Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"In the Palms of His Hands...."

"The Praying Hands" by Albrecht Durer

Hi to All,

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW_vstm0bS8


Everyday for the past few months, along with reading the wonderful blog comments to Jessica, I have been reading different inspirational short stories to her to help the time go by and to also help her to focus on something else instead of the constant pain. These stories are simply amazing. They help her to stay focused on the goal ahead and they help her to continue to realize how God truly does have all of us in the "palms of his hands".

Please pray for Jessica today. Since she is finally without fevers and off of antibiotics and only on caspofungin for a candida infection, we tried to move her with the help of the nurses into a reclining chair, albeit for 15-30 minutes at a time. She will be laying down in the chair, as she cannot sit up yet, but at least it is "out of the bed", even if for a little while! This is another "small step" she is trying to take. We will be doing that again today, with the help of ketamine, to help her with the pain and to allow her to be able to stay reclined in the chair for a longer period of time.

I would like to share this one story I read to her yesterday.

ENJOY !, and remember - God does have us all in the
"palms of his hands"!:

* My Brother's Hands *

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer's elder children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.

Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines. They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition.

His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over,

"No...no...no...no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly,

"No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look, look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother...for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one, no one, ever makes it alone!

~ Author Unknown ~


In God's love, today and always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*

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

18 comments:

Fern said...

What a great story you shared both ways! Jessica, I am thrilled to hear that you are beginning a trial of sitting up! That must feel so good emotionally, after so much time has passed. Both stories have brought tears to my eyes! Please keep me posted. I am also so thankful to Go that you are feeling some freedom from infections! A hard battle won!

Sarah, Kathy read me some of the stories when we were there. They are very good.

It was so good to see you both this past week. How wonderful that we could spend some time together again and in prayer for each other as well!

I have to get ready to go see the doctor this morning but will try to write more later.


Today, I will go see my GP and discuss plans for next month.

Anonymous said...

So awesome to hear that Jessica gets to sit even for a little while...God is good and will continue to bless Jessica and mom daily with his hands of Love & Strength.... bless you both
Love
John, Angela & boys
PS great story that you shared.

Anonymous said...

Our family is so happy to hear of your faith! that is the most encouraging part of all this. We pray many many more of God's blessings to Jessica and to your family as well.

Anonymous said...

Praise God for all the improvements! NO more fevers or antibiotics! Jessica is able to recline in a chair for 15-30 minutes (that is a long time)! Excellent progress! Every step forward is a step closer to the goal! We are so happy for you!

I like to think of it as building a brick house. The bricks are small and you have to stack one on top of the other. You have to mix the mortor (ketamine). It does not happen overnight, you have to place one brick at a time, some mortor, a brick, scraping some of the excess mortor. Sometimes you have adjust a brick, cut one in half to fit in its place. But every day the wall gets taller. Sometimes, you take a day off to rest (your hands and back get sore from all the work - pain seems more than usual). Sometimes you need to mix more mortor. Then you resume your work. In time you will get one wall done and then start on another. As you go along, you start to notice, I am getting better at this. You get better at cutting the bricks and positioning them. Your work is starting to go a little quicker. One by one each brick is placed and eventually, over time, the whole house is built.

Jessica, I know you still have some bricks to lay but look at the wall being built before you.

We will keep praying that every day brings small steps forward!

May God continue to bless you and your family on this journey back to health!

With love & prayers,
The Turners

Madelon said...

Hi Jessica and Gina,
That is great that Jessica will be getting out of her bed! As you say "small steps." Today reclining in the chair, in time, hopefully she will be sitting up. I pray every day that things are better for you and Jessica.
God bless you both and your family!
Madelon

Marianne said...

" When your best friend is God, you're never alone. Every minute of every day, He is by your side, helping you find your way, wanting good things for you.When your best friend is God, you're truly understood. He knows you better than you know yourself - your strengths and weaknesses, all your beautiful possibilities. When your best friend is God,you're loved with a love that can lift you above anything you face in life, a love unlike any other. You can hope without end when your best friend is God."

Nancy said...

What a wonderful day! Fever Free and out of bed!! K-Bud Devon would say you're getting closer to escaping! I BELIEVE you are too.

I like both wonderful stories, but the one about building the wall..is such a wonderful "visual" of progress. And Sarah Gina you are the EYES for us. First in helping Jessica through the darkness for so long, and now for us to see the picture of "God's Hands" helping Jessica along her road to recovery. We all are so blessed to call your family our friends!
Peace be with you dear ones. Can't wait to hear more details tomorrow of Jessica's Journey.
XOXO Nancy

Madelon said...

Hi Jessica and Gina,
Another snow day here on LI. I will be shoveling this afternoon and uncovering my car underneath all the snow.
My Mom sent me this prayer and I wanted to share it with you.

Hello God, I called tonight
To talk a little while…
I need a friend who’ll listen
To my anxiety and trial…

You see, I can’t quite make it
Through a day just on my own…
I need your love to guide me,
So I’ll never feel alone.

I want to ask you please to keep,
My family safe and sound.
Come and fill their lives with confidence
For whatever fate they’re bound.

Give me faith, dear God, to face
Each hour throughout the day,
And not to worry over things
I can’t change in any way.

I thank you God, for being home.
And listening to my call,
For giving me such good advice
When I stumble and fall.

Your number, God, is the only one
That answers every time.
I never get a busy signal,
Never had to pay a dime.

So thank you, God, for listening
To my troubles and my sorrow.
Good night, God, I love You, too.
And I’ll call again tomorrow!

May God bless you both today, tomorrow and all the tomorrows that follow.
Madelon

Anonymous said...

Hi Gal,
SO,SO,SO, great to hear about Jessica's progress!
lOVE THE STORY IT GAVE ME GOOSE BUMPS!!
Hang in there Girls!
Always in PRAYER for you, Jodi

Lindsay Spengler said...

Hi Sarah and Jessica,
I don't write a post often BUT please know I am praying for you two. You are always in my heart and my prayers.
I will continue to pray for you and your family at home....for strength, perseverence, comfort and hope.
Your faith is amazing!
God's blessings to you both.
Give everyone hello and hugs for me.
Sharon Spengler

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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!