Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jessica Turns 22 in 5 Days!!! Today I Turn 51 !!!

Hi everyone,

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

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Today is my birthday. It was 51 years ago today, that I came into the world. At the time, my parents lived in an apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. I was born into a nice Italian family- to parents with real Italian names - Salvatore & Josephine! I was their third child, my sister Caroline and my brother Vincent came before me, and after me came my brother Charles. We were all named after our grandparents, only my mom "americanized" our names from Carolina, Vincenzo, Serafina, and Calogero respectively!

I must say that God has truly blessed me with a wonderful family and a wonderful life. Yes, there were sad times ( the passing away of my Dad at 61 and my brother Charlie at 40) and then there were happy times (the births of my three daughters - Jessica, Katherine & Michelle). I thank God for being an ever present - "presence" - in my life, especially these past 10 years, with my husband David's illness and now with Jessica's illness as well!

I also want to thank all of you - my dear family & friends - for being with me, standing by me, loving me, supporting me, and also for "holding me up" at times --- you are all very special to me - a true gift from God!

Remember, my wish is twofold for this birthday:

1) For Jessica to be well again - free of pain and sickness!!!

2) On this Friday - January 15th - for Jessica to receive the most well wishes on the blog for her birthday as she turns 22!!!

May God bless you all!
Sarah Gina ( aka Serafina)*

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you all the desires of your heart!" (Psalm 37:4)

***To post a Comment, CLICK on Comments Below***


Aunt Rosie said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH... I think back to those times in Brooklyn/Holmdel. Sunnyside Ct. held a lot of laughter and good memories. Our 2families were intertwined like spaghetti on a fork. Sarah, I am so proud of you. You were always so intense and goal oriented and taking things to completion. I give you a standing ovation for your tenacity and your actions that scream out your love, your selflessness and your determination to get Jessica well and back to all of us. I love You and I pray you have a birthday today filled with love, grace and your beautiful Jessica. All my love, Aunt Rosie

Anonymous said...

Dear Sara Gina,

May your special day be filled with joy! You are a very unique ladie,God has blessed you in MANY ways!!My Birthday wish for you is to see some sort of improvment in Jessica today that it will lift your spirit to soaring hieghts!
We are 1 year & 1 day apart,tomorrow is my 50th,YAHOOOO!
Today I went to a new church here in Naples & included you both in my prayers.

Peace to you,Jodi

Anonymous said...

Dear Sara Gina,

May your special day be filled with joy! You are a very unique ladie,God has blessed you in MANY ways!!My Birthday wish for you is to see some sort of improvment in Jessica today that it will lift your spirit to soaring hieghts!
We are 1 year & 1 day apart,tomorrow is my 50th,YAHOOOO!
Today I went to a new church here in Naples & included you both in my prayers.

Peace to you,Jodi

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday dear friend! Love & Miss You!!
xxoo "Cuz"

katherine:) said...


i wish i could throw you a huge bithday party (cause no one deserves it more than you)!..youre 51 but you dont look a day over 35!haha i love you sooo much and i hope that even tho youre stuck in that hospital that you still have a decent birthday, youll defeinitley never forget it, thats for sure hahaha

happy birthday again and i love you very much

Anonymous said...

A very happy birthday wish to you, Sarah! I hope that today the staff and new friends in Monterrey will make you feel special and loved and cherished. You deserve so much! 51 -eh? I would not have guessed. Despite the curve balls that you have had over the last few years, you have maintained your youthfulness. How did you manage that?! :)

Thanks for including a bit about yourself. It is really nice to learn more about you and to share in this day in some small way. Were I there, I would give you the biggest hug and congratulate you in another year blessed by God. Yes, even though this has been a hard decade, God has certainly seen you through it and that is a true blessing!

It is my prayer that you will get your birthday wishes and then more! That God will reveal himself to you in a new and wonderful way, that you will feel His presence, concern and love over you, your family and ov er Jessica.

Jessica: Congratulations on your mother's birthday! Today, you get the awesome chance to wish your mother a very happy birthday in person. As mother and daughter you will always have a special bond, but it is my bet that you will be even closer because of all of the challenges you have faced together. This is as much your celebration of her life a it is yours. God gave you to each other and for all the right reasons! May you feel better today and be able to share with your mom, your fondest memories of her from early childhood to right now.

God bless you both.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gina: Happy Birthday. Hope the sun is shining on you today. Heard that Dave should be home today also. As usual our prayers are with all of you daily.
Love Charlene

Anonymous said...

Dearest Gina, Happy birthday, my friend! As we were driving to church this morning, and the song "Jessica" by the Allmann Brothers Band came on the radio, I had to smile! It was another one of those signs that we know are always there! I want to wish you a happy birthday, Gina, and to align my prayers with yours on this special day that everything you wish for, you will have in abundance. God is quietly doing important and great work in Jessica's and your life right now. I pray that this work will be revealed very soon in all its glory. Gina, you have a lovely way of making us all feel important and special, and of really sharing your life with us. Your descriptions of your experiences on the blog, written with the gentle devotion of love and the deep trust of faith, read like poetry. I feel privileged to be your friend, and want to thank you for the gift of friendship you have given me. Happy birthday, Gina. God bless you today and every day. Love always, Angel

Anonymous said...

Sarah, As Fleetwood Mac said you are the poet in our hearts...a constant source of inspiration for your never ending grace and fortitude in the face of many trials. It is indeed a privilege to have spent so much time with you and Jessica, our "sweetmates" in Mexico. We wish we could be there now to share in your special day for you have such a joie de vivre and live each day to the fullest. I know how difficult it is to spend your birthday under such circumstances, but we made the best of it, celebrating with Oriental Garden's yummy Chinese food on mine, a birthday I will never forget. Hugs and kisses to you and Jessica.

Cathy and Devon

Nancy & Joe said...

Hola Serafina, and Jessica!
CumpleaƱos felices Sarah Gina!!!!

All day long I've been humming, "I know a place where we can go"....still don't know what the real name is of the tune! Just in my mind of memories in Mexico with you! My wish today is for your wishes for Jessica's pain relief and recovery to be fulfilled! With God all is possible and I trust that!

You have been our visual path to Jessica's progress and we want to be your visual healthfelt support from afar!

Happy Birthday dear friend. Kisses to Jessica!
Nancy & Joe

Marianne and Rob said...

Happy Birthday Gina! I hope your birthday is as special as you are. You are such an inspiration to everyone you meet. Your love, determination and spirit leave me in awe. I pray with you for Jessica's complete recovery. May you enjoy your birthday with Jessica today and look forward to many more together again with your whole family. Lots of Love my dear friend, Marianne

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sara!
I have been following your blog and admire all you have done for your daughter and family. You sound like a remarkable woman. I pray your birthday wishes come true.
A friend in Bonita Springs

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Sarah Gina!

We will pray that you will receive the desires of your heart! And that He will bless you with even more!

Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

With love & prayers,
The Turners

Jane said...

51 "shout outs" to you, Gina, on your birthday! May all your wishes come true! -Jane & Steve

Anonymous said...

Thinking back to our birthday dinners out in GC. You, Ellen and me. After bashing that tennis ball we'd go out and celebrate our special day.
Wishing you a Happy Birthday. Enjoy your day with Jessica and your new friends.
"Make new friends and keep thee old, one is silver and the other gold."
prayers from Saratoga,

michelle said...

dear mommy,
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to mommy, happy birthday to youu!! I love you mommy! you are the best mom eveerrrr. you dont look a day over 20!! you'r e the besttt. happy birthday againnn! you are the best best best best best best best best bestestestest motherrrr everrrr!<333

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y ! !

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Honey,

May God bless you on your day. I don't think any Hollywood screenwriter would ever come up with a script to mimic what we are going through right now.

Suffice to say that you certainly deserve a better birthday gift than this.

I think of you everyday. You are the glue that binds are family together.

Lets hope that 2010 is the year of healing for Jessica and the year are family comes together again.

No matter what happens we know that God is in control. I thank Him for you and my wonderful family everyday.

Love your Husband


Anonymous said...

Dear Gina

Happy Birthday! May you get your wishes and may 2010 be a start to a healthy long life for all of you.
We will continue to pray for Jessica, David, Michelle, Katherine and you.

Happy Birthday! Tell Jessica we think about her every day.

Paula, Ray, Ashley and Kevin

Marianne E. Quinn said...

Dear Gina,

Happy Birthday Gina! May all your Birthday Prayers and Wishes come true! You are such an inspiration to me. I admire your Faith and Inner Strength. May God Bless Jessica with His Healing Graces. May God Bless You for all you do for Jessica, your Family, and Your Friends! Thank you for sharing Jessica's journey with us. May your Family be reunited - all in Good Health in 2010. With Love, Friendship, and Prayers, Marianne E. Quinn

devon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
devon said...

What does hope, steadfast perseverance , and unconditional love look like? It looks like Sarah Steven's, Jessica's unbelievable Mom, and my second Mom as I called her in Mexico. Sarah Happy Birthday, after Jessica, you're the bravest person I know. I love you and hope you and Jess are having a great day.
love, Dev

Anonymous said...

Daer Gina,
I am sending many Happy Birthday wishes and lots of love for your birthday today. May this new year, and yours and Jessica's birthday be the beginning of good things ahead. I pray for you all more than you can know and I pray for health and healing to come to Jessica.
May you have peace and joy today on your birthday and in the days ahead.
with love,

Anonymous said...

Happy Bithday Gina!
Love, Nancy Ernenwein

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Gina and many, many more. May all your birthday wishes and prayers come true.
Love, Dorothy & family

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Gina!

My mother Minnie wishes you a very Birthday as well. She always asks about you and Jessica.



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!