Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Love of a Pet

Hi to All,

This blog may seem silly today, but for Jessica it is so very special. You see, today, September 30th, is Molly's birthday. Molly is Jessica's pet - her dog - her "perrito" (this is how they say "small dog" in Mexico)! Molly is a yorkie-poo. The picture that you see on the top right of the blog is a picture of Jessica holding Molly in her Halloween costume on October 31st, 2005 - four months before Jessica starting feeling sick.

For Jessica, Molly is such an important part of her journey back to wellness. You see, for the past 3 1/2 years, Jessica has kept a picture of Molly as her screen saver on her computer. It was the first thing she would see in the morning, what she treasured seeing during the day, and the last thing she would see before possibly falling asleep at night! If you ask Jessica, one of the first things she wants to do when she is better, is to be able to play with Molly again! To be able to "really" hold her and "hug" her! To see Molly do her famous "break-dance" that she does only when she asks. To see that famous tail of hers go round and round in excitement and feel the gentle breeze that comes from it because it is almost like a propeller of an airplane when it wags! To feel her "lick" her booboos away, as only a dog can! These are the things that Jessica can't wait to experience again with her fateful companion "Molly".

Molly came to us one Christmas morning in 2001. You see, our girls, Jessica, Katherine and Michelle, had been wanting a dog for quite some time. They had asked my husband David and I many times for the "blessing" of a dog and it was me who always put it off. I would say things to them, like all parents say, things like: "You have to be more responsible first, you have to understand the work and care that is involved in taking care of a pet, it's expensive to have a pet, etc.etc.etc." Then in 2000, my beloved brother Charlie passed away from Hodgkin's disease. He had fought the "good" fight for nine years, and even after my being his stem cell donor, his healing was not meant to be here on earth, but in heaven above! It was a very sad time for our whole family. My mother, brother, sister, and I, and all of our family were devastated. It was then, during the year 2001, that our children once again revisited the idea of wanting a pet and really pushing for it. They said they wanted nothing else for Christmas - only a dog - and if we could get that for them, they would be so happy!

I guess I can honestly say that for me, because of the death of my brother, my heart softened a bit to the idea of getting a pet for the girls. For my husband it had always been a "no-brainer". He had always had pets growing up; in fact his pets were not really pets, but an extension of the family! So, we made the command decision to get them a pet for Christmas and surprise them with it on Christmas morning and for our youngest girls, who still believed in Santa, to tell them that Santa had brought the dog to our house especially for them!

Molly was chosen or should I really say, God chose Molly for us, two weeks before Christmas. It was indeed Jessica who chose Molly from a batch of dogs at the local pet shop. She saw her in the "crowd", asked to play with her in the special "room" where they allow you to do this, and from the moment she was put in Jessica's arms, there was no turning back! Molly was ours, or should I really say, Molly was "Jessica's" and would be arriving to our brick house - #90 - -- her new home!!! She arrived that Christmas morning, wrapped in a baby blanket, nestled in a big red basket - it was a site we will always remember! The girls still say that that Christmas - the one when we got Molly - was the best one by far!

The significance to this story is that, for Jessica, her love of that pet, has been one of the things that has kept her going in this quest to feeling and being well again. Her desire to play with that little dog or "perrito" once again - that "little" pet that she loves so very much --------

So hug your pet today - because sometimes it is the "little" things in life that come to mean so very much....

All our love,
Molly's family,
Sarah Gina, David, Katherine, Michelle and JESSICA*

P.S. The nuero-opthomalogist is arriving today to evaluate Jessica's vision, as it still is not well and she is still experiencing the "static" vision. I will keep you posted. Also, a GI consult is coming today to review the intestinal ultrasound that was done yesterday in order to determine the cause of the contracting pains Jessica is experiencing every 3-5 minutes in her intestines. Every day is a struggle, but in the end we know it will all work for God's good and for His plan! If all goes well today, she will probably receive ketamine booster #3 tomorrow.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Because You're My Friends...

Hi everyone,

I sat down this morning to update everyone on Jessica and once again she came out with something so sweet and funny. As I began to type, she said to me: "Mom, take a break today from the blog, even God took a break when he created the world!" You see, even in her sickness, and with all the adversity she has had to face these past 3 1/2 years, she can still find the humor and come up with these "little" things that make me smile and give me hope that she will one day make it out of this nightmare and back to a "new normal life".

We ask today for continued prayers for Jessica's vision! She is still
being plagued by the "static" vision and cannot see beyond that. She describes it like looking at a T.V.and seeing what should be there, but she only sees the "static" or what you would see if your T.V. lost its connection. The neurologist is calling in a neuro-opthamalogist to consult on the case. He is a specialist in his field and did his training in Germany. I will keep you updated as to his findings!

Now a word to all my FRIENDS - New and Old. This was sent to me via e-mail by my friend Carol:

My Oath to You

When you are sad.....I will dry your tears
When you are scared.....I will comfort your fears
When you are worried.....I will give you hope
When you are confused.....I will help you cope
And when you are lost..and can't see the light, I shall be your beacon...shining ever so bright!
This is my oath.....I pledge to the end
Why you may ask?.....Because you are my friend!


This goes out to all my "girlfriends" - from Angel, Angela, Adrienne, Anne, Barbara, Bonnie, Carol, Carole, Cathy, Chris, Cecilia, Dacia, Diane, Dorothy, Diedre, Debbie, Devon, Elena, Emily, Guadalupe, Jessica, Jane, Jackie, Jennifer, Joanna, Judy, Joan, Julie, Janet, Jeannie, Laura, Linda, Lynn, Lori, Lindsay, Katherine, Katie, Katrin, Michelle, Mary, Maria, Marianne, Miriam, Minnie, Monica, Nancy, Nita, Nadia, Pat, Paulette, Regina, Rosie, Sandy, Sheila, Sharon
and everyone else ( forgive me if your name isn't listed - but I am going on few hours sleep and no coffee yet - so if I forgot - sorry - it doesn't mean that I don't count you as my friend!xoxo)

All my love,
till tomorrow,
your friend,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Hearing the Voice of God

Hi to All,

As many of you know, I have a love of the beach - its sounds, its smells, and also its abundance of shells!!! My favorite beach for shell collecting is the beach in Marco Island, Florida, where my mother, sister and brother all live with their families. In happier times, before Jessica became ill, I would walk the beach with my sister or my daughters; stopping every time we saw another magnificent shell to pick and call our own! When Jessica is better, the first thing I want to do is stroll the beach with her, and my other daughters Katherine and Michelle, and my sister Carol, who introduced me to that beach and all of its wonderful shells! I tell you this because of the following story I received from my friend Nita. It was sent to me via e-mail because she knows of my love of shells! Here is the story, entitled: "Hearing the Voice of God":

Do you remember the first time you ever put a conch shell up to your ear? Wasn't it miraculous that you could actually hear the sound of the ocean? What is also miraculous about the conch shell is that it is known for its indestructible quality and is a symbol of strength and endurance against the sea. When life seems to be tossing you about like the sea, seek solitude so that you can hear the "still small voice" of God that is described in Kings 19:12. Also, Psalm 46:10 urges us to "Be still and Know that I am God". Be still in His presence so that you may hear God's still small voice. Pretend that you are holding a conch shell and let it be your reminder to shut out the "roar" of the sea that is going on around you and be indestructible with your walk with God. Be strengthened by the One who can help you endure!!!

How appropriate this can be for all of us! Sometimes, even when you are going thru those difficult times, I guess you have to try to shut out all the negative thoughts that will come your way. At those moments, we should try to listen for that "voice" of God - the "voice" of reasoning - the "voice" of hope --- the "voice" that truly never fails us --- the "voice" of a God that loves us so!!!

Jessica asks for some special prayers that her vision is restored to normal. That the "static" vision that she has been experiencing will go away, so that she can "focus" on the days and weeks ahead of her to that road of recovery from this illness and to take the "small" steps here in Mexico that she needs to take, so that one day she and I can take those "bigger" steps on that beach together, collecting seashells once again!!!

All our love,
Jessica's Mom

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

UPDATES: Jessica / Fundraisers / How to Leave Comments

Hi to All,

Update on Upcoming Fundraisers:

October 3rd - NAPLES, Fl.
Fred's Diner
2900 Immokalee Rd. Naples, Fl.
RSVP - ASAP - (239) 431-7928
or e-mail Nancy @ uareworthit
*Dinner/Live Music/ Many Raffles*
$20 Donation
Donations can be made to: Jessica's Journey Savings Club
and sent to : Carol Biron - 14505 Indigo Lakes Circle
Naples, Fl. 34119

October 10th - GARDEN CITY, NY
Garden City Fire Dept.
Stewart Ave. Garden City, NY
RSVP - ASAP - e-mail-BCastoro
*Light Food/Refreshments 6-11 PM*
@Firehouse-50/50 Raffle/$10-arms length of tkts $20 donation @ door

Donations can also be made to: Jessica's Journey Savings Club
and sent to: Garden City Fire Department-c/o Asst.Chief Castoro
P.O. Box 251- Garden City, N.Y. 11530


Jessica's "vibration" in her body is slightly improved today, but the "static" vision or hallucinations still persist. The neurologist has put her on a medication that may be able to reduce or hopefully start to eliminate the problem all together. This would be very good as it is very troublesome to Jessica. Also, her left leg continues to be able to move side to side after the ketamine booster and the right toes move better as well. We are thankful to God for all improvements, whether big or small, and we once again thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

For those of you who will be attending the fundraisers, either in Fl. or NY., some of our family members will be there!
Jessica's sisters Michelle and Katherine will be helping out, as well as her fireman Dad at the NY fundraiser being held at the firehouse!
At the fundraiser in Fl., Jessica's Uncle Vinnie, Aunt Carol, Grandma Josie, Judy, Anthony and cousins will be there as well!

****My hope is that I will be able to SKYPE from Mexico during these events to say hi to all and to thank everyone for all you are doing for us!****

All my love from Mexico,
Sarah Gina
(Jessica's Mom)

It has come to my attention that it has been difficult for some to leave comments on the blog --- Here are the instructions:

Click on Comments Below*
Type your comment in the appropriate space provided. If you wish, leave your name after the comment is typed in the box.
Scroll down to Choose an Identity
Click on Anonymous (You dont need to create an account)
Press Preview to check your comment
Press Publish Post to Post Comment
You are done and thank you all for your comments- I read them everyday to Jessica!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Interesting Story about "Dr. Rainbow"

Hola from Mexico to all,

Update on Jessica: Jessica received her 2nd ketamine booster yesterday. Her symptoms are slowly improving and the doctors are confident that soon they should be diminishing even more. When you receive the ketamine boosters it usually takes about 2 hours. The other girl from the USA - Devon - from Connecticut - also received her infusion at the same time. Each patient, though, is very different. As Devon was receiving hers in her room, she fell fast asleep. As Jessica was receiving hers, she was talking, asking for me, squeezing my hand, etc. I joked with Dr. Cantu and asked him why this was? He said that my daughter "drinks" the ketamine and her body metabolizes it differently! Even with this, Jessica is different, or should I say "special". She will be receiving more of the boosters as Dr. Cantu figures out how many she will need and the appropriate timing for them as well!

Now the story about Dr. "Rainbow" (aka Dr. Zavala):
Dr. Zavala came into Jessica's room and into our lives @ 10 days ago. It occurred on the first day of the unnerving symptoms. Jessica was so sick and she cried out: "Get a doctor"!!! As I ran to the door and opened it to go find a doctor, there stood Dr. Zavala!!! We feel that she was sent to us by God and is like our special "angel". When she first walked into the room she had an uncanny resemblance to Jessica's grandma - Nanny Ro-Ro ( as she was affectionately called ). You see, 3 months ago Nanny Ro-Ro ( my husband David's mother ) passed away at the ripe old age of 95. When Dr. Zavala walked in that day, looking like her Nanny who had just passed away, only how she had looked in her 60's, it was almost a bit unnerving & unbelievable. Not only did she look like her, she dressed like her, smelled like her, had the same hairdo and make-up as her and, unbelievably, wore the same pin(a butterfly) on her jacket - the same pin that Jessica had chosen from a bag of jewelry that had been retrieved from her Nanny's apartment in the days following her death!
On the following day, Jessica decided to call Dr. Zavala - Dr. "Rainbow" because of the colorful outfit she had on. Her visits are so comforting to Jessica and she looks forward to them everyday. She speaks to her in a calm and reassuring voice and she has been here from the beginning of the unnerving symptoms that were occurring in Jessica's body post the interaction she had with a medication. Dr. "Rainbow" you see, was a practicing doctor for 47 years with her specialty being in neurosurgery and decided on the day before she met Jessica to join the RSD team here as a volunteer to aid the families from abroad that come here for this treatment protocol. If you ask Jessica, she feels she was sent from God above to be here for her especially; I feel the same way also!
Another interesting note: Dr. "Rainbow" and her husband have three grown children, and they are all very successful here in Monterrey. It was one of her sons, who came back from a trip to Italy last week, with a bracelet as a present for his mom. When Dr. "Rainbow" saw the type of bracelet it was, she knew in an instant she was meant to give it to Jessica. You see, without her son knowing anything about Jessica, he came back with a bracelet from Italy, that contained beads - each one a different color of the "rainbow"!!! Even more significantly, it came with a card that identified what each colored bead stood for!!! Here is what it said:

Red - is for the blood that was shed by Christ for our salvation
Blue - is for the heavens above and for the Holy Spirit
Yellow - is for the light of God that brings us to the Cross
Green - is for the hope we have in eternal life thru Christ Jesus
Pink - is for the purification of our souls thru Christ Jesus
Black - is for sin and the human condition

I will leave you with that story to draw your own conclusions. For us, we know as we have always known, that God does work in many mysterious ways and I think we have to look for these "signs" in our everyday lives. They are there and God is here!!! Call upon him, he will answer your call!

In God's love, always,
Jessica's Mom

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Friday, September 25, 2009

What is HOPE & Ketamine Booster #2

Hola from Mexico,

Jessica is very slowly improving in regards to the symptoms she has been experiencing this past week. The "vibrations" throughout her body are now at a level of 6 ( 10 being the worse). Thank God for that! The neurologist is hopeful that it will all go away eventually and is happy that there is slight improvement with each day. Dr. Cantu would like to restart the ketamine boosters today, as we are a little bit behind due to the problems of this past week. When a patient undergoes the ketamine coma, it is the ketamine that acts as an agent to reverse abnormal brain activity and the messages that the brain is sending incorrectly to the central nervous system. The ketamine trys to "reset" the brain, just as you "reboot" a computer, by shutting it down and starting all over again.
The boosters that a patient receives after the coma treatment, act as a
reinforcement to that initial process. Every patient in the protocol is different and in that regard, receives the amount of ketamine boosters needed for that patient. Today, Jessica will be receiving her 2nd ketamine booster. Pray that the ketamine does the job that it needs to do!

Our "HOPE" and the reason why we came to Mexico was to undergo the ketamine coma and the ketamine boosters - it is what we and the doctors hope, and feel, will ultimately put Jessica's RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) into remission. Ketamine is the "magic" and the "weapon" of choice here in combatting the RSD and the unrelenting pain that is associated with it! Miracles have happened here with many other patients (i.e. Lindsay, Emily, Anna, Justin, Shannon, etc. to name a few).

So, what is HOPE? Hope is:


I think that if you are hopeful about anything in your life, whether it be in relationships, finances, illness, etc. ; if you try (and I mean really try) to remain "positive" about the situation and turn off all the "negative" thoughts that will come out at you - then the "hope" remains and it cannot be defeated! The bible says this about hope":

Isaiah 40:31:
..."but those who Hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
They will soar like wings on eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

No truer words have ever been spoken!!!

May God Bless you all and keep you well. May he carry you in the palms of his hands!!!
And, as Jessica's nurse from N.Y. - Miriam - always said to Jessica as she would leave her room: " Have the Hope, you Have to Have the Hope!"

Jessica's Mom

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is FEAR?

Hi to All,

First let me say thank you to all our family, friends, and strangers who have taken such a huge interest in Jessica's journey to better health and living pain-free. As of today, there have been 10,800 views of this blog - that is amazing! As I said in yesterday's blog, it amazes me in how, even during these unsettling times in the world, people genuinely want to help - the human spirit and its capabilities are endless! Thanks to all of you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

Jessica's symptoms post the bad interaction she had with a medication are slowly diminishing. On a scale of 10 to 1 (10 being the worse) the symptoms that have been plaguing her this past week are now a 7). She tells the doctors that whoever ultimately gets rid of these horrible symptoms the quickest - that doctor will be her "favorite"!

I thought I would talk about fear today. You see, ever since this medication problem has happened to Jessica, she now has a "fear" of any new medicine that may have to be added or tried to help relieve some of the symptoms beyond what her body can naturally expel. I don't blame her one bit, because I feel the same way although I would never let her know this! On that note, we received a comment on the blog from Crystal. She was the first flight nurse that took care of Jessica on our first air ambulance flight from N.Y. to Tampa. She has taken such an interest in Jessica and has such a tremendous "God-filled" heart! This is what she wrote only 2 days ago on the comments in the blog:

Evidence that
She wrote: FEAR is created by the Devil in hopes that we will doubt Our Heavenly Father's Plan!!!

How true that is and how appropriate was the timing! We know that God has a plan for Jessica and his plan does not include her being fearful, living in pain, or living the rest of her life in a bed! His plan is for her and for all of us to have life - and have it in abundance! So we will march forward - take the small steps as Dr. Cantu has told Jessica to take - and we will not be fearful - AMEN to that!!!

May our love for God be greater, than all our fears!
With love and no fear,
Jessica's Mom

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Interesting Post-script: I wrote this blog earlier today and was just reading the October issue of Vanity Fair that was given to me and on the last page there is a one-page interview with Ralph Lauren where they ask him some questions. The first question asked of him was:
"What is your greatest FEAR?" His answer was: Illness.
Very interesting indeed, since today's topic was about Jessica's "fear"! I then asked Jessica the same question that was asked of Ralph Lauren and her answer was: " Not getting better!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fundraising Events & Special Thanks

Hi to all our family & friends,

Update on Jessica: Her body is still struggling with the effects of the medication that she couldn't tolerate. Sometimes the body expels the med more quickly than others and even when it does, you still have to wait for the lasting effects to subside. It's been a tough week, so keep praying for her. Ketamine infusions will resume as soon as she is able to do them!


Jessica's Journey Fundraiser
Sat. Oct. 3rd...6-9 PM
Fred's Diner
2900 Immokalee Rd. Naples,Fl.
*There will be a 3-course dinner/Live music/Raffles!!!
Donations: Sun Trust Bank-Jessica's Journey Savings Club
Acct. #1000101117702 or mail ck to:
Carol Biron-14505 Indigo Lakes Circle
Naples, Fl. 34119

***SPECIAL THANKS go out to Nancy & Joe Sustersic and Carol & Ray Biron, along with "Team Jessica" for their tireless efforts in arranging this and upcoming events as well. Words cannot express how grateful we are to call them our friends, but they are more like "family" to us!!! They have also ordered special bracelets to be sold as well, that say RSD Awareness on one side and Jessica's Journey on the other! Jessica is so appreciative and thankful as well!!! Any questions, please e-mail Nancy @

Garden City Fire Dep't,
Garden City, N.Y. 11530

***Lucky Lotto Drawing***
Each Day in Dec. - the winning ticket number will be based on the 3-digit N.Y. lotto evening drawing, and the winning prize will be $50; a $100 prize on Sundays and Christmas.
The Department will also be holding a fundraiser Happy Hour at the firehouse. This date will be announced shortly. They will ask for a $20 donation at the door and a 50/50 raffle will be held.

***SPECIAL THANKS to Chief Bill Graham for getting the fire dep't, involved and to 2nd Asst. Bill Castoro for doing all the work needed to get this off the ground! Also, special thanks to Marianne Quinn, wife of firefighter Larry Quinn. It was her idea to hold the fund drive for Jessica. Any questions, please e-mail Chief Castoro
As most of you know, my husband is a volunteer firefighter with the GCFD. They were there for us back in 2003 when he was very ill and they are once again here to help us now that Jessica is so ill. It is indeed a "brotherhood" and we appreciate all that they are doing to help defray some of the medical costs for this experimental treatment.

And now some special words from a grateful Mom & family:

You don't realize or can't even imagine what your life is like when you have a child who is ill and suffering. As a Mom, you want to make it all better, you want to take the hurt or "booboo" away, and sometimes you can't and it is so hard! Your immediate family is always there for you and help in so many ways! But, it is with special people like our friends in Naples, Fl. and the "brotherhood" of firefighters in Garden City, N.Y. that help us to know that we do have many other people surrounding us with their love and compassion. People from our church as well as other churches that are helping. People that are willing to stand by you no matter what, people that were once friends and now have become our family; it really humbles me and takes my breath away! So special thanks to all of you, it does not go unnoticed and we love you so!!!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UPDATE-RE: Jessica & Medications

Hi everyone,

So sorry I didn't blog yesterday to tell you how Jessica is doing. The internet was down in the hospital and the one thing you learn while you are here, is that things are slower or what we americans that are here call - "mexican time" vs. "american time".

Jessica had another difficult day yesterday. Her body is still trying to eliminate or expel the medication that she received that was too much for her body to metabolize. Her neurologist is very knowledgeable and I would need many paragraphs to explain the problem, but let me just say that every body receives medications in different ways. Medicines are transported in the body thru different avenues and sometimes, when you receive too much of one, or the combination of different ones, they can have very adverse effects on the body! This is what happened in Jessica's case. This does not happen to everyone and there are many different factors that can alter this; every persons body is different!
What I have learned is this: Research the medications you are on, find out how and in which way they are metabolized and excreted thru the body. Ask your pharmacist and doctor about interactions whenever a new med is added. And remember, you are your best advocate because you know your body better than anyone! Ask questions, it's O.K. - better to be safe than sorry - !!! And always expect the unexpected!!!

Keep praying for Jessica's body to flush out the remaining meds and for the underlying symptoms to go away!!!

With much appreciation,
Jessica's Mom

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ALSO: Tomorrows blog will contain information as to upcoming fundraising events that are happening in Naples, Fl. and Garden City, N.Y. I will be listing them tomorrow as well as thanking the special people that are "behind-the-scenes" who have been working tirelessly in Jessica's behalf!!! Look for this info in the next blog!!!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birthday Blessings & Update on Jessica

Hi to All,

First to Michelle:


Dear Michelle,

Jessica and I want to send this special birthday shout-out to you!!! Who would have ever thought you would be getting a message all the way from Mexico for your special day! I miss you so much and I want to tell you how very proud I am of you and how you have matured so much these past few years while Jessica's been ill. You have had to deal with alot of things; more than anyone your age should have to! But, you have shown me how much you love your sister "Wessie" and how you would do anything do get her better. Even though you are now 13, and a teenager, you have had to behave and deal with things far beyond your years - and I am so very proud of you! Jessica says she loves you very much - more than you know! I love you from the bottom of your little toes to the top of your beautiful head and all around the world - that's how much!!! Remember this: God is in control, God is Good, and God loves you so! So Michelle, Hang in there a little longer. Mommy will be coming home real soon with a healthier Jessica and then you, me, Daddy, Jessica, and Katherine will be a "normal" family again!!! I promise you that with the certainty of a mother's love and Jesus that loves you so!!! Happy 13th Birthday "Mooshie Mae"!!!


We have hopefully uncovered the reason for Jessica's unrelenting symptoms. One of the top neurologists - Dr. Ramirez- has been brought on the case by Dr. Cantu. We have isolated a medication that may be causing the problem. We have to wait 24 - 48 hours to see if the symptoms start to improve! Keep her in your prayers and the doctors as well! I will keep you posted as always. It has been a very difficult time, to say the least! But I am hopeful that it will be resolved really soon!

Also, special thanks to Dr. "Rainbow"(aka Dr. Zavala) I will tell you an interesting story about her in a following blog!

All my love,
Jessica's Mom

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Month & Counting....

Hi to all,

Tomorrow is an important day for 2 special reasons:

1) My daughter Michelle will be turning 13 and becoming a teenager!
2) Jessica and I will have been in Mexico for one (long) month!

So, I ask for some very special prayers today.
First, for my daughter Michelle to have a most special 13th birthday tomorrow, even if I can only be there in spirit! (You miss alot of events & milestones when you have another daughter who is very ill)
Second, for my daughter Jessica, who is still not doing well, and experiencing symptoms that the doctors are trying to figure out as we speak. Answers can not come soon enough, because the symptoms are at times unbearable!
Third, for the doctors. That they uncover the piece of the puzzle of what has been going on these past 4 days!
Fourth, for the Lord Jesus, to hear our prayers as we cry out at night!

In God's love,
Jessica's Mom

Faithful in affliction,
Joyful in hope,
Fervent in prayer.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Struggling.......

Hi to all our family and friends,

Jessica can use a few extra prayers or "shout-outs" to God from you all today! The doctors are still trying to uncover what medication Jessica's body is reacting to. You see, even here in Mexico as in other hospitals before, she does not "present" or follow the patterns of other patients. Her reactions to different combinations of medicines are not of the norm. Just as her illnesses have not followed a typical presentation in their complexity. Speaking from experience, as I have been in many hospitals before between my daughter Jessica and my husband David - always remember this --- YOU know the patient the best! Better than the nurses and better than the doctors. You are their caretakers and more importantly, their advocates, and it is OK to express your concerns and explain what works and doesn't work for the patient - your loved one! I think that ultimately it helps them, it helps you, and more importantly it helps the patient!

So, THANK YOU, for continued prayer for my sweet Jessica, and may God bless you all. You are all in my thoughts and prayers - STAY WELL!

Sarah Gina
(Jessica's Mom)

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rough Day/Rough Night....

Hi to All,

Once again - special prayers are needed for Jessica. She was experiencing some very weird symptoms yesterday afternoon into today and they may be attributed to a new medication that was added. With Jessica, she can have different reactions to meds and how she metabolizes them. This is something that we have had to address in other hospital settings as well. We are awaiting the results of tests as we speak. So pray for her once again today, really hard, that these small steps she continues to take can be "easier" steps than they have been. We know that God is good and his timing is perfect. We hold that thought in our hearts and minds every day!

With love,
Jessica's Mom

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Ketamine

Hi to all,

Jessica's fever has finally broken and she continues antibiotic treatment for her infection. One of her doctors, Dr. Eva Trujillo, has been brought on to try and rehabilitate Jessica's intestinal system in order to improve her nutritional status and thereby try to boost her overall immune status, which is necessary for Jessica's overall well-being. She is a welcome addition to the team and very knowledgeable as well.

Yesterday Jessica received her first ketamine booster after the initial coma. Most RSD patients who undergo the ketamine coma will require boosters of ketamine. How many boosters will be required depends on the individual cases. Dr. Cantu doesn't know how many Jessica will require, but I think she is going to need alot due to the severity of her case! You see, in analyzing how Jessica's case is different from the other cases that have been here undergoing the coma treatment, Jessica's RSD was triggered by an infection -lyme disease and not by an injury or accident, as in the other cases. The boosters take about 2 - 3 hours to infuse and afterwards you can experience some of the same side effects you had during and post-coma, only to a lesser degree. As Jessica continues to take the small steps needed to try and regain her life, I am in awe of her incredible spirit and determination. Her struggle is a daily one. I don't know if I could endure what she has had to! I pray that God will make these days, weeks, and months ahead easier than the past 3 1/2 years have been!

Also, today our dear friend Nancy leaves to go back home to Joe and Tinker in Marco Island, Florida. She has been such a tremendous help to Jessica and I and we will miss her terribly. It takes a special person to do what she has done for us and we will never forget that. She, just like Nita, who helped us before, will always have a special place in our hearts! For now, Jessica and I will be alone until my brother Vinnie receives his passport and comes to help us! Interesting enough, today is Mexican Independence Day or "El Grito", the Cry of Independence, for when Mexico received independence from Spanish rule. It is a holiday similar to the Fourth of July in the USA and everyone celebrates with parades, flags, decorations, and fireworks. And, on this day, Sept. 16th, I too, gain my independence for a while until my next helper - Vinnie - arrives! Viva, Mexico!

In God's love,
Jessica's Mom

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Update on Jessica

To all our family and friends,

Sorry I didn't blog yesterday but it has been a bit stressful these past few days. As you know, Jessica developed a high fever and tests were run to determine the cause. She has been put on two different antibiotics to treat the infection in her body. She also had to have mini-surgery to replace her central line catheter. It is always an "adventure" (for lack of a better word) when Jessica is in a hospital and you come to expect even the unexpected! Hopefully the following days will be easier than the last few days.

I am writing this at 1:00AM, Mexico time or 2:00 AM USA time, and Jessica is finally asleep; for how long, who knows? I know that I am feeling very tired myself tonight. The past three weeks have been such an emotionally and physically draining experience. As I gaze out the window of the hospital room and look out at the lights of the city of Monterrey, Mexico; and I hear my sweet daughter trying to get any sleep she can, I realize that this is now our "home away from home". And, I have to wonder, how my family is doing in N.Y?. (David, Michelle and the dogs). How Katherine is doing away at college? How my family is doing in Florida (my mother, brother Vinnie, Judy, sister Carol, & Anthony) - are they all well & fast asleep???

And, how are you all doing - my extended family, friends, and even strangers? I hope you are all well and fast asleep. I have to go as it has been such a long day, a long week, a long couple of years.....Here's hoping for a good night's rest for one and all!

Peaceful dreams,
Jessica's Mom

Thanks for all your continued prayers for Jessica

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Special Prayers Needed!!!

Hi to all,

Just wanted to ask everyone to please pray extra hard for Jessica today. Yesterday afternoon, Jessica started to have fever. It went as high as 104.5. Tests were taken and we await their results, but because Jessica's blood counts are very low and she is very susceptible to infection and because the fever was so high, she required a blood transfusion, as well as oxygen 24/7. Other tests are going to be performed to see what the cause of the infection could be. Please keep her in your prayers today!

Jesus, you are the ultimate healer. We ask that you watch over and protect Jessica today, as you have and continue to do. In Jesus' name we pray and ask and believe. Amen.

Thanks to all,
Jessica's Mom

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

What is Real vs. What is a Dream???

Hi to all,

I didn't know what I was going to blog today and then Jessica asked me a very poignant question: " Mommy, what is real and what is a dream??? Today, Jessica realized more of who she is and with that realization came many, many questions!!! Apparently she thought that the past few weeks were all a part of a bad dream. The doctors she has met, such as Dr. Cantu (who she calls Dr. green-shirt, because she remembers him wearing that color often in ICU), Dr. Luis (who she refers to as Dr. Luigi (maybe because of the Italian she took in high school), Dr. Ramos (who she calls Dr. Medusa, because when she was having bad hallucinations after the ketamine about seeing "worms", he came in and began to recount the story of Medusa, from Greek mythology) or Dr. Cynthia (who she calls Dr. Cynthia Lyme, because of her medical thesis being about lyme disease) and Dr. Eva ( who she calls Dr. Eva Pink, because she loves that color) --- all these doctors who she thought were all part of a dream, she now realizes are all real!!! That she is indeed in Mexico and that she just underwent a ketamine coma treatment, that only @104 people have tried in the whole world!!!

As you can imagine, all she keeps saying is that she wants to go home - and I can only imagine how she is feeling! Imagine being in a hospital, in Mexico, you don't have your full memory - it comes and it goes, the nurses speak another language, I could go on and her, at times, it is very frightening.

So today, please keep Jessica in your thoughts and prayers once again. Pray that what was once a bad dream, becomes a more peaceful reality. And that as she takes the small steps ,or as Dr. Cantu so gently says to her: "Small steps --- huge advances"; she can better understand the road she has endured, the road she has taken and the road to better health that is up ahead!!!

In God's love,
Jessica's Mom

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11.........

To all our family and friends,

Today is September 11th, a day of remembering. For all of us it is a day that we remember all those who lost their lives on that tragic day in 2001. In our hometown of Garden City, N.Y., 23 lives were tragically lost on that day. It is a day that will be forever etched in our minds and hearts. For some it was the loss of a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle, or a brother-in-law. For others it was a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, or a sister-in-law. For even others it was a fireman, a policeman, a teacher or a priest. But for all of us it was a loss that was unimaginable, one that we want to forget, but one that has to be remembered - as it should be!

So today, let us take a moment to remember all of those who lost their lives on that day. Let us hold on to their memories for it is in those memories that they do live on. And let us all remember that life is such a precious gift. And when one of us is gone, and one of us is left to carry on; then remembering will have to do. Love and peace and may God bless you all!

With love,
Jessica's Mom

**In memory of Jimmy Ostrowski**

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Questions....and some Answers......

Hi to all,

We thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and for all of your concerns regarding how Jessica is currently doing. I thought I would share some answers to some of the questions I have been receiving. Here goes:
1) Does she have her memory back yet? No. The past few days she has retrieved the basic knowledge of who she is, who I am, and her family, but it doesn't last long. As Jessica says, she goes into the "black hole" where I guess her "new" brain is trying to process all the information that it contains. The doctors have said it will come fully back soon. Today can't be soon enough though!
2) Does she still have noise and light sensitivity? Yes. Apparently, if you go into the coma with this as a problem, it can become more heightened with the ketamine. The doctors are having us remove the sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones 3X a day and increasing it by 1 minute each day.
3) Does she have pain? Yes. But remember, all patients emerge from the coma with pain. It is the one question as they emerge from the coma that you want to ask, but the one question you can't. You see, the brain has to now differentiate between pain that existed before and what may be "normal" pain associated with the movements that the body made during the coma. In Jessica's case, it is further complicated by the fact that she still does not have her full memory back and so we can't compare what she is feeling now and what she felt before! From what we are told by previous coma patients and their families, this is the hardest part for the patient. Also, she is probably the most debilitated case of RSD they have seen, so her recovery is going to take longer.
4) Can she move her legs? This is probably the hardest question to answer as it is the most difficult. As you know, when Jessica was emerging from the coma she moved her legs. At that point she was still under the effects of ketamine and proporfol. For me, it was a sight that I will never forget and one that I know, with the certainty of God's awesome might, Jessica and I will see again!!! - I believe it was God opening a tiny window into what will be one day- that is our prayer and the hope that we have as a family!!! Jessica moves her toes everyday for the doctors!
5) Can she eat? This is a slow process and one that is evolving day by day. The doctors start with baby food and try to work up from there. Jessica enjoys the ice pops that I put into the freezer that I brought from home and hopefully one day soon she will be able to enjoy all the things she hasn't been able to in the past 2 years!
6) How long will we be here? That is another question that is difficult to answer, but let me say just this: Jessica and I and our family have been living day by day for the past 3 1/2 years. We will continue to do so. Jessica and I are here for as long as it takes to get Jessica back to a more meaningful, functional state of life!!! She deserves it more than anyone I know! We are in Mexico for as long as the doctors feel they can continue to help us achieve this goal!

Well, I hope that this helps to answer some of the questions that I have been receiving by your comments and calls. You are all our family and friends and so we thought it only right to answer some of them.

I am so very proud of my daughter Jessica. She continues to amaze me everyday in what she endures on this quest, her journey, to becoming well again and living pain-free. God truly blessed me 21 years ago, when he gently put my sweet little Jessica in my arms, and he entrusted her in mine and her fathers care. I want to make God proud by being the best mom that I can be and ultimately bringing Jessica back to the USA, to that brick house she calls home..............

Keep praying and may God bless you all,
Sarah Gina
(Jessica's Mom)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Hi to all,

It has been a very long night in Monterrey and in Room #844. Tonight, as in many other nights, sleep was just a five-letter word and no where in sight! One of the most essential things of life - sleep - you come to realize, is one of the things you need the most, but yet somehow you find a way and manage to do without. Jessica has had a hard time getting any type of sleep. The doctors have tried many different type of medications, but this too can be one of the adverse side effects of ketamine and also RSD. Sleep is also so important for the human body, in that it helps to restore the body back to good health. As her Mom, if she doesn't sleep than neither do I. We both ask for your continued prayers for sleep - something that is so needed, yet so hard to obtain!

P.S. Nancy was successful in retrieving the package from customs. They finally allowed the medical bandages needed for Jessica. This was after four hours of being there with Omar, the taxi-cab driver who speaks english and was so helpful; and only after ultimately having to cry and plead her case! They would not allow the plastic syringes or the green tea packets for my water, but interestingly enough, they allowed a stuffed animal bear sent by her sisters (this could have contained anything?)

P.S.S. Jessica's doctor - Dr. Cantu - returns today after being away for 3 days. Jessica hopes that he brings back her "full" memory with him from vacation! I certainly hope so too!!!!!!!

With love,
from a very tired Mom

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Mexico & Getting Packages

Hi to All,

As we speak, Nancy, who is here helping us, is on her way by mexican taxi to try and retrieve a Fed-Ex package that has been sitting in customs at the Monterrey airport. It seems that it is very difficult to get any type of medical supplies into Mexico, along with any type of food items. Contained in the package are special cushioning bandages that I need for Jessica so that she doesn't get any skin breakdowns. These bandages are costly and not available in this hospital. I had to send Nancy with our passports as well as a letter from the doctor stating that the bandages were a medical necessity! Pray that Nancy is successful or I guess I will have to talk to the American consulate here in Monterrey!
I don't know what I would have done without her today!

Jessica was able to retrieve more bits and pieces of her memory yesterday and we are still standing strong in the knowledge that it will all come back fully in the days ahead. She continues to experience different
side effects from the ketamine, some more disturbing than others. It is my hope that these will all go away really soon for her! They have a whole team of doctors here at the hospital who all speak english, but the nurses don't, so it can become difficult for her at times. Thank God I can speak understandable spanish - it has come in handy so many times already!

Thank you for all of your continued prayers for Jessica.

Till tomorrow,
Jessica's Mom

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday is Church Day!

Hi everyone,

Jessica is remembering bits and pieces of her past, thanks to all of your prayers! She remembered that her childhood home was #90 and that it was a brick house. She recalled being in school when she was younger and it was her birthday and she had a crown on her head that was made by the teacher and she recalled singing " Jesus Loves Me " (This was at Resurrection Lutheran Preschool in Garden City). But, until she has her full memory back and is more aware of who she is, who her family is, and where she is, her journey will be much harder. The doctors have assured us that it will come back and not to worry; but that is sometimes easier said than done!

Today is Sunday; the day most people go to church and pray for God's blessings and also meet, talk, gather and commune together. Jessica said such a thought provoking response when I told her what Sunday is all about. She said: " Mommy, I thought that God is everywhere, that you don't only have to go to church to talk to God, that we can even talk to him from Room #844 of this hospital in Mexico!! I have always said, Jessica is smart, very smart indeed!

Blessings to all, and remember, wherever two of you shall be, there too God will be!!!

In God's love,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)

***Interesting post-script --- After posting this blog, I got a call from our pastor - Pastor Browning - from N.Y. I recounted Jessica's memory of preschool at the church and the song " Jesus Loves Me ". He said that one of the songs that was sung today in church was " Jesus Loves Me "!!! God does work in many, many ways..........***

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Saturday, September 5, 2009


Hi to all,

Thanks to all who continue to pray and think about my sweet Jessica. Memories are a strange thing. There are the memories we have that are so special, so dear to our hearts, like the birth of a child, your wedding day, your first kiss, and for me, walks on the beach picking seashells. Then there are those memories that we choose to forget, like the death of a family member, illness that came and stayed, or the first time you realize that life is not always a bed of roses.

But, even with all these memories that we have stored in our minds, you come to realize how powerful the human brain is in what it chooses to remember and what it chooses to forget. In trying to help Jessica recall those memories, those special moments of her life, you come to understand how very important it is to make those memories everyday.
You see, sometimes, it's not only in those momentous occasions that the best memories are made; but in those little things like swinging on a swing in your backyard or in running around the block with your dog, that the most treasured memories are made.

So, my gift to you all, in thanks for all your continued prayers for Jessica, is to go out this weekend and make some of those memories with your families; you will be so happy that you did!!!

Jessica says hi to her Dad who she remembers is a volunteer fireman and loves the bible. She says hi to her sisters, Katherine and Michelle, who she calls the girls on the phone, because that's how they communicate, and she says she loves me, because I take care of her so well and I'm her Mom!

God bless you all,
Go out and make those memories,
With Love,
Jessica's Mom

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Friday, September 4, 2009

"Small Packages"

Hi to All,

I am writing to you all today with a special request from Jessica herself. She asks that you all pray extra hard today so that she can recapture the bits and pieces or "small packages" of memory that have not yet returned to her! Apparently, when you emerge from the ketamine coma, it may take time to remember who you are, where you are, what you did, and all the different events of your life. These "small packages" are slowly coming back to her on a daily basis, and the doctors promised Jessica that her memory will fully return, we just don't have a timetable as to when this will happen. In her own words, she feels like she is in a "black hole". So please pray for her again today. Pray a special prayer for her complete memory to return. We ask this is Jesus' name, Amen.

Special thanks go out to Emily, who also underwent the coma at the same time as Jessica. She came to visit Jessica in her room to give her words of encouragement. Emily is able to walk with help from her family, as her initial RSD was in her wrist and upper body and not in her legs. Jessica's case is different in that her initial RSD began in her right leg and her lower body. Our hope is that one day Jessica will be able to fully move her legs again and walk down the halls of the hospital!

Also, special thanks to Rick Brown who has been here with his son Justin for the past 7 weeks. He has been so helpful in showing Nancy how to navigate Monterrey to get us the things that we need, as I won't leave Jessica's room until she is aware of her surroundings and her memory is fully back.

Love to all,
Jessica's Mom

"No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
No man can know,
Those things that God has prepared
for those that love him".
I Corinthians Chap 2 V. 9-11

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

The journey begins.......

Hi to all,

We have completed our first day out of ICU. We are on the 8th floor and it overlooks the beautiful Sierra Madre mountains and the city of Monterrey, Mexico. These days seem to be the most difficult for Jessica, even though you might think that the days in the coma would be more difficult than these! When patients come out of the coma they experience many different side effects and each case is different than the last. Jessica is the 23rd person to undergo the ketamine coma study in Mexico and only one of the @105 people that have undertaken this treatment so far, between Mexico and Germany, and there are many more waiting!

We ask that you continue to keep her in your prayers and ask God to make this next step of her journey quicker than the past 3 1/2 years have been. As you know, God's timing is perfect and I believe that this treatment will create a new "work" in Jessica, but as a Mom, if God could speed it up a little bit, I would be the most grateful, happiest, Mom in the world!!!

With love, always,
Jessica's Mom

A Message from Nancy who is with us in Mexico

Hello to all our prayer friends in the World! We thank you for keeping Jessica foremost in your hearts! Each of us is learning as we are going through this journey together. Jessica's strength and will to figure this out is amazing.She asks the most thought provoking questions. We sometimes wonder how she comes up with them. I am so confidant that each step will get her closer to the destination of pain free. My heart is heavy watching but God is giving us all strength to believe as this huge miracle unfolds. The tireless love that Sarah Gina shows is the strongest I've ever seen! These two make a great team!

Without too many details, the journey is very much like described in the videos on the blog, with some pretty upsetting, and Jessica says thank you for knowing what she is enduring... and keeping the prayers coming.

Even through these moments above, there's such a blessing and ray of hope for us as Jessica comes out with such a quick wit, one that Sarah Gina says she is so famous for.. For instance...Sarah Gina helps her through some of those tough times by saying "When scary thoughts or feeling come, say, Get out of here in the name of Jesus". So Jessica does. Then as we sit quietly Jessica comes out with a statement that makes us laugh almost to tears. For instance: Jessica is adamant that she does not want this shot that comes each night. I don't blame her one bit. Then Jessica said, " Get out of here, in the name of Jesus, is what I'm going to tell the nurse when she comes in with that shot!" What a brilliant and wonderful daughter she is. I'll bet she'll be a doctor someday!

As Nita said..."God is working miracles in Mexico"! Thanks be to God.
Love and with gratitude,

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

She is out of ICU!!!

Hi to all,

Yesterday at 4:00 PM Jessica left the ICU after being there for 10 days, and I am very happy about that! Being in the ICU is difficult and surreal, from the different levels of sickness that people have to endure and for some sadness, when they see their loved one pass on to heaven. The other day a very important person passed away in the ICU. Apparently he was the top Professor of the medical college and was a "dignitary" and very well known and respected here in Monterrey! I can't tell you how spiritual and family-oriented the mexican people are. Within 15 minutes there was a swarm of family and friends who came to support the grieving widow and her family. I was truly impressed!
Also, special thanks to "Alvaro" who I met in the waiting area of the ICU. He was visiting his family member and became very interested in Jessica's case. One day he gave me apples grown especially in his hometown of Saltillo - they were delicious! The next day he brought a present for Jessica - a beautiful gold-plated ornament for her room with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on it! ( She is the patron saint of Mexico) I was so touched by this I gave him a kiss!

About Jessica - she is still having some difficult days in that her brain is still "re-setting" and her nervous system is still trying to readjust itself. Apparently, the ketamine is an amazing drug in that all of her lesions (over 100 of them) are almost gone and fading! She is weak, tired, at times confused, but as her body readjusts and as time goes on, the doctors have said we will continue to see improvement. We don't have a time frame for this, as each patient is different, but Jessica and I will be here for as long as it takes! Keep her in your prayers as the road ahead will take all the strength she can muster. We are grateful that Nancy is here to help us and she will be posting her blog tomorrow. We pray for all of you to be well!

Till tomorrow,
Jessica's Mom

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Message From Your Sister Michelle

Hi to All our Family & Friends,

Just wanted everyone to know that the past few days have been rough for Jessica as she is experiencing some of the side effects of the ketamine. These will pass and are to be expected but at the same time hard to go through for Jessica. We are optimistic and remain hopeful in the knowledge that with each and every day, we are taking the tiny steps forward that are necessary for Jessica to regain her life. May God bless you all.
Also, we are grateful to our dear friend Nancy who arrives today to help us transition from the ICU to the 8th floor of the hospital.

Love to all,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)

P.S. Happy 86th Birthday to my Mom & Jessica's Nanny Yum-Yum
We love you & Miss you

To My Sister Jessica (aka - Wessie),

Dear Wessie,
I love you so much! I remember making the scary face at Katherine and having so many good times. Then I remember moving to Florida. We had such a good time in the hot sun, but then tragedy struck! I didn't know how to deal with the situation at the time because I was only nine, so I just kept saying it's nothing, it's nothing......but then it got worse and the doctors didn't know what to do. Watching our whole family get torn apart by a tick, a stupid little tick! And then you got RSD and the pain was all over your body.
I can't seem to remember you really walking, only glimpses in memories and videos. Now I believe that I will be able to see you walk again! I remember you and me being best buds and then it vanished.
I love you Wessie and I'm a big sap because I can't believe that I'm crying as I am writing this letter to you! I am finally going to have my "Wessie" back - my beloved Wessie back! I have always looked up to you. I know that people say that the love of your life is the person that you marry, but, Wessie, You are the love of my life! I love you more than anything. I never wanted anything bad to happen to you! I believe you are the strongest person I know and when I have a baby I am going to name it after you, because maybe, just maybe, it will be as strong as you. You were always strong, smart and gorgeous. I Love you and am so glad that my Wessie is coming back. I want my baby back, baby back ribs - LOL - remember that!
Well, I love you Big Wessie!

Love, Your Little Wessie Michelle

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Jessica's Journey to Getting Her Life Back

By Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)

As we begin this journey toward renewed health we would like to express our sincere heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick and all the work he has done and continues to do in order to bring patients like my daughter Jessica back to a more meaningful life and restored from this devastating illness. Also, special thanks to Dr. Fernando Cantu and his team of doctors in Mexico for taking on a difficult case like my daughters, Words cannot express the renewed sense of hope that we have that one day, our Jessica, can regain her life that has been taken away from her – God Bless you all!

Jessica’s Story

Once an A+ student who loved school, was involved in many extracurricular activities, played varsity tennis, lacrosse and gymnastics and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, our daughter Jessica has spent the last 3 years incapacitated, paralyzed, unable to sit or walk and eat. She spends her days confined to a hospital bed, wearing sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones, due to severe light and sound sensitivity.

Jessica and her sisters, 2 mos. before becoming ill

The pain she feels is indescribable and all attempted treatments have not even come close to relieving her suffering.

She has seen many doctors, undergone numerous painful tests and procedures, has been prescribed various medications, and has been hospitalized frequently including being intubated and on a ventilator. She is severely debilitated and currently is only 92 pounds. This is certainly no life for a 21 year old young woman!

Jessica is suffering from neurologic Lyme disease and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a severely debilitating and painful neuromuscular disorder. She suffers daily with constant sharp, stabbing, tingling and burning pain; throughout her body; severe headaches; paralysis; intense muscle spasms; gastroparesis; seizures; twisting of her limbs (dystonia); sensitivity to any touch (allodynia); extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds; excessive sweating; swelling; fevers; softening of bones; decreased hair growth; redness and discoloration of the limbs; and painful skin ulcers. The pain is constant and unrelenting, but despite her suffering, her faith in God remains and she still has hope for her future.

Jessica's painful skin lesions

Jessica's journey began in 1999, when she was only 11 years old. She became very ill with Mono and was bed bound for 3 months. She subsequently developed RSD (stage 1) of the lower right leg. She received early intervention and returned to playing sports and enjoying her life.

Jessica, age 15, at summer camp

Four years later, in 2003, while away at a sleep-away camp, she developed a rash behind her right knee, coincidentally in the same leg that previously had RSD!

At the time, the camps nurse & doctor told her that it was “duck rash” – a rash from swimming in the lake with duck feces. However, Jessica was able to obtain photos from camp from another camper which shows the classic “bulls-eye” rash from Lyme disease! It wasn’t until much later and only after developing symptoms and becoming very ill, was the diagnosis of Lyme disease and Babesiosis (another tick-borne infection) made.

Most people (and doctors!) have no idea how serious Lyme disease can become and no clue how to properly diagnose it. Unfortunately, if she would have been promptly diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, the RSD would not have been triggered and she would not be suffering.

July 2003, Jessica's Lyme disease rash

If it wasn’t for her doctor, Dr. Liegner, and his expertise with complex cases of Lyme, and his determination to try any means in getting her well, by getting a “team” of doctors on her case, we wouldn’t be here today, still fighting. We owe him a deep sense of gratitude for all he does for Jessica!

During these past three years and with the pain becoming more intense and unbearable she has been seeing Dr. Finkelstein for pain management. He has even made house calls to spare her the pain of coming by ambulance to his office. Jessica has been treated with multiple pain medications, at the highest possible doses, as well as an implanted dilaudid pain pump, which delivers potent medication straight into her spine. Many doctors have told us that with the amount of medications Jessica was taking would be enough to “kill a horse”—yet they had little to no effect on her. If it wasn’t for Dr. Finkelstein trying to alleviate her constant, severe, unrelenting pain, I don’t know how she would have managed. He is very special to us as well.

Recently Jessica was transported by air ambulance to Tampa, Florida to see Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, a world renowned RSD expert. Dr. Kirkpatrick told us that Jessica is one of the most debilitated patients he has ever seen.

Jessica getting into the air-ambulance to go see Dr. Kirkpatrick

Upon his testing and because Jessica's condition is so severe, Dr. Kirkpatrick is recommending the only treatment available that can possibly help relieve her suffering, and afford her some semblance of a “normal” life - the Ketamine Coma Procedure - a clinical trial that is being conducted in Monterrey, Mexico.

During this procedure Jessica will be put into a coma , with the hope that her nerves, brain and spinal cord will “reset” -so that her nervous system sends the correct signals to her brain.

Yes, this is a radical, scary treatment, however, for Jessica, "scary" is thinking that she could spend the rest of her life in this condition, unable to walk, eat, or take care of herself. Since all reasonable treatments have failed to help her, we feel we must try everything possible to help Jessica regain her life.

We understand that due to Jessica’s fragile condition, there is a high risk associated with this procedure. We are also aware that other patients with severe RSD like Jessica's have had success.

Jessica’s goal is to one day become a doctor. Our hope is that with this study she can have that chance. As her Mom, I know that she will be a great doctor because when a patient presents in her office and says “Doctor, I am in pain and words cannot express how bad it is” – my daughter –Dr. Jessica– will be able to say - :I know how you feel, I’ve been there too. So, take a seat and let me tell you a story”….

We are so thankful and feel so blessed to have been led to Dr. Kirkpatrick.

God is good and with his help guiding Dr. Cantu and Dr. Kirkpatrick, our hope is for Jessica to be able to return to us whole again and pain-free!