Monday, November 9, 2009

Michelle Helps Jessica!

Hi everyone,


***There is going to be a special fundraising 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!!!

A Message from Jessica's Dad in N.Y.:

For those of you who don't know, Michelle Stevens (Jessica's sister), Genevieve Klatt and Erin Giacini designed and made over 200 (Hope for Jessica) bracelets Wednesday night and sold them at the Garden City Middle School during lunch break on Thursday and Friday. Of course it would not have been possible to do this without the kindness and approval of Dr. Osroff Principal, Ms. Lee and Mr. Marr Asst. Principals and Ms. Weiner our favorite Guidance Counselor. And, of course a big shout out to Renee Klatt who purchased all the supplies and has opened her heart and home to Michelle.

Now, is everyone sitting down - because the amount raised by Michelle, Genevieve and Erin is staggering. The grand total collected in two days of selling bracelets to 6,7 and 8th graders totaled a whopping $1,195.00 !!!

This money will be sent to Carol Biron in Florida and added to the Jessica's Journey Savings Club account.

On behalf of my family and Jessica, I would like to thank all those involved.

Michelle, Your love for your sister is boundless. And, Gen, and Erin, I couldn't ask for Michelle to have more loyal friends.

David Stevens (Jessica's Dad)

P.S. We are still waiting for the amount that was also collected from the faculty who participated in "Dress Down Day". I will let you know as soon as we find out from Ms. Weiner.
What a tremendous outpouring of support - THANK YOU ALL!
UPDATE: Just found out that the faculty raised $720.00!!! WOW!! Thank You All Once Again for All your efforts!!!

Update on Jessica:
The past 2 days have been rough for Jessica. She has not been feeling well and so further blood tests were drawn to see if her red blood counts have gotten any better. If they are still very low, Dr. Cantu said he will have to give her another blood transfusion today. This would be the second one she has had to receive since we have been here in Mexico. Jessica says that because of this, she is now going to be "part-Mexican"!!!

Please pray for Jessica and the other american coma patients as well - Devon & Justin.

By the way, Devon will most likely be leaving the hospital this week so I presented her with her ketamine coma bear. This is the 4th bear I have made so far. Hers is called "Escape Bear" because of her trying to escape from the hospital in the beginning of her stay on the 8th floor. I will save that story for the day she finally does leave or "escape"!

"The mind of man plans his way, but, the Lord directs his steps". Proverbs 16:9

All our love,
Jessica's Mom

***To post a comment, CLICK on comments below***


Anonymous said...

Wow, these girls are true gifts! At such a young age to do for others is huge! We thank God for them!!
You are in my thoughts & Prayers every day...praying for a miracle for dear Jessica!

Aunt Carol said...

Hi Jessand happy to hear about Michelle's fund raising efforts with her friends. Also happy to know that Pastor Browning is with you...Love to you both...Aunt Carol

Nancy & Joe said...

What a wonderful gift of love Michelle and friends!! We are all so proud of you and all your friends!

Love leaves clues....:)

Anonymous said...

Jessica and Sarah, coma bear is your masterpiece, we love, love, love him and will cherish bear forever!! Our only dilemma is how to get him home in one piece. Devon promises to visit Jessica very soon and give her a first hand accounting of the "Great Escape"!!

Cathy and Devon

Anonymous said...

Michelle and her friends proved that "where there is great love, there are always miracles". What a wonderful thing to do for her sister. Jessica and Gina, a big hello and a hug. Miss you guys. Hurry and get well so you both can come home to your loving family. Love, Bonnie

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!