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...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Simple Joys

So TRUE!!!
Handwriting has been a TASK since that very first attempt after the strokes. I guess my earliest attempts at writing (that I don't even remember) brought grins of pride at how well I could still write, while no one around me could even decipher my squiggles and scratches. But from my earliest memories in the second week after stroke, I have found writing to be discouraging and horridly tedious. Even as penmanship has improved, it has still been a frustratingly, exhaustively, daunting chore!


I used to hand write in my journals by the hour, pre-stroke. Now, the simple task of addressing an envelope to mail is daunting. With mailing anything, it is the entirety of the task that used to take 2 minutes, and now takes an hour that overwhelmed me... gathering supplies like envelope and whatever needs to be mailed, looking up address, actually addressing and writing anything that needs to be written, stamping, getting it ready for mail box or post office - and to list anything on eBay now with those steps and packaging and insuring too, no thanks now, even though this was a big pre-stroke hobby! If I am going to send something to anyone, I often just order online and have it shipped directly there so I never handle it.

Both invisible illness and brain injury that includes the fairly visible stroke deficits as well as the mental processing and neurological issues that often prevent things I seem like I should be able to do by now, but can't, like hold telephone conversations or listen to loud sounds like music with drums or electric instruments or even loud brass horns, like easily take those cognitive steps required to mail a letter, keep up with daily household chores or drive a car!

Yesterday, I picked up a random pen from our collection, to jot a brief note of a Scripture reference for my book. I was thrilled to discover that I actually ENJOYED writing for the first time in nearly 4 years. I didn't write more than a single line, but the ink flowed smoothly onto the paper, the pen felt good in my grip! Of course, it was our only pen of that style I found in the house and it is very low on ink, so last night Rick had me order another 12-pack of these babies - PaperMate gel 0.7, medium tip, blue ink!


I eventually would love to try the Paper Mate Medium Point Retractable Gel Pens, 8 Colored Ink Pens (1746323) pack, as this would give me the same smooth gel-ink writing experience in colors like pink and purple too, but to start with, I'm just thrilled to find a pen that actually makes me happy to write!



I titled this post "Simple Joys" (plural), so please allow me to share another joyful story from this week.

After two cycles from the dryer, a load of laundry was still cool and damp. In frustration, I told the Lord that I was sick and tired of the way the devil has been continually messing with our family over the past four years. I asked if He would please repair whatever was wrong with the dryer and not give Rick one more thing to deal with. I cleaned the lint trap again, re-started the dryer, and set the timer for 20 minutes, figuring that was useless, but I would give it just one more try. 


The timer went off on this short, third attempt and I went in, expecting more of the same, but instead was thrilled to find everything warm and dry! 


I thanked God, and told Him I knew there was no logical human explanation but told him it still felt rather surreal, and that I could rather understand Gideon now, that I suppose this COULD potentially be explained by human logic that the load just needed extra time to dry.


I had no more than said this than I reached back into the dryer again and pulled out the next towel, cold and damp! "Great, so the load didn't get all dry after all." But as I continued to feel around, the entire rest of the load really was quite warm and dry! "OK, Father, you have my attention now!" 

And the next load dried in just one cycle!


God is in CONTROL!!! Whatever your circumstances, He see, He knows, He cares!



I was recently asked the above question about communication my needs to others. I replied, "In person, I typically do not explain myself very well, I don't think. Through online (blog, FB wall, etc.) I think I articulate well, sometimes maybe even "over-share". The result is often that total strangers know more about the specifics of living with my health issues than those in my "real world" life!  Sometimes I email specific links to my husband or mom or other friends if I want them to have a better understanding of a specific situation.



I have a doctor's appointment next week that has me rather nervous. God knows the details. There is 99% chance that this newest issue is nothing of great concern. After doing so many things in the "medically exceptional" department, I am striving not to park my heart in fear. If  nothing comes of next week's appointment, it is likely such a non-issue that I will ever need mention it again. For today, this week, I simply ask for prayers for peace. Likely I am totally "catastrphising" again, jumping to consider worst cause scenario that isn't even realistic concern. I know this in my head. I guess this is a part of the whole near-death, horrific PTSD journey because my heart is not willing to stay where my mind says my soul should be living today.



For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. - 2 Timothy 1:7

When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me. - Psalm 94:19 (Holman)

 

2 comments:

  1. This has been a real eye opener. Many people, including myself until just a few moments ago, believe that strokes can only happen to older people, but that just isn't the case. It is becoming more and more common for those who are younger. My best wishes are with you. Take your time and try not to push yourself too hard.

    Prince Baughman @ Everybody's Chiropractic

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