Thursday, June 23, 2011

Like new!

Yesterday we removed the final bandages from my incision, at first I was scared to even look... but I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised.

The first thing that I noticed right away was that the hole where my feeding tube used to be is gone! That was a surprise!

Even though the tube itself had been removed almost a year ago, in its place I had been left with an oddly-shaped hole that looked like a very misplaced belly button. (Attractive, I know…)

It turned out during this surgery that entire area had to be cut out and removed because it was directly attached to the mass underneath.

A blessing in disguise! Now you would never even be able to tell that a 2 foot long feeding tube once resided there!

It's like new!

The second thing that I noticed was how great the incision itself looked and how quickly it has healed. It is perfectly straight and the scar is barely noticeable.

I have two other large scars on my abdomen from previous surgeries in 2007 & 2008. When the bandages came off of those, I looked, and felt, like Frankenstein!

But not this time.

Dr. Balli decided that for this surgery it would be best if he didn’t use any large sutures or staples at all—he didn’t want to introduce anything into that area that my body might decide to “attack”.

Instead, he stitched each layer of skin and muscle back together, individually, with the smallest sutures possible, from the inside out. It looks fantastic.

Again, like new!

The next thing, was not something that could be ‘noticed’, but had to be felt...

Before the surgery I had been having a very specific area of sharp pain in the lower left part of my stomach. Whenever I touched there I would get a pain that felt similar to when a dentist probes a bad cavity in your mouth with his little metal tool—a very quick, unpleasant, electrical shock type of pain.

Yesterday, as I cautiously touched that area, part of me was waiting to feel the same shocking sensation...

But it was gone!! Completely gone.

No more hole from the feeding tube, no more granuloma and no more pain.

Seriously, like new!

I know to say I am pleasantly ‘surprised’ about these things is probably not the best word choice, but I am just really happy and really thankful.

Thankful for Dr. Cantu's wisdom and insight, thankful for Dr. Balli's surgical skill and technique most of all, thankful to Jesus, who makes all things new!

Thankful to everyone for the continued prayers,,,Just thankful for everything!

Please keep the prayers coming, not only for me, but for all of my friends who are in need.

In God's love, Jessica

Revelation 21:5 “See, I am making all things new.”

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

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is a great update! What amazing healing! God is good and is making Jessica new.

What a thrill to see so many positive changes (and in a relativey short time).

May God continue to show you His great mercy and love. May He continue to bless the doctors there and work mightily through them.

With love and prayers,
The Turners

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess!! I am so thankful to hear that you are doing so well, and finding so many surprisingly good things coming out of something so anxiety-provoking as yet another surgery. Our God of many surprises is at it again!!! Just when we feel like we might be able to anticipate the next step, He comes in and changes the route!!!! The hole is gone, the pain is gone, the mass is gone... if you had known these things would be the outcome beforehand, you very well might have looked forward to the surgery!! Our God is so Good!!! Halleluia!!! Miracles are happening!!! Hey, please give your mom a big hug for me!!! Love always, Angel xoxooxoxoxoxoxoxo p.s. Mike is graduating from high school tomorrow... big doings here in GC!!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/neuropathic/crps/deconstructing-complex-regional-pain-syndrome?page=0,3

The Future of CRPS Treatment
A great deal of progress has been made in understanding the pathophysiology of CRPS that will lead to further advances in treatment. Propentofylline, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor can block microglial activation. Thalidomide and its analog lenalidomide are both effective in approximately one-third of severe CRPS patients. Ifenprodil blocks the subunit NR2B of the NMDA receptor and may be more effective than ketamine. Blocking the peripheral afferent barrage with topical agents while decreasing central sensitization has yet to be employed.

Cryoneurolysis of neuromas that can now be identified with MRI and ultrasound will lead to more effective treatment of this common local pain generator. Many more molecularly-targeted drugs are on the horizon for the treatment of this difficult syndrome.

Mar 2010

Rosemary and John said...

Hi Jessica!

This is the best news ever. Timing is everything and this is your time! We are overjoyed to hear about your progress and just feel in our guts it will continue until very soon, you are home.

You are blessed to be where you are, surrounded by an amazing team of truly skilled and compassionate doctors. God and your guardian angels are watching over you and the healing is happening, literally....from the inside out.

Our Prayers, Hope and Love are heading to Monterrey, today and every day.

Much Love Always,

Rosemary and John

Anonymous said...

WONDERFUL!! It's sweet music to our ears hearing you share such great progress and healing. Keep this up Jessica and you'll be home in no time!!

Can't wait to see your Daddy and sisters! We'll give them big hugs for you.

Praise be to God!
Nancy & Joe

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSp-3kvKQZs

Anonymous said...

Such awesome news! Very happy for you. May God continue to bless your journey.

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th of July (for tomorrow)!

Hope your Mom will prepare for you a wonderful meal to eat.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jessica, this is one of your new friends in Monterrey, I just read your version of Juanpi´s Journey and it was so clear and perfect that only a person who clearly understands the situation is able to describe it in such a perfect way.
This only asures me that beautifull people such as you and Juanpi, have an extra "something" a "light" a dfferent understanding of thing and how this life should be.
I deeply wish you the best recovery and thank you for sharing your story, you are certainly a wonderfull girl growing stronger and fighting, that deserves all the respect and admiration I can have for you.
Sincerely

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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!

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!