Friday, January 15, 2010
JESSICA TURNS 22 TODAY!!!
HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY
Love, your "dog" Molly xoxo
Today is Jessica's 22nd Birthday !!! Here is a special letter I have written to her:
To my beloved daughter Jessica,
Today is the day that I celebrate and cherish. Twenty-two years ago today, I brought you, my first daughter, into this world!
You were born at 11:21 AM and with a full head of hair. Your Dad and I were so excited - we had been waiting for God to bless us with you for 5 years! When you were born you weighed in at 9 lbs. 15 ozs! The doctors said that if I had eaten another slice of pizza the night before, you would have weighed 10 lbs!
Your eyes - a bright blue - just like the sky above. You kept that color blue till the age of two, when God saw fit to change them to a beautiful hazel green! And oh - what a smart child you were!
My daughter, you were beautiful! And you are beautiful now!
I know that you have gone through such trying times these past 4 years. You've experienced real suffering, more than anyone should have had to bear! I've felt honored and loved that you've turned to me during these difficult times.
Please know that I am always here for you! I've promised to wipe away every one of your tears and to never walk away from you. I've promised to never stop loving you --- to never give up on you --- until you are finally well and whole again!
Our hope lies in the good Lord above. Our God who gives us hope. A hope that never disappoints!
Today, at 11:21 AM, you will be 22 years old and I know that being in a hospital is not the place you want to be to celebrate your birthday.
My wish for you this year is simple. It has been my wish for these past 4 years. The wish is that you and I, and our family, can once again enjoy all the good things that life has to enjoy --- and to enjoy them abundantly!
I can see you "better" one day!
I can see us "walking" the beaches again!
I can see you "laughing" with your Dad & sisters again!
I can see you "running" as you play fetch with your beloved dog Molly!
I know right now it may be hard for you to "see" these things as well. It's easy for me to say these things, I am not in your "shoes"!
Just know that as your Mom, I will do all I can, with God's guidance, to help you to "see" through my eyes --- that there is light at the end of this tunnel! That there is victory up ahead.....
I hope you know just how very much you are loved, treasured, admired and adored!!!
Happy 22nd Birthday Jessica!
I love you and always will,
***Remember: God Gives Hope That Never Disappoints!!!***
***To Post a Birthday Message to Jessica - Please Click on Comments Below***
at 12:02 AM
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!