In November, I released an Open Letter of Thankfulness revealing my diagnosis and my story to my constituents:
I am Judge Paula Brown and I serve you as an Appeals Court Judge on the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit.
Many of you who know me, know that I am a breast cancer survivor—I was diagnosed in 2008 during my first run for judge of Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans (I did not win that election). In 2009, during my second run for district court judge, I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN). TN, also known as “suicide disease,” is a chronic pain disorder affecting the trigeminal nerve that produces episodes of severe, sudden, sharp, shock-like excruciating pain on one side of the face. There is, arguably, no worse pain than the pain of TN. In early 2010, I won my election for and was seated as a district court judge of Civil District Court; I lost my mother not long afterwards; and later that year, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Some may ask why am I writing this open letter—quite frankly, I was compelled to write it! I write to bring awareness to TN and MS, diseases of which many may suffer from in silence, like I did; and I write in hopes that my testimony might be a blessing and serve as encouragement to someone else suffering from these diseases. Because I truly believe, “For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:48 KJV).
Despite my diagnoses, I am filled with a tremendous amount of faith, gratitude and thankfulness. I am confident that I have been elevated to the appellate court to not only serve you as a judge, but to give a voice to the voiceless. So to those who are fighting breast cancer, to those suffering with TN and to those who have been diagnosed with MS, I say to you, “You are not alone . . . I stand with you!”
On this day and every day, I am grateful for the tribulations because what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. That’s why I smile!
This sums it up about me!