Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hola From Mexico!!!

This necklace has been dedicated to Jessica's struggle with Lyme Disease and RSD by Lymelinks Jewelry. It was made to honor her commitment to Lyme Disease Awareness. All proceeds from the sale of the necklace will go to Jessica's Journey Savings Club. It is available now and just in time for Christmas & Holiday gifts! Visit or just click on the link below. Jessica and the entire Stevens Family would like to thank Brian & Michelle Mah from Lymelinks, who created this necklace, as well as Cat Charles, Laci Corridor, and everyone else that made this necklace possible! May God bless you all!!!


Hi to all our family and friends,



First I would personally like to thank everyone that has purchased a necklace in support of Jessica's Journey! We are humbled by your support and we hope that when you wear the necklace it will give you one more way, along with this blog, to feel "connected" to Jessica, all the way from the USA to Monterrey, Mexico. The necklace is beautiful and something that I know she would have picked out on her own. Please wear it in good health!!!

Jessica has been continuing to have terrible pain on the right side of her body. It starts from the head and down the right arm (which still has lesions- but less than before we came here), and then down to the right knee and all the way to her foot. She received another booster yesterday to try to lessen some of that pain. We ask for continued prayers for the healing of this pain; continued prayers for her vision to be restored; and also for God to continue to give her the strength she needs to accomplish all of the "small steps" she still needs to take on this journey to a better life!

Second, Jessica and I, and our entire family would like to wish all of you a "HAPPY THANKSGIVING". This is the time of the year to be thankful for all of the blessings that God has given us. It is the time of the year that we all tend to reflect on the year that is ending and the year that is up ahead. We look at all the things we have done and all that is still to be done. It is in these reflections that we have to always remain thankful in the love from God above that is with us everyday! It is his love that is "reflected" in all of us; and it is with that love that we all go out and do His mighty works. So, today, we THANK all of you for using God's ultimate love and reflecting it upon us especially this year, as well as the past few years! We are forever grateful, forever humbled, and forever thankful for all of YOU!
P.S. Have some turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing and homemade pumpkin pie for us! Freeze some leftovers for us - we look forward to them when we safely return to the states!

Till tomorrow,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)

Praise the Lord, all nations, laud Him, all peoples! For his lovingkindness is great towards us.
Psalm 117: 1-2

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Anonymous said...

Sarah and Jessica,

You will be in our Thanksgiving prayers tomorrow. We have much to be thankful for as Devon has returned home in better health. We look forward to the day when we can say the same for Jessica. We follow your developments both are very present in our minds. All our love,

Pam and Ed in Boston

jennkurz said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you. May God continue to bless Jessica with the small steps in her recovery. You will be in our Thanksgiving prayers and I will be praying especially for the right side of her body to feel some relief.

Keep fighting and keep the faith.

By the way Gina, I want you to know that you and Jessica are such an inspiration to so many people. Thank you for keeping everyone updated on Jessica's recovery but especially for all of your inspirational writings. God Bless you both.


Nancy's Bunch said...

You are in our hearts, prayers and in our thoughts...especially during dinner tomorrow as we thank God for all the blessing he has so freely bestowed upon us all. Just getting you two to Mexico was a wonderful blessing! Now with the progress on your left side... we thank him! As the doctors work hard to restore your health Jessica...we will all remain thankful that God gave them the skills to preform these miracles in & on you!
Praise be to God!!!!

Love from your extended family.
Nancy, Joe & kids! (and there's a BUNCH of them :)

Jane said...

Gina & Jessica -

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you too! There will be only six of us here for dinner, and I'm making a 19 lb. turkey with all the trimmings! So, there will be plenty of leftovers to freeze for you! (White meat or dark?) We'll eat and give thanks again when an improved Jessica is able to return to the States.

With hope, Jane

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to both you and sweet Jessica! You are right in that God's abounding love and compassion is reflected in His people - amazing to see!

We thank God for the progress of Jessica's healing and we will continue to pray for complete healing.

With love & prayers,
The Turners

michelle <33333333 said...

hey jessica,
i hope you have a great thanksgiving. i love you!!!! i love the necklace ours should be coming really soon! =] Love youuuuuu <33333

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!