Healed from “Suicide Disease” with a Touch and a Prayer
Brandice Hudson – 700 Club Producer
“Out of nowhere I just had this lightning bolt of piercing, burning pain. It was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt in my life, come into the upper part of my left cheek and just pierce straight through my face,” said Chris Carlson.
It was 1997, when 25-year-old Chris Carlson started having the attacks. At first they lasted a few seconds but every day they returned, more painful, and more often.
“Chris would have one of the shocks, the pain in her face. I could see it instantly. Her eye would close up, her face would kind of scrunch up,” said Chris’ husband, Dave.
“My face would swell up with the pain and so literally my face would constrict,” said Chris.
Doctors couldn’t find the cause, and the faintest touch on her face or exposure to light would trigger an episode. The pain from her sensitivity to light became so debilitating, she had to leave her job as an engineer and isolate herself from friends.
“Our house was becoming darker and darker and darker. I mean a light bulb would go out and we wouldn’t replace it. And so literally it was dark and emotionally it was dark,” she said.
Finally after six years, doctors discovered Chris had a rare, chronic pain condition called TN or Trigeminal Neuralgia. It affects the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation to the face and brain. It’s also known as the Suicide Disease. “Because people just can’t get out of the pain. And so they will eventually take their own life,” Chris explained.
“It was very stressful. It controlled everything about our lives. Every decision that was made was controlled by the pain,” said Dave.
For the next nine years, doctors treated Chris with medications, injections, and surgeries but they provided only temporary relief. Chris and Dave say during this time they prayed for everything – except healing.
“We prayed to get the right doctor who would know what was going on. We prayed to get the right procedure, but never did we know to just pray to take it away,” Chris said.
So with all her options exhausted, Chris asked God to help her cope with the pain.
“You have to help me. I can’t do this…. A lot of just looking for strength. I was understanding I was going to have to live with this. ‘Well if I have to live with it God, you have to help me to live with it! I can’t do it all by myself so you’re going to have to step in and help me.’”
In August 2012, Dave encouraged her to attend a healing service hosted by a local pastor, Tim McCarthy.
Chris said, “Afterwards Pastor Tim said, ‘Marlene will pray for people if you’d like prayer.’ So I look at Dave and I’m like, ‘Okay let’s go. Time to go home.’ He’s like, ‘Are you kidding? You are going up for prayer.’”
Reluctantly she went forward. “I said, ‘Look, I don’t believe in this whole healing business.’ And she looked and she says ‘Okay.’”
Marlene remembers, “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll believe for you. That’s not a hard task.’ Then I remember feeling that it was very important to touch the side of her face.”
“Nobody ever touched my face because it would just elicit extreme pain. So she puts her hand on my face and says just a simple prayer. She’s getting very bouncy and joyous and she’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect that. There it is!’ And of course I don’t say ‘Yes, I’m feeling heat in the back of my neck.’ She finishes the prayer and says ‘Okay.’ Then I say, ‘Thank you very much. Have safe travels home.’”
As the couple headed home a tingling sensation spread throughout the left side of Chris’ face.
“For 25 minutes I had that. And then I had nothing. My face just opened up. My eye opened and I had no pain. We were both just confused. Where’s the pain? It had been 15 years! It was gone.”
Chris was in awe of what God had done. “In that moment I was quiet. The pain was gone but there was no reason for me to be healed. I wasn’t in the Word all the time. I wasn’t actively asking for healing. And I was healed, only because He loves me.”
Chris and Dave say the miracle made them reevaluate their priorities. They quit their jobs and sold their belongings. Today they travel as missionaries and spread the word about God’s healing power.
“Because He’s absolutely incredible – that I could go from being so sick, to this. It’s just amazing and we have the most blessed life,” said Chris.