Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog. (You will notice many typos in older posts. I intentionally never corrected them, as they helped document my cognitive abilities at various stages of recovery.)

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. Jennifer 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 wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months, God clarified Jennifer's theology on healing and showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 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. (Please see temporary update note above!)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Changes, Changes

It's been over a month since I've posted. I marked 6 years, 4 months, since my strokes on Sunday. My heart is full. I'm just at a loss for words.

Our 15-year-old had major surgery, out-of state, on January 9, exactly one week shy of one year since she woke up in such excruciating pain that she fainted within the first hour out of bed that day. She lived like that, never in anything lower than a 7 1/2 on the 0-10 pain scale, 24/7, for the next year. In and out of doctors offices, hospitals, tests, scans, on oxygen since August, pulled out of traditional high school. It's was a rough year!

I have a surgical picture I contemplated adding here, but I'll spare you the blood and gore of parts of four ribs removed from Ruth's left side.
Check out Slipping Rib Syndrome on Pinterest if you want details.

Physically, she is recovering quite well. Her strength and resilience blow me away! After living in such utter torture and the resulting stress, anxiety, and isolation, for so very long, it is going to take longer for the (metaphorical) heart to heal than the bodily skeletal system. As God puts her on your heart, please pray for Ruth and our entire family, as we make up lost school months and fight to restore normalcy in our home.

Part of bringing our home back to order and rhythm, is that our flood damage repairs, from 13 months ago, are finally nearing completion, at least inside. Since there are still a few finishing details yet to go, I won't share pictures of the final results quite yet. Above and below this paragraph, enjoy a couple teasers. Come spring, the outside repairs come next, but at least we aren't living with a huge plastic curtain down the destroyed third of our living room anymore!

One amazing change for our family has come in the form of a new church home. Medical needs initially forced the move, late last fall. While we love and miss friends from our prior congregation, it didn't take long to see exactly why God had moved us. We have never felt quite so much at home, the incredible sense of purpose and belonging, as we are finding at LifeChurch. We have jumped into the new church plant of this church's second location, in a densely populated and sorely under-churched part of town, and are in awe to watch all God is unfolding there.

The pastor and his wife were close neighbor about 13 years ago, until they moved out of state. To find them not only back in town, but shepherding our hearts in this campus launch, is added blessing! Joshua (18) is on the audio-visual team, and Ruth (15) and Jeremiah (12) are both feeling incredibly enthusiastic about their youth groups. Rick is helping with website needs. And I'm on the most exciting, dynamic, engaging prayer team I've ever encountered.

The single-most intense part of my past year, really of my entire life, has been coping with some deep-seated trauma from childhood that has negatively impacted my entire life. This finally came to bear a little over a year ago, in ways that required immediate and intensive help. Thanks to the ministry of Hope Preserved, I am a changed, free woman today. The abuses that transpired on the mission field in Asia, God has stepped in and dramatically healed. Every part of my life has been transformed, from how I relate to the ongoing limitations of my strokes (allowing God room to bring about several significant physical healing in 2018, added to all He had already done in 2017; and grace to live to the fullest in areas where limitations yet remain), to my views on of self and pleasing God, like headcovering (a practice I no longer observe).

If you have been a long-time StrokeOfGrace reader, you may recall, a little over three years back, I talked of my desire to migrate this blog over to the WordPress platform. I've been working toward that goal ever since, but stroke brain has provided unique challenges in this area. (Now do you see why writing a whole book is taking me so long?) I likely will not try to move all these past posts, but come this next weekend, my hope is to activate the JenniferSaake.com domain and have one centralized spot for posts from my five different active blogs. It is still a work in progress, but feel free to take a peek at InDarknessSing.wordpress.com as I tweak it in preparation for launch next week.

Monday, January 15, 2018

4 birthdays, 2 out of state trips, 2 surgeries, Christmas, New Years, intensive counseling, all within 6 weeks!

December 18, 2017 through January 25, 2018, have been (are still being) crazy at our house! Our daughter has had unrelenting (7 1/2 - 9, out of a 10-scale) pain, 24/7, with every single breath, for nearly a year (started early the morning of January 16, 2017). We've seen gobs of doctors, done tests, seen specialists, had an ER trip. She's spent 4-5 months on an oxygen tank, we've endured three misdiagnoses from local doctors, she had to drop out of traditional high school and take online classes,, and we've taken four out-of-state trips to a children's hospital 5-8 hours (depending on traffic and weather) away, over the past 3 1/2 months. We finally got a correct diagnosis (Slipping Rib Syndrome) over there in the fall, have attempted several local interventions including a deep nerve block under general anesthesia since, and were back in California in a surgery consult a few days before Christmas.

Our girl's baby birds.

Tomorrow will be a week since one of our after-infertility miracles, our 14-year-old, left parts of 4 ribs and a whole lot of pain on the operating table at Stanford Children's Health - Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. Thank you to her surgeon, entire HUGE and seriously amazing care team, and to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) for a restful place of healing before and after our hospital stay and a bed for my husband to use over our hospital nights.

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Her post-surgical pain is only HALF of how much pain she endured for an entire year prior to surgery, and they have been treating this level of pain with five different drugs. (In the past year, she has been allowed only over-the-counter basic medications that were pretty much useless.) She woke up from surgery in tears of JOY, "I can breathe!" She is still sore and tired. That long car ride home, stretched out over two days, Friday and Saturday, was hard on everyone. But she was feeling up to going to church last night and because she can fully expand her lungs again, I got to hear her project her beautiful singing voice for the first time in a year!

Our fireplace has not been rebuilt yet, in fact the contractor just gave us yet another reason for delay this weekend, but in update to my I Miss My House post, yes, we did have a newly installed floor before Christmas. Thank you for praying!

Today is my dad's first day back to work since my mom's knee replacement a week ago (mom is recovering well), Rick's first day back in office since our daughter's surgery, and our 6th grader's last day of winter vacation for school.

The floor, as it was going in! Yes, all the flood repairs have been going on at the same time as the rest of this craziness. Our insurance claim was dated February 1, 2017 and is still far from fully settled.

I'm a tired cookie. I'm still responding to medication alarms every two or three hours for our girl, around the clock. Tomorrow I start four solid days (6-8 hours per day) of intensive counseling that has been scheduled for months. My 2018 word-of-the-year is RELEASE. I'm praying for God to work mightily. Other than a few pre-scheduled picture posts I plan to set for my author page today, I don't anticipate being back online this week.

My parents, opening presents at our house on Christmas morning. :)

My dad turned 75 at Thanksgiving. Mom's 75th was a week before Christmas. Our first bring-home miracle graduated into legal adulthood a few days later (we got back from our surgery consult trip in time to take him out to birthday dinner). Next week includes a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old birthdays at our house. As well as getting our freshman back on track for all the schooling her ribs have derailed her from since August!

Another picture of our long-awaited new floor! Praise the Lord!