To Order Jessica's Journey Necklace, Click On Link :
To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:
JESSICA'S JOURNEY FUNDRAISER:
Spring Fling Fashion Show Luncheon
March 25th - 11:00 - 2:00 PM
Marco Island Lutheran Church
525 North Collier Blvd.
Marco Island, Fl. 34145
$5.00 Donation for luncheon
All Proceeds will benefit Jessica's Journey Savings Club!
For Additional Info:
Please contact Nancy Sustersic @(239)394-5051
Special thanks to Dodie Meister from the Marco Lutheran Church and Valorie Morris of Jewels of Park Lane www.myparklane.com/vmorris
for making this possible! Special thanks to TEAM JESSICA!
Special thanks to everyone from Dr. Cantu.
He was very touched when he read all the birthday comments to the blog. From former coma patients to fellow RSD sufferers to just well wishers, it was very touching to see him read each and every one with smiles and laughs as well! So thank you to all that left comments for Dr. Cantu for another healthy year ahead as he continues to do what he knows best - taking care of RSD patients and their families. It also was an honor for him to read Jessica's first post on the blog dedicated to his special day. He also enjoyed the cake we got him from Lety's, a delicious local bakery here in Monterrey. His favorite cake is German chocolate cake and I decorated it with Hershey kisses on top - his favorite candy as well! Healthy year ahead to Dr. Cantu and May God bless him always!
By the way --- I have a message board in Jessica's room and I post different bible verses or inspirational quotes on it everyday. Yesterday's quote was especially for Dr. Cantu - it read as follows:
"You are not 46 years old today --- you are 18, with 28 years of experience!!!
I will be posting pictures to the blog from tomorrow as soon as I find the cable!
Special thanks to my dear friend Barbara from Monterrey who helped me in getting the cake and other items for Dr. Cantu's birthday. She has become very special to me! Also, My friend Blanca came to the rescue again and was able to bring back Nabisco graham crackers from her travels to Texas for Jessica. (They dont have these cookies here in Mexico) Thanks again to a very special lady and to her husband Victor Canavati as well!!!
Special Shout Out to Dave Smith - who became a grandfather today to twin boys - Robert & Wyatt - proud parents are his son Dan & Diane! Congratulations!!!
Update on Jessica:
Jessica continues with her improvements - her "small steps". Just a few days ago she was able to talk to her Dad and sisters via Skype and also see her beloved dog Molly - "break-dancing" for her! She was smiling and laughing...........I was crying!!!
Small steps.....huge advances!!!
May God continue his work in her and may he also continue to guide Dr. Cantu.
"God is with you in ALL that you do". (Genesis 21:22)
"May the Lord continually bless you with heaven's blessings as well as with human joys!" (Psalm 128:5)
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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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!