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...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bubbles Got a New Outfit!

The other day my pastor asked me if I expected to need my walker long term. He is praying that I will continue to improve and some day not need it anymore, The first thought that went through my head was to wonder if he even realizes what an absolute miracle it is that I'm up to using a walker? (Not bad for someone who "should" be dead, vegetative in a nursing home, and certainly to never walk again.)



After quickly realizing that folks simply don't "get" where I've come from unless they have actually watched the journey unfold since the beginning (he's only known me about 2 years), his question gave me pause. Do I want to keep getting stronger, outgrow my need for such assistance devices? Well sure, but even if I;m getting there physically, I'm thinking it is going to take longer for my mental processing abilities to catch up...


I found myself struggling to explain to him that while I am continually growing physically more capable, I currently need the walker more for cognitive and balance issues than for pure mechanics of walking. The more noise, sound, light, movement, people around me, the more my brain must struggle to sort it all out while keeping me balanced and upright.


The bigger the crowd or stimulation, the more assistance I need. At home I typically can get around my house with little or no aid. Simply walking from my car and into the gym, through a clear path with several people in  my peripheral vision, or going to my weekly Bible study with just 5-8 ladies, in very routine surroundings, a cane is typical. The grocery store, a church service, an award ceremony a my child's school, places with a higher level of people interaction or greater volume of sights and sounds, and I'm at walker-level mental input. Still having doubled vision to my sides makes balance difficult in these settings as well.


So for where I am today, Bubbles or at least a cane, still offers me security, protection, comfort. Safety too, but perhaps not for the reasons people might first presume. And have learned to be OK with that.


If God wants to fully restore me, great. But if or until, I'm content now to use a walker, to include it in pictures instead of pushing it out of the camera view, 


I started intentionally allowing Bubbles to join my pictures only recently.

to use bright colors and patterns that catch attention rather than trying to mute my disability into the background. 

My first walker seat cover, the homemade, up-cycled version.
To that end, my sweet Kendra just sent Bubbles (my sassy, pink walker) a "new dress" this week. Doesn't it look nice on her!


I'm I'm feeling sporty too. I learned the railing or padded bar across the front of my walker, what I've always called the back rest when using the walker as a chair, is technically called my "roll bar". Makes me think of a dune buggy out 4-wheeling! :)


This cane user, a walker pusher, a disabled woman (but no longer an in-valid), is who I am and how I function. I don't need to pretend my limits are different than they are. Joy and peace come with embracing, even celebrating, the broken.
I don't think I could ever go through with getting a tattoo, but if I did, how about we get these, Kendra?


She's Flutter, I'm Flit.
Five years ago today, I posted to Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/NavPressPublishing is asking, "What NavPress author, current or past, would you like to see more books or Bible studies from?" I'm currently working on a study on the Fruit of the Spirit I hope to pitch to them early next year, followed by a Hannah's Hope style encouragement guide on living with chronic pain/illness based on the life of Paul.
I may be a snail, but I'm persistent.
I posted this several months before my strokes. A week before I stroked, God showed me a beautiful way to merge my fruit of the Spirit work with another project I had on the back-burner, based on Psalm 126, to become my Harvesting Hope from Heartache manuscript. Over 4 1/2 years later I'm STILL not finished nor ready to present it to a publisher, but absolutely not giving up either. Didn't account for 6 strokes and ongoing brain recovery in that "next year" plan!


13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
- James 4
Nice to know. Except for the fact that I haven't qualified for a driver's license in several years now.
Perhaps you should screen your "select group" a little better!

 

1 comment:

  1. AMEN my sister, AMEN. We do have outwardly "broken" shells....but God still loves us with the same ferocity. I recently told a good friend that I wouldn't wish this broken body on my worst enemy....but I wouldn't change who/what I have become either. Yes, this body just stinks some days, but I rather like the person that has grown out of the ashes, and think she is a better person in her heart, broken body and all.

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