Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas!

Michelle and me on Christmas Morning

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas celebration yesterday! For me and my family, it was definitely the best Christmas we have had in many years!

There are hundreds of reasons that Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.

When I think back on my childhood Christmases I remember Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandma’s house and eating the most delicious Italian food, I remember driving around- looking at the beautiful Christmas lights, I remember arriving home late and being allowed to open “just 1” Christmas present- which undoubtedly, was always matching Christmas PJ’s for my sisters and I! I remember leaving out homemade Christmas cookies for Santa, and some carrots for his reindeer- (and being sooo excited to find them eaten the next morning!), I remember lying awake in bed with pure excitement and anticipation for Santa to come, hoping he would bring me everything I had asked for. But most of all I remember the great lengths my parents went through to make sure my sisters and I always had the best Christmas possible, filled with lots of special memories.

I don’t think that many people can understand what the holidays are like for someone who is ill, especially a long-term illness that involves tremendous amounts of pain. During the past years of my illness, Christmastime was always very difficult for me and my family. From smelling the delicious food that I could not eat, to the lights and sounds I could not tolerate, to being in too much pain and feeling too ill to even open my gifts on Christmas morning with my family... It was very hard to find the “Christmas spirit” while dealing with the reality of the situation, but I think I can speak for my entire family when I say that this year, the Christmas spirit was alive and well in Mexico!

This year I really felt like I was a little kid again, experiencing the magic of Christmas for the very first time! From the food, to the lights, the decorations and the music… It has been been so amazing just getting the chance to enjoy Christmas day with my family once again! The best part, for me, was seeing the looks on my Dad and sister Michelle’s faces when they walked in and saw me sitting up in my recliner chair waiting for them! They were both shocked and amazed to see the progress I have made since I last saw them over the summer!

This Christmas I am incredibly thankful to be alive, to be re-gaining my health, to have an amazing family who loves me, and to know that I am never alone- in anything. I am thankful for the opportunity to see and experience the holiday for it’s true meaning, through a completely different perspective than ever before!

I am most especially thankful to Dr. Cantu! Without him my family and I would not be here enjoying this day together.

I am thankful for answered prayers… for everything!

We thank God and praise Him for carrying us to where we are today!!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad to all!

In God’s Love,

Jessica (& the Stevens family)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Remembering my brother Charlie........

Hi to all~

Today is the 10th anniversary of the passing of my dear brother, Charlie Gelo @ age 40 after a long battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

I miss him terribly but, the one thing I miss the most about him was his unique and funny sense of humor. Charlie was the type of person that lit up a room and he was the one you would want to have at your party because he always had a funny joke or story to tell.

So, in honor of him I'd like to present to you all his "funny" version of the 12 days of Christmas- the "Italian" `12 days of Christmas.

Sung to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas":

On the first day of Christmas, my Italian Grandma made for me...

a creamy ricotta cheesecake

2nd Day- 2 Meatballs
3rd Day- 3 Calamari
4th Day- 4 Broccoli rabe
5th Day- 5 Rice-a-balls
6th Day- 6 Baccala
7th Day- 7 Fig cookies
8th Day- 8 Artichokes
9th Day- 9 Honey Balls
10th Day- 10 Linguini with Clams
11th Day- 11 Shrimp Scampi
12th Day- 12 Zeppoles


From a loving sister,
Sarah Gina

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Special Christmas...

Blessings to All from Monterrey,

Wow! I can't believe that Christmas is only 13 days away. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating a magnificent Thanksgiving celebration here in the apartment with Jessica's doctors! That was such a very special day - and probably one of the most amazing Thanksgivings Jessica and I have ever had! Just imagine Jessica being able to eat turkey and all of its trimmings for the first time in years - and then - just imagine being able to share that meal with the doctors who have been by your side these past 15 months - and better yet - Dr. Cantu (aka Dr. "Green Shirt") carving the very turkey you are about to eat!!! I think it is so hard to put into words the joy that I felt for Jessica and her doctors that day --- it's beyond words and a memory that will be forever etched in my mind and in all the doctors and their families who were here that night! Not only did God bless us with wonderful company - but I must say - the turkey was the Best turkey I have ever made --- and I have made many!!! We all had a good laugh, though, when Dr. Cantu informed us all that the turkey was so delicious due to his wonderful carving --- hahaha --- and not due to the 4 hours or so it took me to cook it!!! Oh well --- I think I will let him have the credit for the turkey this time --- he deserves it!!! Also, there was not a dry eye in the room as they watched a special "Thank You" video presentation that Jessica had made on her computer to honor them. It included special photos and songs of her journey so far. I know it goes without saying how very proud I am of my daughter - she makes me so very proud to be called her Mom!

And, now, Christmas is once again upon us, and oh, what a difference a year can make!!!

For all of you who follow this blog and faithfully pray for Jessica each and every day - thank you All and may God bless you and your families during this --- the most special time of the year - Christmas - the birth of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Last Christmas, as you may recall, was a very difficult time for Jessica. She had been experiencing many difficulties post the coma, including major infections and the neurological problems she was experiencing with her eyesight --- she couldn't see --- her visual field was plagued by green static vision. That, coupled with the intense, unbearable pain, fevers, lesions, tubes, name a few ...... made it a very stressful time to say the least! But, I do remember the Christmas miracle last year as her sight was restored after Dr. Cantu put her back in the ICU. They say that God helps to erase those painful memories in time, and, I am grateful to say, I try not to think and remember them as much as I can. But, I do think that it is important in life to remember where you have been. You have to reflect on the road traveled so far, to realize how very far you have come and how, with faith and prayers and the love and grace of God, and, in Jessica's case, amazing doctors, ALL things are truly possible!

We, as a family, are so looking forward to this Christmas! As I write this blog, Jessica is listening to Christmas music --- something she hasn't been able to do for a number of years due to her extreme noise sensitivity! Last night, we were able to watch a movie on TV called "It's A Wonderful Life" - something she also hasn't been able to do for the past years due to her photo-phobia - or extreme light sensitivity! I am cooking up a storm! For those of you who know me, I love to cook. It is my hobby and one that I enjoy so much --- it is a great stress reliever for me. It is such a pleasure to be able to cook for Jessica once again, and for her to be able to enjoy eating again - another thing she can now enjoy once again since she no longer has her J-feeding tube in her intestines! This morning, we had such a good laugh, over something so silly --- but --- even that is a milestone for us! You see, she can now laugh again, because, she is in so much less pain than a year ago! ALL of these "little" things are really "Big" things for patients like Jessica, who have experienced pain and sickness on a level that, even as her Mom, I can never, ever, really fully understand!

In just under two weeks, Jessica's Dad and sister Michelle are coming for Christmas. Katherine will be spending Christmas with her Grandma and my family in Marco Island and instead will be coming to Monterrey in January to help Jessica and I celebrate our birthdays.

It goes without saying, but, I believe that this Christmas will be a very special one. For Jessica, she will be able to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and tastings of Christmas - something she hasn't been able to do for a number of years. For me, I can honestly say that I will be able to "breathe again" this Christmas and just be happy in seeing Jessica happy again!

Remember that these are the special times of Christmas. A time when we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas - as we celebrate His birth - and all of its magnificence and splendor. It is because of Jesus that we have life! As a Christian, I know, that thru Him All things are possible and All things are New once again.... I know this, Jessica knows this.......our hope is that You know this as well!

Merry Christmas --- Keep Christ in Christmas!!!

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Mom to 3)***

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy."
~Psalm 126:3

Blessings To All,

We wanted to wish everyone a very special Thanksgiving Day!

Jessica and I will be spending the day with her doctors as I prepare for them a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We have much to be thankful for this day and wanted to show them how appreciative we are to them for all they have done and continue to do for the both of us!

Till then, we hope and pray that you all have a great day today and we are ever mindful of all of God's blessings in our lives and especially for ALL of you!!!

Here is the prayer that I will be saying at dinner today:

We Give Thanks

Our Father In Heaven
We give thanks for the pleasure of gathering together for this most special Thanksgiving.

We give thanks for the food we are about to eat and for the loving hands that prepared it.

We give thanks for life and the freedom to enjoy it all.

We give thanks for so many blessings!

As we partake of this food,

We pray for health and strength to carry on, as we try to live our lives as You would have us.

We thank you for the mixture of our cultures, blending us all into one people under God.

We remember those who are less fortunate than we.

We pray you bless all those who gather here and all our families not present with us.

We are thankful right now to be surrounded by those whose lives touch us more than they'll ever possibly know!

So, please, Heavenly Father, bless this food you've provided and bless each and every one invited!

All this we ask in Jesus' name, AMEN!

All our love and thanks, always,
Sarah Gina and Jessica

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

November is RSD/CRPS Awareness Month...

Please watch the following video about RSD:

Hi everyone!

Wow! I can’t believe that there has been over 70,000 views of this blog! That is just… amazing. I know that many of you who follow this blog are not just following my journey with this disease, but are also, unfortunately, dealing with it on a personal level, whether through your own battle, or that of a family member. November is RSD/CRPS Awareness Month, so in honor of that, I wanted to just share a little about the disease.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a painful & debilitating chronic neurological disorder that occurs when the nervous system malfunctions in response to a injury or illness, in my case, it was triggered by neurologic Lyme Disease. The hallmark symptom of RSD/CRPS is burning pain... so intense that the most potent pain relievers are completely ineffective, leaving you with the feeling that your body is actually on fire.

There currently is little knowledge and understanding of RSD/CRPS, even within the medical community. Because of this, RSD often goes misdiagnosed during its early stages, which is when the disease is most easily treated and can be put into remission. If not treated promptly, aggressively and correctly, the RSD pain can spread rapidly.

I have met so many people along my journey who are also struggling with this disease. I have seen many improve, only to relapse because of limited access to effective treatments. The suffering with this disease runs so deep- it not only physically effects the patient, but the entire family suffers the emotional consequences that come along with this type of unimaginable, unrelenting. 24/7, pain.

Right now, there are certainly a lot more questions than there are answers for many RSD patients. It is a complex, mysterious and very confusing disease.

I believe that Ketamine can definitely be a big part of the answer, for so many. And for now, it is probably the best weapon we have in our battle against this horrible disease, for me, it has been a God-send, however, we need a cure.

For me, it has given me the chance to have a life again. I am re-discovering my love of music, movies, people… and food! I ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner for the first time in years (thanks Mom- it was great!) Each day my mom helps me out of my bed into a recliner chair (thanks Betty!) I can now stay in it for almost 3 hours! I know to many, these things may not seem like a big deal, but for me, after being completely bedridden for 5 years and fed through a feeding tube for nearly 3, every step in the right direction is just amazing! As Dr. Cantu so eloquently puts it, “Small Steps= Huge Advances!”

I am so blessed and so thankful to be doing so much better. It hurts to think about all of the people who are out there suffering so greatly with this monster of a disease.

We need more awareness of this devastating disorder. We need much more research to find the underlying cause(s) of RSD and identify ways to treat and prevent it. We desperately need a definitive and long-lasting cure.

My hope and my prayer is for answers, for all of us, who are dealing with this illness and for the doctors who are working so hard on our behalves to relieve our suffering and lead us back to better, less-painful lives.

In Christ,


For more information on RSD:

International Foundation for RSD/CRPS

RSD Fact Sheet (from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA) Website

“Counting on a Coma”- FOX News

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A message from Jessica!

The view from here- Cerro de la Silla mountain

"For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all Gods. In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him!" ~Psalm 95:3-4

Hello everyone!

It’s me, Jessica! I thought it was about time that I wrote a blog post of my own to update everyone on the (amazing) progress I have made! Actually, the truth is, I have tried many times to write something, but I just couldn’t. It has been such a complicated journey- filled with so many ups and downs and so many emotions It really is nearly impossible to put this experience into words...

All I can really say is that I have been truly blessed with the greatest parents, loving sisters, an incredible support system, amazing family and friends and the most caring and devoted doctors in the world, all of whom have gone above and beyond to help me get to where I am today.

It’s mind-boggling for me to sit here now, out of the hospital- looking at the beautiful view of the "Cerro de la Silla" mountain and to think back on what I have been through over the past year. It has been a rough journey, but my improvement has been nothing short of miraculous. Even my worst day now is far better than my best day was 1 year ago. The Ketamine Coma Study was my very last hope. I am forever grateful to my New York doctors- Drs. Liegner and Finkelstein, for working tirelessly on my behalf to get me here for this treatment and to Dr. Kirkpatrick, for the opportunity to take part in this study, which for me, has been life-saving!

I cannot say enough great things about the care I have received here in Mexico. I can honestly say that coming here has been the biggest blessing in my life thus far. My doctors, especially Dr. Cantu 'Green Shirt", Dr. "Luigi" Barrientos, Dr. "Febricula" Dillmann, Dr. Cinthia "Lyme", Dr. Ramos "Medusa" and Dr. "Rainbow" Zavala, have all gone above and beyond what any doctor could ever be expected to for a patient. It is because of their love, dedication and patience that I am still here. I shudder to think of where I would be right now if I had not been given the chance to come here for this study.

I have a chance to have a life again and I am just so excited! Everyday and everything is like brand new to me and I can’t wait to re-discover all of the things I have missed out on for so long!

The most important thing I have learned throughout my journey is that God can take any situation, no matter how hopeless or terrible it seems at the time, and redeem it for His glory! It is hard to appreciate this when you are being tested, severely, and things go horribly wrong- it’s hard to imagine that any good can come out of a bad situation. But God will never let you fall farther than He can catch you- His power works best when we are at our weakest. When we are literally drained, being hit from all angles and the situation is (or at least appears to be) completely hopeless. It is these times that set up the stage for miracles to happen!

I know this and I believe this. I have lived it.

I know that I still have a long road ahead of me. Everyday has its own struggles and some days are a lot easier than others, but no matter what challenges may still lay ahead, each day I will continue to take the “small steps” (as Dr. Cantu always reminds me) needed for my full recovery, as I allow my body and mind to heal. I know that with my incredible Mom by my side, I can make it through anything. After all, it has been her unwavering love and support that has enabled me to keep on going this far. I don't know what I would do without her! I am beyond blessed to be her daughter.

Please know that I appreciate all of the love, support and most importantly, prayers that have been lifted up for me and my family! They have been answered, and I continue to be amazed by my God and His work in my life! It has been an amazing journey and I cannot wait to see where His plans lead me next! Everyday and everything is somehow serving His greater purpose for my life, and for yours too! You are all in my prayers daily and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

In God's Amazing Love,

Jessica (Sarah Gina's daughter :)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…

What a difference a year can make!

Me & Dr. Cantu aka "Dr. Green Shirt"

August, 2009

September, 2010

I don’t think Dr. Cantu can ever fully comprehend just how special he is to me and the other RSD/Ketamine Coma patients. He is a beacon of light and a north star for all of us dealing with this horrible painful disease. He has restored hope to so many.

God is working miracles through you, Dr. Cantu, always remember that!
Thank you for caring, understanding and for always listening. Thank you for being willing to "step out of the box" and try whatever it takes to get me well. I love you, very much!

And also special thanks to Dr. "Luigi" Barrientos, who has been a God-send in my life and has helped me numerous times while at Hospital San Jose Tec. He is also one of my guardian angels here in Monterrey! Muchias gracias para todos!

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Jessica Is Out of the Hospital!!!

Hi To All,

I am happy to say that Jessica and I have left the Hospital San Jose Tec once again!

We arrived safely to the apartment at 7 PM Saturday. We are both trying to adjust to life outside of the hospital once again.

I have an interesting story to tell everyone about our "exit" from the hospital:

The plan was for the ambulance to arrive at 4 PM to pick up Jessica from our room #845 at the hospital. Dr. Cantu called the ambulance company and gave them strict orders on how to handle an RSD patient, as well as instructions on going slow over the bumps and to travel very carefully and slowly with Jessica. So, the ambulance arrives late at 4:30 PM - but this is Mexico and after being here for a year you come to realize that everything goes slower here anyway.

We then all carefully place Jessica on the stretcher and proceed to say goodbye to all the nurses as they wheel her towards the elevator. We then proceed down through the ER and into the waiting ambulance and I notice that it is very hot in the ambulance! I ask them to please put on the A/C (or "climas" in spanish). They then tell me that there is no A/C today-problems with this particular ambulance. So, it is decided that we will exit this ambulance and wait for another ambulance with A/C to arrive. But, because that will be at least another 30 minutes or so, we could not stay down in the ER area(due to infection risk for Jessica) and so we had to go all the way back up to the 8th floor and back into her old room once again!

You can imagine the nurses faces when they saw Jessica coming back up to floor! When I called Dr. Cantu and jokingly told him that we had left the hospital and returned and were back in our old room, I think that everybody could hear his: WHAT????????????? coming out of the phone!

But, here comes the interesting part of the story:.

The new ambulance arrives and Jessica and I are loaded into the back and we proceed to take the trip - slowly - and carefully - back to the apartment. Jessica is laying on the stretcher and looking out of the back doors of the ambulance and seeing parts of Monterrey that she has never seen before. We proceed thru a small tunnel and as we take the main road to the apartment she notices a truck is following directly behind us and it has big writing splashed across the windshield! As she starts to read it out loud, this is what it had to say: "CHRISTO TE AMA".

This truck with this saying, which translated means: "Christ Loves You" followed us all the way to our apartment! God does work in mysterious ways - doesn't he???......................

Here is a picture of the truck that I took because I just didn't think that anyone would believe such an amazing story!

The next blog will be a special one from Jessica to everyone. I just wanted to tell you this story and to let everyone know that Jessica is out of the hospital after another stay and she is doing very well --- Praise God!

In God's Love, always
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)***
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Exit Plan is for Tomorrow.....

Hi Everyone,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Just wanted to let everyone know that we are still in the hospital.

The plan is to hopefully leave tomorrow.

It has been an incredible few months back here in the hospital.

What I have come to realize is something that I have said from the beginning of this journey - and that is that in ALL things God does work for the good of those who love him. At times when you are going through the trials of your life, it is hard to imagine anything good coming from them. I have seen so many things happen here at the hospital. Some of them good, some of them bad, and some of them miraculous!!! In all these times and in all of these occurrences, God has made so much good come from what seemed so bad. What we have learned is that in the end, God turned around the most unbelievable circumstances imaginable and turned them around for good and for His glory!!!

When Jessica and I are settled in once again in the apartment, we will update everyone and Jessica has a special blog post that she wants to send to all.

We have so much to be thankful to God for.

We love you all and pray for everyone each and every day.

Remember to always have faith in God. Remember to always have hope in a better tomorrow. And, remember, above all, that God ultimately has a PLAN for us all. We just have to wait patiently for his timing...............which is always perfect.

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)***

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Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hello To All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Just wanted to update everyone on Jessica.

She had surgery this past Sunday for a new medi-port. The past few days she has been receiving ketamine boosters for some pain post surgery.

An ultrasound was performed during surgery to observe the thrombosis in her right arm. She is on IV heparin and will be switched to coumadin when we leave the hospital. She is completing her IV antibiotics and if all goes as planned, we will hopefully leave the hospital by this weekend!

Jessica is doing very well!

Today we would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Molly -- Jessica's yorkie-poo. She is 9 years young today!
Also, Happy Birthday to Cindel tomorrow. She is someone we have met since being here in Mexico and has become like a 4th daughter. She has been such a help to the both of us and is turning 22!

Also - special prayers for Emma - who has come out of the coma here at the hospital. May her recovery go well!

Prayers to all who suffer with this disease.

We pray for all of you and thank you all for your continued prayers for Jessica.

I will update everyone from the apartment in the next few days.

We praise God for Jessica's healing and for all the miracles that happen here at the Hospital San Jose. We also thank God for Dr. Cantu, Dr. Luigi, and Dr. Dillman --- Jessica's special "team"!

Quote for the day:

Someday hopefully everything will all make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.
(sent to us from Suzie- a former coma patient)

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

65,000 Views of Blog! 21,000 Views of YouTube!

Hello to Family & Friends,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Just wanted to quickly update everyone on Jessica.

She is currently still on IV antibiotics for infection and IV heparin for the thrombosis in her right arm.

The plan is to run blood tests at the end of the week and if all is clear, she will have surgery on Saturday for a new medi-port.

Post surgery, the plan is for her to get a series of boosters and then, depending on how things go, we may be able to transition once again out of the hospital and back to the apartment.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting Julian and Nikki Orange who are here with their daughter Emma. She is currently in a ketamine coma for her RSD that began with an ankle injury. They have traveled all the way here to Mexico from New Zealand! We look forward to meeting Emma when she comes out of the coma and up to the 8th floor!

We also met another patient named Maria Rosaria who is from Mexico and is here with her daughter and husband. She too has RSD and is here for treatment as well!

We hope you are all well. May God bless you all. Que Dios Te Bendiga!

In God's love,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)***

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Monday, September 20, 2010


Today is a special blog to Michelle - my daughter & Jessica's younger sister - who turns 14 Today!!!

Dear Michelle,(My "Mooshie Mae"),

Wow! I can't believe that my "baby" is turning 14 today and what a lovely young woman you have become!

I remember the day you were born. You made your entrance 2 months prematurely and at 3:56 AM! The doctors were amazed when they weighed you and you were 6 lbs. 1oz.! You were our miracle baby! Your Dad and I were so thankful that God saw fit to bless us once again with a healthy baby girl. Your sisters Jessica and Katherine were so proud too! Each day they fought over who would feed you, change you, hold you, etc.......

Michelle - God has blessed you with a warm heart, a beautiful smile, and an incredible spirit! You always try to find the best in people and are always there with either a kind word, a happy thought, or a special deed.

This spirit of helping was never so evident as it was this past summer. I was so very proud of you! You gave up your entire summer to come to Mexico and help me take care of your older sister Jessica --- and what a help you were!!! Having you here with us made it feel a little bit more "like home". And, when your sister had to go back to the hospital and was unexpectedly put back into a coma - it was YOU - Jessica's little "Wessie" (as she calls you) - who was there, by her side, holding her hand, and..holding mine as well!!!

I want you to always know that I am so very proud of you! You are 14, but, you have had to deal with a lot of things that most 14 year olds never have or will ever have to face! Jessica and I couldn't have done it without you this summer --- always remember that! Even though you are now back home, we think of you always and hold you very close to our hearts!!!

This is a special video for your special day:

So, on this day, your birthday, Jessica and I want you to go out and have a great day! Hopefully, one day, really soon, God willing, we will all be together again!
Remember this: You may have outgrown Mommy's lap, but you will NEVER outgrow my heart!!!

I found this poem for you:

I asked God for a flower and He gave me a bouquet.

I asked God for a minute and He gave me a day.

I prayed to God for true love and He gave me that too.
I prayed to God for an Angel, and He gave me YOU!!!

May God bless you dear angel, especially on this day that marks your birth.
May God bless you Today, Tomorrow, and Always!

All Our Love,
From Monterrey, Mexico
Mommy & Jessica

2Corinthians 7:4:
"I have great confidence in You, I take great pride in You"

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mexican Bicentennial Independence Day

Hello to All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Mexican Independence Day is today - September 16 - as this year’s occasion will signify the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s war of independence from the Spanish Empire.

Mexico’s independence struggle began with “El Grito de Dolores,” which means “The Cry of Dolores.” The Dolores here is not a woman but the town where priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla incited people to fight their Spanish rulers. (By the way --- the word "dolores" in Spanish means "pain")

To include a bit of history, Hidalgo himself would not live to see Mexico sever her bonds with Spain. The revolutionary priest was captured and executed in 1811, but Mexicans did not achieve independence until 1821.

Today, Hidalgo is known as the “father of the nation” for spearheading the Mexican War of Independence. Every year on the night of September 15, the president of Mexico addresses the Mexican people assembled in Mexico City’s Zocalo (main square), one of the largest in the world. Here, the president proudly waves the Mexican flag and rings the history liberty bell that Hidalgo once rang.

Mexicans show their green-white-red pride with elaborate decorations on their homes and place flags in their windows and cars. During this time, families come together and enjoy Independence Day treats.

Mexican Independence Day is an extravagant celebration in Mexico.

Update on Jessica:

Jessica is still on IV heparin infusion for the thrombosis in her right arm. Dr. Luigi has applied wrapping to the arm and she has to keep it elevated on cushions. Blood tests that were taken revealed that she does have a gram positive infection and so her antibiotics were changed to Zyvoxam and Avelox, as well as Cancidas for the candida infection. It was also necessary for her to receive a blood transfusion yesterday due to continuing low hemaglobin counts and her feeling very drained of energy. So, I guess after receiving this blood, Jessica is a little more Mexican today - and - on the occasion of their Independence Day! Viva Mexico!

Thanks for all your continued prayers for Jessica. Despite all she is going thru, she is doing well and we praise God for giving her the fortitude she needs each and every day to face any new obstacles that come her way!

Stay well,
In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)***

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Small Steps.....Remembering 9/11

Hello To All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

I have been having major problems with my computer here in Mexico and have been without service and non-working keys and so it has been difficult to blog.

I would like to update everyone on Jessica's progress here, but, first, I would like to take a moment to honor all those who lost their lives on this fateful day 9 years ago. To all the families who suffered tremendous loss that day and to all the fireman, policemen, and everyday citizens who responded on that fateful day, we remember you ALL today and we pray that a day like that NEVER happens again!

Jessica is still in the hospital and will most likely have to be here at least another 3 weeks. She is doing well and is still with much less pain. She has to remain in the hospital to receive IV antibiotics for an infection, as well as IV heparin for a thrombosis that was detected in her right arm during surgery for a new central line cathether. She is also receiving her ketamine boosters as well. Dr. Cantu also called in a cardiologist, Dr. Pozas, in order to do a study on her heart to rule out endocarditis, due to the infections she has experienced. It was determined that she has slight regurgitation in her tri-cuspid valve, but nothing to be concerned about at this time.

It goes without saying that she is a trooper.

She continues to take her small steps towards recovery everyday, even in the face of any problems. Thanks for all your continued prayers on her behalf.

The plan is to complete the necessary course of IV medications and then when all is clear - surgery to place a medi-port and hopefully back to the apartment. Please pray that the next few weeks go quickly, but smoothly.

What I have learned since embarking on this journey with Jessica is that everyday is another chance at taking those "small steps" that Dr. Cantu ALWAYS talks about. I have also come to realize that all things happen according to God's timing. Only He knows the road we will travel and we must truly thank Him for each new day --- as it is His gift to us as we rise each and every morning.

So, on this day, September 11th, let us be mindful of how precious life is and how we must never forget where we have been and what we have endured, because it makes us who we are and also because it is right to do so!
    Lamentations 3:20-23
    I will remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

P>S> A very special Happy Birthday to Dr. Liegner --- Jessica's amazing doctor in N.Y. We hope you have a day that is as special as you are to us!!!

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Mom to 3)***

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Hello to all our Family & Friends,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

I am so sorry that I haven't blogged sooner, but it has been a couple of weeks that have been like no other.

First, and foremost, Jessica is awake and is out of the ICU and back up to the 8th floor!

She is doing very well!!!

The hospital is all talking about the miracle that happened here this past week. Quite honestly, from Angeles - Jessica's nurse that morning on the 8th floor when she was not doing well, to Carlos - her nurse in the ICU when she awoke - they are all amazed at her recovery.

Throughout this journey with Jessica I have witnessed firsthand the many times that God has truly revealed himself to us. This past week was another one of those revealing times. What began with Jessica being rushed down to the ICU having difficulty breathing and not doing very well at all, is now a celebration in that she has recovered from the pneumothorax, infections and fevers, and when she emerged from the coma, is with much less pain, the lesions are healing as well, and she is able to move her legs once again! Jessica is smiling again!!!

I wanted you all to know this most special news!!!

Let me just say that we should never underestimate God.
He truly does work in mysterious ways.
We must always believe that He Can - and not that He Can't.

And...remember to always believe in that "rainbow" that appears after a "mighty storm" because it is God's revelation or "message" to us that the dreams that you dream of really can and do come true!!!

We pray that you are all well. Please pray for Jessica. Pray that she keeps smiling her beautiful smile. Pray that the pain, the lesions and the infections stay away. Thanks be to God for his mighty works. And many thanks to Dr. Cantu ( a doctor like no other-aka Dr. "CanDo"), Dr. Luigi (always there for Jessica), Dr. Dillman (the infection control doc) and all the staff here at the hospital.

And......many thanks to all of you for your prayers for a miracle for Jessica!

In God's love and praise, always
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)***

A Special Birthday Message to Jessica's grandma - Nanny "Yum-Yum" - my mother - who turns 87 today!!! Happy Birthday and thank you for praying for a miracle for Jessica!!! We love you very much!!!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sweet Dreams Jessica.............

Hello To All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

This week has been a week of weeks. As you know Jessica has been having infections and recurring lesions and pain and has been hospitalized for the past two weeks. Due to the recurring fevers it was decided to remove her medi-port and place a central catheter instead in order to continue with her IV antibiotics, IVIG, TPN and ketamine boosters.

After the surgery for the new catheter placement she was experiencing pain that was very different. As the night progressed and the pain was increasing, as well as her having difficulty and pain with breathing, Dr. Cantu & Dr. Luigi quickly ran tests and discovered that Jessica suffered a pneumothorax. Due to these events, some of which were very scary, it was necessary to put Jessica in the ICU and put her to sleep for a few days to rest and for the doctors to be able to perform what was needed for Jessica.

It goes without saying that I am thankful to Dr. Cantu, Dr. Luigi, Dr. Dillman, Dr. Castilleja & Dr. Cinthia for all they continue to do for Jessica each and every day here. As you know, it was one year ago that we first arrived here in Monterrey. That journey began with our hope in getting Jessica better and as pain-free as we possibly can. We have seen the improvements she has made here and quite frankly her courage, strength, faith and determination have been inspiring; not only to me, but to so many others who have come here for this treatment - as well as those who suffer with RSD who follow this blog.

The journey continues once Jessica continues to take the small steps needed towards her ultimate recovery.

I know you all know how much I am in awe of my daughter and how I thank God each and every day for blessing me with her. I continue to thank God and praise him for ALL he has done for Jessica and continues to do for her every minute of every day! I also thank God for all of you who continue to pray for Jessica and continue to take this journey along with us. We couldn't have come this far without your love and support and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

I will try to update you on Jessica's progress and how she is doing when she comes out of the coma. Jessica has made so much progress since we have been here and I know as sure as I know my own name - that she will come out of this even stronger and more determined than before. She is a fighter. We all know that!

As it says in Psalm 139 - Verses 11&12:

"Even darkness like this is not too dark for yourather, night is as clear as day,darkness and light are the same."
God Does His Best Work In The Darkness!

Please pray for a restful sleep for Jessica. Pray that she awakens in a few days feeling better and stronger and in less pain. Pray also for the sweet miracle of healing - the kind that can only come from the good Lord above.

SWEET DREAMS JESSICA..................

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Continued Prayers Needed.....

Hello to All,

This past week has been very difficult for Jessica. Initially it looked like the fevers were responding to the antibiotics, but the past few days the fevers have been increasing and last night it went up to 39 C or roughly 102.5 F.

Due to this Dr. Cantu and Dr. Dillman both agreed that it would be necessary to remove Jessica's medi-port and instead put in a central catheter. She was brought down to surgery this afternoon.

We are currently awaiting cultures to determine if this is the same infection she has been trying to fight or a new one.

She is a fighter and quite honestly I don't know how she manages to keep on fighting sometimes.....but we have to believe that God has a better plan for Jessica and also a better life ahead for her as well.

We thank you for all your love and support and continued prayers for Jessica.
Please pray that the RSD symptoms she is feeling will lessen. Pray for Dr. Cantu and all the doctors here at the Hospital San Jose Tec.

In God's Love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Update on Jessica / Fundraiser This Weekend

Hello To All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:


As you know it was necessary to hospitalize Jessica this past Thursday.

Tests revealed that she is currently fighting two infections - gram negative bacteremia and candida.
Dr. "Febricula"(aka Dillman) has changed her antibiotics due to culture sensitivity tests. She is currently on merrem, tygacil and equalta. The fevers have been responding to the infection. The hope is that the medi-port will not have to be changed.

Due to the infection, however, Jessica is experiencing a lot of pain. As you may recall, Jessica's RSD came from infection and not injury - and so it is not good when she gets infection. Some of the lesions are returning to her right arm and right leg. Dr. Cantu is attacking this with giving Jessica ketamine boosters every day, until things quiet down and she starts to feel better.

Please pray for Jessica and pray that things go in a forward motion. She is discouraged, as you can imagine. We have been praying that God performs his healing miracles here once again, along with Dr. Cantu(Green Shirt), Dr. Dillman (Febricula),and Dr. Luigi (Luis).

Tomorrow she will be put back on TPN- due to her gastric symptoms and to help her nutritionally. She will also be put on IVIG, an immune system booster, with the hopes of building up her immune system and to try to normalize some of her blood counts, as well as to try to reverse some of her symptoms as well!

I will keep you all posted....

In God's love,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*


With all that has been going on I forget to mention a Special Fundraiser that is taking place this weekend in Garden City, New York. It was organized by The Stober family, and many items have been donated for the sale.

The Garage Sale Fundraiser will be held AUGUST 13th & 14th at:
10 St. Paul's Place - Garden City, New York
If you are in the area on these days - please feel free to stop by and support this wonderful outpouring of love and support for Jessica and our family.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Jessica is Back In The Hospital

Hello to All,

I am writing this blog tonight from the Hospital San Jose Tec once again.

Dr. Cantu & Dr. Dillman both felt that it was necessary to hospitalize Jessica due to infection and also because of her blood counts being low. Due to her immune system being compromised and the lesions returning to her right arm and also the increasing pain she was experiencing - it was not only necessary but unavoidable.

We arrived here via ambulance and are back in our old room - #845.

As you can imagine coming back to the hospital comes with many mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was necessary and in Jessica's best interest so that she could get all of the treatments necessary. On the other hand, it is so very emotional and for Jessica - a setback. She is such a strong person and as Dr.Cantu has said to her so many times during this journey - he is amazed at what she has endured and the obstacles she has overcome and still continues to overcome each and every day. God is truly with her and continues to bless her with a perseverance that quite frankly is inspiring. I am truly blessed to be her Mom!!!

She is currently on equalta, maxipime, and cubicin. These medications may change when the culture sensitivities are in. She will also be receiving her ketamine boosters in order to try to alleviate her pain and also to go after the reoccuring lesions. Blood counts will be drawn daily and appropriate treatment will be started as warranted. It is the doctors hope that we will only be in the hospital for @ 10 days.

Please keep all those prayers coming for Jessica. God is good and with His mighty help and unending love - as well as Dr.Cantu and his amazing devotion to Jessica - and to Dr. Dillman, her infectious disease doctor and his tireless efforts as well - and also Dr. Luigi and all of his help --- I know that Jessica will come out of this victorius! For me, as her Mom, I will stop at nothing to see this happen for Jessica and for her to one day have her life back again...........

May God keep you all healthy and in His loving grace,
Sarah Gina (Mom to 3)*

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Special Prayers Needed!

Hello to All our Family & Friends,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Sorry I haven't posted sooner. This past week has not gone very smoothly for Jessica. She has not been feeling well and was experiencing some intermittent low-grade fevers, as well as some other symptoms.

Yesterday, however, her fever began to rise. I called Dr. Cantu and Dr. Dillman and blood cultures and exams were taken to try and discover the source of her infection. We are awaiting results of these tests to determine what the next course of action will be. For now, the two doctors are trying to manage her on an out-patient basis. If the need should arise and depending on those exams - we may have to bring her back to the hospital.

Please continue to keep Jessica in your prayers. Pray that we can figure out the infection and with that the increasing pain and recurring lesions. Please pray that she doesn't have to return to the hospital!

I will keep you all posted.

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

"We don't know what tomorrow holds. There are no promises of it. But we know HE holds tomorrow!"

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Friday, July 23, 2010

After the Rain - A Rainbow ...

Hi To All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

To Order Jessica's Journey Necklace, Click On Link :

To view New Vemma Product Video, Click on Link Below:
(Sales of Vemma Products also help Jessica's Journey-for more info contact Nancy @ (419)350-9058)

I can't believe that Jessica and I have been in the apartment one month already.

It has definitely been a big transition for her and I am still amazed at her strength, strong will and fierce determination to one day be the way she was years ago.

We are both still adjusting from "in-hospital life" to "out-of hospital life".

I am also still trying to figure out everyday life in Mexico. From the simple things of going shopping to the local H.E.B. (which is like a Stop n Shop or Publix) and then trying to navigate the local WalMart and Costco (Yes - they have these stores here in Monterrey - thank God!)

For Jessica - she is still trying to take those "small steps" towards her ultimate recovery. This past week was a bit rough in that we had problems with her hospital bed, as well as problems with her PCA and medtronics pump - all while Dr. Cantu was away. Dr. Cantu came back from his vacation with his family and not a moment too soon for us! Michelle is still here with us and it certainly feels a little more like "home" having her with us in the apartment.

The other day as I looked out of the window that overlooks the Sierra de La Silla mountain, I was awestruck with the beauty of a most magnificent rainbow. The kind of rainbow that extended from one side over to the other; but this rainbow stretched above the mountain - "framing" the mountain and all of its majesty!
When I think of a rainbow - for me it is a sign or promise from God. I came across this poem on the internet:

God's Rainbow

Rainbows appear after mighty storms,
When things look their very worst,
Just when the skies are darkest gray,
Look for the rainbow first.

The rainbow is a sign of God's promise,
That He will guide us through any storm,
That He will see us through all our troubles,
No matter what their form.

When you feel battered by life's storms,
And you are filled with doubt and dismay;
Just remember God's rainbow is coming -
It's only a prayer away.

In Christianity, after Noah's flood the Bible relates that the rainbow gained meaning as the sign of God's promise that terrestrial life would never again be destroyed by flood (Genesis 9:13–17):[27]

"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth".

After Hurricane Alex and all of the mini-storms that Monterrey has had since then, it is so fitting that such a magnificent rainbow would appear in the sky and above the majestic mountain that is such a symbol for this city and for its people.

I also think that the rainbow is a promise from God that in whatever "Mighty storms" we may encounter in life, whether it be illness, death, or tragedy - we must remember that God is ALWAYS with us - through the storms (bad times) and also through the good times. It is His mighty love and His protecting hand that comforts us, protects us, envelops us, and hopefully heals us!

Thank you all for your continued prayers for Jessica and I as she continues to take her "small steps" each day and as I try to navigate life in Mexico. This has certainly been an amazing journey - filled with many ups and downs - many stormy and sunny days - many miracles - and yes --- so MANY stories to tell...

We pray that you ALL see that "rainbow" in the sky and realize the "promise" that it sends to all that look upon it and believe in a God that is so wonderful, so omnipresent, and so majestic!

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

56,000 Views of Blog! 15,000 Views of YouTube!

Hello to All,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

The storms have finally ended and the beautiful Monterrey sun has reappeared over the Sierra de La Silla mountains once again!

Jessica has been reconnecting with her sister Michelle this past week. It is so nice to hear them together again talking like only sisters can! For all of us who have sisters and/or brothers, we know the special connection that exists - it is like no other!

Jessica has been responding to the antibiotics and the fevers have lessened. Dr. Dillman (aka Dr."Febricula") wants her to finish the course of the antibiotics. All cultures came back negative and so it is believed that it was a flare-up of her RSD - as a few of the lesions have reappeared on her right arm. For Jessica, the ketamine is a necessary component to keeping the lesions at bay and also the pain some what controlled.

Since being in the apartment, I have had time to reflect on the time that Jessica and I spent at the Hospital San Jose Tec. For the 10 months that we were there, so many things happened and so many stories need to be told. My plan is to write a book about this journey. In fact I have already begun to do so! The title will be "It's A Long Story....But....." and each chapter will begin with the "But.....". My hope is not only to tell Jessica's story, but to also raise awareness for RSD - a disease that is so misunderstood and so life-changing; and also for Lyme - a disease that people need to be so careful of due to its' devastating effects as well! I will keep you all posted on the progress I make with the book. Many of the blog postings will be a part of the book - as well as many of the comments. Who knows - maybe it will be a bestseller??? Only God knows the answer to that one!

The other day we had our first visit from a fellow coma patient - Blair. He has become very special to us - he is like family. He came by before his trip back home to Canada. He and his companion Susie brought over some special gifts for Jessica and I. Jessica received a hug-bear and I received a beautiful Beatles painting to hang on our wall in the apartment. Thanks Blair for the presents, but more importantly for the visit and for all your love!

Dr. Cantu returns from vacation this Saturday. It will be good to have him back and we hope he had a nice vacation with his family --- he deserves it!

Thank you all for the compassion that you have shown to Jessica and to our family. May God bless you all with good health --- for it is something that you cannot buy and so very important --- besides our faith in God. It is with God that we all find the strength to carry on.....

Psalm 84:11&12
"For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you."
Psalm 37:3-5
"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this for you."

Peace and love always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Raining INDOORS!!!

Dear Family & Friends,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

This will be a quick post as I don't know how long my computer will work and stay connected.

Let me start by saying that this past week has had many ups and downs.

The city of Monterrey is trying to rebuild and regroup after a devastating hurricane - the likes of which have not ever been seen here. We received over 25 inches of rain in a 3 day period! Many people were without power and water for days. Many roads were damaged by the excessive weight of the water and many bridges have been deemed not safe for passage. All homes received some type of water damage, whether it was thru windows, under doors, or by dirt being drawn into their homes by the excessive rain.

Please read the following article about the Hurricane:

Jessica's Dad & sister Michelle arrived safely this past July 4th. Dad will be leaving this Saturday morning and Michelle will be staying for the month to finally be with me and Jessica. It is so good to have them here even though we have had a week of crazy occurences in the apartment due to the storm. We are still experiencing rains everyday and another tropical storm - Bonnie - is looming in the horizon.

Dr. Cantu has virtually been here everyday as Jessica is experiencing low grade fevers again. The plan is to do "house calls" with the infections disease doctor - Dr. Dillman (aka Dr. Febricula). He has run some bloodwork and cultures and he put Jessica on levoflaxin daily for 7 days in the meanwhile. Please pray that the fevers will resolve as her pain has increased due to the fevers/infection.

Dr. Cantu leaves on vacation this Sunday and Dr. Luis (Luigi) will be visiting Jessica in the apartment and doing her medications and such. Special congratulations go out to Dr. Luigi and His wife Emma on the birth of their first child - a daughter - named Regina. She was born on July 5th, the same day as her Mom Emma and also her grandfather --- Amazing. She is beautiful - a true "princesa".

I will try to blog a longer post in the next few days. It has been crazy here with the storms and the water and settling in. Imagine having problems in your home and having to get them rectified. Then imagine trying to do that all in spanish and in Mexico and then add a hurricane into the mix! God is good and he has provided the support we have needed thru friends that we now have here in Monterrey! Some days though are definitely easier than others.......

We hope you are all well. Thanks for all the continued prayers for Jessica and for our family. Please pray also for Blair and Fern who recently left the hospital after their boosters to return to their homes in Canada.

May God continue to keep us all safe, well and in good health!

In God's love and with his grace,
Sarah Gina (Mom to 3)*


Thursday, July 1, 2010


Hello to Our Family, Friends, and Bloggers,

I can't believe that this post is my 200th Post! --- and it couldn't come at a better time. My 200th Post during Hurricane Alex!!!

We are in the apartment only 10 days and we have been battling a hurricane or "huella" as they say in Mexico.

It has been 20 years since the likes of a storm such that we are now experiencing as even touched Monterrey, this beautiful city, that before now was always protected by the Sierra Madre Mountains on one side and the Sierra de la Silla Mountains on the other.

There is a famous river - Santa Catarina - which only two days ago was completely dry, and has been dry for 20 years!!! The last storm to hit this area was 20 years ago - Hurricane Gilberto. This river is now overflowing!

As I sit here posting this blog I have been busy all day placing towels and pots by the windows as water is coming in from every angle. Even though we are in a new apartment building, these structures are not made to withstand these type of storms, nor this amount of rain - over 15 inches I think! It has been a hectic day to say the least!

Dr. Cantu just left our apartment. He came to visit Jessica and adjust some of her medications. He is like the "mailman" - neither sleet, nor snow, or even a hurricane can keep him from his appointed duties!

Jessica is still trying to adjust to the new surroundings and the new hospital bed. Just a few days ago we received a better type hospital bed for her. It is on loan from a fellow RSD sufferer named Olga. We met her before we left the hospital and we quickly became friends - there is definitely a very special connection! She and her husband and friend Blanca delivered the bed before the storm and we are so grateful to them for all of their help, love and support.

Please pray for the city of Monterrey - to be able to bounce back quickly after this tremendous storm.
Please pray for the wonderful people of Monterrey - many of whom we now call our "family".
Please pray for Dr. Cantu - that all his travels to and fro are safe.
Please pray for Jessica - for her to find that inner strength and determination that has so become a part of her daily struggle.
Please pray also for Elana, Fern, and Blair - fellow RSD coma patients who are currently in Mexico for their boosters.

Please pray also for a safe journey for Jessica's Dad and sister Michelle. They are due to arrive here late Sunday - July 4th - weather permitting!!!

In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina & Jessica*

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Settling Into Our "Home Away From Home"...

Hi to Everyone,

To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:

Sorry it has taken me so long to write about what has happened these past days.

Jessica left the hospital last Saturday at around 6:00 PM. She was brought to the apartment via ambulance and stretcher. Dr. Cantu instructed the paramedics to proceed very slowly and gave them explicit instructions on how to manage Jessica during the trip. He also gave her ketamine to ease the transition from hospital to "home". The ride would normally take only 5 minutes, but because of the special precautions, it took us 45 minutes.

The first thing Jessica noticed as she was wheeled out on the stretcher, was how warm it felt outside and how windy it was. You can imagine, this was her first breath of fresh air in 10 months!

When we arrived at the apartment Jessica was still under the effects of the ketamine. She later told me that I had done a great job and that the apartment was beautiful. We were helped to the apartment by Dr. Rainbow and her husband Dr. Zavala. We were also visited by Pastor Long and his wife Sue, Sylvia and her daughter Christine and her friend Fran. They brought along a dessert & fruit basket, and also special blessings for our "home away from home". Our new friend Lalio Chandler, also stopped by with special well wishes for us as well!

From Jessica's room she can see the majestic mountains called "La Sierra de La Silla" because of how the central portion of the mountain range resembles a chair or "silla". At night, when the city of Monterrey is all lit up, it truly takes your breath away! I got to sleep in a bed for the first time in 10 months --- it seemed very big to me, as I had gotten "used to"sleeping on the sofa.

Jessica is currently on a special hospital bed that was lent to us by another new friend and fellow RSD sufferer - Olga. Her husband and friend Blanca delivered it personally to Jessica at the apartment.

We truly have some much to be thankful for! God is good!

These past few days have not been without struggles. As much as it is a major milestone for Jessica, it is also a very big change and one that she, as well as I, have been trying to get used to. When you have spent 10 months in a hospital, it stands to reason that the adjustment to "outside life" would not come smoothly. As with everything else in life, it will take some time.

Dr. Cantu has been wonderful, as always, in helping Jessica with this transition. I think that he is just as amazed as we are that it actually happened at all and that we are finally out of the hospital. Quite honestly, I think he is finally breathing a huge sigh of relief!!!

I will try to write some more in the coming days, as so much as happened.

For now it is late and I am feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, and besides, my "big new bed" awaits me!

Please pray for Jessica to continue to have the strength and perseverance she needs to navigate the next few weeks. Please pray for the continuing treatments to go well and for the "small steps" to continue and that ultimately all that was accomplished here in Monterrey will one day eventually bring us home again!

We pray for ALL of you and are forever grateful for all of your love and support!

In God's Love, always,
Sarah Gina & Jessica*

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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!

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!