Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A "Special" Message Sent to Jessica !

Hi everyone,



Special thanks go out to Carol Biron, Nancy Sustersic, Karin Daniels, and all of Team Jessica for a job well done at the Princess House Fundraiser last Saturday in Naples. Jessica says thank you all for all the hard work put in - she loves you all!

Jessica received ketamine booster #8 yesterday. With each booster we continue to see the "small steps", as Dr. Cantu always says, that she needs to take on this journey here in Monterrey, Mexico. Most boosters take about 2 hours and everyone responds to them differently and each patient requires different doses - it is what Dr. Cantu knows the best and it is amazing to watch him "at work" with his coma patients! We love and admire Dr. "Green Shirt" for his work with RSD.

Yesterday, I spoke about a letter that Jessica received from Marco Island, Fl. I contacted the family to be sure that they wouldn't mind if I shared it with all of you. They were delighted to have me write about their "journey" as well. Olivia heard of Jessica's story and decided to write to her. Here are some excerpts of her letter to Jessica:

Dear Jessica,
My name is Olivia Davis. I am 11 years old and live in Marco Island, Fl. My Mom read me your story and I feel sad that you have had to go through all that and are still having to. I had a rare brain disease and have gone through 5 brain surgeries to try and help stop my seizures. I was 7 when I got sick. Last April I had a big surgery and I was paralyzed on my entire left side. I had to learn how to sit up, stand, walk, and move again. I spent all summer in therapy and trying to do homework. Sometimes I felt like I would never get better and sometimes I felt like I could do anything I used to if I just put my mind to it. I focused on the positive stuff like I would get better and get the seizures out of my life. When I was sad or down I talked to my Mom and she would hug me. That made me feel more positive. I am in 5th grade now and I love being back at school. I even learned how to swim again.
Keep thinking positive and soon you will get what you want. Be hopeful, not doubtful. I hope you get better soon. Our prayers are with you.
Peace out, Keep on dreaming.

What an amazing letter from an 11 year old who has had to face her own trials as well! Jessica was so touched by her letter! We can't wait to meet her when we return to the states. Our prayers go out to Olivia and her family as well for continued recovery from Rasmussen's Encephalitis. You can visit her website at: www.oliviadavisfoundation.org.

This is a special "Shout Out" to Olivia who reads Jessica's blog!
Remember this Olivia - It takes 2 --- GOD & YOU --- so keep fighting because You are stronger than any illness and God loves you so!!! The Lord says:
It's worth It. / Walk with Me. / Trust Me. / Wait with Me. /

All our love,
Jessica's Mom

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Team Jessica said...

#8....and EIGHT is GREAT!!! Love from all your friends in Naples and Marco Island. Look how many lives you have connected already Jessica! We are planning your HOMECOMING! What a party that will be!!!
love Nancy

Sandra said...

Greetings from Hollywood, Florida, where the weather is still 150 degrees farenheit (not really but it might as well be)...glad to hear about the "small steps," especially when they're in the right direction =)...also, hi mom, i miss you, see you in a couple of weeks...Gina & Jessica, as always, you are in my prayers every day and I can't wait for you guys to come visit me!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Olivia for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to us all.

Jessica's Dad.

Angel said...

Dearest Jessica and Gina, We're sending you lots of love from Garden City!! I am so glad that the ketamine boosters are coming quickly now. Moving ahead is so good emotionally and mentally, as well as physically!! I loved the letter from Olivia Davis- that girl is AMAZING too!!! When you keep your "eyes on the prize" and keep your faith healthy and alive- MIRACLES HAPPEN!! A big, gigantic, incredible positive you have on your side is your mom- Gina- right there with overflowing love, hugs, prayers, faith, friendliness, and trust in God and in the process. You also have your dad and Katherine and Michelle, who love you so much and are praying for you constantly. You also have so many friends, both old and new, who are praying for you. We're making lots of noise up to Heaven, Jess!! It's a beautiful noise, full of faith and love and trust in the Lord. It's the kind of noise that makes MIRACLES HAPPEN!!! Hang in there! Love always, Angel
p.s. Hi Cecilia!! I'm so glad you're there!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica and Gina,
My family and I are keeping you both in our prayers, Keep the faith and I believed God is in the center of your progress. We also happy to know that Cecilia is there with you, May God give you strength to carry on. Our Regards, Olga, Paul and Family

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to see you in this condition. It breaks my heart. I'm sitting at Gulf Coast High remembering you in class when you are well and sending you happy thoughts. I pray I will see you again, like you once were, vivacious, happy, healthy.
I'm in Nursing School and still working full-time as a Marine Science Teacher. My hello and hugs and kisses go out to the family.
Love, Christina Smith-Libbey

Anonymous said...


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!