Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sliding Doors.... & 90,000 views of the blog!!

Earlier this week I watched a movie a friend had lent me called "Sliding Doors." Its an older movie from the 90s, but it was new to me. (I know, I must live under a rock or something..?) I had no idea what the movie was going to be about or how it would impact my thought process that night as it did.

As the movie starts out we see the main character Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow) living a comfortable, great life in a nice apartment in England with her author boyfriend, Jerry, (who, unbeknownst to her, cheats on her everyday while shes at work...)

She goes off to work that morning like any other, but arrives only to be told that she has been fired. Bummer.

So she packs up her stuff and heads to the train station to go back home, but just as she is approaching the train the sliding doors close right in front of her and the intercom announces that the next train is not for another hour.

Obviously this is not Helen's best day. We've all been there too...

The rest of the movie parallels Helen's life in two scenarios...The one above, where she misses the train and the second in which she arrives just a few seconds earlier and gets on.

The way her life plays out in each are in complete contrast with each other. One seemingly insignificant occurrence—missing a train—not only altered the course of her day, but of her life in the bigger picture as well.

Timing really is everything.

Well, this is what got me thinking…How would my life be if certain things had happened differently? Or had not ever happened? What would my life look like right now? What would I be doing? Who would I be doing it with? …or on the flip side, Would I still even be alive at all!?

Those questions, their answers and the emotions that come along with them are overwhelming and paralyzing. The possible scenarios are endless.

Does my life resemble in any way, shape or form what I would have imagined it to or would have wanted it to, at 23 years old? Umm... No. Not even in the slightest bit.

I am learning that entertaining these thoughts really does nothing except to invite feelings of insecurity, doubt and fear… and this is exactly where my mind was going with all of this.

I needed a distraction, now, fast.

So I decided to turn on my computer...only to see in the time I was spending sitting here thinking these overwhelming “what if” thoughts about my life, this blog had just reached over 90,000 views! On YouTube, the “Counting on a Coma” report that FOX news did about my story has had nearly 50,000 views! I have several emails of encouragement in my inbox, many from others who are suffering in a similar way, some without a diagnosis, who after hearing my story are now getting the help that they need, or feeling hopeful about their situations again… This all completely blows my mind. How God would choose to use my story and pain to help others is beyond my comprehension. My strength is instantly renewed, I am so incredibly humbled.

Sure, my life may not look the way I envisioned. But God has made such incredible provision for me along the way! This is what I need to focus on and be constantly aware of. Not the doubts. Not the “what if’s”.

Interestingly, in end of Sliding Doors, Helen’s life in both scenarios has the same end result... she is in an accident. However, every detail leading up to how she arrives there—to the type of accident, the circumstances, the opportunities and challenges, the hospital she is in, the doctors who attempt to save her life, the people who are sitting at her bedside--- are all completely different.

Wow. We don’t know why some things happen. We may never know. Even though we may not always ‘see’ it or ‘feel’ it, God is always at work orchestrating our lives—every little, seemingly insignificant detail! My job, our job, is just to trust Him in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

That sounds simple enough. But it’s a hard lesson, one I am sure I will spend the rest of my life learning over and over, and over, again. Just like I did tonight.

I do know that He wants us to live way beyond the shadows of our doubts! And that is a promise I can most definitely trust in, always.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed my story this far. 90,000 hits to this blog… just awesome! Thank you for all of your love, encouragement, support and prayers. I know there is no way I will ever be able to thank each person individually, but I just want to you to know that I am doing incredibly well and you have made a difference in my life, more than you will ever know and more than I will ever be able to say.

I thank God for you all!!

In God's incredible love,

John 11:14

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

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


Anonymous said...

I have never seen that movie. Hmm ...

I am very grateful to God that you are doing so well. I, too, often recall that verse in the Bible

John 11:14

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

He has definitely been glorified through this.

We look forward to continued updates from you. It is so encouraging to those of us still struggling. It is encouraging to hear from all who are recovering from this and are living life, thanks be to God.

May the next leg of your journey take you homeward bound.

With love and prayers,
The Turners

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jess, I continue to be amazed at the thought of the progress you have made... Your life is truly a miracle, one that we are all witness to through your and your amazing mom's blog. (Hi Gina!! :) Through your courage and faith, by hanging on and making it through every day no matter how hard, you have inspired us to make it through our lesser challenges. Thank you for that! Keep on praying and hanging in there~~ you are super special girl!!! Please give your mom a big hug for me!! Love, Angel xoxoxoxoxo

Rosemary and John said...

Dear Jessica (and her Amazing Mom!)

John and I are so fortunate to have been able to enter though the "sliding doors" onto the 8'th floor of Hospital San Jose. It was April, 2010 when we first met the two of you. In so many ways, it seems like we've known you forever. I think it is because both you and your Mom opened your arms and hearts to us. We were strangers before that day and you both helped us often during our 2 week stay. During that time, we came to know you a little and we saw something we had never seen with our eyes before. The incredible strength of a young woman and her Mom, living through what anyone would call a "living nightmare" and doing it with Faith, Grace & Humor. I recall thinking..."how can this be?" You have gotten us through some of our very tough times because you are a living example of courage and "Grace Under Fire." Hymmmm...Wow, I just heard those words in my head and when you think of RSD, you think of FIRE and yes, you were and are literally Grace UNDER FIRE. I am rambling, but sometimes, you leave me awestruck with your blog. Jessica, you are so wise beyond your young years. Thank you for this story, for teaching us the importance of trusting God's decisions. Thank you Sara Gina for being a shining example of a Mother's unconditional love and for restoring Hope in all our lives. We love you both!


Rosemary and John

Cousin Regina said...

Thank you, God, for Jessica!

Fern said...

I have not seen this movie but I have certainly reflected as you have. Timing is EVERYTHING! God be felt by you today as you touch so many through Him

Anonymous said...

One of the 90,000.

I visit your blog, often but have never left a comment, nor have I ever "blogged" on anyone's site. I hang on every word you (and your mother) have written. Such courage and love is rare in the
world and certainly such clarity of thought is rare in a woman as young as yourself!

Forgive me if this is not the right forum. I am not familiar with the proper protocol, but
my own, dear, cousin Molly is in the last stage of neurological Lyme. She has lived, isolated, in a darkened room at her parent's house the past two years. She suffers horribly from intense
hypercusis. For her, every sensation is a torment. She does not sleep. She exists on pure, nervous energy. She is in a constant state of high anxiety. Her body is host to a toxic brew of infections, heavy metals, mold, fungus, stress hormones, etc. Every nerve remaining that can feel, feels pain, every waking moment. No treatment (and she has tried scores) has helped her
but, rather, each has moved her ever closer to the abyss. She yearns with equal intensity
to both end her suffering by taking her own life and reclaim the life she once had. She
fears for her sanity.

Anyway, much of what she is living, you have lived. Although she shares symptoms of CRPS, hers is not a classic case so she would not qualify as a study subject. Actually, I think the study is over. But you have been through the Ketamine Coma. You know Dr. Cantu. Your own Doc is

Dr. Kirkpatrick. I assume you are in Monterrey, right now (from reading your July 29 blog).

We don't wish to burden you or your marvelous family but we beg an audience with you. Just

to learn some of the details of what is involved in getting admitted to Dr. Cantu's care, of

transport in air ambulance. We have a million questions. Molly is ready to go under, ready

to undertake the trip (in a state of oblivion -- otherwise impossible). But we need some

particulars on what lies ahead.

I understand this is a lot to ask. I understand you and your own family are in crisis right

now. Please, though, is there any chance we could speak to your mother, any chance Molly's

mother and your mother could speak?

My address is My name is "Stu." Is there a private email address where I

might communicate with you? With your mother?

As I follow your progress I will anxiously be awaiting word.

Thanks, in advance, for your kind consideration and may the Angels smile upon you in your

own quest to reclaim your health!

double glazing quote said...

Sliding doors are not invisible, but it is not uncommon for accidents to happen because people didn’t realize the sliding door was shut.

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!