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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Miscarriage and More

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7
Today I am thinking of our first daughter, Noel Alexis.

Noel's due date was Sept. 2, 1995. Every one of our children who survived birth came 1-4 weeks prior to their EDD (estimated due date), so I figure Noel would likely have come sometime in August that year, rather than September, had I been able to carry her that long. Tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary, Noel would likely be celebrating her 20th birthday around now. My thoughts on miscarriage and my perspective on time, drastically changed with my strokes. Anyone grieving the loss of a young child might wish to read http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2013/07/time.html.
I had an exciting accomplishment this morning!!! I honestly cannot remember if this is a true "first" or not, as I may have tried before, but today has been my most smooth attempt, I'm sure! After the kids were already gone to school, I realized they had left a MESS on the kitchen floor, looked like about 20 corn chips (OK, maybe only 3, but still!) had been crushed onto the floor and left. Ants were having a party! I had someone coming to show me window covering ideas in 20 minutes. There was no young one around to call to come sweep up his or her mess.

I walked to the other room, retrieved the broom, and successfully swept it all up myself! I was sweating profusely, but surprisingly not that much more dizzy than normal by the time I was done. I wouldn't rank the task as "easy" but not as hard as I expected either.

Really, I should earn extra credit for doing the job twice though...

When I tried to sweep everything into a dust pan, I simply could not figure out how to bend over, stay balanced, and work the broom all at once. So I dragged over a chair to sit in and worked the dust pan and broom from multiple angles and for several more minutes, until I finally was relatively satisfied with the results.  Then, I picked the dust pan up by the handle using my LEFT (more profoundly stroked) hand and promptly managed to fling the entire contents of my debris pile across the kitchen floor, all over again! The good news is that I DID reach to accomplish the task with that hand without thinking nor having to coach myself. The bad news is that hand is still not at all reliable.

So I did the whole sweeping thing for a second time, then after second and third lengthy attempts at getting rid of my pile, got everything back into the dust pan, and with my right arm this time, managed to get it all into the trash can! I even had time to drink a cold glass of water and sign a few papers that needed my attention before my appointment arrived!

A funny aside. I did not sleep very soundly last night. I have very vague memory of what I was even dreaming about, but it must have been good. I kept waking myself up, over a 2-3 hour span of the wee hours of morning, physically LAUGHING! I know part of one dream was that I was in an all-girls singing group (I used to sing in performance groups in high school and college, and be in a church worship team our earliest years of marriage, so I imagine that where this idea came from). We all wore large floppy hats (I love hats) and did one performance in an aquarium (the Monterrey Bay and aquarium are where we went to our honeymoon and my favorite place on earth) and another out on a bright white sandy beach (walking on sand, with a cane, was a new experience for me a little over a week ago - harder than I imagined). 

When I first tried to remember and analyze things, I though that perhaps the very thought that I could sing again (my voice has healed greatly, but no where near the level of public performance!) was laughable, but in a sarcastic way. But then I realize my laughter was not the kind that stems from a ridiculous notion, rather a bubbling-over, irrepressible joy. I think it just felt so very good to live without limits again, to enjoy cane-free beach walking, have vocal control that allowed me to sing loud and glorious praise to God without hesitation, that I just couldn't contain my delight. If that's the case, can you imagine all the outpouring of laughter in Heaven?

I have been working on trying to cut my antidepressant dosage in half. I wonder if the laughter is in any way related to that?

A couple of things to be aware of:

Tomorrow, August 15, is Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Awareness Day. As a person with a few relatively mild food allergies, but with a latex allergy severe enough to require me to carry an EPI Pen (epinephrine injector), I will be sporting my teal colored glasses (at least if I can find them - both my glasses and medical alert necklace are missing right now, so please pray I can find them very soon!). I have already changed my Facebook avatar for tomorrow anyway. "What is #tealcoloredglasses? It's a proactive eye toward identifying factors which may contribute to the development or progression of life threatening food allergies, anaphylaxis and the "allergic march" epidemic in our modern world.‪#‎teamanaphylaxis‬ "

Along these same lines, while my strokes and resulting deficits are very visible, I have lived with other significant yet "invisible" chronic health issue most of my life, most significant being 24-year of various degrees of debilitation from a condition benignly named "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" - sounds like "always sleepy-ness" but feels more like perpetual flu symptoms such as fever and deep flu-like body pain, for weeks or months or even years on end :( , Thus I'm thrilled to partner with Lisa Copen and Rest Ministries in this year's Invisible Illness Week. It isn't scheduled until the end of next month (September 28-October 4), but because I'll be down recovery from surgery in a few weeks, I wanted to start talking about IIW (invisible illness week) now! This year's theme is My Invisible Fight.

Over 130 million people live with a chronic condition–

and most of these conditions, from lupus to back pain, migraines to COPD, are not visible to a person who is even standing next to you.

And yet. . . we are fighting. We are fighting for so many things . . .

We fight to get up each day and continue to live even when our body tells us we should crawl back into bed.
We fight for relationships, because no matter how draining it can be to parent a 3-year-old when you are ill, or go to a concert with a friend, we want people in our lives.
We fight to experience life–whether it is trying to find something on the menu at a restaurant we can eat without being sick, or accepting that we need a handicapped parking spot so we can continue to go to the grocery store on our own, we fight to not let our illness get in the way.
And we fight to not allow our circumstances to define us. We focus on the positives, we take selfies in hospital gowns, we share our latest ventures with the nurses, we go in the bathroom and throw up and then come out smiling and say, “I am all ready to go now.” We fight to not allow depression and fear to suck us up.
We fight to be who we really are.

This year in 2015 our campaign focuses on our #invisiblefight.

What is your #invisiblefight?



  1. I love you sweet sis. my invisible fight is diabetes.

  2. That sweeping thing....I'm over the moon proud of you!