Reported by Michal Ortner
“Out of nowhere, I had like, this lightning bolt of piercing, burning pain. It was the most excruciating pain I’d ever felt in my life come into the upper part of my left cheek. And it just pierced straight through my face.”
This is Chris Carlson explaining the mysterious disease she had developed in 1997 at the age of 25. The illness would paralyze her because of the extremity of the pain. In the beginning stages, it would only last a few seconds but began to escalate in length and frequency. It soon caused a daily struggle for her.
“When Chris would have one of the shocks, the spikes of pain in her face, I could see it instantly,” Dave Carlson said, looking back to the time when his wife was suffering.
Things like exposure to light or a touch to her face could instantly trigger an episode. The severity and frequency of the painful incidents forced her to quit her job as an engineer.
“Our house was becoming darker and darker and darker. I mean, a light bulb would go out and we wouldn’t replace it. So, literally it was dark, but emotionally, it was also dark,” she said.
It took doctors six years to diagnose Chris with a rare disease called trigeminal neuralgia (TN). It is so rare that only 12 in 100,000 people contract the disease in a year’s time. TN, which causes extreme pain in the trigeminal nerve of the face, is also known as the “suicide disease.”
Chris explained that “people just can’t get outside of the disease, so eventually, they will take their own life.”
For nine years, Chris was treated with medicine, surgery, and injections that could only bring a temporary fix for her problem.
“You’ve got to help me to live with this,” Chris remembered praying to God.
In August of 2012, Chris and Dave attended a healing service that was hosted by Tim McCarthy. A woman who had been healed of cerebral palsy was there praying for people.
Chris was reluctant to go forward. The woman asked if she could touch her face, and Chris consented. Immediately, she began feeling a tingling sensation in her face that lasted for 25 minutes, and then “nothing.”
“My eye opened and I felt no pain. It had been 15 years and it was gone,” Chris said. “I didn’t have my ducks in a row. I was healed only because He loves me.”
Dave and Chris now travel as missionaries who share their message about God’s healing.