Friday, September 16, 2011


It is often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words....

"Salida", in Spanish, means exit!!

Today is Mexican Independence Day, and with the biggest smile on my face I am excited to tell everyone that I am celebrating my independence too!!

I AM FINALLY ABLE TO COME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our hope is to be able to leave in a few weeks! Please pray for us that everything goes smoothly and all things continue to come together to make this possible!

I can't believe this day is finally here.... Nothing is impossible with God!!

See you all soon! :)

In His awesome power and love, always,

"God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always." (Ps. 121 7-8 MSG)

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On top of the world!

My sister Katherine is here in Monterrey with me!! We have been having the most amazing time together. I had not seen her since March and she was amazed with how much more progress I have made and how much more I am able to do with her now! We have been catching up, playing games, cooking and eating (a lot!) together. Just doing sister things. We're having a blast!

Yesterday our Mom surprised us and we went on a little day trip to Obispado! El Obispado is a museum of historical Mexican military artifacts (swords, guns, cannon balls, uniforms, etc) and some religious artwork as well.

We didn’t go there to see any of that though. We actually didn’t even go inside the museum at all! See, El Obispado is located high up in the hills of Monterrey and we have been told by our friends that the panoramic view of the entire city that you can see from up there was quite incredible.

Oh my gosh! They were right!!


Words will never do it justice.

We just sat there, smiling, speechless. Completely in awe of what we saw.

I looked around me- the Sierra Madre mountain range in front of me, the Cerro de la silla next to me, the glowing sky above me, my mom and sister, smiling behind me.


I tried to take a mental snapshot while praying I would never ever be able to forget this moment… of literally, being on top of the world!

I than decided to wheel closer to the ledge and look over- down at the city of Monterrey below.

My eyes found it immediately- the helicopter landing pad that signifies a hospital.

There it was. Hospital San Jose. Right beneath my feet!

I counted up to the 8th floor and found my room.

At first I got very, very excited, “Oh my god!!! Look mom!! Look!! That’s my room!! How cool is that?! Take a picture of me!!!”

I may have even started waving, rapidly while screaming (very) loudly “Hiiiiii Dr. Cantuuuu!!!!!!” …As if he could see, or hear me from the hospital or something.

Oh boy. I guess that is what 5 years of isolation, trapped sick indoors can do to a person?? Wow. How embarrassing. :)

However once I got over my initial excitement (and took a few dozen pictures) I was quickly brought right back into that room. The memories of the very long year of laying in there staring out of that very window up at this very hill… not knowing when, how, or if, I would ever get on the outside again…

I never thought I’d ever be seeing this view of the hospital. From up high, looking down. From the outside, looking in.

So many emotions became very real and overwhelming.

I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

“What’s wrong?” Katherine asked. “Are you crying because you’re happy, or sad?”

“I don’t know! I don’t think either… I’m just so thankful.”

I was feeling a lot of things in that special moment with my mom and sister yesterday, but the feeling of thankfulness was definitely felt the strongest.

Thankful for this moment, this family, this time, this place, these doctors, this experience, this life, this God… all of it.

I never could have visualized or imagined this day, my first time out with my sister Katherine in over 5 years! It was perfect and I hope we never forget this feeling of literally being “on top of the world”!

We made it through the valley to stand upon the mountain! Thank you Jesus!

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth!" Psalm 121

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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!