Hello To All,
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We hope you all had a blessed Easter celebration. I gave Jessica a little chocolate Easter bunny for Easter and a big hug and kiss to let her know how very proud I am of her and of all she continues to try to accomplish while here in Monterrey. I couldn't be more blessed to be called her "MoM"! She currently is fighting an infection and is on levaquin IV, and today Dr. Cantu is going to perform a procedure to try and block the nerve in the right leg that may be contributing to the pain that she is experiencing in that leg. As you know, that is the leg that had the initial tick bite and subsequent re-triggering of the RSD in her leg and then entire body. Jessica is still managing to take her "small steps" in her recovery. Please pray for her today and for God to continue to bless her with the "inner strength" that only comes from Him alone!
Yesterday we said goodbye to John Roach and his wife Rosemary and family members Diane and Jennifer. John was here this past week for boosters and we had an instant connection with their family. Many similarities, from John being a volunteer fireman before his illness to Rosemary being Sicilian like me, and I could go on and on, but I will say they became like family! I presented John with his "handmade original ketamine coma firebear" (this is the 16th one I have made and presented since here). Each bear seems to get better and better and I have found that they are my "therapy" and I really enjoy giving them to the coma patients and doctors as well! Godspeed John and Rosemary and stay well - we miss you!
Another former coma patient is here as well, Elena Cohen, and her husband Isaac and family members Jessica and Sylvia. I had met them 3 months ago as Elana returns every 3 months for her boosters as well. She is a very special person and has been through alot, but she still has that "fighter spirit" in her. She wants to meet Jessica before she leaves, as she has been following her journey as well. Yesterday Isaac went to the local store for me to pick up a few things for Jessica. Everyone here becomes very united. We have truly met a lot of special families that struggle each day toward a better life, with less pain, as well!
Also, Fern Kwantes returns tomorrow from Canada for her series of boosters as well. She has become a very special friend and she will be returning with her friend Cindy. Please pray for a safe and uneventful journey for her as well!
Everyone that does return here to the Hospital San Jose Tec for their ketamine boosters is very touched and amazed at what Jessica has been through and endured. They are so happy to see the progress she has made, even after all the struggles and setbacks she has faced. I believe with all my heart that God's glory will ultimately be revealed for Jessica and I hope that he will continue to bless her and all of the coma patients as well! Someone once said this quote: " Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the BIG things!!!
God bless you all today and we pray that today finds you all well! Thank you for continuing to take this journey - Jessica's journey - with us everyday --- it means a lot to us -- more than you can know!!!
In God's Love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*
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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!