Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Special People

Hello To All,

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First, let me say special thanks to Pastor Long and the members of Union Church. I was able to attend Palm Sunday services for the first time, as Jessica was receiving her booster with Dr. Cantu to help with her pain. I must say that it was one of the most wonderful and spiritual services I have been to. From the Pastors sermon to the choir's presentation of "My Father's House" , to a beautiful solo of "La Via Dolorosa" sung in both english and spanish; to the waving of the palm fronds and a birthday celebration afterwards for Virginia - a founding member who turned 100 - complete with mariachi singers and their birthday hymn of "Las Mananitas" - it truly was a service I will never forget! Thank you Barbara and Sylvia for the lifts to and from the hospital to the church and for being my special "Monterrey" friends!

It is a very busy time here at the Hospital San Jose Tec for Dr. Cantu. He currently has three patients from the USA - Jessica, Kerri, and John.
I had the pleasure of meeting John and his wife Rosemary last night. They have been following Jessica's journey here, as John Roach is coma patient #19. Rosemary gave me a beautiful gift bag for Jessica that had all types of chocolate goodies! It was so very nice of them to bring a little bit of "home" with them for her! John is here for boosters and he is also accompanied by his family members Diane & Jennifer. They are a very special family, the Roach family, as well as the Jarvis family, Cathy and Mark, who are here with Kerri, coma patient #30. Mark went out last night and brought back food from Applebee's --- baby back ribs! - it was great to have something different than "pollo a la plancha con arroz" ( grilled chicken breast with rice) Also, two former coma patients are coming back for boosters as well - Fern Kwantes and Elana Hellring. We have met so many wonderful families, all united under difficult circumstances, and all fighting against one terrible illness - RSD. Please pray for these amazing and loving people! Also, please pray for our beloved Dr. Cantu, who is tireless in his efforts in trying to get all of his patients "better" again! He is an amazing doctor, man and friend!

Special thanks and prayers go out to ALL of you as well - our amazing family, friends, and even strangers who have become friends! We could not have come this far without all of your love and support as well!

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

I John 4:7-8
"Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love".
Hebrews 13:2
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it".

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Fern said...

Whew! What a crew we are! :) Never a dull moment on the 8th floor is there? Jessica, I hope that you got some rest yesterday and that today you are feeling a spiritual renewal in your resolve to beat this! I pray for you daily and wait expectantly on the Lord for hte change that we know is coming.
Sarah, always good to talk with you. Today, I am home again so maybe we can try again.
Last night, I made my final arrangements for returning. Booked the hotel in Vanoouver! lol. It took me longer to do that because they are so expensve and each night, Theo and I would search for deals.
It poured rain all day here yesterday and we even had thunder which for the island is very rare indeed. In the morning, there was a rainbow, and I know that God used it to remmind me that He has promised to never leave us, never forsake us, always love us. This is something we caan count on, no matter how dreary and bleak things look on the outside, God is moving us in a forward direction with Him!

Be well, my friends

Anonymous said...

Sara it is so good to ready your daily reports on Jessica and all the helping hands around you that help you make it thru the day. It is a blessing to hear the good news even though they are baby steps. Please know that we continue to lift Jessica and you up daily and pray God's healing quickly. You are writing so much and you both need to get back so you both can start writing your book!!!
My family and I want to wish you both a Happy Empty Tomb day....Our Lord has risen to give us Everlasting life...He is always there for your Hope and joy.
Be well and continue to inform us..
Love and Blessings,
Angela & family xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that the people you are meeting have the christian attitude of kindness. I have been reading so many articles lately about what a smile, a kind word, or just an unexpecte4d kindness can make someone's day. As a substitiute teacher I am amazed that so many staff can just pass me by and not say a word. But one department justs gives a hi or can we help or thanks for being here today. What a difference my day is. So thank you to all the people you are meeting that have this special giftr of sharing kindness.
Maybe during this Holy Week we can all take a few minutes to do some act of kindness to those we know and to those we don't, to give someone a smile and help their day. Maybe give someone in our own family just 10 minutes of our time.
Peace and love

Harv and Kathy said...

Sarah and Jessica,
I have been away for a few days, celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary with my dear husband, Harv. We only went to a hotel in our own city- Victoria- but it was good to get away and get rest and refreshment and spend time together.
I know that is also what you could feel in a spiritual way to go to church on Sunday, Sarah. I am thankful to read that you could do that and receive blessings from the Lord and from fellow Christians. May God continue to give you His encouragement and hope in this special week leading up to Resurrection Sunday as well.

Jessica, how wonderful that you could lay on the couch, eat spaghetti, have chocolates, eat kiwi, and watch movies. Those are amazingly big small steps! Keep up the hard work and the daily journey you are on to renewed health. You are truly an inspiration to many and I will continue to pray for your boosters to be effective, for your attitude to be positive, and for the strength and patience you need each and every day.

I will miss being there to see you in April as I have too many other commitments to be able to come with Fern again. I hope to be able to accompany her in the future and it is always good to see you both, but I will pray that you will be gone and in your own home by the time I come again!

Love Kathy

Nancy said...

Hi ladies! Talked with your Dad Jessica and we will be attending church here on Marco together this week..giving thanks for your Big and Small Steps that you are making. Looking forward to seeing Michelle! Can't wait until you are here again so we can all go together!

How wonderful the service sounds Sarah Gina! Thanks for sharing it with us. God has a PLAN! :)
Love Nancy & Joe XOXO

Anonymous said...

Continued prayers. Happy Easter. I was wondering if the John you mentioned is this John. He is in my prayers too. I would be so happy if he found you.

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!