Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name...

Hello everyone. I am now on day 5 of this hospital stay and the fact that I am back here in Hospital San Jose is finally starting to really sink in now. As you can imagine, it is no fun at all to be back here. I keep saying it is like sending a Vietnam war veteran that back to Vietnam—its not somewhere you would ever want to go back to! But I guess in life, we just don’t know the plans that God has for us and why things happen the way that they do.

I do have to say that coming into the hospital this time has been a very different experience for me.

This time, rather than being rushed in by ambulance through the emergency room, on a stretcher and severely ill, I rode to the hospital in a wheelchair-accessible van and was admitted under the usual process via the international patient coordinators office. From there we passed through security and the waiting area. I was given a hospital bracelet. “Jessica Stevens. Room 845” it read. Same name. Same room.

I saw the gift shop where so many brought balloons and things for me, the chapel where I know so many prayers were lifted up for me, the coffee shop where my Mom got her daily supply of energy to take care of me.

As weird as it this sounds, this was the first time I actually got to see any of the first floor of Hospital San Jose. Before this I had only seen the ER, the ICU, the operating room, the hallway on the 8th floor and the inside of my room.

Let’s just say that a sure way of knowing that you have spent too much time in a hospital is when, upon arriving and giving your name, the security guard- who you have never met before—recognizes not only the name, but recalls what room number you were in!

The only thing that would have enhanced this experience would have been if the Cheers theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”, somehow, had begun playing in the background as I was wheeled upstairs.

I thought that coming back here, into this room, would give me major deja-vu and flashbacks to the year that I spent in here fighting for my life, but oddly, that has not happened.

It is so different..

The room is no longer filled with all of the signs and “get well” cards, pictures and bible verses on the walls. It feels empty. The ceiling tile directly above my bed has been changed and no longer has the same little crack in it that I spent so many nights staring up at, the couch that my mom spent each night asleep on has been changed from a green one to a new blue one.

Some things have not changed.

The smells and sounds are the same. The toxic aroma of the big bottle of “Ex-germ” hand sanitizer that burns your eyes and nose, the sickly sweet lemon scent of a freshly cleaned hospital floor. The infusion pumps whirring and beeping, nurses speaking in spanish over the noisy intercoms and the squeaking sounds their shoes make as they walk up and down the halls, clicking doors open and shut as they check on their patients, the sound of others suffering as they call for assistance…These things all remain eerily the same.

I have changed though. Every nurse and doctor who has come in to see me has told me that I look “super bien”- which here in Mexico means “very, very good!” They can’t believe the improvement I have made and how much better I am doing! The chief nurse told my mom and I that I was one of the most ill patients and one of only two that have stayed in this hospital for over a year. Most patients who come in here are treated and than ‘lost to follow up’- the nurses do not see them again and do not get to see their progress. They keep saying how my recovery is a miracle. Everyone can see how this treatment truly works and for me, has been life-saving. It is rewarding for them, and I definitely never get tired of hearing it!

However, even though this time I am not acutely ill, I am still acutely aware of all that can and has gone wrong with me while being in a hospital.

Mom and I are being extremely cautious- making sure that the nurses are washing their hands, wearing masks and using alcohol swabs each time before connecting a medication to my medi-port. I am having some pain in my stomach, but I am grateful to be here in the capable and caring hands of the amazing Dr. Cantu (who wore a Green Shirt yesterday…) whose knowledge of this illness is surpassed by none, who knows my body and knows how to manage this pain so that it does not explode into a full blown RSD flare up.

My surgery will hopefully be sometme later this week. I have been switched from my regular blood-thinner that I have been on for the large blood clot in my arm, Coumadin, onto IV Heparin. I am being given Vitamin K to try and get my blood-clotting factors into a safe range for surgery. A “safe” INR level to have surgery is between a 1.0-1.5. Mine is still higher than that. Please pray that this level regulates soon so that we can proceed with the surgery and I can get out of here.

Even though a lot of things about this hospital experience may be different this time, the people who are here-- both with me physically and for me emotionally-- have not changed. Room 845 is a healing room and this is a healing place. God is still in this room with me. He never left. He is here and is still in control.

Please pray for strength for my Mom. Her love for me is unbelievable. Her happiness depends on my health and my being back in the hospital is harder on her in some ways than it is for me.Please also keep my Dad in your prayers, as he is going back into the hospital for hernia surgery again tomorrow.

Please pray for Dr. Cantu and all of the doctors and nurses here, that they have the wisdom to do what needs to be done to get me well.

I especially ask for prayers that I have no infections to prolong my hospital stay. Any type of infection is devastating for my body and seems to re-trigger a lot of my symptoms. We cannot afford to have any of those problems again… We have come way too far. .Bring on the Ex-germ!

Thanks again for the love and prayers.

In God’s love, Jessica

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

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Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear your arrival to the hospital was not by ambulance or stretcher. That is HUGE progress.

Thank you for so eloquently stating the situation. Even though the room looks different, God still remains there with you and He will see you through this last bump in your journey to complete recovery.

We continue to pray for strength and endurance for you both. We continue to trust in Him who can do more than we can imagine or ask.

With love and prayers,
The Turners

Believe the miracles!

Anonymous said...


This site is dedicated to those who feel like that they can no longer push past the pain, where life has become too dark & the glimmer of hope appears to be all but lost.  I, too, was on the brink of giving in.  The endless pain and tireless battle was almost too much.  When it seemed as if all hope was falling out of reach, I chose to fight.  I chose to still Believe.  My name is Shannon Stocker, and this is my story...


So I was named Maria Cassidy Marcela Stocker to honor the miracle that mommy and daddy believe took place.

Something to encourage you and to help you pass the time as you wait.

Anonymous said...

Isaiah 58:8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Ezekiel 1:28
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 3:12
Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!—

Luke 2:14
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

John 2:11
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

John 11:40
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

John 14:13
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father

Romans 4:19-21
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

2 Corinthians 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Revelation 4:11
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Marianne E. Quinn said...

Dear Jessica,

Thank you for your wonderful words so eloquently written about the current part of your journey. May God Bless You with continued healing and strength. May your hospital stay be short. God Bless Your Mom for her love and support. God Bless Your Dad for continued healing and strength too. May his surgery tomorrow be successful and his recovery quick. You truly inspire me with your Faith! With Love and Prayers, Marianne

Anonymous said...

Still praying ....

For your Dad and sisters too ...

Anonymous said...


The Phase II clinical trial is an international, multi-center, randomized-controlled study performed under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations to test the safety and efficacy of the procedure in patients with acute complete spinal cord injuries.

Who can participate in the clinical study?

Study enrollment for the Phase II trial is open to 61 patients who meet eligibility criteria, including but not limited to the following, age 16-65, with complete spinal cord injury.

What are macrophages?

Following tissue injury, a type of white blood cell, called a macrophage, quickly starts to remove cell debris. These macrophages then start to secrete growth factors that promote a controlled inflammatory reaction to initiate the wound healing process. While this process occurs effectively in most tissues including peripheral nerves, it does not occur effectively in the central nervous system (CNS). Discoveries led by Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of Science have shown in pre-clinical studies that specially treated macrophages, however, promoted recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI). Based on these findings, Proneuron is now evaluating the safety and efficacy of ProCord, currently an experimental procedure for patients with acute spinal cord injury.

What is an autologous incubated macrophage?

Autologous incubated macrophages are macrophages, isolated from the patient's own blood, activated through a proprietary process and then injected directly into the patient's injured spinal cord at the site of the lesion.

Thought you might find this interesting. God is working to help so many.

John and Rosemary said...

Jess…. We are keeping you and your Mom in our constant thoughts and prayers…. This is a different admission for a different situation and you are going to be out of there before your mattress gets warm !! We love you and we want to come visit you in Naples Florida, so you have to get on with things and get well and come on home so that we can all visit together…. Take Care and Get Well !! Love Youse !! John & Rosemary

Fern said...

Jessica, you are covered in prayers! God knows your needs and He knows them before anyone speaks them or thinks them. God has been in the driving seat all along and there are many ways in which we can see that.
your father must be having sympathy pains for you! LOL. It seems that whenever you are struggling that he also struggles along with you. Now that is love! I will pray his surgery goes well and that he will be supported at home.
I know what you mean about returning and recognizing people. I had that odd feeling like things were actually normal. Ha-ha! Scary! I guess since you checked in through admissions, you were given slippers?
Stay well and may your surgery go well today. I have been ferverently lifting you up but I know that despite our best efforts to pray, God does not need them to heal. We can be so assured by the fact that God knows how much we love you and He loves you even more than that!
Rest well my sister

Claudia Oranday said...

Jessica: I just read it and as usual you made me shed a tear or two. But now that I know your surgery went very well and you´re doing fine on your recovery our day starts great and hope to see you sonn. Love you baby.

cindel. said...

Jess, I read this the day of your surgery, when you were recovering up in your room, next to you and your mom.
I kept stopping every paragraph or two and finding myself pondering and looking at you in awe. You've come a long way since the day you arrived.
They say that life's a rollercoaster, I think we're never strapped in for the curves, the highs, the lows or the change of speed that comes during our ride but I do know that we're in for a very good one.
This past year alone proves it and I'm so happy for everything you've overcome.
You know I'm always here, may it be for playing Wii, having a laugh, driving your mom back and forth or just sitting next to you in silence, because sometimes sharing a silence says more than a thousand words.
See you later :)
I love you.

Anonymous said...

New China daily: Who forces " Zhang Jike people " take part in the match
14 days of countrywide ping-pong tounament that ring down the curtain in Home Zhang harbor attracted many eyeball, the CCTV also undertakes direct seeding 5 sets, because the Zhang Jike, Wang Hao, Ma Long, well-known player such as Marlene attends,this basically is. Giving what the person expects is, enter male single, female odd final do not have main force of group of a nation unexpectedly.
Have reporter gouge therein cause: Although expensive for countrywide tounament, but to big shop sign, without pressure, also do not have index, more do not concern national group qualification, so " Zhang Jike people " value level very low; Conversely, to young general people will tell a meaning to differ, match opportunity this not much, on behalf of home Gao Shuiping's match is hit well only, just enter likely 8 strong, can enter national group covey directly thereby, because of this young general people go all out particularly fiercely.
Consider sth as it stands also not strange, be worth us thoughtful is, since star of big shop sign was not,get the better of cannot competitive desire and passion, be who is forcing " Zhang Jike people " risking the body gets hurt and " fame " does the risk of damage attend this kind of match chickening ribs?
Be national group coach forces famous generals to appear? They know the motion curve of the ping-pong most, know to force " Zhang Jike people " it is harmful and profitless to play domestic game, and the arrangement that they also have no right to interfere local team game; Does the trainer of each place set out from local interest? Also unlike, because this result is right group of each province city is not quite main, otherwise skill of meeting exert whole body comes to the trainer of local team the enthusiasm that arouses famous generals; Is that " Zhang Jike people " is him awareness very tall? Not be for certain, otherwise, they won't quit the race ahead of schedule with a variety of reason.
Be what creates afore-mentioned results after all? Probably the reason is not a kind, national group trainer is met with " match of first whole nation after the Olympic Games, if you do not attend,can let the outside produce misunderstanding " for ask they note an effect; Local team also is met with " the education that Olympic Games champion did not forget local team " for hope they take part in the match; Sponsor Fang Gengxi to hope big shop sign can help booking office and viewing rate. In a few invisible hands drive below, "Zhang Jike people " must attend, but carry really do not have interest, "Have on there is the way to deal with a situation below policy " , "Zhang Jike people " find out all sorts of reason to hit a your home ahead of [url=http://www.palmexpo.in/jordansforsale.aspx]jordans shoes for sale[/url] schedule only.
Olympic Games champion is in the awkward current situation on countrywide tounament, whether to also remind concerned branch, when setting the competition, whether more scientific and a bit more effective?
Related news

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!