Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday John!

I wanted to write this in honor of my friend John Roach’s birthday. He is 52 years young today!

John is a fellow RSD patient who also had the Ketamine Coma here in Monterrey.

Up until 9 years ago, John was a very active man. He volunteered as a fireman and worked at a very physically demanding job at a utility company. That is, he had an injury that changed everything and he developed RSD.

Before RSD John also loved singing. He persued his wife, Rosemary, by singing outside her bedroom window until she agreed to go out with him. He promised her that if she would marry him, he would sing to her everyday for the rest of their lives.

When I met John at the hospital here last April, even laughing was not possible for him. Any type of activity at all that required the use of the muscles in his neck caused him severe pain flare ups in his neck, shoulder, arm and hand.

Needless to say, singing was out of the question...

Rosemary has referred to the day of John’s injury as “The day the music died” in their household.

The suffering that this disease causes, and the things that you lose because of it, never cease to amaze me. But how special people can come into your life through this pain, continually amazes me as well. John and Rosemary have become part of our extensive extended family we have accumulated here in Mexico and we’re blessed to know them.

On Wednesday morning before my surgery, I got a special call via skype. It was John. He said that he had a surprise for me—he was going to sing to me!

I had the honor of being the first ‘concert’ that he has performed in years!

He sang “You’ve Got A Friend”by Carole King.

.”…You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend…”

John serenading me via skype

Wow. I am not a very emotional person. However, I was crying. He has a beautiful voice. But I think I was crying even more over the fact that this gift, which is definitely a God-given talent, has been restored to him once again.

Singing is filling John and Rosemary’s home again. I am so thankful to see how far he too has come in his recovery after his treatment here.

John, if I had ANY singing talent whatsoever, you know I would be calling you this morning to sing to you, but, I think it is safer for both of us that I do this with words instead. :)

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for being my friend.

Love. Jessica


John said...

My Dear Friend Jessica,

I was so shocked to find myself the "subject" of your blog this morning!
It was very kind of you to do this but you certainly must have better things to write about besides me! Stay on the road to recovery and keep getting better and better and we will meet in Florida and have a great reunion..very soon!

I Love You,


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful gift! Miracles are happening every where! God is working!

We are so happy to hear that John Roach is doing better and singing. Such joy! Rosemary must be so elated.

You have both come such a long way in the last two years.

We are praising His holy name and are rejoicing with you!

Happy Birthday, John!

Thanks for the update, Jessica!

With love and prayers,
The Turners

davidrstevens said...

Dear Jessica and John,

The journey of my daughters illness has brought her and her family in contact with some amazing people. John, you are one of them.

I have learned so much about strength, endurance and God's love through both of you.

John, I hope you have a great pain free birthday. Please enjoy it with your wonderful wife Rosemary.

And, Jessica, you never cease to amaze me.



Fern said...

What a wonderful tribute to a good friend. Glad to hear that John is singing again and glad to see you posting Jess. That tells me loads too! Miss talking to you but hope that you know that you are in my prayers every day!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Jessica!

We have been so happy to read about the leaps and bounds you have made & were just as thrilled today to read about the progress of your dear friend. You have a wonderful gift for writing . . . I can't tell you how much I enjoy checking in daily to read about your "giant steps" and to just read your words.

We know that you will continue on this amazing path and that you and your mom will be skipping all the way to Florida one day soon!

Always remember how much you are thought of & prayed for from those near and far!

Our love to you and your mom!!

Best wishes,
The Klatt Family

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!