Sunday, March 21, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. CANTU!


Happy Birthday Dr. Cantu!

***THIS IS JESSICA'S FIRST BLOG IN HONOR OF DR. CANTU'S BIRTHDAY!!!***

Dear Dr. Green Shirt,

Happy 46th Birthday!

Where do I even begin to thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for me?! Looking back to just a few months ago, who would have ever thought I would be sitting here typing this for you?! "Small steps, HUGE advances" right? It is because of your never-ending hard work, dedication, love and patience, that I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. There are no words to adequately express how grateful I am to you!

I don't think that you fully comprehend just how special you are, how much you have come to mean to me or how much HOPE you have given to me and other RSD patients. God is working miracles through you! I know that. I trust that. And I have no doubt, yesterday, today and tomorrow are all serving some great eternal purpose- on a far larger scale than we can even imagine.

Thank you for caring, understanding and for always listening. Thank you for never giving up on me, even when I had given up on myself. Thank you for being willing to "step out of the box" and try whatever it takes to help your patients. Thank you for taking such great care of me (and my mom!) and for offering your pure love to help me get well again. I am forever grateful.

¡Feliz cumpleaƱos al mejor doctor en todo el mundo! Te amo!

Love always,
Your favorite patient - aka the "Queen of Ketamine"
Jessica (aka "Ya-Ya")

PS- Quiero un grande booster de Ketamina, por favor??? :)


***TO POST A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY COMMENT, CLICK ON COMMENTS BELOW***

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jessica,

There are just no words to express the joy I feel reading your first post!

To see how far you have come since August is simply miraculous!

It has been an extremely difficult journey but look at all the improvements you have made.

We will continue to pray for you, Jessica. We pray you will continue to see improvements day after day!

You are a courageous, young woman with a bright future ahead of you.

May God richly bless you and your family as you continue on this journey.

With love & prayers,
The Turners

MICHELLE said...

Jessica congratulatoions on writing your own blog!!!! And Dr. Cantu, my family and i are so grateful for all that you have done for jessica. without you jessica could still be on a j-tube and sick in bed. you have helped her trememndously thankyou for all your love and support. Thankyou also for being there for my mom. She needed a friend, and that was you. Happy birthday!!! Feliz cumpleanos doctor camisa verde!!! Dr. Cantu Candu!!!!HAPPY BIRTHDAYY DR. CANTU!:)<3

david stevens said...

Dear Dr. Cantu,

Or maybe in English it is translated CAN-DO.

I just wanted to wish you a happy 46th birthday and say thank you for saving Jessica's life. It is clear to me that God has used you mightily in this cause.

Yesterday I was able to talk to Jessica for 30 minutes via Skype. Something that was unheard of 8 months ago.

Thanks to your courage and willingness to step out of the box the Jessica we used to know is slowly returning.

We may never understand why Jessica is going through this ordeal. But I know Jesus Christ is in this thing the entire way.

And for you to put up with my wife and Jessica for these past 8 months makes you a true saint!

Happy Birthday,

David Steven

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cantu,
Thank you so much for taking such good care of Jessica and all the other RSD patients. You are truly blessed and you are right where you are supposed to be.
Thank you!
Gloria

Fern said...

To a gifted doctor and a great friend, Happy Birthday! May you have this day be a true honour of you! May you celebrate the day of your birth with your family and friends and may you be truly blessed for all the hard work that you do and especially for the person/character you are.

To me: you have done more than I could have ever imagined. You returned my hope in such a gentle and loving way. You have understanding with compassion and you straddle that line of just enough toughness to keep me on track! :) I have witnessed your dedication to your craft and the world is a better place for it. I know you have pushed on with many of us, helping us to climb our mountains, but rather than sendiing us up alone, you travel with us, and I am grateful to you for that. I thank you for being my friend and my doctor and for always being available even with your crazy schedule!

May you be truly blessed in your family and your life for many many more years to come.

Theo wanted me to say: You are the savio of all el savios! ( now I do not know if I spelled it right because my Spanish lessons are by ear, but I think you get the message)

Happy Birthday my friend, see you soon

-Fern

Anonymous said...

A big hug to you Jessica and congratulations on your first blog in many months. You expressed yourself beautifully. You are taking BIG steps, how wonderful!

We are anxiously waiting for the day you and your Mom come home to Naples.

Happy Birthday to the wonderful Dr. Cantu. Thank you for your dedication to Jessica and support to Sarah Gina. Their friends and family are forever grateful. Enjoy your day. Thank you!!

Love, Carol & Ray

Elana said...

To The Most Special Dr Cantu -

Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear the most amazing, wonderful, stupendous, fantastic, caring, awesome, marvelous, incredible, tender, sympathetic & warm Dr Cantu!!!
Happy Birthday tooooo yoooouuuuuuuuu!!!!!!

Words cannot express my gratitude for your compassionate unrelentless care of me & your other patients. Lance & I celebrate you today with bountiful joy!
I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks for my boosters.

Jessica & Sarah - I'm sorry that we haven't been in touch recently. I had emergency gallbladder surgery, which had me in the ICU for almost 2 weeks & now my dad passed away yesterday morning, so we are flying up to RI tonight. Needless to say, it's been hectic. Please know that I think of Jessica every morning and night, sending her the strength and hope that I need as well. Even though we were "wall-mates", I feel that we are forever connected. Abby & I will be traveling back to Mexico on April 1st & in the hospital on the 2nd.

Wishing you a peaceful and less painful of a day!

All my love, Elana & Lance

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Cantu, Happy birthday! Thank you for taking such good care of Jessica, Gina, and all the other patients and families at the Hospital San Jose Tec! You are a very special doctor and friend to them and to all of us. Your humility enables you to witness the pain and suffering that your patients and their families are going through, your faith to believe that they can do it when they don't believe it any more, and your strength to keep up that level of determination and commitment day after day, month after month, year after year. Your true compassion comes shining through your doctoring and is good medicine for your patients. We can see the way they speak of you- your competence and medical expertise is of course known and appreciated. But it is the words they use to describe you- caring, understanding, listening, loving, dedicated, patient, supportive, kind, courageous, hopeful, warm, compassionate- that are so amazing. You are truly a special doctor and man, a blessing to all. Happy birthday, Dr. Cantu. May God's blessings come to you in abundance today and every day. Your friend, Angel

Regina said...

Jessica,

It is a complete joy to read your words, sweet and sincere! You're doing just great! I had an email from your Dad who said the same since you were both Skyping! He is so proud of you! Keep on taking those steps!

The entire Caparrelli Clan is rooting for you!!!!!!!!

And a Happy Birthday to a very special doctor, Dr. Cantu!

Love and hugs,

Cousin Regina xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jessica-- YOU'RE BLOGGING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry I'm shouting! I'm just so excited!!!!) I am so happy to hear it! These are giant steps you're taking now. Enjoy them!! You have worked SO HARD for them!!!!!! Thanks be to our Great God who has heard all our prayers and has been there all along!! You are such a special young lady, Jess!!!! You have worked so hard for this!! I'm so happy for you!! Love always, Angel xoxoxoxoxoxoxox
p.s. Say hi to your wonderful mom for me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dr. Cantu !

Justin Brown said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. CANTU!!!!!!!

We all send our best birthday wishes to you. We love you so much and words cannot express how much you mean to us both in Mexico and continuing back home in Pennsylvania. We were so discouraged with doctors until we met you and you are truly one of a kind. It is such a comfort to know that even though Justin is back home, you are just a phone call away. It has meant so much to us to know that you are always here for Justin. Justin sends big BIRTHDAY WISHES to you and wishes he could celebrate with a Jack Daniels and coke with you!! You never gave up on Justin and we know that you continue to be of help to him until he gets better. You have always made us feel that there is hope for Justin to get better even when he had setbacks. Your compassion and understanding are what every RSD patient needs to keep going and not give up. You are also amazingly supportive of the families who care for the RSD patients, as this can be difficult to keep going year after year. We always feel that you are willing to talk to the families who are such a part of the patient not giving up. I know that when Justin's brother Christopher came to San Jose hospital at Christmas with me, it meant so much for him to meet you and to talk with you. He always tells me that you are one of a kind and that he knows Justin is being cared for by the best doctor. He feels that he has lost his brother, so you gave him hope that someday he will have his brother back to do things with- including a Penn State football game with you and your son! Dr. Cantu, you are the best and we hope you have a wonderful birthday!!! Love, Joan, Justin, Rick and Christopher Brown

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday MD. Cantu! God Bless you for all of your dedication to RSD patients. Crystal

Debbie Caloutas said...

Dear Jessica,Gina, and our VERY DEAR DOCTOR CANTU,

First, Jessica, what a glorious day that you have posted this blog! It is a testament to your love and devotion for Doctor Cantu. All of us (Coma patients) understand that devotion and love. As an anonymous poet once said, "Forget yourself for others, and others will not forget you." Certainly, this is true of Doctor Cantu!

Jessica, you are a fighter, and you have the best doctors fighting for you! Mrs. Stevens, you continue to amaze me! Jesse Jackson, whether we agree with his politics or not, said something that has always resounded with me as a parent, and it rings so true with you, "Your children need your presence more than your presents." You couldn't epitomize that quote more if you tried. Your tireless devotion to your daughter's recovery inspires me every day.

Finally, Happy, Happy Birthday Doctor Cantu! Both Dean and my Mom send their love and birthday wishes as well. Lindsay told me that she sent you the pictures of herself in the snow; when I look at her, the pictures, and how bright her future is, I think of YOU!!! You are the reason she holds that snowball in her hands.

All Our Love,
Debbie and Dean Caloutas

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dr. Cantu. Special blessings to Dr. Cantu's mom who raised such a special son.
Jessica it is so exciting to hear of your improvements.
Linda in Saratoga

Kathy Shohfi said...

Dear Dr. Cantu
We give thanks to God for your healing hands and caring heart.
May our Lord continue to bless you with many, many more years of Health and Happiness.
Happy 46th Birthday!
Kathy Shohfi

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dr Cantu We are so happy you have been able to help Jessica.

Jessica How wonderful to hear the steps you have been taking. We were so happy to see you blogging.Keep the faith.

Love Ashley, Kevin, Ray and Paula

Nancy said...

Hi Jessica & Sarah Gina! Everyone asks about you at church, all the time!! It's so exciting to see you blogging! Knowing how important that BIG step is to you and how you feel about Dr. Cantu is so exciting to see!

Keep up the wonderful steps towards wellness..and kisses to your Dr. Green Shirt. I'm sure your Mom had a special Bear Gift for him that she created!

XOXOXO Nancy & Joe

Anonymous said...

I hope my post can still get to Jessica, Sara Gina and Dr. Cantu even though I am a day late.

Happy Birthday Dr. Cantu and thank you for all you do for RSD patients and for your journey into the brave frontier of ketamine treatment.

I have widespread RSD and am being aggressively treated with outpatient ketamine. I didn't realize how brave my doctor was to help me until she had to go out of town and could not find any doctor in the city to give me boosters in her absence. With prayer, I know I will be all right until she gets back, I just can't tolerate my physical therapy without it.

It gives me so much peace of mind to know your team is there in Mexico to help me should I need the coma. It was a terrible, helpless feeling when the RSD was spreading rapidly before the outpatient ketamine was started. If only the doctors who are so afraid of ketamine realized that there is so much more to fear from unchecked RSD than from ketamine.

Jessica's blog has saved me, in so many ways, from becoming depressed. She and her mom strengthen my faith in the Lord and you are definately a big part in the story.

God bless you and your work, and again Happy Birthday!

Linda Pedigo West Lafayette, IN

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dr. Cantu! Thanks for saving Jessica's life. She is very special to us and we are so hankful she is getting better.

=People who care in GC, NY

AUNT CAROL said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR CANTU....WE SEND MANY THANKS AND GOOD WISHES FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY. I HOPE THAT YOU ENJOY THE SURPRISES MY SISTER HAS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY. OUR DEEPEST APPRECVIATION AND GRATITUDE FOR TAKING CARE OF MY NIECE , JESSICA AND MY SISTER SARA. I MISS THEM SO VERY MUCH AND HOPE THEY WILL RETURN HOME SOON...AGAIN...HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND MANY, MANY MORE........ SARA'S SISTER...CAROL

Harv and Kathy said...

Congratulations Jessica on your blog entry! Yeah! Praise the Lord! And huge congratulations to you and your determination and strength. You are really an inspiration to so many people as evidenced by so many comments and friends you have! Keep up the great work!
Kathy, Fern's friend

Harv and Kathy said...

Congratulations Jessica on your blog entry! Yeah! Praise the Lord! And huge congratulations to you and your determination and strength. You are really an inspiration to so many people as evidenced by so many comments and friends you have! Keep up the great work!
Kathy, Fern's friend

Ashley said...

I am so excited you started blogging!! I am so proud of you and I can't wait for you to get even better. Please know that I love you soooooo much and I can't wait til we can hang out again!!

Love, your first friend Ashley <3

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cantu, belated birthday wishes from your favorite ketamine coma escapee and her mother. You are a rare human being as testified to by your many coma patients and their families. We share a devotion to your kindness, courage and skill in being the only person in the world to offer this special gift of life and health to so many who suffer terribly with the scourge of RSD. You exemplify the best of your profession, what a good doctor should be. We think of you often and thank you from the bottom of our hearts to giving Devon her spirit back and hope for the future. Hugs and kisses, Catherine and Devon Emmanuel

Jessica, we are astounded at your amazing progress in writing the blog, moving to the sofa, even eating some spaghetti!! God bless, we look forward to meeting you and your sainted Mom soon in Florida.

your former sweetmates

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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!