Cleveland Kidnapping Survivors Spread Hope

As many of you know, hope is such a fragile thing.  Even the most optimistic person who lives with pain, sickness, and fatigue every day has moments (or seasons) of despair.  This week I found tremendous encouragement from hearing Michelle Knight’s testimony in court; Michelle is one of the three women who has held captive by Ariel Castro in Cleveland for a decade–or in her case, eleven years.   Her connection to us may seem elusive but I think she is a great example of resilience.

The Dark Part of the Mind That is Inaccessible 

Recently I was discussing my illness with one of my doctors who asked if my family understands what I’m going through.  I said yes–they try their best and do things to help me–but ultimately there’s a part of my mind they can’t reach or fully understand.  The part that is sometimes lonely, often confused, and at other times happy and resolute and sure God uses my pain to help others.  I imagine that the three women who survived being tortured by Ariel Castro–Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus, and Michelle Knight–will have many people to lean on.  They city of Cleveland has rightfully treated them like heroes.  And they will have family and friends to help them.  But all this support cannot take the years of suffering back.  And a part of their experience will always be hard to completely comprehend for outsiders.  I think that it’s like this for chronically people as well–our healthy friends and family can help but they can’t fully comprehend the pain we endure.

Michelle Knight’s Powerful Testimony of Hope

Survivor, Michelle Knight
Survivor, Michelle Knight

Despite all they endured,  all three women have released statements thanking everyone for their support, well wishes, and prayers!  Yesterday I was buoyed by Michelle Knight’s testimony in court:

If she could endure all that (being separated from her son for 11 years, being tortured and beaten) and still have faith in God and the kindness of humanity, I think we can too.

–Your Stylist,

Jessica Gimeno


Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), endometriosis, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

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