine!!!

A friend posted, "James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

I replied, "What strikes me in this verse is the word righteous. There is not a one of us righteous, not even one. Our righteousness is like filthy rags. But whatever faith we offer to Jesus, He takes it, fragile and worn and shaky as it may be, and uses it powerfully through His righteous. Our only job is to pray. He is the faithful one who makes those prayers effective!" 

Ever wonder why pray? I believe it has alot to do with allowing God to unleash the power He has already desired to dedicate to the issue already. That makes every moment spent in prayer an important investment in time and energy!

So that's me in a nut shell today. I just talked to the general surgeon's office and am still awaiting a new patient appointment there, so hopefully we can get this show on the road soon!

It is almost 4 in the afternoon. My grand accomplishments of the day have been taking a shower (after 1 PM!) and brushing out the tangles in my hair (remember when I could not do either of these things myself?), calling to try to find out more information about surgery, reading a chapter of our summer book aloud to my boys, playing Candy Crush and getting meat out of the freezer with a vague plan of what to do with it for dinner. I really should go sort some laundry and get a load started now!