Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake.com 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!)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

4 Years

I'm 6 days late in making this post. No, I certainly didn't forget. 

Head covering from Kendra. These pretty little butterflies recently fluttered into my mail box!
The 25th came and went with me too exhausted to even open my laptop after a week of "single parenting" while my hubby was out of town for business while my kids were home from school half days all last week. I hit the ground at 5:45 each morning and didn't slow down until 9:30 each night (then was as late as 11 or even 1 before actually falling asleep). I slept for 4+ hours that afternoon so blogging never happened. Rick did treat to to an extra large chocolate milkshake for lunch before  my extended nap - yum!

The kids have been home full days this week (so weird not to have fall break near Thanksgiving!) but Rick is back home so I have gotten more rest. Yet, I've still avoided posting for reasons I can't fully sort out.

My lack of mobility had us living like an episode of Horders.
Same corner, early this week. It has driven me crazy for a long time, but I finally had the physical ability to do something about it!
I know I am physically exhausted, as my parents and I spent 6-10 hours each day, Tuesday through Friday, this week, re-working the doll house my dad made for me over 30 years ago, for my sweet daughter now - her choice of paints, about 1,000 itty-bitty roof shingles hand dyed and individually fitted and glued onto the roof, new railing, real wood flooring in two room, various repairs, etc. It looks beautiful, she is thrilled, and we are exhausted! Plus I restarted water therapy yesterday (exactly 7 weeks post op) and, being more mobile and balanced than I was for my first few years post-stroke AND being in no abdominal pain for the first stretch of time since April, I am actually getting some poorly neglected areas of my home cared for again - amazing when I had to lean over to inspect something down near the floor last week and my tummy didn't scream in protest nor did my head spin out in severe nor acute dizziness!

My old doll house with old paint job and needing repairs.
Repaired, repainted and refurbished for our girl! :D
Four years. I really don't think my physical exhaustion truly accounts for my avoidance of this post, even if I have fallen into bed too exhausted to care to even open my computer each night this week. It is something more to do with the fact that "three years" and "four years" were my mental benchmarks those first many months, the seemingly "too-far-away" and "never-to-be-realized" goals I held in awe, reverence even, to think that there were really people that had survived this long.

Another before shot in my room.
What I did not know then, what I have been so thankful to discover, is that each year has been easier than the one before. I have not lived four solid years of tortured anguish like I did those first several months, even first couple of years. For this I am ever-so-thankful!

Same spot after. I've cleaned about 75% of my bedroom and still have a way to go in reclaiming our bedroom.
While it is nothing now like it was say three years back, the fact is, I'm still not "all better," not by a long shot. I guess I haven't wanted to pronounce my 4 year mark, because, quite simply, I'm tired. I don't want to do this any more. I don't want to BE a strokie anymore. Can't I just resign from this job and have my old life back? I miss homeschooling my kids, the freedom and spontaneity of driving a car, hearing what people are actually saying rather than lip reading and guessing, not loosing abilities like being able to get out of bed un-aided simply because I want to take a few weeks off from going to classes at the gym.

From the gift box Andrea and Lisa brought me in the rehab hospital. I love it.
I guess I need to set a new mental bar, like a 10-year mark now. Am I thankful to be here 4 years later? I look at my kids and indeed am terribly thankful they didn't have to live through loosing their mom, so I will keep fighting to be here for them.  I'm really not as "down" as I'm afraid this post likely sounds, I'm just feeling a little lost, rather "Now What?" since I've now passed my "way out there" survival goal. I continue to make small yet rather consistent gains, yet have plateaued enough in recovery to have been at what my doctors call "normal" for a while  now, MY normal, my new normal, my no-longer-horridly-disabled so learn-to-live normal. So learning to live is what I'm striving to joyfully embrace. So days that's an easier goal than others.

My roses are still blooming prolifically.
We have our first freeze warning for tonight so this is likely the end of the garden for the year.

Look at the size of these blossoms, the size of the span of my hand!

Changing pace a bit, I seriously considered subtitling this post something like, "When Poor Balance Meets Blood Thinners." This was really a tiny mishap from house cleaning last week. I tottered a little and my shin connected with a wooden ledge, just right. I didn't even fall! I still have a painful knot on my shin though. And though the bruise has significantly faded in depth of color (looks now about like this picture seemed as the photo did not do justice to all the angry colors when I took the photo!), it now has spread down my leg nearly to my ankle, though the bump was up near my knee!

I have Oct. 25 marked as my birthday on Facebook. Here is what I replied to each person who sent me a happy birthday wish that day:

Thank you for the very many, kind birthday wishes. As you likely know, I am a stroke survivor. Today is actually my "re-birthday" or "stroke-a-versary," the day I have chosen to celebrate God's sustaining grace to keep me alive and going these past 4 years. Thank you for rejoicing with me!
Please feel free to follow my continually unfolding recovery journey atwww.StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com or search here on FaceBook for "Stroke Of Grace by Jennifer Saake". Thanks! 

For personal record keeping: I'm down to 157 pounds. I was nearly up to (just shy of) 170 at my post-op check two weeks after surgery, 5 1/2 weeks ago. 169 is my record high ever, pre- or post-stroke. I'm sure part of that likely was still post-op fluid retention, but about 6 pounds of that is down from pre-surgery weight! I don't think an ovary, a cervix, an appendix, and a few spots of endo account for all of that and for better fitting clothes too. This no-wheat, low-sugar thing actually seems to be working. Now, to see if I can get break the 150 threshold that has held stubbornly in place since post-stroke weight gain! I'm so very tired of loosing, then regaining, the same 20 pounds over and over again. If I can get under 150, my next plateau (pre-stoke) barrier will be 143. My goal (where I feel best, where I had JUST reached a week before strokes when I went out and bought a brand new jacket that I was only able to wear that one week) is 120 (so nearly 50 pounds of total loss, around 35 more to go) but anything even around the 130 mark would feel so much healthier than where I've been hanging out the past few years!

Our daughter is a "social butterfly" this year. :D
Same wings I've worn every year for about 7 years. I'm so excited this shirt fits again finally!


  1. Wow....life sure started going fast again, didn't it?!!?

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  3. Blessings of joy and good health to you!
    Love and prayers still going up for you. You look beautiful!
    Kathy Carlson...Kendra's momma

  4. you are so far beyond awesome, love you.