Hi to Everyone,
To view Jessica on Fox TV, Click on Link Below:
Sorry it has taken me so long to write about what has happened these past days.
Jessica left the hospital last Saturday at around 6:00 PM. She was brought to the apartment via ambulance and stretcher. Dr. Cantu instructed the paramedics to proceed very slowly and gave them explicit instructions on how to manage Jessica during the trip. He also gave her ketamine to ease the transition from hospital to "home". The ride would normally take only 5 minutes, but because of the special precautions, it took us 45 minutes.
The first thing Jessica noticed as she was wheeled out on the stretcher, was how warm it felt outside and how windy it was. You can imagine, this was her first breath of fresh air in 10 months!
When we arrived at the apartment Jessica was still under the effects of the ketamine. She later told me that I had done a great job and that the apartment was beautiful. We were helped to the apartment by Dr. Rainbow and her husband Dr. Zavala. We were also visited by Pastor Long and his wife Sue, Sylvia and her daughter Christine and her friend Fran. They brought along a dessert & fruit basket, and also special blessings for our "home away from home". Our new friend Lalio Chandler, also stopped by with special well wishes for us as well!
From Jessica's room she can see the majestic mountains called "La Sierra de La Silla" because of how the central portion of the mountain range resembles a chair or "silla". At night, when the city of Monterrey is all lit up, it truly takes your breath away! I got to sleep in a bed for the first time in 10 months --- it seemed very big to me, as I had gotten "used to"sleeping on the sofa.
Jessica is currently on a special hospital bed that was lent to us by another new friend and fellow RSD sufferer - Olga. Her husband and friend Blanca delivered it personally to Jessica at the apartment.
We truly have some much to be thankful for! God is good!
These past few days have not been without struggles. As much as it is a major milestone for Jessica, it is also a very big change and one that she, as well as I, have been trying to get used to. When you have spent 10 months in a hospital, it stands to reason that the adjustment to "outside life" would not come smoothly. As with everything else in life, it will take some time.
Dr. Cantu has been wonderful, as always, in helping Jessica with this transition. I think that he is just as amazed as we are that it actually happened at all and that we are finally out of the hospital. Quite honestly, I think he is finally breathing a huge sigh of relief!!!
I will try to write some more in the coming days, as so much as happened.
For now it is late and I am feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, and besides, my "big new bed" awaits me!
Please pray for Jessica to continue to have the strength and perseverance she needs to navigate the next few weeks. Please pray for the continuing treatments to go well and for the "small steps" to continue and that ultimately all that was accomplished here in Monterrey will one day eventually bring us home again!
We pray for ALL of you and are forever grateful for all of your love and support!
In God's Love, always,
Sarah Gina & Jessica*
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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!