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.
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.