Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My amazing journey continues- My video update with Dr. K!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share this positive update with you all!

This past week we drove up to Tampa to see Dr. Kirkpatrick, who is the director of the RSD/CRPS Treatment Center & Research Institute. He is the doctor who originally evaluated me back in July 2009 before going to Mexico.

At that time, I was 21 years old and I was near death. I had skin lesions covering my entire body, I was being fed thru a feeding tube, I could not sit up or move my legs. RSD/CRPS had invaded every part of my body and I was in horrendous burning pain, all of the time,

I had no hope, and we had been told by many doctors that there was no treatment that could save me.

Dr. Kirkpatrick restored our hope that day by telling us that he was going to send me to Monterrey Mexico to be a part of the Ketamine coma study. My very last hope for survival.

2 weeks later I went to Monterrey, where due to many twists and turns, I stayed for 2.5 years.

Needless to say, Dr. Kirkpatrick was very shocked to see me now! He didn’t even recognize me! – without any sunglasses, or headphones, sitting up, without lesions or feeding tubes… and about 30 pounds heavier! He was very happy!

Dr. K's 'ladies' (Karen, Mary & Sanela) were also very excited and happy to see me doing so well!

My mom presented Dr. K with his very own “Ketamine bear”, a tradition she began in Mexico, making them for all the other coma patients we met in the hospital!

He loved it!

It’s just a small way of showing our appreciation for the chance that he gave me by sending me to Monterrey to be treated by the incredible Dr. Cantu, whose dedication to my recovery made this a reality!

Through my illness, I have been blessed to experience so many miracles, of various types—but among them all, being led to Dr. Cantu "Dr. Green Shirt" ranks most highly on that list!

He is my hero, my angel and my ‘mexican godfather’. :)

(Be sure to see my special message to Dr. Green Shirt at the end of my 'part 2' video! :)

Dr. Kirkpatrick, thank you for your continued dedication to research for RSD/CRPS and for being a doctor who is willing to treat ‘out of the box’ patients, like myself… even if it means using ‘experimental’ treatments, outside of the country, to restore our hope and give us a future.

The treatment and care that I received with Dr. Cantu in Mexico saved my life, and I am so thankful to every doctor who cared for me and kept me alive long enough so that I could have the chance to be a part of this research study, which for me, was life-saving!

As part of the Ketamine Coma research study, Dr. Kirkpatrick puts together videos of each patient, to provide education about RSD/CRPS and to show the progression of the disease before and after the coma study.

These are my videos. Part 1 is from July 2009, before going to Mexico. Part 2 is from last week!


View Jessica's Remarkable Recovery in 2-Part Video

Part 1- Pre-Coma Evaluation


Part 2- Clinical Outcome


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE." ~Jeremiah 29:11~

I am forever thankful to everyone who has been a part of my hope for the future!

MUCHAS GRACIAS!! Que Dios te bendiga siempre!!

In God's love,


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Upcoming "Celebration of LIFE" Fundraiser!!

Hello everyone!

Our dear friend Nancy and the amazing ladies of "Team Jessica" have organized another big fundraiser on March 9th, in Marco Island, Florida!

We are so humbled and so thankful for our amazing friends, in both Florida and New York, who continue to help us and support us in so many ways.
Jessica continues to do very well, thanks to all of the love, and overwhelming support that she continues to receive to enable her to keep moving forward with her treatments and recovery.

We are forever grateful to you all for making this recovery possible!

Jessica and our entire family hope to see you at her "Celebration of Life" fundraiser and we are excited to be able to show you, in person, just how great she is doing!

In God's love,
Sarah Gina

What FAITH, HOPE & LOVE can do! "A Miracle in the Making!"

Hosted by: Marco Lutheran Church

Board of Outreach

Celebration of Life!

Jessica's Miraculous Journey Fundraiser

Save the date:
Friday, March 9th

Many of you have been following the journey that Jessica Stevens, and her family, have been on for the past 6 years in her fight for life.

Her illness began with a tick bite and subsequent infection with Lyme disease, and later developed into a full blown case of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and unimaginable pain!!

3 years ago Jessica's condition became so critical that her parents were told by doctors in the US that she was near death. Out of desperation, her very last hope to live was to become part of an experimental research study. She went by air ambulance to Monterrey Mexico in hopes of a lifesaving treatment.

The journey that was expected to be a few months of treatment ended up being a 2.5 year roller coaster filled with many twists and turns.

Through it all Jessica never gave up hope or her faith that God would bring her though this.....And HE DID!!!!!

Recently, Jessica and her mother were finally able to return home from Mexico!

Jessica and her mother have documented her journey in a short movie and it will be shown at this fundraiser! We invite you to come and share in her
Celebration of Life!

Please join us as we gather to cheer the Stevens family on and help offset the extravagant cost of her treatment.

When we did the fundraiser 3 years ago everyone said, "We need to do more and invite more people to help." Thank you in advance for helping ease some stress of the financial burden and show God how grateful we are to experience this MIRACLE in the making! Jessica's treatments continue and she draws strength from our support and prayers and love.

Please share this invite with your friends and MAKE JESSICA'S DAY!!
Thank you in advance!
Team Jessica

Additional Donations:

Can be made online:


Please mail to:
14505 Indigo Lakes Blvd
Naples, FL 34119

Make Checks Payable to:
Jessica's Journey Savings Club

Thank you all so very much!!!

Service Opportunity

We need extra hands in orchestrating the luncheon and spreading the word, so please...

contact Nancy if you can help.


c-419-350-9058 Gracias

Fashion Show & Luncheon...

Gifts-Drawings-Fun-Arbonne-Health Products too!!

Bring your Gold to sell as well.

100% proceeds go to Jessica's Savings Club

$5 Donation


Click here

Jessica's devotional

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

—Jeremiah 29:11

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Sustersic, All rights reserved.
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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!