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...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Are You Aware?

Who knew there would be so much to say about 6 tiny clusters of dead cells in my brain? I'm at 430 posts today, just over 4 1/2 years into the journey.

I am so very thankful that our culture has become aware of, no longer hides from speaking of, so many issues that were still taboo 20 years back -life's detours like all forms of grief, fertility issues, health struggles (both seen and unseen). We have come far and have much farther yet to go. Many would still rather these issues not even exist. Actually, we who live them really would prefer that too! (But since we don't have that option, open dialog is so healing.)
Today I'm just WEARY of awareness. Here are my thoughts...


To name just a very few,  I know May to be Stroke Awareness Month (wear red for heart health that's often connected with stroke), Brain Injury Awareness Month (oops, that March, the other M month!), Mental Health Month, (See a brain theme going on here? Good think it's Action for Brain Injury Awareness Week!) and EDS Awareness. Today, May 12, is a day near and dear to me personally, since long before my (unrelated) strokesInternational Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND), including illnesses such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Today I'm wearing purple for Fibromyalgia awareness.


As an author, I like that this is also Share A Story Month over in the UK. And though I'm wheat-free (don't forget Celiac Disease Awareness week!) so won't be participating, we are also in the midst of National Doughnut Week overseas as well. After you have enjoyed your doughnuts for breakfast, you must also observe British Sandwich Week for lunch!  (I guess it was planned well, in the midst of National Walking Month.)

My Mother's Day ring, to remind me of God's grace that brought me into motherhood. (See the 3 pearls on each wing? Three children on earth and 3 awaiting me on the other side, in Heaven.)
The butterfly has become Kendra's and my very own stroke awareness symbol. This ring it is also a personal way for me to commemorate my infertility/loss/motherhood journey, as well as both God's amazing provisions in my Mount Hermon trip, and through the stroke journey itself and my ongoing recovery!
Yesterday was an  Anaphylaxis Awareness Day (link is from last year, thus the difference in calandar days), falling in the midst of Food Allergy Action Month (wear teal!) and Food Allergy Awareness Week.  As an Epi-Pen carrier (though my allergies include several foods, it is latex that my greatest cause for concern) these are also critically important issues to me.
I didn't realize most of the commemorative dates on this list. I wish I had known May 1 was World Laughter Day, that sounds like a good one, not all the yoga stuff, but the reality that the joy of the Lord is my strength, that a happy heart is good medicine! Today is International Nurses Day - I totally get behind that one. Thank you to all the nurses who have made a difference in my life! Susan and Kendra, sorry I missed Military Spouse Day yesterday! Thank you for the sacrifices your families make for our freedom.


All this awareness is generally a good thing, I think. It is good to be validated in our struggles. It is good to better understand what our friends face.  But really, it can all get a little much sometimes! Sometimes information overload just gives us about 20-billion too many things to worry about.



Tee, did you know that the 23rd of this month will be World Turtle Day? (Hmm, I need to look for bears and butterflies. But we have special days too!) And don't forget, two days later is the ever-important Towel DayI would have to say Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, wins the prize though! (And boy am I thankful that, even if it took two surgeries, 7 years apart, to properly finish the job, this is a date I no longer personally must observe the whole monthly pain and mess thing! Maybe we should have, I'll take that back because it probably already exists, a hysterectomy grief observance day - for as thankful as I am for the physical relief, the grief of closing the chapter of life tied to biological creation of life is profound for many of us!)



So what do all these ramblings lead to? A profound realization that as aware as I strive to be about the lives around me, as sensitive as I want to be towards another's pain, I can never fully keep up. I have friends fighting human trafficking, pro-life causes, various forms of political involvement, health issues such as MS, severe dystopia, three extended family members with various seizure conditions, more with serious migraine issues, lots of author friends striving to launch books on a myriad of topics, and more! Of course chiropractic reform to prevent future manipulation-induced strokes, infertility support, grief care after child loss (put on figurative "sackcloth" to represent mourning), these will always be huge passions in my heart! I could run myself ragged fighting battles near and dear, but it will never be enough.



This I know. There is only one me. God created me and kept me here for His purpose. I can care about many things. I can love on people, be involved in all kinds of awareness issues to the extent He leads me, but I must continually seek Him to be sure I am on the path He has called me to pursue. Chasing after every good cause on my heart will just exhaust me and likely bring about little change for all my efforts. 



Seasons change and the unique situations God places before me may look different one day, one year, from the next. The fantastic news is my God never changes. 


There are many great causes to take on. I've only barely scratched the surface of possibilities!





It is easy to feel frustrated when I try and try to bring about change in some area and nothing significant is happening.



It is only through much prayer, and the reading of God's Word (Bible), that I can determine what God wants me focused on today.


When God opens a door, sometimes one of many I've been pushing and trying to open for a very long time, sometimes one I had not even thought to try, His guidance is abundantly clear.


Today I seek profound awareness of His hand guiding my life, His wisdom guiding my choices. I care about so many things! I cast my cares upon the Lord and ask His clear direction.



What "color" shall I wear?


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.- Colossians 3:12-14 

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:8 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.- Ephesians 6:10-20

 

5 comments:

  1. I found out I have purple sleep shirts but not pjs. So today I wore blue. I'm still aware of many wrongs in our world, but trust God to work those to His glory. That was my prayer as I went into surgery and my last thought before I went under the anesthesia.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shows ya how "with it " I am....I didn't even know it was a special day 😛

    ReplyDelete
  3. Okay, I have to say that I am not thrilled with sharing my birthday with National Hygiene Day. I think I'm going to choose NOT to be aware of that connection on that day. : )

    ReplyDelete