Dear Family & Friends,
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This is the time in the early morning (@ 4:00 AM) that I have found is my most special prayer time with God. It is a quiet time, especially when you are in a hospital. As I look outside the window here on the 8th floor I can see such a stillness in the darkness. Even the mountains that have such a majestic appearance during the day seem to fade away in the darkness. There isn't any activity, except for the occasional passing car that appears on the road. It is during these quiet moments that I have had my most revealing and inspiring and moving "times" with the Lord. These "quiet" times when it is just me, God, and no one else!
As I begin these "moments" with God, I first thank Him for his mercy, his unending love and his amazing grace. I thank him for another day. I thank him for his continued blessings upon Jessica, my husband David, and my other daughters Katherine and Michelle. I thank him for watching over my immediate family, my friends, the doctors, nurses and also for all of you!
I then begin to pray. I start out with "special" prayers - for example - today was for all the people that have been affected by the earthquake in Haiti. I pray that they know that God has not forsaken them; that he holds them in the palms of His hands. That He will take care of them! I then offer special prayers for special people that I know personally who are facing their own private trials right now either with illnesses or other things. And I pray for God to watch over my family and friends and keep them safe and well!
I then get into the "serious" prayers - the ones that require immediate attention. Today they focus on Jessica and these pressing requests: For the infection to clear and with that the low-grade fevers, so that she can get off the antibiotics and continue the "small steps" towards recovery. For the burning pain she is experiencing to "quiet down" and go away - Now! For the few lesions that have resurfaced to go away. For her to continue to persevere with the knowledge that God is in control and his timing is perfect. For Dr. Cantu to return because things run smoother when he is here. For Dr. Rainbow, who won't be able to come every day as in the past, may she know how deeply Thankful we are to her for ALL she has meant to us. She has become like a "Grandma" to Jessica in more ways than one! Also, we pray for ALL of you - our God-given support system. It is all of you, along with your prayers and daily comments on the blog, that enable us to move forward every day - Thank You! Also, we pray for Fern Kwantes, a former coma patient, as she returns in the beginning of February for the much needed boosters she requires and can't obtain in Canada. And for Justin Brown, may his re-acclimation back home be smooth and uneventful. All these things I ask, in Jesus' name, AMEN.
In God's love, always
Sarah Gina (Mom to 3)*
"You have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith...may be found to result in praise & glory".
I Peter I 6-7
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you".
Special thanks to Silvia who came on Sunday with a plate of homemade lasagna from the Union Church. She is a very special person and seems to always show up at the hospital when needed the most. (Thank you God for that).
Also, to Betty from Union Church who came by a few days ago with a book and a magazine to read. The people of Union Church, along with their Pastor David Long - are simply unbelievable - God Bless Them All!
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Jessica's Journey to Getting Her Life Back
By Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)
As we begin this journey toward renewed health we would like to express our sincere heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick and all the work he has done and continues to do in order to bring patients like my daughter Jessica back to a more meaningful life and restored from this devastating illness. Also, special thanks to Dr. Fernando Cantu and his team of doctors in Mexico for taking on a difficult case like my daughters, Words cannot express the renewed sense of hope that we have that one day, our Jessica, can regain her life that has been taken away from her – God Bless you all!
Once an A+ student who loved school, was involved in many extracurricular activities, played varsity tennis, lacrosse and gymnastics and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, our daughter Jessica has spent the last 3 years incapacitated, paralyzed, unable to sit or walk and eat. She spends her days confined to a hospital bed, wearing sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones, due to severe light and sound sensitivity.
The pain she feels is indescribable and all attempted treatments have not even come close to relieving her suffering.
She has seen many doctors, undergone numerous painful tests and procedures, has been prescribed various medications, and has been hospitalized frequently including being intubated and on a ventilator. She is severely debilitated and currently is only 92 pounds. This is certainly no life for a 21 year old young woman!
Jessica is suffering from neurologic Lyme disease and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a severely debilitating and painful neuromuscular disorder. She suffers daily with constant sharp, stabbing, tingling and burning pain; throughout her body; severe headaches; paralysis; intense muscle spasms; gastroparesis; seizures; twisting of her limbs (dystonia); sensitivity to any touch (allodynia); extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds; excessive sweating; swelling; fevers; softening of bones; decreased hair growth; redness and discoloration of the limbs; and painful skin ulcers. The pain is constant and unrelenting, but despite her suffering, her faith in God remains and she still has hope for her future.
Jessica's journey began in 1999, when she was only 11 years old. She became very ill with Mono and was bed bound for 3 months. She subsequently developed RSD (stage 1) of the lower right leg. She received early intervention and returned to playing sports and enjoying her life.
Four years later, in 2003, while away at a sleep-away camp, she developed a rash behind her right knee, coincidentally in the same leg that previously had RSD!
At the time, the camps nurse & doctor told her that it was “duck rash” – a rash from swimming in the lake with duck feces. However, Jessica was able to obtain photos from camp from another camper which shows the classic “bulls-eye” rash from Lyme disease! It wasn’t until much later and only after developing symptoms and becoming very ill, was the diagnosis of Lyme disease and Babesiosis (another tick-borne infection) made.
Most people (and doctors!) have no idea how serious Lyme disease can become and no clue how to properly diagnose it. Unfortunately, if she would have been promptly diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, the RSD would not have been triggered and she would not be suffering.
If it wasn’t for her doctor, Dr. Liegner, and his expertise with complex cases of Lyme, and his determination to try any means in getting her well, by getting a “team” of doctors on her case, we wouldn’t be here today, still fighting. We owe him a deep sense of gratitude for all he does for Jessica!
During these past three years and with the pain becoming more intense and unbearable she has been seeing Dr. Finkelstein for pain management. He has even made house calls to spare her the pain of coming by ambulance to his office. Jessica has been treated with multiple pain medications, at the highest possible doses, as well as an implanted dilaudid pain pump, which delivers potent medication straight into her spine. Many doctors have told us that with the amount of medications Jessica was taking would be enough to “kill a horse”—yet they had little to no effect on her. If it wasn’t for Dr. Finkelstein trying to alleviate her constant, severe, unrelenting pain, I don’t know how she would have managed. He is very special to us as well.
Recently Jessica was transported by air ambulance to Tampa, Florida to see Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, a world renowned RSD expert. Dr. Kirkpatrick told us that Jessica is one of the most debilitated patients he has ever seen.
Upon his testing and because Jessica's condition is so severe, Dr. Kirkpatrick is recommending the only treatment available that can possibly help relieve her suffering, and afford her some semblance of a “normal” life - the Ketamine Coma Procedure - a clinical trial that is being conducted in Monterrey, Mexico.
During this procedure Jessica will be put into a coma , with the hope that her nerves, brain and spinal cord will “reset” -so that her nervous system sends the correct signals to her brain.
Yes, this is a radical, scary treatment, however, for Jessica, "scary" is thinking that she could spend the rest of her life in this condition, unable to walk, eat, or take care of herself. Since all reasonable treatments have failed to help her, we feel we must try everything possible to help Jessica regain her life.
We understand that due to Jessica’s fragile condition, there is a high risk associated with this procedure. We are also aware that other patients with severe RSD like Jessica's have had success.
Jessica’s goal is to one day become a doctor. Our hope is that with this study she can have that chance. As her Mom, I know that she will be a great doctor because when a patient presents in her office and says “Doctor, I am in pain and words cannot express how bad it is” – my daughter –Dr. Jessica– will be able to say - :I know how you feel, I’ve been there too. So, take a seat and let me tell you a story”….
We are so thankful and feel so blessed to have been led to Dr. Kirkpatrick.
God is good and with his help guiding Dr. Cantu and Dr. Kirkpatrick, our hope is for Jessica to be able to return to us whole again and pain-free!