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...

Friday, April 15, 2016

If I Stroke

Today is Kendra's 4th re-birthday, Stroke-A-Versary. "Happy tax day!" I love you, friend. I could think of no better tribute to her than to share some letters I wrote myself not long after my own 4-year mark.

Before all the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference excitement came about, I had recently written (in my own handwriting, right, less stroked, dominant hand) these lists and placed them in an envelope for my husband to access and post in my hospital room if ever needed:

What My Caregivers Should Know:
1. I love you.

2. Thank you.

3. I'm not me right now, but I'm coming back.

4. This is exhausting, tedious, frustrating, shattering, painful, but we will get through this.

5. God has not abandoned us. He is still on His throne. He still is love.

6. Just because I cannot move or clearly express, I'm still a person. Please do not use my body to hold [medical] charts or other "table" type items.

If I Stroke Again

Hard Earned Lessons

1. God has not abandoned me! He is still good, still loving, still wanting relationship.

2. Rick still loves me and is faithful. I may not understand or agree with every choice he makes but his motive is my best.

3. It will not be this hard forever. Life will become beautiful.

4. Sunrises and lots of bright colors bring me joy.

5. A butterfly must be confined for a season of darkness before she spreads her wings.

6. The harder I work today, the more full long-term recovery will be.

7. Heaven will be beyond amazing, but since God has not taken me there yet, it is not His time. No shortcuts allowed!

8. Because God has not called me Home yet, He still has work for me to do here, a purpose for my life on earth.

9. Say "please" and "thank you" as often as possible.

10. My kid[s] NEED their mom.

The single passage that best encapsulates this season of life.
For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me, and I don't know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ- which is far better - but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue  with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
-Philippians 1:21-26 (emphasis added)

If you haven't yet read my near death experience, please see why Heaven is such a predominant theme in my letters. to myself.

You may also enjoy my Homesick for Heaven board on Pinterest.