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.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Coveting Your Neighbors Butterflies

Update of my friend C. who had the chiropractic-neck-adjustment-gone-wrong nearly 2 weeks back... As is typical in these situations, the ER scanned only did a basic check for imminent or already existent critical concern, then sent her home to get a primary care doctor's appointment. (The severity and immediateness of my arterial dissection and strokes, right on the table, happens all-too-often, but is not the most typical presentation that can frequently present hours, days, weeks, even months after initial injury. Going to the emergency room with stroke symptoms often is fruitless if you are "too young" to fit the typical stroke profile, though 1/3 of all strokes happen under the age of 55. My friend Kendra, 12 massive stokes at age 35, that hospitalized her for three months after an airlift out of state, sat in her local ER for 12 full hours before anyone took her situation seriously! Another acquaintance had to wait 6 full weeks between her chiropractic injury and the MRI that diagnosed her arterial dissection!) C. finally got her MRI last night and things do not look encouraging with that artery. She is awaiting the final report and hopefully a fast spot for specialist referral! "It is by the grace of God that I am standing. Please put me on prayer chains... I think it will be prayer and God's grace that gets me through this."

In response to my big butterfly post, I was asked if butterflies have become an obsession in my life.

Yes. Yes they have.

I have always liked butterflies. My first name-engraved Bible, from high school, has a butterfly imprinted with the name. Spiritually, I've always seen their beauty and the picture of regeneration, old things become new.

After strokes, butterflies take on a whole new level of meaning for me now!

I also realized yesterday that I need to be careful that my new obsession doesn't become a replacement addiction in my life! Less harmful? Perhaps to the pocket book. 

Still, I just defined addiction as, "Anything that controls us, that we cannot stop," and Scripture tells me, “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” [2 Peter 2:19].

I went back to a Bible study I've not attended in about eight years, yesterday. There were about 85 ladies in the large group (thankfully, we will be broken up into several small groups each week, so I won't have quite so many neurological challenges on a weekly basis as I did yesterday) and two of my old friends were wearing beautiful butterfly tops.

It's not like I'm short on butterflies! (All the butterflies pictured here today are accessories I forgot to add to my picture round-up. Most of these were gifts.) But for the first time I felt an actual urge to have theirs too. I was jealous. I was covetous. Of butterflies!

I even teased one friend (well, I hope it sounded kind and playful, because I really kind of meant it!) that I was going to steal that shirt right off her back! Of course she doesn't have the history to know why I would say such a thing, 

Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5:21, and Romans 13:9 going through my head this morning! “You shall not covet...anything that belongs to your neighbor" [Exodus 20:17, NIV].

Last night's dinner. I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but it cooked up brown and beautiful!

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered 
by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

I missed the gluten-free teriyaki marinade in my ingredients picture, but I just poured these three thing over marinated pork roast.  It was easy, yummy, and I thought of it all by myself! I served over rice, with a side of broccoli.

In a chronic illness support group on Facebook, a friend just shared, "I just want 'one' day of not being me". I replied, "I get that! I went out to a large Bible study (85 ladies) yesterday. The list of items involved in being me is exhausting. No wonder others who know me well overlook some of my needs sometimes. Preparing for a day with ladies who don't know my "requirements" had me feeling high needs even to myself!

I needed a driver. 

Got there and the music was too loud so the one friend who sort of understands my sound processing issues ran and asked for it to be turned down.

I needed a chair to keep my leg elevated.

I had to sit where I could see the speaker to read lips.

I guessed at half of the table conversation and hoped I made sense.

I had two ladies at my table who obviously could not understand my speech and I had to keep repeating for them.

I had to put an ear plug in my "deaf" ear to filter out the din of so many voices that was loud enough to hear but I could not process.

I needed help filling out my registration form.

I needed help carrying my plate.

I needed to check for gluten and MSG and shellfish and...

I couldn't do stairs. (The bathrooms are down a steep flight of windy stairs.)

I had to be sure I was going into a latex-free environment. No balloons!

Scents too can make me really sick: perfumes, cleaners, even many personal care items like some deodorants and shampoos. Gotta love chemical sensitivities and environmental toxicities!

This winter I'll have to be sure no one is wearing wool when they hug me if I want to avoid huge hives...

That's not even an extensive list, didn't even talk about pain for example, but it is the kind of things I always have to think about, every situation, every moment, of every day! (If my daughter were with me we would need to be EVEN MORE VIGILANT on the latex thing and would also need to avoid eggs in her food! Oh, and tree nuts for our youngest son. Cooking for this family can get interesting!)

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