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.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Facebook Updates, Plans

While I had a couple of quiet weeks here on the blog, finally broken on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I was still sharing my heart on Facebook. Here in a collection of some recent posts there:

From mid December - More stokie fun. I've been fighting a cold since Saturday. Came on hard and fast enough I was too sick for church Sunday. Monday seemed a little on the mend but chest and ear were hurting. Yesterday I woke up really bad and called the doctor. First available appointment was for today. I actually got to feeling really good by evening and thought I had called prematurely and would need to cancel this morning. Had a rough night and bad voice again this morning and went on in. Lungs are full of congestion, especially the left more-stroked side. Apparently that lung is too compromised to clear itself - joys of stroke paralysis! So antibiotics and strong codeine-free decongestant on board. No wonder I wasn't staying improved whenever I started to seem to be getting better. Back to my post-stroke breathing exercise tool, lots of fluids and as much rest as I can get this week.

Physically, I feel nearly 100% recovered from September's surgery. The tummy scars are still rather red and puffy but not oozy. Since the little skin biopsy (negative for skin cancer) from June is still red and tender and even still oozes at times, I think these are healing wel! They are no longer sore unless pressed on directly. The endo pain and ovary and appendix area all feel at least 98% (probably 99) better, hardly ever even a twinge of issue there!!!
I'm up most night with some wicket hot flashes, so sleep improvement would be a blessing, but I'll take this over the pain, hands-down!

CFS-wise I'm feeling rather run down from the holidays and a recent doozie of a lung infection too, but I'm over the congestion, breathing better, and overall CFS I am feeling a significant amount of improvement between Metformin, Valcyte, getting those painful parts pulled out in September, and going wheat-free for a good 2-3 months now. I would say that today, a run-down season, I'll about 65-70% in the CFS area. The wheat seems to have made the most significant improvement in the area of headaches!

I want to talk with my doctor and may try cutting back on my anti-depressant a bit more in 2016. I KNOW I still need some help in this area, but I am seeing more and more reason to believe that with PBA (emotional processing issues from stroke) that taking anti-depressants MAY be tied to my frustrating inability to cry. When kids are back to school and schedules settle, I try to experiment with dosage a bit - please pray for our whole family to have wisdom and grace in this!

photo by Wendy Hagel Heinek
words by Adam Smith and Stephan Sharp
design by Tanya Leigh Oakes
My hubby got me some bone conducting ear phones for Christmas, to hopefully bypass all the confused and damaged area of the mechanics and confused brain wiring of my ears themselves. I tried them tonight. I guess I expected to somehow "feel" vibrations or something. I described to my daughter that I actually DO hear a lot more, I just have to retrain my brain now to understand where I am hearing from. Strange to hear through my face rather than my ears! I described it to her as the strangness she would feel if she suddenly started hearing through her nose. She didn't believe me until she tried them on herself and then said that was a really good description! I'm limited to bluetooth devices, but the gift of hearing is a pretty amazing gift! Rick Saake, that you so very much!!!

Used three times successfully. Can't wear long term because they cause my head to hurt after very long (trigeminal nerve), but right ear/face hears MUCH better and even left side has some notable improvement. Both calls were under 5 minutes, so this still isn't a total fix, but will make doctor phone calls so much easier!

photo by Wendy Hagel Heinek
words by Avalon
design by Tanya Leigh Oakes
I've been having intense knee pain for at least two months now, especially in my stroked leg. I got orthotics (insoles) this week and already love them! They took a couple of days to learn to walk in, I felt more tottery and off balance at first. Within the first day, the left knee joint was already feeling much improving. Today, the muscles around knee are rather angry because they don't like being told to act differently than they have been, but I think this is good!

photo by Wendy Hagel Heinek
words by Avalon
design by Tanya Leigh Oakes

Just after Thanksgiving, it was discovered that my mom (my primary driver)'s macular degeneration, that has been "dry" for years, decided to become "wet," thus accounting for the rapid vision deterioration that she had been experiencing over recent weeks. We spent 4 hours of her birthday (one week before Christmas) seeing a specialist and getting her pre-screened for a level 3 research study (medication already proved safe and effective, just trying to determine timing of dosage effectiveness). She was the only person screened in her office that day (out of 5) that was accepted into the study. This study assures she will receive the treatment she needs, will have her un-studied eye treated with already FDA approved treatment if she develops wet degeneration in that eye, any time within the next two years, and will even have a payment for her participation that will cover the next year of gym fees! She will receive monthly injections (or psudo-injections when the study spreads out dosages but needs to keep her thinking she has been injected) directly in the eye, every month for the next two years of study enrollment (then ultimately for the rest of her life, but perhaps will be able to have them as infrequently as every 3 months, depending on what this study concludes). She has already had her first injection and said it was unpainful, with the strangest part being watching the fluid flow into her eye. It was very dry irritated the day of injection, quite red the next day, and only slightly pink (allergy eye look) by day 3 when she was already starting to report some vision benefit.

It is my prayer goal to finally get my manuscript finished and published this year, please God!

Must Read! Just Drop The Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed In A Charlie Brown Christmas

My new leggings, sold by my friend Tami. Yes, those are BEARS all over the legs! :D
This picture collage video, made by my amazing hubby, Rick Saake, was from 6 years ago, 2 years before my strokes, while I was occasionally using a wheel chair and undergoing weekly IV infusions (thus the bag you see hanging off my left arm in a few pictures) for unrelated-to-the-strokes health issues. Highlights of that year included our daughter's baptism and winning an RV rental for a week-long road trip to Monterrey, California and the Redwoods.  I'm so thankful that we had this experience, these memories and pictures, when I was still capable of being an active participant!

Yes, I still need therapy too, but I'm trying to figure out how to set up a sewing machine again! I bought a beautiful sewing table this week for next-to-nothing at the thrift store (yeah Savers! ;) ) and my dad is trying to figure out how to retrofit it to fix my old machine while my mom and I take on a furniture refurbishing project. I want to write, to take up adult coloring (going to try with my non-dominant, more-stroked hand, to encourage fine motor skill, so it won't be pretty at first, for sure, get back to hand stitching like cross stick, and take on basic machine sewing (like mending ripped straight seems) again. Big dreams for the coming year! Wonder what I'll actually manage? 



  1. Several thoughts- tell your mom I'm praying for her. My gma had that and it was tough.
    - love the "snowman"
    - my favorite new phrase, "I bake because punching people is frowned upon."