Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Special Message From Pastor!
Hi to family & friends,
TO VIEW JESSICA ON FOX TV - CLICK ON LINK:
***There is going to be a special fund raising item that is going to be announced very soon. It involves a special necklace that was designed especially for Jessica and all the proceeds from the sales of this item will be donated to Jessica's Journey Savings Club! I have seen it and it is beautiful! It was made in honor of Jessica and her efforts to increase Lyme disease awareness, something that Jessica has been very passionate about since she has been battling that disease for the past four years as well! As soon as I have all the info and links, I will blog this SPECIAL NEWS and how it all came about and how and when it will become available!!!
Today is Veteran's Day in the USA. It is a day that we honor all military veterans who fought for our country in the pursuit of world peace. Let us honor and remember all those that we know today who have served their country so valiantly and let us be thankful for their service which has given us the right to live in a free country!
Update on Jessica:
It has been a pleasure to have Pastor Browning from NY here with us these past few days. We will miss him when he leaves us tomorrow. It has been comforting to have his special prayers said for Jessica. We have prayed together for her ultimate healing from all sicknesses. We prayed for her RSD pain to improve with each continued ketamine booster. We prayed for her eyesight to be restored back to normal and for the static vision to go away. We prayed for the lesions to stay away. We also prayed for her headaches and light and noise sensitivity that have plagued her for so long, to also go away. While praying, we also thanked God for the continued improvements in regards to the movements in her legs - the "small steps" as Dr. "Green Shirt" (aka Dr. Cantu) - always reminds her that are s0 vital to her overall success here in Mexico. And, we prayed for the other two patients from the USA that are still here - Justin and Devon (who will hopefully be leaving the hospital this Friday).
Here is a message from Pastor Browning:
I will always treasure these three days I was able to spend with Jessica (and Gina) here in Mexico. Jessica has clearly established herself as the most beloved patient at Hospital San Jose. She is truly one of a kind, and her remarkable personality and resilient faith continue to draw people in. I have met a steady stream of wonderful people who constantly go above and beyond to help Jessica (and Gina and I, by the way) including her team of doctors, nurses, a pastor from Monterrey, and some American families up here on the 8th floor. Special thanks to Dr. Zavala (aka Dr. "Rainbow") who showed me the beautiful sights of Monterrey! They join with the rest of us back in the States in wishing and praying that God would give her the healing and comfort that she needs.
Jessica has made a great deal of progress since I last saw her in July. I pray that Jessica's healing would continue and that she would find comfort in some of my favorite Bible verses, Romans 8:38-39, and the wonderful reality that there is nothing in this world that can separate us from Jesus Christ and his never ending love.
I have met and ministered to many people over the years. Being down here, I realize once again that Gina Stevens is so singularly exceptional. She is the living epitome of motherly devotion, love, patience and what it means to be Christ-like. She is an inspiration and role model for the rest of us. Please continue to pray for God's presence and strength in Gina's life as she cares for Jessica.
Pastor Jeff Browning
Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
In God's Love,
Sarah Gina(Jessica's Mom)
***To post a comment, CLICK on comments below**
at 4:41 AM
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!