Monday, February 1, 2010

Constitution Day in Mexico

Hi to Our Family & Friends,

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

Today is Constitution Day in Mexico, or "Dia De La Constitucion". It is a Patriotic Holiday here in Mexico.

Traditionally Mexico has celebrated the anniversary of its constitution on February 5th every year, however current Mexican labor law, effective 2006, now establishes that the Mexican Constitution be honored as an official holiday on the first Monday of February, regardless of the actual date. It is one of Mexico’s "Fiestas Patrias" or Patriotic Holidays.

Mexico has had several constitutions during the course of history since its independence from Spain in 1810. These are the Constitution of 1824, the Constitution of 1857 and the Constitution of 1917, which is currently in effect. It was drafted during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921) and officially adopted as the Mexican Constitution on February 5th, 1917.

Special thanks to Barbara for bringing over some homemade sandwiches and muffins. It was good to have something different than hospital food. Also, special thanks to Sylvia who came by with a few items that were needed. Both of these woman are from the Union Church here in Monterrey! They have become my friends and "prayer warriors"! Thanks!

Yesterday a new patient, Elana, from Florida, was put into the ketamine coma in the ICU. It will probably be at least 7-10 days before we see her up on the 8th floor of the hospital. I met her husband Lance and her Mom the other day. They seem like a very nice family. I offered my translating abilities to them and any other support I could possibly offer. I remember what it was like when we first arrived. You are full of so many emotions - scared, excited, worried - but most of all - HOPEFUL! May God bless Elana during these days in the coma.
Also, a former coma patient that we have come to know very well - Fern Kwantes - is due to arrive here on Feb. 4th. May God bless her travels from Canada as she returns for necessary ketamine boosters with Dr. Cantu.

Yesterday, Jessica received another ketamine booster with Dr. Cantu. These boosters are a necessary component in that they help with reinforcing the original coma and also, for Jessica, they help with the pain that she is experiencing and to keep any more lesions from reappearing. Dr. Cantu has called Jessica the Queen of Ketamine in that she requires a large amount ( 1g over 2 hrs.!) We thank God everyday for Dr. Cantu and we pray for God to keep him safe and well. There are days when I don't know how he does it all - he is tireless - and simply amazing! God has truly blessed Jessica with very special doctors these past 4 years!

On another note - we would like to say congratulations to the Lyme disease documentary called "Under Our Skin" and its producer Andy Wilson. It is currently one of the 15 contenders that were nominated from a field of @90 documentaries for an Oscar. Please pray that it makes it to the top 5 in that category and that it ultimately wins the award for Best Documentary! If this happens, it will help to raise awareness about Lyme disease and the effects that it has on those suffering with it, as well as the enormity of this illness as well and the devastation that just like RSD, it can cause! Also, an article about it is currently being featured in People magazine - Feb. 8th issue. The hopes is that thru awareness with documentaries and articles such as these, we too can find a cure and help people get the proper treatments that they need for Lyme disease!

Remember this - As with Jessica's journey - and anyone's journey through their illnesses and trials in life --- We must thank God for his love and protection and know that ultimately every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation! God is in control! God bless you all!

In God's love,
Today and Tomorrow,
Jessica's Mom*

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying: "THIS IS THE WAY, WALK IN IT". Isaiah 30:21

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


Fern said...

I wonder if you will be able to see fireworks from the window as they celebrate? I remember being in (Manila many years ago now) for New Years Eve. People boarded up their windows with anything they could find-0 even just newspaper. This was to keep the toxins out from the burning tires that were lit up all around the city to honour the holiday. There were also guns fired into the air and firecrackers set off. It was quite a cacophony but the fervor in the people and their true desire to bring in a new year that would be filled joy, was overwhelming. I look forward to hearing what the celebrations look like today for you.
I hope and pray, Jessica, that this booster you had yesterday will give you many days of relief. May you feel comfort, relief and strength today.
See you soon!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is allot of ketamine!!!!

We are so thankful Jessica has been able to receive a much needed booster. May God use this to move her forward in her healing!

What a blessing for Elena and her family to have you and Jessica there to help them along in their journey.

It is amazing to see how God provides.

We will be praying for all the RSD patients and the doctors who are working so diligent to help the patients.

With love & prayers,
The Turners

Anonymous said...

Hey my two little beauties, HI from good old New York. Give that beautiful Jessica a big hug. I'm praying for your relief from the pain and suffering that you have endured for way too long. Love you both. Bonnie

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's Mass song was "be not afraid". It is a good feeling to follow the Lord-nothing to be afraid of.
update on Barbara Maitan Graves-her baby boy does not want to come out into the cold. He is 10-12 days late. Many tests have been done to make sure he is fine and what the best method to deliver will be. They are wondering if he will be over 9 pounds(remember Julia was on time and weighed it at just 7 pounds)
We await this miracle that God will give us.
We hope your miracle of healing will be soon.
Linda in Saratoga(so blessed to live near my children and grandchildren)

Jane said...

Using words you used for the doctors, Gina....We thank God for YOU and we pray for God to keep YOU safe and well. We don't know how YOU do it all - YOU are tireless - and simply amazing! God has truly blessed Jessica with a VERY SPECIAL MOTHER!
- Jane & Steve

Anonymous said...

I have the strongest child and wife. Nobody I know can endure what Jessica has gone through. She has the heart of Jesus.

And what can we say about my wife Gina. She has the heart of King David.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Praying for you.........Crystal

Malisa said...

I recently found your site. I am 32 yrs old and have been sick since age 14. I have a disease called mitochondrial disease which is a progressive disorder. It first started with GI dysmotility which necessitated TPN (IV nutrition) by age 16, then autonomic dysfunction (increased HR, BP, heat/cold intolerance, etc), then leg muscle pain/tremors, fasting intolerance, decreased stamina and lastly, within the past three years, severe autonomic dysfunction and muscle fatigue when I try to sit, stand or move. I have now been bedbound for 1.5 out of the past 3 yrs, with the past year being completely bedbound (not even able to see any other rooms in my own home as transferring me to a wheelchair is so exhausting for my body I am limp within minutes and can't move my muscles---they get very heavy, almost paralyzed, and I can't move them d/t how fatigued I become).

I would love to chat with you guys more and share more of my story. We also have a daughter via surrogacy (I went through IVF three years ago, prior to becoming really ill). Our daughter, Julianna Hope, is 8 months old and the light of our lives. Thank God....truly....for my mom who holds our family together and she and my partner, Dave, take care of both me and the baby. Mothers are a true gift.

Please feel free to email me for my website with more of my story. I soooo understand Jessica's desire to get better. Actually, I live in Philadelphia, and my neurologist (Terry Heiman-Patterson) is at the hospital, Hahnemahn, that Dr Schwartzmann works at so even though I don't have RSD, I know of several people who have gone through the ketamine coma here and who see Dr Schwartzmann.

Anyway would love to be in touch.
Praying for Jessica and your family,
Also--two good sites to learn about mitochondrial disease-- and

Anonymous said...

Giving up is easy,
when your dreams seem far away.
And life is full of obstacles,
You face them everyday.
But, no matter what the challenge
FAITH will get you through it.
So never quit BELIEVING,
just remember, God can do it!

Rita MacDonald said...

Hi from Mom of 12 year old with RSD in Virginia. I haven't left you a message in a while but want to tell you tonight that you stay in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the ministry you do through this blog- you are precious!

in Christ

Anonymous said...

hi, jessica. it's emily, your fellow coma patient friend. we took a "nap" the same week there in monterrey. although i have not written in some time, you are always in my prayers.
thank you, sarah gina for keeing this blog going. i'm able to check in from time-to-time and learn how to pray more specifically for jessica and her healing. it's also wonderful to hear how the Lord in working his miracle in jessica and the other coma patients. thank you.
as for me, i was truly blessed to travel to see my brothers and sister at christmas. we had not seen each other in 3yrs due to my rsd. it was wonderful to be fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays with family again.
my healing, too is day by day. my focus is on the now. not what i've lost or how i think i should be. that only fuels the frustration and pain. i wake every morning and thank the Lord it isn't filled with the horrible buring pain i once endured. i hug, squeeze and tickle my daughter at every opportunity. i kiss my husband like i did when we were newlyweds. i smile so much and so often i've actually been asked by strangers "what are you smiling about?" well, i've got A LOT to smile about!
i saw my pain management doctor this week for a pump fill, etc. he said you me that i almost look normal. he said it's the best he's ever seen me. although my days still have pain, they are no where near the excruciating pain i endured every day and night. baby steps toward healing, jessica. you've come a long way since being delivered by ambulance 5 months ago.
emily wilford

Anonymous said...

my friend recently sent me this poem. i think it sums up the life many of us experiece with chronic pain.
"The Quilt Holes"

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only somehow mustering the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth… My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, 'Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.'

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

Author Unknown

i know your quilt, too, is threadbare, jessica because you have let the light of Christ shine through.
emily wilford

Anonymous said...

I heard about Jessica while flying from Florida from Nancy Sustersic who was my seat neighbor. We started talking before the plane left the ground and by the time we landed in Atlanta were friends. I was touched to learn about Jessica and the devotion of her Mother. A poem I'd like to share with you:

I came to the swift, raging river
And the roar held the echo of fear;
“Oh, Lord, give me wings to fly over,
If you are, as you promised, quite near.”

And He said, “trust the grace I am giving, all-pervasive, and sufficient for you.
Take My hand, we will face this together;
But My plan is—not over—but through.”

Best wishes on your journey!

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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!