With Great Mercy

Finding hope when you have trigeminal neuralgia and other types of pain

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February 1, 2008

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Song of Solomon 1:2. kiss

I love the Song of Solomon because it celebrates the beauty of our five senses. Kisses, whether they come from a spouse, a child, or a parent are marvelous things. My grandmother was a really affectionate person, and I inherited a lot of her personality traits. I am one who likes to kiss my family and even my friends on the cheek. To me, it is an act of innocent love.

When I had trigeminal neuralgia, it was almost impossible for me to express my love with a kiss. If it came to the right side of my face or my mouth, then the electrocution-type pains would bolt through my face. One day, my husband asked me why I turned my head when he kissed me, giving him only a partial kiss. He felt as though I was turning away from him.

I was shocked when he asked me this question. The answer seemed so simple to me, but he was not aware that I experienced terrible pain from even a light kiss. I explained the situation, and I know he believed me. Something beautiful, though, had been taken from us. I had to be approached with caution. Gone were the days when affection could be displayed easily. No more hugs from the right side, where I had trigeminal neuralgia, could be tolerated. As the pain grew worse, I did not want to be hugged at all.

Then the day of the Lord’s healing me came. How we celebrated it. I began to kiss and hug. My husband bought me a new line of cosmetics to celebrate the fact that I could touch my face. We went out for dinners to celebrate, and I would choose things that were difficult to chew, things I had not eaten in years. Afterwards, I could brush my teeth. Being able to brush my teeth gave me the freedom to kiss without being self-conscious.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I think of all the kisses that will be shared and the dining out that will occur. I thank God that I can be a part of it. I can’t help thinking, though, about the people with trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathic facial pain who may not be able to enjoy a kiss or a meal at a favorite restaurant. Not too many people understand how painful a kiss can be or how frightening it can be to dine in public, but we who have experienced it really understand one another.

In spite of the isolation, people with facial pain really bond when they meet one another. The rest of the world might not really understand our actions and our hesitancies, but our understanding of these things is implicit. I am saying a prayer that you will be able to receive a hug or a kiss this Valentine’s Day. His love is better than wine.

With Great Mercy

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