This evening, 6 1/2 years back, I was in the Emergency Room with a migraine headache. I had been fighting it for over a week, had seen my primary doctor, received two pain shots, and was still hurting. (I had experienced several migraines lasting 20-30 days in the past, due to messed up hormones, so we were far from our “worst case scenario” yet.) 

My doctor sent me to ER because I was tired of trying to tough out the pain. I had been hospitalized less than two weeks prior, due to suspected heart-related symptoms, that turned out to be pancreatitis (unrelated to this headache). I was tired, done with pain, on overload, ready for a break. Relief, please!

My primary care office took my recent struggles into account and felt I could use more assistance in overcoming this headache than I typically asked for.  My hubby dropped everything at work, to join me at the hospital for the second time in two weeks. (In 25+ years of marriage, he’s made it to nearly every hospital trip I’ve needed to take, even if I’ve only been there a few hours).

Because I had rarely bothered to take one of my horrid migraines to ER, I didn’t quite know what to expect. ER gave me heavy-duty, hospital-supervision-only, pain meds, quickly followed by steroids, when I had an allergic reaction to the pain medication. They then conducted an extensive neurological evaluation, including a CaT scan, just to rule out anything that shouldn’t be happening, like a brain tumor or an impending stroke.

In the end, I was sent home with a fully clean bill of health, other than a migraine that still was not relieved (thanks to aforementioned allergic reaction).  My head, heart (thanks to testing less than two weeks prior), and arteries all looked fantastic. I had no determinable risk of impending stroke.

About 18 hours later, my husband was called away from work once again, this time to race the ambulance to the regional stroke center, praying his 39-year-old wife would still be alive by the time he got there. (Had we had the opportunity to pursue a lawsuit, the fact that my arteries were sound the prior evening, that I was seeking chiropractic care for the common complaint of migraine and had no stroke risk upon entering the chiropractor’s office, would have certainly come into play in trial testimony.) If you wish to read the story of what happened 6 1/2 years ago tomorrow morning, I’ve detailed it at JenniferSaake.com/stroke/.

This morning I texted my dear friend, Kendra, who stroked a little over 5 1/2 months after I did. When she hit her 6-year mark a little over a week ago, the anniversary hit her harder than expected. I knew she would totally understand this mornings emotions. “Tomorrow is my half year mark. No idea why the emotions of these landmarks can still catch me by such surprise and trip me up.”

The thing is, I’m (finally) ever-so-thankful to still be here, blessed to be engaged in the life of my family. We are relearning to embrace life and experience joy again. I still have notable deficits, but at 6 1/2 years out, I’ve gained back far more than what remains lost. I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking miracle! If anyone gets how many “will never”s God has absolutely blown out of the water with my life, it is me.

Yet, as Kendra replied concerning these anniversaries and the unanticipated emotions they stir up, “They are such wonky days, for sure.”