Thursday, April 22, 2010

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Hello to All,

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What I have learned in these days of Jessica's Journey to a better life is this:
We must trust God with our whole heart and recognize that He is the One that is in charge of our lives. That is Our Part.
His Part is to "make our paths straight". In other words, He will "smooth" out our path. He'll take care of each of those obstacles on the trails ahead of us.

God wants us to trust in Him. He knows our fears as well, otherwise He wouldn't need to assure us so often of His purposes and His presence. When we are hurt, God assures us that He cares. When we are angry, God provides wisdom and strength. When we are sad, God grants us comfort. When we are anxious, God promises to supply all our needs.

God wants us to love Him with our whole heart!

"Trust in the Lord with all your Heart.....He will make your paths straight".
Proverbs 3:5&6

Jessica is continuing in trusting God for all her needs and keeping Him always in her heart. As her Mom, I know that she is simply an amazing, strong person! I am in awe of her strength and perseverance. Even though she is fighting an infection and in pain and trying to "distract" herself in some way, she manages to be able to "help" someone else. That someone else was her sister Michelle. Jessica had received her booster yesterday and last night as I was talking to Michelle - Jessica overheard us. From my conversation she could hear that Michelle was sad and upset. She asked to speak with her. The conversation that ensued between the two sisters is one that I will never forget. Let me just say this: Jessica, with "all" that she has been going through, was telling Michelle how to find the "positive" thing in each day, even when things seem "negative". That even on our "bad" days, you can still manage to find that one "good" thing - such as the smile on our dog Molly's face! I will never forget that conversation between the two sisters. It is moments like those that make every "small" step made here seem so "big" indeed.

May we all keep God in our hearts, always,
Sarah Gina & Jessica*

***To Post A Comment, CLICK on Comments Below***


Fern said...

I often think it is the struggles in our lives that make us stronger even though they are very much a dismay while enduring them. God uses these moments to give us a closeness we might never feel as our need for Him is so much greater during great trials. He also uses these moments to mold us into instruments for his kingdom. We will all sound much more beautiful for the learning!

How wonderful that Jessica could reach out to Michelle and connect with her in a way only sisters can. Please let Michelle know that I pray for her as well. This trial is not only in Mexico right now but also on the home front in New York and so my prayers have always been for them as well. May she feel blessed in profound ways and may the family find the small things to celebrate each and every day "like the smile on Molly's face". How great is that!

Dear Jessica, another infection. May God strengthen your body, and give you many ways to find distraction today. I pray that today the sun shines sweetly on your bed and that the room would resound with the feeling of God's strength and love.

Talk to you soon

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder of where our trust should be placed. With God, all things are possible!

What a wonderful story of Jessica encouraging her younger sister, Michelle. I bet that is a memory Michelle will treasure.

Jessica, may God smooth out your path, fill your days with good things and remove your pain.

Sarah, may God bless your faith, give you the desires of your heart and heal your sweet Jessica.

With love & prayers,
The Turners

Anonymous said...

In Christ Alone - Michael English

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I've been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes
Like diamonds in my hand
But those trophies could not equal
To the grace by which I stand

In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone

In Christ alone will I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
Only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
Now I seek no greater honor
Than just to know Him more
And to count my things but losses
To the glory of the Lord

In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone

My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone

Anonymous said...

Jess, something to distract you:


Letters to God

by Possibity Pictures
(love the name of the picture company)

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jessica and Gina, I am deeply moved every time I read the blog. With each and every post there is evidence of an abiding and enduring faith, hope, and love of God. By your constant thankfulness and rejoicing in the "little things", you show us that with a shift in perspective, we can decide to look at the "big things" as things that can be overcome, and look at the "little things" as things to celebrate! Your faith is an inspiration!! And Jess, with your conversation with Michelle, I think that God was working through you to give Michelle comfort, wisdom and strength. You make her feel better because she sees that even though you have daily struggles where for sure you sometimes feel sad and upset, you can still find the bright side. Your example is also so important for people who are hurting and feel alone- you show us that we are never really alone, because God is always with us. It is also so important that you have the constant love, endless energy, and fabulous cheerleading skills of your amazing mom there with you and your incredible supportive family back home. I pray for all of you daily and send my love from the bottom of my heart. Hang in there!! Love always, Angel xoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxo

cpfleger said...

Hi Sarah and Jessica - it's Cindy from Victoria! I've been busy working away at spring cleaning and yard work, but this morning is a dull gray day so I've decided to just lay low. Figured it was a good time to send a quick hello your way. I've been thinking about you both so much over the last few weeks - can you believe I actually miss being there at the hospital! Sarah, Fern tells me that your hair colour arrived - sorry I couldn't be the one to help you apply it! ;-)
Jessica - I read Patch's letter to you (though his writing is almost as eccentric as he is)! It was a neat letter - I do remember something your mom said though . . . that you don't necessarily want to be an inspiration to others in this way - you just want to be living the full life of a young woman. I think about that a lot when I think of you and that seems to always be where my prayer is directed - that you be able to reach for the hopes and desires that have been building-up inside you. I'm keeping an eye on your blog and at any hint of good news I will be saying a big thank you to God - with any sign of frustration or sadness, I will be asking Him to continue to be the one guiding the both of you, and your entire family, through this all. You guys are definitely not alone over there - if ever it seems like you are, just turn your mind to your family and your friends - we're much closer than it may sometimes feel.
Holding you close,

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!