Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Opening the prison door

Pain can be a prison. It holds us captive, rendering us unable to overcome circumstances and to live a full life, and powerless to reclaim the freedom we once knew. Once trigeminal neuralgia or other forms of neuropathic facial pain strike, we may realize that we didn't fully appreciate our lives prior to the onset of the disability.

We look for answers, proclaim ourselves not guilty, and know we wouldn't wish this type of torment on anyone, even our worst enemy. We call for a guard, and he or she comes, but they do not unlock the door for us. Medications, procedures, and alternate treatments don't always work. We're trapped.

Maybe you've begun to fear that you have received a life sentence, that the pain will never leave. Hope becomes elusive. Without hope, we cannot go free.

Don't give up. Make your release a goal. Don't accept a life - or a death - sentence.

Coaches and teachers have teach their students to "keep an eye on the prize." I believe it is appropriate to adopt this way of thinking. Picture yourself living a normal life. Don't lose sight of it. Step by step, visualize yourself in better health. Hold tightly to things that you cherish.

I held onto my belief that the Lord would not "leave me" in such terrible pain; receiving a miracle was my goal. By the time my prayer was answered, I had  experienced quite a bit of isolation. I didn't really know how to relate well to people any longer. I was grateful. I asked what could I do to help someone else, something I could do from home.

Soon I became involved with Prison Fellowship Ministries. I started as a penpal, and the experience mushroomed. As years went by, I volunteered to teach classes at a prison.

My original penpal and I have been writing four years now. In fact, he has become like a son to us. When I first wrote him, I explained trigeminal neuralgia and how it was like being in prison. I sent him a copy of With Great Mercy. When he read it, he understood that prison comes in many forms.

We are experiencing some glitches in our visitation recently. There is nothing we can do about it, but we understand that God knows no limits. If you'd like to offer a prayer on our behalf,  we'd appreciate your support.

Most of all, I'd like you to know that my prayers are with you, that your release date will come soon.  

Not guilty: that's you.

Have you visited my website?


  1. I was told last week by a neurosurgeon that I could not be helped, I left his office in tears. I have bilateral trigeminal neuralgia which is a precursor to MS. I no longer go outside or take phone calls unless its the doctor's office. I don't like company because they talk too loud and 'stomp' around too much. I am so grateful for the computer my only company, my husband is home only 5 days a month...he is sooo loud but tries not to be. I am also grateful for my art. When I am crying from the pain I can turn my attention to art and work through it. I am definitely in prison. I keep thinking that if I knew that, for instance...the last time I was at the beach, that it would be my last; I would have stayed longer, smelled the air, felt the wind on my cheek without pain, felt the sun on my face and the splash of the waves, I would have enjoyed it even more and I would have stayed until the very last second. I am in prison!

    On a brighter side before I start crying, yes my friend...use a touch of red!

  2. Connie,

    I am willing to believe with you that the prison door will open and you will be able to enjoy some of the things you've lost. How beautifully you describe the beach. Your words have touched me deeply. Red it is!

  3. I would like to pray for you.

    Dear Lord of all comfort and opener of doors long shut, please open a door for my sister and your daughter, Kathy, to minister to your sheep behind bars who need a touch of love and word of kindness. Break iron bars asunder to get help to these you love more than we can imagine. Show yourself strong on their behalf, in Jesus' mighty name, so be it.

    Love you, girl.

  4. I just discovered your blog, this is the first time I've really reached out to support places since dealing with ATN for over 5 years. I am deeply touched by your words and wisdom, it is so wonderful to know I am not alone, that there are those who understand (although I wish you didn't have to suffer the pain to be able to relate). I am determined to find a support group now and reach out to others, to be uplifted, and to lift others up as well.

    Thank you,


  5. Thank you for your prayers and support, Jen. And thank you, Sara, for stopping by. I'm so glad you found my blog, and I appreciate your encouragement. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

  6. Kathy I just discovered your blog. Pray did not work for me.But your blog did. I feel so lonely for a while. Your story really inspired me to fight with terrible disease. You are very brave and inspirational.I bookmarked your blog. Thank you so much and sorry for my poor English. I am from south-east Europe.

  7. Thank you for letting me know the blog has helped you. Feeling lonely is part of having trigeminal neuralgia, and I encourage you to continue fighting. Every time we have a pain, we are that much more victorious because we have survived another one.

    Your English is excellent, and I hope to hear from you again. Let me know what I can do. You are in my prayers.