Thursday, November 26, 2009


Blessings to all of our family & friends,

After enduring the bitterness of winter, the early colonists decided to hold a feast, celebrating their survival and giving thanks to God for his protection and provisions throughout the past months. It was a spontaneous celebration of praise. God had turned their hardship and sorrow and pain into gratitude and health and joy!

Today is the day that we thank God for the world that we live in and all of its wonderful creations. We thank him also for his guidance that gives us direction. We thank him also for our daily lives with all of its pleasures, achievements and challenges! And, we also thank him for food, clothing, shelter, our families and friends, our community and our country.

Let us count our blessings today and be grateful for what God has done in our lives!

Today is Thanksgiving. It is the day that we thank God for ALL of our blessings. TODAY I especially thanked God for ALL OF YOU! I thanked God also for Jessica's doctors and nurses. Especially for the team of doctors here in Mexico. Especially for Dr. Cantu (Dr. "Green Shirt"), Dr. Zavala (Dr. "Rainbow"), Dr. Barrientos (Dr. "Luigi"), Dr. Ramos (Dr. "Medusa"), Dr. Cynthia (Dr. Cynthia "Lyme"), Dr. Ramirez (Dr. "Rumolo"), & Dr. Castelleja (Dr. "Fernando-the younger"). We would also like to thank her doctors in the states, especially Dr. Liegner, Dr. Finklestein, Dr. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Bransfield, Dr. Bottino, Dr. David, Dr. Epstein & Dr. Neugarten. This year has been an extraordinary year in so many ways for our family! We would not be here today if it wasn't for all of the love, support, and compassion shown by all of you!

We are humbled by such an outpouring of love for Jessica, our oldest daughter and for the trial she has had to face! For the support given to David, Michelle and Katherine in our absence from all of our family and friends! And, we are comforted by the compassion shown by strangers we have never met, through all of their prayers and kind donations!

So, Today, we wish you all a very Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving! Please know how very grateful and thankful we are to ALL of you for EVERYTHING you have done for us this past year! Together with your love and that of our heavenly Father above, we will be victorious so that one day our Jessica will be well enough to stroll the beaches in Naples and walk the avenues of N.Y. once again! May God bless you all!

In Thanksgiving & Praise,
The Stevens Family
David, Sarah Gina, Jessica, Katherine & Michelle
and our dogs Molly & Chloe too!

Phillipians 1:3-4
Phillipians 4: 6

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Michelle said...

jessica and mommy,

i love the turkey!!!! Happy Thanksgiving! It doesnt feel like thanksgiving without you guys! Mommy isnt in the kitchen at eight o'clock in the morning making the turkey!! i just hope that you have a great thanksgiving in Mexico!!


Anonymous said...

May you find a way to celebrate Thanksgiving today at the hospital. Maybe the kitchen will make you something special! :)
You have so many things to be thankful for as well as petition for an even better Thanksgiving celebration next year in your own home with your friends and family. I pray that it will be an awesome celebration when God finishes his healing in you, Jessica. It is hard to remain patient and I would imagine that at times like this, you feel it a little more deeply. In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving day in October. Like your mom, I found myself thinking of all the good friends and strangers, medical staff and family that have rallied to see me well. This is a battle I still continue to fight today but I feel that it is happening in a positive way. I know that you sense that as well even when the days are long and the struggle is so very hard.
You will be soon meeting a new coma patient. I am not sure when they will be arriving but I will be in contact with them today to give them some guidance and support as they prepare to leave. Her name is Elena and she suffers full body RSD. Take good care of her and her husband when they arrive, you are an ambassador there! :)
Sending you both a virtual and very gentle hug for the day. God bless you and have a very very good day today


Anonymous said...

To my dear sweet Jessica and Sarah Gina,

I hold you both so tight in my heart and thoughts today. I am thankful that you both (and the rest of the Stevens family) came into my life over five years ago. This walk you are all taking is an incredible one but it is one that so many of us are learning from. Your words, your thoughts and your dreams are something so many people gain strength from. Please know how much I love you both and how much God loves you as well. Hold tight to eachother today.
My love...
My hugs...
My prayers...
My tears...

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving! My family and I will be thinking of you! Crystal

Anonymous said...

From Pastor David Wilkerson of the Times Square Church, NYC:

In our times of trial and temptation, Satan comes to us bringing lies: “You’re surrounded now and there is no way out. Greater servants than you have quit in circumstances no worse than this. Now it’s your turn to go down. You’re a failure, otherwise you wouldn’t be going through this. There’s something wrong with you and God is sorely displeased.”

In the midst of his trial, Hezekiah acknowledged his helplessness. The king realized he had no strength to stop the voices raging at him, voices of discouragement, threats and lies. He knew he couldn’t deliver himself from the battle, so he sought the Lord for help. And God answered by sending the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah with this message: “The Lord has heard your cry. Now, tell the Satan at your gate, ‘You’re the one who is going down. By the way you came here, you will also go out.’”

Hezekiah had very nearly fallen for the enemy’s trick. The fact is, if we don’t stand up to Satan’s lies—if, in our hour of crisis, we don’t turn to faith and prayer, if we don’t draw strength from God’s promises of deliverance—the devil will zero in on our wavering faith and intensify his attacks.

Hezekiah gained courage from the word he received, and he was able to say to Sennacherib in no uncertain terms: “Devil king, you did not blaspheme me. You liked to God himself. My Lord is going to deliver me. And because you blasphemed him, you will face his wrath!”

The Bible tells us that God supernaturally delivered Hezekiah and Judah on that very night: “It came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (2 Kings 19:35).

Believers today stand not just on a promise but also on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And in that blood we have victory over every sin, temptation and battle we will ever face. Maybe you’ve received a letter from the devil lately. I ask you: Do you believe God has the foreknowledge to anticipate your every trial? Your every foolish move? Your every doubt and fear? If so, you have the example of David before you, who prayed, “This poor man cried, and the Lord delivered him.” Will you do the same?

Happy Thanksgiving

David Stevens

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jessica and Gina! We are so thankful for all of God's blessings. Know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Love to all!!
Marianne & Rob

Anonymous said...

Dear Stevens Family,
I give thanks for all of you. You are a blessing and an inspiration. Thanks be to God!
With love,
Linda Wardley

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Jessica.
Our thoughts are prayers are with you!!!
You are the strongest person I have ever meet!!!


Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica,
We have sold over 40 necklaces in the first week and it was only a half week!

There is nothing we can say, except we love your strength, we pray for you and think of you every day. (Okay, maybe Tristen thinks of Lego more, but he is only 3)

Our love to you from Brian, Michelle, Alicia and Tristen Mah

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!