Friday, July 26, 2013

Busca "Cerros" de ayuda- Sierra Madre Article

Hi everyone! 

Last week my mom and I had a very special fundraiser to raise awareness and funds to further RSD research! Our dear friend, Maricarmen, opened up her beautiful wine shop to us and we had an exhibition of my mom's incredible photos of Cerro de la Silla as well as a wine and cheese tasting! It was a wonderful time! Sierra Made magazine in Monterrey published an article about the event in today's paper, and I translated it into English to share it with everyone! I am so proud of my Mommy!

Thanks for checking in!

God bless- Que Dios te bendiga!

Love, Jesssica

"Busca cerros de ayuda" (Looking to the mountains for help)

Sarah Stevens, mother of Jessica, the young woman with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy who was treated with success by local doctors, exhibits 45 photos of Cerro de la Silla to sell and raise funds to search for a cure for the disease.

Cerro de la Silla has become the symbol of Sarah Stevens crusade to find a cure for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), the terrible disease her daughter suffers from.

The mother of Jessica, the North American girl who was treated with great success by doctors in Monterrey for her illness, held an exhibition of her photos called "Monterrey through Sarah's eyes," where she displayed her beautiful photographs of Cerro de la Silla, the emblematic icon of Monterrey. Her photos were on sale to raise funds that will be allocated to continue to fund studies to find a cure for the disease.

"I came here to Monterrey for this experimental treatment for my daughter, Jessica,  and I came to love this city, it's people, and it's beautiful mountains. For that reason, I took many photos of Cerro de la Silla, because for me, it was a distraction from all that was happening to my daughter. At first, it was just to occupy my mind, but it soon became my passion."

The exhibition was held at Vinos Del Mundo on July 19th, with a multitude of guests who arrived at the scene to see the amazing shots of the mountain from different parts of the city, at different times of the day- from morning sunrise, to late night, from the hospital, and also from Missiones, Chipinque and Club Campestre as well.

"For me, the mountain symbolizes hope, strength and courage for us, as well as being the symbol of this wonderful city," says Sarah, who resides now in Naples, Florida.

While all in attendance enjoyed the photos, they also enjoyed sampling carious wines like, Vinas las tintas, Finca Flichman, and Vina Carmen, organized by Maricarmen Zavala, owner of Vinos de Mundo.

About 45 photos were displayed for sale for between 200 and 500 pesos. Also orange "Find a cure for RSD" bracelets were sold for 20 pesos.

"Everybody always asks me, 'how do you feel?' and I tell them, 'I am the happiest mom in the world because I came to Mexico hoping to help my daughter, and now she is doing great, we both have a life again."

"My daughter and I consider Monterrey our second home. Everybody that we have met here has become our second Mexican family."

When asked about Dr. Fernando Cantu, the anesthesiologist, who along with his team, saved Jessica's life, Sarah overflows with praise and gratitude.

"I am forever thankful to Dr. Fernando Cantu, to God for leading us here. All I can really say (to Cantu) is, 'May God bless you always for what you have done for my daughter... You are our angel. We will love him forever."

"Truth be told, I would have never thought these days would be possible."


Just like her mother, Jessica also see's Cerro de la Silla as a symbol of hope and of the miracle she received here in Monterrey.

"At first I thought my mom was crazy because when I was in the hospital, she would be standing by the window taking hundreds of pictures of the mountain. I would ask her, "why are you taking so many pictures!?" and she would respond, "because it is so beautiful!"

"I never could see the mountain because I couldn't get out of my hospital bed... But once I saw it... Wow...I finally understood why she was taking the photos, It was simply incredible!"

From the beginning to the end of the event, Jessica was smiling, socializing, and looked very happy. It was truly a wonderful sight to see, that after living a nightmare of pain where she could not move or eat, she can now interact normally with the world.

When asked about the condition, she responded, "RSD is devastating for the patients. They cannot move, or eat, and they are stuck in bed in agonizing pain. But it affects their families too."

Back in 2003, Jessica was 16 years old, living in New york with her parents. After finishing the school year, she went away to a summer camp where she was bitten by a tick on her right leg. Soon after, the problems began with severe headaches, strong pain and stomach paraylsis.

No doctor could diagnose the problem. She continued to progress with more symptoms, until eventually, she developed painful lesions and even being touched or wearing clothes was agonizing for her.

Her mother took her to many of the best hospitals in the United States, while she continued to decline, becoming unable to move or eat. Finally, a doctor at Columbia University made the diagnosis of RSD and referred her to Monterrey for the experimental ketamine coma protocol.

"I want every patient to experience the recovery that I have been blessed with...that is my new mission," says Jessica, now 25 years old.

"I pray that one day we will find a cure for RSD, but for now, Dr. Cantu and his team are the closest thing we have to that. What they have done for me, and others like me, is remarkable. I believe the cure will be found here in Monterrey."

Jessica went through two ketamine comas and spent 16 months in the hospital, but when asked how she feels about those moments, she changes the subject.

"How I, in this moment, is fantastic! I feel blessed to be able to fight for others suffering from the disease and I feel very proud of my mom and her photos!"

"Where there is life, there is hope," she says. "I am now back in school, studying medicine and I would like to come back to Monterrey and work with Dr. Cantu."

Jessica considers Cantu her second father. When she gets married, she wants to have him on one arm, and her biological father on the other.

She laughs, saying that she doesn't actually even have a boyfriend, "But I will work on that!"


The organizer behind this exhibition is Maricarmen Zavala, daughter of Maria de Guadalupe Zavala, who is better known as "Dr. Rainbow," who volunteered to help the protocol and has closely followed the progress of Jessica.

"My mom says that after the first coma, "Jessi," had memory loss and did not recognize anything or anyone... Not even her mother. Can you imagine the pain Sarah felt, as her mother?" My mom would go everyday to the hospital wearing bright, vivd colors, and even though Jessi didn't know anything, she responded to the bright colors and began to associate my mother with that." says Maricarmen.

"We have become very close family friends, we love and care for them very much. Recently we were out having dinner together and Sarah was showing me some of her photos and I said, "what a waste to not share these!" Something so beautiful, for us we see Cerro de la Silla daily and so often we do not appreciate its beauty. It takes somebody coming here from outside to open our eyes to the beautiful things right in front of us!

She told Sarah, 'let's show the public your photos.' For now, we only showed these photos for one day, but we have not ruled out having another exhibition in September with many more of Sarah's images of this monumental, beautiful emblem of Monterrey."

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains- Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth."- Psalm 121

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

My amazing Live Loved experience!

Hi everyone!!

WOW... What can I even say? Where do I even begin?? This past week was one of the most memorable of my entire life... And anyone who knows me, also knows I do not make that statement lightly after all I have been through these past several years.

The past week feels like a whirlwind, and when I think back on the memories of my time at the National Youth Gathering, it feels dream-like to me.

Last Monday morning my mom, sister Michelle and I headed to the airport to begin our trip! We flew to Dallas first, and then connected to San Antonio. In the Dallas airport we saw several youth groups wearing "Live Loved" t-shirts and I started to get really excited to know I would soon be speaking to these very same kids who right now, had no idea who I was.

We landed and checked into our hotel, and headed off to the Alamodome to meet Pastor Nate Peregoy, the organizer of LiveLoved's Thursday night event. 

It was really cool to finally hug and meet him face to face! It's funny,  but since we had been working so closely together preparing for my speech for the past two months, it was more like old friends reuniting than strangers meeting for the first time.

Nate gave me a quick tour of the Alamodome and starting explaining to me in great detail everything I would need to know to get ready for my speech on Thursday... However, I don't even remember much of what he was saying because this is what I was focusing my attention on:

As I looked out onto the 30,000 empty seats in front of me, I have to admit, it was a bit intimidating.

Ok, very intimidating.

I thought to myself, "ok, well... This was certainly a fun trip! San Antonio seems like a nice city... Let's go home now!" ;)

After checking out the Alamodome we proceeded to the Rivercenter mall that was across the street from our hotel so we could relax and get something to eat. Outside of Macy's I saw a familiar face (and bald head :) I had the blessing of passing by Nathan Erb! Nathan is the Youth Pastor from my hometown church, Resurrection Garden City, NY. And I had not seen him since 4 years ago when he and Pastor Jeff Browning prayed over me before I left for Mexico! Talk about a joyous reunion!

Nathan is a huge part of the reason I was asked to share my story at the gathering. It's another one of those God-incidences that I love so much!

See, for the past two years, many people had been working tirelessly to plan this elaborate event, and as of 6 months ago, they still did not have a keynote speaker for the event on Fourth of July.

It 'just-so-happened' that Nathan was on the band committee for the National Youth Gathering and was working closely with the other organizers for the event.

He overheard that they were still looking for someone who had a unique story of finding their identity in Christ, instead of their circumstances.

And he immediately thought of me.

Nathan shared my story with Nate Peregoy & Megan Miessler, organizers of the gathering, and they were intrigued. They told him to contact me and see if this was something I would even be willing to do-- get up in front of 25,000+ people and share the most painful moments of my life and how God helped me through them.

My first thought was "!" , but my first words were, "absolutely, it would be my honor."

And so, that is how this part of my journey began. :)

Later that Monday night we attended the first of the four giant "mass events" that would take place during the gathering.

 The theme for the 2013 National Youth Gathering was "Live Love(d)," based on I John 4:9.  "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

So, Monday nights theme was beLoved, Tuesday was deLoved, Wednesday was Love Lived and Thursday was Live Loved.

These mass events were extraordinary. I have never seen anything like it before! Imagine, 25,000 people, on fire for Jesus, hands lifted high in praise, singing along with a huge live worship band onstage-- to music of all genre's, worshipping and loving God! The holy spirit and energy in that arena was incomparable to anything I have ever experienced. It was beautiful!

On Tuesday morning we ate Texas shaped waffles for breakfast and then prepared to venture out to explore downtown San Antonio.

However, before we did any of that, there was someone very special I had to go see-- my childhood Pastor, Bill Harmon.

I saw in the gathering guidebook that Pastor Harmon would be speaking about Christian politics in one of the ballrooms at the convention center... And I prepared to go surprise him there.

During the time I was sick, Pastor Harmon got the call to move from Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, NY to a parish in West Virginia.

The last time Pastor Harmon saw me, I was in a hospital bed, unable to move, writhing in pain and unable to even communicate with him.

On Tuesday, I slowly wheeled into the room where he was speaking, and sat quietly in the back, waiting for him to make eye contact with me.

It took about 5 minutes, but as soon as he saw me, he ran over, hugged me and began to cry. And then, so did my mom and I.

It was so special to reunite with him under much happier and healthier circumstances!

On our way out of the convention center, I saw some amazing paintings of Jesus on display in the lobby, done by the "Jesus Painter." I went over and starting looking at them, when a man walked up next to me and starting asking me which painting was my favorite. I scanned them all and told him this one was my favorite-

The man took the painting and asked me what my name was. He proceeded to sign the painting to me, because as it turns out, he was Mike Lewis, the official "Jesus Painter" himself! How cool!!

Mike paints pictures of Jesus along to christian songs, sometimes even painting upside down, and then flipping it over to reveal Jesus' face! He is so talented and is such a nice guy!

Check out his ministry's site to see some of the amazing portraits he does-

Finally, we set out to see San Antonio. San Antonio is a very unique city, in that it is all connected by Paseo del rio, the River Walk that runs underneath the streets of the city. The River Walk sidewalks are lined with restaurants, bars and shops and the whole feel of the city reminds me a lot of Mexico. :)

We went on a boat tour of the entire river and learned a few interesting facts about the city.

We went to see the historic Alamo, where the battle of the Alamo took place.

We passed by the Tower of America's too!

At Tuesday night's mass event (deLoved) Mia Koehne gave a powerful testimony about the way God has helped her put back the pieces of her once destructive and broken life. It was very moving and I was so blessed to get to meet her and pray with her.

On Wednesday morning we went back downstairs to indulge in some more Texas shaped waffles, and were surprised to see 6 golden retrievers sitting in the restaurant! Assuming they were disability service dogs, I went over and asked if I could pet them. It turns out, these are some very special puppies!

They are Lutheran Charities K9 comfort dogs. These dogs have traveled all around the country bringing comfort in moments when it is hard to find any. They went up to Sandy Hook Elementary school after the tragic shootings, they went to Boston to comfort those affected after the marathon bombings, they have gone to dozens of natural disasters and hurricanes to give people something to smile about. They are God's paws & feet to those in need!

Here we are with Luther, Ruthie and Isaiah-

They are adorable and so loving... And they all have their own facebook pages! Check them out at

After loving on the puppies, we checked out the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (located across from the Alamodome) The LCMS Youth gathering set up more events than I can even list... From rock climbing walls, a zip line, jumping castles, craft stations, sports, games, prayer blanket and bracelet making stations, and sooo many other awesome activities. They definitely thought of every possible way to keep 25,000 teenagers engaged and entertained!

These amazing kids also set out on mission trips each day throughout San Antonio to share Jesus' love with the city. They visited orphanages, fed the homeless, took care of abused animals in shelters and did various types of service events!

 Talk about living loved!

This is me with Pastor Dan Weber, who gave great sermon-type messages at each of the mass events. The world gets smaller and smaller, as it turns out that Dan's mother is Pastor Harmon's secretary!

Here we are with Jeffrey Meinz, who was a big hit with the kids! Everyday before the mass events began, Jeffrey held a "Gathering News" segment in which he made jokes and poked fun at certain kids from certain states (like Iowa ;) He really riled up the crowd and made everyone laugh with his crazy antics and great sense of humor!!

That afternoon, we ate lunch at a great Mexican place on the River Walk with our great friends, The Thompsons, who live in San Antonio.

...We felt right at home! :)

On Thursday morning there was a traditional church service held in the Alamodome.

If you can believe it, ALL 25,000+ took part in Communion... And in less than 20 minutes, mind you. There were 150 Communion stations throughout the entire Alamodome. It was intense and exciting.

After the service, we were invited to a special lunch in the Alamodome for everyone who was involved in the Mass event that night. By the time I rolled in, all of the tables were full, except for one. So I pulled up next to a kind looking man, who smiled at me and introduced himself as Mark.

He asked me where I was from, what I was going to be speaking about, etc, and we just made small talk until I mentioned that I was really excited to see the Sandpainter, who I knew was also presenting that night.

Mark smiled big, and informed me that he was the sandpainter!

Mark uses light and ordinary sand to create beautiful images that go along with bible stories, and the results are impressive, entertaining and beautiful as well!

Definitely take time to check out his website too-

A special prayer circle was held and I was put in the middle of it, around 50 people prayed over the entire event-- from beginning to end, for God to be glorified through this night. Pastor Harmon said a special prayer for me, which meant so much. Before I left, my Pastor here in Naples, Pastor Paul & his wife Maria, also had said special prayers over me, and I definitely felt them on this night!

Finally, the big moment had arrived. I was taken down into a green room, where I was mic'ed and prepared to take the stage to speak in front of 25,000 people.

My heart felt like it might come out of my mouth, I could hear the crowd getting ready, and I was so nervous, but in a good, exciting way!

I had the great honor of carrying the Christian flag down the aisle, after 50 other kids carried down flags representing each state and country who had youth present at the event! I believe there were 13 countries total, and people from every state of the US in the Alamodome that night!!

As the worship band played, "All Creatures of our God and King" I proceeded down the aisle carrying the one flag that unified all the others-- yes, the people at the gathering might be from different states or countries, but we are all part of the body of Christ!

When the song finished, I posted my flag and wheeled backstage to prepare for my big moment.

Part of the newscast that was done about my story by Patrick Nolan on FOX4 last year played on two 60-foot tall screens in the Alamodome.

When it finished, I was introduced by the emcee Sarah Salzberg- "Ladies and gentleman, welcome, Jessica Stevens."

As soon as I wheeled onto the stage the crowd erupted in applause and gave me a big standing ovation before I even said one word!

I was so touched that I thought I might start to cry and not be able to get through my speech. I choked back my tears and instead said, "oh wow, thank you so much, this is incredible... So surreal."

Being on a stage in front of 25,000 people is not an every day thing, and I had no idea what to expect! The lights were so bright and blinding that I really couldn't see much of anything, except a large sea of shadows bouncing off of the tops of peoples heads. My words echoed back at me, which was a little bit weird and took some getting used to.

I proceeded to speak about my long journey through pain and suffering. I told them how I was a happy, healthy teenager who played sports and enjoyed spending time with friends. Until, without any warning, my life as I knew was ripped away from me by an illness that has no cure.

I shared how I ended up in critical condition, paralyzed, unable to eat or move and trapped in a body full of agonizing burning pain.

I said how we were told there were no other options to save my life, and I had only a few weeks left to live.

How through a series of events only God could orchestrate, we found hope through an experimental ketamine coma treatment in Mexico, how God used Dr. Cantu and Dr. Barrientos as his healing hands and feet.

I shared how there were even moments when I doubted God existed, and how I couldn't understand why a loving God would allow me to suffer for so long.

I shared how in the moments I was near death, God revealed himself to me in ways I could have never thought were possible.

The more I talked, the more at peace I felt. Now, I have felt God's peace, comfort and love in many different ways and forms through the past seven years of illness, but being up on that stage, sharing the miracles and grace He has given and shown to me when I was most in need and undeserving, in front of such a large and spirit filled crowd, gave me a new God-feeling that I don't quite have a name for just yet....It felt as if Jesus himself was standing in the front row, smiling big, hands outstretched as far as the east is from the west, shining His light down on that stage for everyone to see what HE has done!

I continued to share about the long, hard process it was for me to learn and accept that my identity does not come from what I can do... But from Whose I am! There are so many things we place our value and worth in, and while these things may explain you, they do not define you... They are not your identity!

We only see what is in front of us right now, and sometimes, that can be really scary... But we are fully known by an awesome God who see's all, knows all and is above ALL!!

Our identity doesn't lie in who were are... But in Whose we are!

I shared how I still live with uncertainties about my future- will I ever walk again? Stay in remission? Get married? Have kids? Live a long, healthy life?

I explained that those questions are bigger than me, but they are not too big for God!

While I believe the answer to my questions is yes, the truth is, even if the answer is no, I will be ok because I live loved! I have the love of Jesus, I have His strength in my weakness... Whatever the future holds, that is all I need!

During my speech the crowd gave God and I THREE huge, long standing ovations for all the amazing He has done in my life... Which I am told is a record breaker for the National Youth Gathering events of the past 35 years!

After I finished speaking, the emcee Sarah re-joined me onstage and asked me a few follow up questions. The whole audience laughed when she asked me to explain why a 25 year old woman was sitting up on stage clutching a teddy bear :)

She asked me what got me through the hardest days, and what I am up to now that I have a new life restored to me. I explained that I am now studying to become a physician's assistant and work alongside the doctors who saved my life, and how even though this illness would never have been the plan I would have chosen for my life, God has used it for good and His glory.

When the event was over, it took me over two hours to make my way out of the Alamodome that night!!

Everyone was stopping to hug, high five, share their own struggles and take pictures with me! Kids wanted me to sign their backpacks and shirts and write little messages for them in their bibles! I felt like a celebrity! I felt so humbled to think that God trusted me enough to share His love with thousands of his precious kids!

Some guys even proposed to me... But unfortunately, I am pretty sure if I took any of them up on that offer, I would end up in jail, since they are still teenagers! Hahaha

As I made my way through the crowd I received a text from Nate, telling me to stay put at my location because the crisis team was trying to find me. Within minutes a pretty young girl named Victoria was brought over to me, hysterically crying, to the point she could hardly speak. We were escorted through the crowd and into a private meeting room, where she shared with me her long, painful struggle with paralysis and seizures from RSD. I was the first person she had ever met with the same condition, and she was so relieved to know she wasn't alone.

The next morning I was asked to meet with two other young girls, Michaela, who is also suffering from chronic pain, and Macy, who developed RSD in her foot after a surgery.

So many youth stopped to share their personal stories with me, and I am amazed by the strength and courage some of these teenagers have displayed in the face of tragedies in their short lives.

Their stories all touched me deeply and I am so glad God made these connections for us all.

Here are some pictures of me with my many new friends-

I came to the Live Loved National Youth Gathering hoping to inspire 25,000 through my story of God's love and miracles, but I really never anticipated how much this event would also change me. The love I felt while up on that stage was indescribable. I pray I never forget that feeling, I don't think I ever will.

As we left the Alamodome, we were treated to the most gorgeous and lively display of fireworks I have ever seen! It was magical, like God himself was lighting up the sky with joy and happiness over all of us gathered to worship him in this place!

This national youth gathering ( is held every three years. Some people were saying how cool it would be for me to come to the event in 2016 and WALK across that stage and give an updated testimony! And hey, you never know, with God, ALL things are possible!... I see it happening! :) 

The livestream from Thursday night was viewed over 7500 times, which just blows my mind! To God be the glory for every life touched through this event...including mine. 

It appears that the livestream has been taken offline... I am working on a way to get a copy and upload it on to youtube asap :)

Thanks so much for checking in and sharing this amazing experience with me! I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity!! God bless! Que Dios te bendiga!!

Live Loved!


ps- I was so touched and overwhelmed by the amount of facebook friend requests I received after this event, that I decided to make a page specifically to keep in touch with everyone :) "Like" my page and say hi!

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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!