Dear Family & Friends,
To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:
This past week has been such a "journey", full of such a wide array of emotions. It began with such hardship with Jessica not doing very well and her needing to go down to ICU for what turned out to be one week.
For me, that first night coming back up to the room, and her not being there, was very emotional. I cried. It felt so strange and so "empty" without her there. It was a time of deep reflection for me and also, a time of fervent prayer like no other! God was my "rock" upon which I stood! Dr. Cantu was my support and his "wisdom" was my guide; and Dr. Rainbow was my "angel" who showered me with love and kindness.
It was during this past week that I prayed more than I have ever prayed in my whole life. I prayed every moment of every day! I had written special directed prayers on paper and attached them to the board in the ICU room. Prayers for her eyes to be restored (Psalms 146:8, Isaiah 42:16, Matthew 9:29); for her pain to go away (Matthew 4:23-24, Revelation 21:4); for her rest to be peaceful and restorative (Psalm 4:8, Proverbs 3:24); and for her to be well again! (Psalms 71:20, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 21:22).
It was a time that God revealed himself to me in so many ways. From the kindness of strangers ( Mr. Jesus Ramirez, the kind man who offered his help to me with all my "bags". Yes, a man named "Jesus", born on 12/24, with his own "life story" to tell), to Rick Brown, a fellow american, who was so supportive, to Dr. Chavez in ICU, and to the nurses who always welcomed me back to the floor at night, as I tried to grab some sleep!
From a week that began in such despair for Jessica and I, with many hills and valleys, twists and turns, I am here to say that prayer DOES work, that God is an ever present help in times of trouble, and that miracles do happen indeed!!! As it says in my favorite bible verse in I Corinthians, Chap.2, Verses 9-11:
"No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
No mind has conceived,
what God has prepared,
For those who love Him!"
Keep believing in miracles. We have received this one miracle for Jessica - the return of her eyesight! We feel so very blessed! Jessica is looking at all the things that she has missed these past three months, from the notes and cards written to her from all the fundraisers, to the beautiful necklace that was designed for her by Lymelinks, to the beautiful rosaries in her bed, and to eventually seeing herself for the first time in her Fox News TV interview in the coming days!
We know that God will continue to guide Dr. Cantu, Dr. Rainbow, and all the doctors here, to answer ALL of our prayers for Jessica!
A week that began with despair and tears, has resulted in pure joy and elation for what is and what is to be! We have such renewed hope that has come to us at such a joyous time of the year - Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior! We are so looking forward to the celebration of Christmas here in Monterrey, as we await the arrival of Jessica's Dad and her two sisters, Katherine and Michelle who will be arriving on Christmas Eve!
May God shower you all, our dear family and friends, with a blessed Christmas and may all of you have a Christmas miracle of your very own - that is our Christmas wish and prayer for one and all!
In God's love, always,
The Stevens Family*
"This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe". I Timothy 4:9&10
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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!