"I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten"
"I will make up to you for the years taken."(MSG)(Joel 2:25).
Wow, how I stand in awe of how God has upheld that promise to me and my family this past year!
2012 began with me coming home after 3 years in Mexico, and beginning my new life! It has been a year of continued progress in my health, miracles, re-discovery and blessings too numerous to count! On all fronts, I can honestly say 2012 has been the most incredible year of my life. :)
The low point of 2012 was when my sister Katherine became ill and was diagnosed with crohn's disease.
I trust everything happens for a reason... But still, I was finally home and better, and now she was sick!! In the middle of all of my happiness, I felt sad for Katherine.
People always tell me that I am one of the most joyful people they know, despite the rough circumstances of these past years.
Yes, "Happiness" depends on circumstances, but "joy" comes only from Jesus. There is a big difference!
What I've found is that often people want what you've got... But don't want to go where you've been.
Of course I am happy now, but there is not even 1 minute of my pain I would ever choose to re-live!
I wish I could say I never felt angry, or bitter, or forgotten, but the truth is, I spent a good amount of time feeling that way. I knew with one word God could heal me in an instant, but it didn't happen that way.
For the past month we have been attending a new church called Living Word Family Church (http://napleschurch.com) This church is so alive and spirit filled! We love it there and so many people have embraced us with open arms and so much kindness. And it seems all of Pastor Paul's sermons have been geared toward me and my family, as if he was looking at & speaking directly to us... Every single time. (amazing how that happens!)
Last night I went to Wednesday worship service at Living Word and Pastor spoke about healing miracles-- My favorite topic! He spoke about how the SAME power that rose Jesus from the grave, is alive in us... Now, today! That we have the authority to claim the supernatural into being, if we only have faith. He said you don't need to have a large amount of faith when you are trusting in a mighty large God- Faith as small as a mustard seed is more than enough.
I know that to be true! But I have to be honest, while I am living proof of the miracles God is able to perform, my faith in "quick" and "instantaneous" miracles was somewhat lacking.
As I listened to Pastor speak last night, I secretly felt like he was making it sound a little too easy.
My miracle took sooooo long. I prayed for it, wanted it and believed in it... Completely and totally. And I wasn't alone- So many people from all over the world joined us in praying for my healing... Yet, it still took years!
Yes, God is faithful til the end, but on His timetable, not ours. :)
Today, my sister Katherine was scheduled to have a colonoscopy to check on the progress of her crohn's disease.
Last night after hearing that message in church we prayed and thanked God for healing Katherine, today and now! We claimed victory over crohn's and prayed that the results of this test would be favorable, show improvement and amaze and shock us... We prayed her crohn's would be gone!
I believed in what we prayed 100%, but I was also acutely aware from experience that God's plan could be different from what we wanted.
Tonight, the results of the colonoscopy are in....
& Katherine found out she is in complete REMISSION of her crohn's!!!
Look at these before/after photos below! Her intestines that were ulcerated, black and highly inflamed are now perfectly pink & normal!!
Her doctors are amazed! They said that this type of improvement is unprecedented in only 6 months of being diagnosed!! We are so happy!! We are claiming another miracle and feel so blessed!
Needless to say, my faith in 'quick' miracles is restored ;) Thank you Jesus!
The Stevens girls are both starting 2013 feeling well and both in remission of our illnesses!!
I can't think of a more amazing way to start off 2013!
It's a new year and in it Jesus offers a new purpose, new peace, new hope and new life!
I hope and pray this year brings nothing but health and happiness for everyone!
Grateful for His healing power,
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!