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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tearing Up (and Concussion Update)

If you have been reading here long, you know that I spent my first couple of years post-stroke crying, getting upset, losing control, over anything and everything. My husband's comment on how blue the sky looked would be met with rage and hysterical sobs, "Why would you say that?!"
Seriously. It was that bad.

Along comes desperately needed antidepressant medication at about seven months, followed by the dosage adjustment season (months) of finding what level worked well for me. Emotional counseling started about this same time. Once we got me stabilized, the antidepressant drugs offered our family a whole new level of sanity!
My family!
The meds, that I've gradually been able to rewire my brain and drop down  just 1/8 of my original dose, but quickly (within a few hours!) regress dramatically if I miss even one of these doses, did wonders to help emotional compensation for a processing part of my brain that was utterly decimated by the strokes, BUT...

My PBA took an abrupt turn from crying over everything to the complete inability to process emotion via tears! The emotional release valve of appropriate crying is fully locked up. I can no longer cry AT ALL. Not when I should. Not when I want to. Not when I should.

It is a matter of prayer that God would restore my appropriate tears. I don't want to fly off the handle, loose control, get angry when the issue is minor, cry without cause. (How I feel for my 13-year-old who burst into tears without cause, then cries all the harder because she doesn't even know why she's crying in the first place! Hormones!) In patching the broken part of my brain that was leading to hours of daily hysterics, we shut off the tap. Of the two, I (and my family!) significantly prefer this version of me over the one without emotion guards at all, but neither are fun! I don't like feeling like a Vulcan, a robot, a being devoid of emotional expression. (The emotions are still there, they just can't get out!)

With this in mind, imagine my joy, when dress shopping with my daughter last weekend, she came out of the fitting room wearing a dress much to mature for her age, and my first response was to have tears spring to my eyes! No, I didn't actually cry, but I sure gave my eyes a good bath! They stung and were misty. I actually had a "normal" reaction to seeing my baby looking suddenly so very grown up. It felt good to neither be over- nor under-reacting this once! Praise God!!!

Concussion Update: By three weeks post-concussion (this past Sunday), my seriously elevated Central Pain Syndrome levels seemed to be calming back down toward my pre-concussion baseline - pain still always there, but reasonably tolerable much of the time. My left leg has been too painful to tolerate many attempted therapies over the past couple of weeks, but now it is simmered down to its typically achy throb that can be forced into semi-corporation. I even amazed myself at therapy this week, by how well I could get my leg to follow instruction! That it wasn't at the uncommon level of pain it had been over the prior three weeks AND obeyed my brain on some specific tasks, was added astoundment. My left ear still feels internally burny/itchy/swollen and more irritated than normal. My eyes are still slightly more prone to crossing and double vision than before the head hit, but the eyes generally seem to be working toward improvement. My short term memory seems "quicker" and more focused than it was 2 weeks ago. By God's grace this injury isn't seeming to grab hold of significantly more limited brain function for the long haul!


  1. And we had FUN shopping yesterday.

  2. As we slowly regain control over our emotions....gosh, I know what you heart is saying! I just can't fit into words what I want to say....perhaps my heart will speak to yours...

  3. Tears of love and joy! What a wonderful thing to peak it's head out finally! Love to you dear friend and may you shed many more appropriate tears.