Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Airdate for channel 4 interview & Happy 21st Katherine!

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned, a few weeks ago Patrick Nolan, from FOX4 came to interview me about my journey, my treatment and my amazing recovery.

I just found out that it will be airing next Thursday (April 26th) at 10pm! So for everyone who is local in the Cape Coral/Ft.Myers/Naples area- please tune in and watch it! I hope it will raise a lot of awareness!

I believe they have a 'live feed' on their website as well-

I will definitely post a link to it here as soon as I have one!

Yesterday was a big day here in the Stevens’ household...

On April 17th, 21 years ago, my life changed dramatically—Katherine was born and I became a big sister! Though I have no actual recollection of that day, it was—hands down—one of the best days of my life.

Don't I just look SO happy?! :)

From the minute Katherine entered the world she has been a strong force in my life. Even though we annoyed each other and fought (a lot!), I know God knew just the type of sister I would need to help me through the hard times ahead….I never would have made it through the past few years without her humor and constant smile!

I feel extremely blessed to get to celebrate her special day and have her first 'legal' drink alongside her! Today and every day, I am so proud to call her my “little” sister.


God bless!


*Also, FOX/WSVN Miami’s “Jessica’s Journey” report is now on YouTube. I can’t believe my other one, “Counting on a Coma” has nearly 100,000 views!!*

**To post a comment, click on "Comments" below**


Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,
I'm reading parts of your story as I sit in a dark clinic room in Reno, NV watching my son Grayson being drugged again to try and stop convulsing due to Lyme. We are at the Sierra Integrative Medical Center getting treatment. He is 19 yrs. old and been sick since he was 12. Like you, he has a very complicated history, too much to describe here, but due to 7 years of unrelenting pain, he will be having ketamine treatments starting May 2. His will be sedated heavily( non comatose) for 12-14 hours a day for 10 days to try and get relief from pain and hopefully settle the Dystonia like convulsing. Your story gives this mom new hope abd I wanted you to know that. So far there has always been another door that has opened for Grayson just when we think we have exhausted all. Thank your mom for the blogs she kept. You never know who you might help.

We were in Reno 7 months last year and so far 2 thus year. We live in Memphis, TN. I pray for your continued healing. God bless you and your family. I do know the Lyme struggle.
Kay McClure

Fern said...

Happy Birthday Katherine! The family is back together again and so much more blessed because of the journey!

Thanks for keeping us posted. I look forward to seeing the new tv spot! Pretty soon you will be signing autographs!

Rosemary and John said...

Hi Katherine!

Belated Happy 21'st Birthday! I love the tribute Jessica gave to you; so well deserved.

Your presence in Mexico with Jessica gave her great strength and support during some of the most difficult days of her recovery. You are beautiful inside and out!

Happy, Healthy and Safe 21'st!


Rosemary & John

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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!