My heart has been grieving the past few weeks because a dear friend of mine, Jennifer Saake, whom many of you now, suffered a stroke. I only know what her husband, has posted on Facebook updates, but she can use your prayers, and even a note of encouragement if you have the opportunity.
To be honest, I have never met Jenni in person. We both began our ministries around 1997 and met online. She had a ministry for those with infertility. I had a ministry for those with chronic illness. But she also had a chronic illness and I also was dealing with infertility. We both juggled illnesses and ministries and families and searched for God’s will for our lives. And through the years we also learned to navigate the internet, the changes in it, how we were able to reach out people to share God’s love.
At the end of 2002 she told me that she was expecting her third child and had not wanted to tell me since my husband and I had been waiting to adopt two years at that point. I told her not to worry, I was thrilled for her. And then January 8th we got “the call.” We had been chosen by a birth mom and the baby was due January 26th. Jenni’s baby was due January 25th. They were both born as expected and we’ve grown up sharing our stories about them online.
We’ve also shared our challenges in being a mom when chronically ill–though Jenni, with three children she also homeschools, always was my inspiration! As I was formulating my ideas for writing a book for Christian moms with chronic illness, Jenni emailed me and said, “I told my mom that someone needs to write a book for moms with illness and it’s not me!”
Jenni is one of my biggest supporters. We rally for one another when we want testimonials for our ministries or our books. I rejoiced with her when her book, Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss was published by NavPress in 2005. She has participated in my podcasts and we have written for each others web sites.
She has a web site many of you have visited at Harvesting Hope from Heartache™ and has been working on her next book about the apostle Paul and suffering. She is always busy and I have no idea how she juggles it all and also makes each person feel special and heard.
On October 25th her husband posted this:
Today at about 10:30 Jenni has a seizure after getting a chiropractic treatment. She was brought to the Renown Downtown Hospital, via ambulance, She has been unresponsive, and has had a CT scan, EKG, spinal tap and an MRI. She is now being moved to the ICU, and we will need to wait and see. She has a slew of doctors, all not sure of what she has, so please please pray.
Next day. . .
After over 6 hours of no response, Jenni tried to open her eyes, even a little, squeezed my hand, and was able to shake her head yes and no to a few basic questions.
It appears that she has had a few small strokes, but the neurologist is hopeful that she will ultimately recover from the issues that it will cause. She was able to get her neck brace off, and we hope her intubation tube will soon follow. She is breathing on her own, and has even given hugs to a few visitors. Also pray, as she will lose her drivers license for 6 months minimum. Thanks for all your prayers, emails and calls!
We have been informed that Jenni did in fact have a stroke on Tuesday, which manifested itself visibly in her having the seizure. She was able to have the intubation tube and nasal gastric tube removed today (a blessing). She is dealing with double vision, a drooping face and difficulty speaking, and is in ICU for the next few days, when we hope to move her to a normal room.
We will see what other effects it has on her in the coming days. It is our hope that God will be gracious and heal her completely, but know that we are most likely looking at it taking a long time to get back to 100%. Please pray for Jenni to be healed completely, and for her to be held up both emotionally and mentally until that time. If you have an free time to pray, please pray for all the family members who are taking turns caring for her, that we will not get sick and not grow tired!
You can read more on Rick Saake’s Facebook page (You can “subscribe” to his updates without ‘befriending’ him) At this time Jenni is now in a rehabilitation hospital, likely for a few weeks. She suffered another stroke or a series of small strokes and Rick wrote on November 9th:
Jenni did well in her therapies yesterday. It is good to know she will be coming home in a few weeks if this continues, but sad to know that she will not be the wife/mother we have always known. Doctors have advised me again and again that she will never be the same, and will most likely always need assistance. I am glad though that many of the things about Jenni that the kids and I love are starting to shine through. It’s just sad to know that her life, which was getting better, now seems to be doing worse, due to a chiropractor not warning her or treating her correctly. Continue to pray for Jenni’s therapies, and pray for me get over my anger towards the chiropractor.
My heart and prayers go out to the entire family. I believe Jenni’s parents are helping with her children, Rick is trying to work part of the days, and Jenni is taking one day at a time. But as many of you know, it is very hard. And this is where we can come in. . .
Yesterday Rick wrote,
Today was a tough day for Jenni. She awoke at just over 6 am and started the day crying for almost a half hour before she called me. She is highly depressed, and feels like she is “weighing everyone down” and can’t believe that anyone is sticking with her through this, much less me. We talked on the phone for almost a half hour, and I got her calm enough to spend the morning in therapy. She found out that her left eye is doing worse than expected, and that she has a long way to go to get even partial vision back (currently everything is double and blurry).
This of course brings on even more doubt/depression. If Jenni has ever touched your life, and you have a chance in the next day, please send Jenni a card or even a short note (unless you already have). Send to Jenni Saake, 581 Secretariat Ct. Reno, NV 89521. I think she needs to hear from people other than me, that we are going to stick with her, no mater what, because that is what we do, when we love someone. Thanks for reading this – Rick
Every one of you is so special and when I post blogs like this asking you to remember someone in your prayers and maybe even a note, it can seem as though I am choosing not to do this for each of you. That is not my intent in the least. Jenni would never want “attention” called to her, especially if someone else was not comforted who needs it so. However, she is a friend to not only me, but to thousands of people online and I know many of you would want to know about her situation. She has been very open about her struggles with depression at times, in hopes of encouraging others.
If you can, please take a moment to drop a card in the mail for her. . . and one other person who you know is having a difficult time right now. As the holidays come, many people will be without friends or family, won’t be able to afford that big turkey dinner, and who could use a little note that says, “Hey, I am thinking of you. I care. I have prayed for you today.” In honor of Jenni, remember those with chronic illnesses, or those overwhelmed moms you may know (especially those who homeschool), and those who grieve as they are dealing with infertility.
Rest Ministries director
PS: If you would like to add your comments below for Jenni, I will make sure she sees them. I don’t have any further information about her diagnosis, treatment, etc. so if I don’t respond to your questions, it’s because I don’t have those answers.
PPS: Note: Please be aware of the risks involved in chiropractic care, as with any kind of medical treatment. Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Group, LLC has additional information to be aware of when considering benefits and risks.