Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blessings through raindrops

It has been raining a lot this past week here, thanks to tropical storm Arlene.

Finally, yesterday afternoon the rain cleared up and the sun came out. Mom and I jumped at the chance to go out and get some fresh air. There’s a little area on the first floor of our building that overlooks the mountain. I love to sit down there. Seeing the sky, listening to the birds and feeling the breeze, to me, is as amazing as it gets.

So mom helped me wheel down and she went back upstairs to make us lunch.

As soon as she left me the sky started to get really dark. Clouds started rolling in and within minutes I couldn’t even see the mountain anymore! I knew it was going to rain, hard, any second.

And it did. As I sat there getting completely soaked I found myself trying to remember when the last time I had actually felt rain on my skin was!

It didn’t take me long to remember.

It was when I was in Tampa Florida to be evaluated by Dr. Kirkpatrick to see if I was a candidate to come to Monterrey for the Ketamine Coma study with Dr. Cantu.

As we got ready to leave his office it began pouring rain. In Florida these rain storms usually only last 10-15 minutes, so we waited…and waited. But it didn’t stop.

We finally had to just go for it.The EMT’s pulled the ambulance up as close as they could to the door and worked as quickly as possible to get me in.

Unfortunately, not quick enough.

The pain of the rain hitting my skin was so intense… like both hot drops of lava and cold sharp ice picks hitting me all at once. I can’t even describe it. I decided to try and just hold my breath and stay calm so everyone could do their jobs more quickly and effectively.

Well, that plan went out the window the second a few raindrops landed on my right arm, which at that time was covered with about 50 open, bleeding skin lesions.

That did it. I completely lost it. I shrieked in pain.

By the time we were in the ambulance I was in crisis mode. The EMT’s looked on in horror as my arm changed colors, bled, contorted into weird positions and my entire body shook uncontrollably. They tried to help, but there was nothing they could do.

I remember the EMT who was riding in back with me, commenting that every hair on my body was standing straight up, like I had been electrocuted. If only he knew, that is exactly what RSD pain feels like... all of the time.

He turned to my mom, “Is it always this bad? I have never seen anything like this before.”

Yeah, that pretty much sums up RSD pain too… not like anything you’ve seen or felt before, ever.

It was only a 5 minute ride, but it seemed so much longer.

As I thought back to that last time I felt the rain, I was overwhelmed with how different it felt to me now.

Here I was, getting drenched… and I felt… wet. No boiling lava or stabbing icicles. Just happily wet!

When my mom realized it was raining, she rushed downstairs expecting to rescue me… but instead, she found me sitting there, taking pictures of the (now invisible) mountain, loving the feeling of the rain! We both sat in the rain together for a few minutes literally soaking it all in, thanking God for bringing us to this point.

I had heard a song earlier this month that I really liked. It is called “Blessings” by Laura Story. The chorus of the song goes, “What if your blessings come through raindrops/ What if your healing comes through tears/ What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near/ What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise."

I liked the song originally because of its message of how even in the hardest, most painful things we will ever go through, God is always there to love us, guide us and help us through.

But now, this song has a dual meaning to me... Yesterday, my blessing literally came through being able to feel raindrops!

These are the pictures I took as the storm approached:

This is what it looked like when mom brought me outside

This is about 3 minutes later!!!

Thank you Jesus for the rain and for bringing us through it! Amen!

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


Anonymous said...

Tears are flowing as I read this post to my family. How very encouraging and an accurate description of what RSD feels like. What a poignant post.

How very far you have come in just a few short years.

Funny but both my husband and daughter have heard this song but I have not yet heard it. I will have to give it a listen.

May you continue to feel His healing grace and always enjoy the raindrops.

With love and prayers,
The Turners

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica,
Thank you so much for this beautiful story and pictures. We are so very happy to hear that the rain brought laughter and joy! We will check out the song and enjoy it so much more after reading your story.
The Jarvis Family
Mark, Kathy, Kerri and Erin

Rosemary and John said...

Dear Jessica,

It was just about one month ago that you were going for surgery and here you are sitting in a downpour and loving it! Your strength and Faith in God has inspired us in more ways than we can express. This is a beautiful story and it just goes to show how miracles are bestowed in some very strange ways. Yes, being able to enjoy the raindrops is one of the many miracles God has granted you. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to hearing about each and every new experience as your life comes back to you in small, but powerful messages from heaven.

All Our Love,

Rosemary and John

Fern said...

I know what you mean when you describe the sensation of water hitting an RSD body. I still have that in the shower though not quite as bad as pre coma days. I am so glad that you could feel the Lord in this rain and that He has healed you of this intense pain! What a gift!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jess, Tears are flowing as I read this post, appreciating how eloquently you are able to express the immense challenges that you have faced with RSD, and the profound faith that has gotten you through them. I thank God that He has given you back the ability to communicate, and that you can blog. We all benefit from your messages and your example. You and your amazing mom are so special to all of us. I am so thrilled at your progress. You go, girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love always, Angel xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Streams in the Desert - quote from Matthew Henry: 
"We can depend on God to fulfill His promise, even when all the roads leading to it are closed. 'For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "yes" in Christ.  And so through him the "Amen" [so be it] is spoken by us to the glory of God".  [2cor 1:20]

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

She is plaing a nice tune. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesicha, I heard about your story from a friend of your brothers. I am praying for you and your family. I am so impressed by your courage an I know you are going to be fine. God Bless You, Karin

Anonymous said...

See how God is using His people to grow the kingdom

We as a missions-oriented body are in fact enjoying God and our life of service to Him to a degree Heidi and I never anticipated thirty years ago when we first headed for the mission field.

The meetings were also a chance for us as leaders to articulate like never before what it is that makes Iris "Iris." The word is Greek and also Portuguese for "rainbow," as Heidi and I began as a Christian dance-drama ministry called "Rainbow Productions." We saw our different creative talents as colors of a rainbow that the "Son" shines through, giving a beautiful result.

Missions has often been taught as unromantic; it is disciplined obedience to the Great Commission. Prayer is hard work, feelings are irrelevant, getting the job done is what counts. We don't need spiritual experience to proclaim the Gospel. We can't expect immediacy and intimacy to be normal. We can function without His manifest Presence.
We feel the opposite. We've gone through enough fire and hardship to know that without actually finding God, in fulfillment of Jer. 29:13, we cannot do what we do. We cannot love with supernatural, unstoppable love unless we actually experience the love of the Father for us first. As the radiance and exact image of the invisible God, Jesus is a spiritual lover, our perfect and ultimate companion. Our first value is to know Him in a passionate relationship with a love that is stronger than death (Song 8:6). We major first of all not on mission strategy, methods, projects and fund-raising, but having the life that the world needs and craves.

2) We are totally dependent on Him for everything, and we need and expect miracles of all kinds to sustain us and confirm the Gospel in our ministry.
When facing great human need with our human frailties, we rapidly reach the limits of our resources, wisdom and love. We face overwhelming poverty, sickness, demonic attacks and every kind of evil. But with excitement and joy we aim beyond what we can imagine doing in our own strength. We run into the darkness looking for bad news because it is the power of God that gives the world hope. We don't apologize for seeking and valuing power, because without it love is incomplete and ineffectual.

We believe we experience miracles because we value them and ask for them, understanding that He will give them to us only if they will not take us further from Him. For His sake we will lose our lives daily, knowing that by His power we cannot lose, but will be sustained and become more than conquerors.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica!

I have been following your story and looking in on you from time to time. I am so happy to hear of your progress. Praise Jesus! Your story of faith is the most beautiful witness! I loved that you could enjoy the raindrops this time and the song, "Blessings" is now downloaded to my desktop. I never heard it before and I am experiencing a time when I really needed that song! I do believe that you have a ministry here! I am praying for your 100% complete healing and I thank God for the faith that you and your family have shared along this pathway!

Love always,

Regina xox (Dad's cousin)

Anonymous said...

Oh my . . . be still my heart. You have the most beautiful way of putting your words into writing . . . Thank you for sharing your story with us. Keep up those leaps & bounds, dear Jessica.

Thoughts, prayers, love and best wishes to you & your mom.

Renee Klatt

Anonymous said...

Jessica your works are a sweet ring of what Pastor Kevin's sermon was last week. You can say...."dang my shoes are going to get wet walking in this rain...or thank you God for watering my flowerbed.". I see you saying..".no shower needed tonight Mom..God just made us clean with his love"

Always grateful for your friendship Jessica and words of hope and faithfulness.

So happy for your progress.
Love, Nancy and Jose

Marimar said...

Dear Jessica
I am so happy to hear of your progress!
I lost my cell phone and i had your phone number there, thats why i didnt call you.
I am praying every days for you and your family.
This is my mail, please send me your phones.

Jessica's Journey said...

just one word


you are


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!