Saturday, January 16, 2010



Dear Family, Friends, & Bloggers,

Words cannot adequately describe the heartfelt thanks that we feel for ALL OF YOU!!! You are all simply amazing and we want to personally say THANK YOU for making Jessica's 22nd birthday so very, very special! God used all of you to make her birthday in a hospital a little more bearable and we so thank you for that blessing!

As of this posting, Jessica received 135 comments yesterday for her birthday - WOW!!!

As each comment or birthday message came in, and I read them to her, it was like we were opening up a new present or package for her special day. From Maine to New York, down to Virginia and Florida, from Texas to California, Canada, Mexico and Europe - so MANY well-wishes - it just took our breath away - we are humbled by the continued outpouring of love and support you have all shown to Jessica and to our family throughout this journey - Jessica's Journey!!! She will be victorious in this quest to a better life and we look forward to one day seeing you all and thanking you all in person!!!

Special thanks also go out to Dr. Rainbow! She brought over a feast for everyone to enjoy, the doctors, nurses and staff, to say thanks to all of them for taking care of Jessica so well! Special thanks to Clarissa for the most delicious cupcakes she made -- I have competition! Thank you also to Justin for the balloon he "walked" over to her room from his - it meant alot to see a fellow RSD sufferer up on his feet - Bravo! Also, once again, the ladies of Union Church - Barbara, Betty, Sylvia, & Graciella - for bringing over goodies as well! Thank you all from one grateful Mom!

One thing that I have come to realize is that God never intended any of us to live in a cave all by ourselves. He designed us to live in friendship and fellowship and community with one another. That's why we, the body of Christ, are so very important, for it is where we are all drawn together in love and mutual encouragement. We are all meant to be a part of one another's lives! It's what makes life worth living!

As it says in Ephesians 5:1-2:

"Therefore be imitators of God,.....and live a life of love".

In God's love,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*
P.S. - Thanks for making my "wish" come true!

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


Anonymous said...

I didn't forget your birthday I just couldn't get to a computer. I did think of you all day yesterday and said more prayers than usual for you. You and your mom have taught us so much about faith's been a gift. I hope your gift will be a complete recovery in 2010
xos (c&d's friend)

Nancy said...

WOW..what love! Jessica you are one very special young lady!

Sitting here.. wishing God would HURRY up with the total Healing ...knowing we can't rush God..I starting thinking: Just as folks raise funds in a fundraiser, you are raising awareness of not only Lyme & RSD but love and support and touching lives that are seeking help. SO I'm thinking...I'm going to ask, GOD, can you please HURRY UP and have Jessica ESCAPE the pain, and get back home (as sweet Devon said) and WALK down the hall with a balloon for a fellow friend as they recover too !?! And we thank you Dear Lord for the healing.
Love Nancy

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica,
"God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer." Romans 1:9
Prayers were offered on your birthday and each day. God will answer.
With love,

Fern said...

I am so thrilled to hear that the messages made Jessica's day! If you have to celebrate your birthday in a hospital, that is one way to do it! What a demonstration of love and care both in person and in the hearts of many around the world. Jessica, I hope it brought you encouragement, added strength and a reminder of what a special person you are and how very important to God. How about your fevers and infections? Did they leave you yesterday and help you to enjoy your day even better?

Last night, I watched my daughter perform in a school play. It was 'Little Women' and if you know the play, my daughter was Aunt Marge. Maybe I am speaking from the pride of a mother but I think she stole the show! Aunt Marge had a fierce exterior but a good heart and I think that Elise pulled that off for all to see and know! As I sat there, I reflected on the fact if I had not met the team in Mexico this year, I likely would not have been there to show my support and share in her moment. While the struggle continues for good health, I am also grateful to God and the many people in my path that have made it possible to regain some quality of Life.

I tell you this only as a reminder and encouragement that it takes a whole world and heavenly hosts to see us well and it will be the biggest party in heaven and earth when victory is known!

Stay well, my friends and may God strengthen you each and every day as we prepare for that party!


Anonymous said...

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Matthew 5:14-16

14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

To Him be the Glory!

Anonymous said...

Another answer to prayers! May God continue to answer the prayers for your sweet Jessica.

This is one way we KNOW God is compassionate - we see His compassion in His people!

It is also wonderful to hear from the other RSD patients (who are also in our prayers). God is always working!

Psalm 20:5
5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.

With love & prayers,
The Turners

JennKurz said...

Hi Jessica

I was not able to get to a computer yesterdat so I couldn't send you my birthday wishes on your actual, I'm sending them today.

Happy 22nd Birthday! Hope your day was wonderful. I'm sure you received wonderful birthday wishes. Over the next 365 days I'm sure you'll be focusing on your health and kicking this disease out of your life.

God Bless you and this upcoming year!!


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!