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...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

You Never Know

I went to a wedding yesterday. It was beautiful! The reception was LOUD!!!

I used my walker. When I wasn't in a crowd, I used my cane. I wore an earplug in my deaf ear (since whatever sound it does pick up, it so badly distorts it causes physical pain and vomiting around loud music with a drumbeat). I stayed in the far end of the banquet room and avoided the flashing lights of the dance room around the corner. (I exhausted myself enough that my eyes were nearly swollen shut this morning and I slept for a solid 2 hours after church today.)

An older gentleman was standing at a window near me. He was reflecting on his youth. He commented, "I notice you are here with some challenges," as he patted my walker.

I told him the basics of my stroke story.

"Are you in much pain?"

The direct question took me off guard. "Yyeesss," I stammered. "Some days are harder than others and today's a fairly good day, but yes, I'm always hurting."

"And you are always smiling," he replied. "I've been watching you all evening. You have challenges, but you are here and you are doing what you can to be involved and enjoy yourself.
"I came with my own challenges tonight. But I decided, if she can do it, so can I."

It was about a 15 minute talk. We talked about the book Alaska and how I reminded him of a women in one of the chapters. We talked of stroke risk in chiropractic neck adjustment. We talked briefly about Heaven. We talked a little about his youth. When he left to find his wife, I was left pondering how you never know when others are watching, what challenges they are fighting, how my life choices, small or daily as they may be, can be silently impacting another, for the better or the worse.