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,
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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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!