Pondering Eases the Pain: On Perserverance, Loss, and Acceptance of a Limb Lost

Heh heh. Thumbs up, world.
I cannot sleep.  Again. The relentless stabs of pain wake me unfailingly now, since accidentally catching on fire on the night of December 29th, each morning at 2 a.m.  I am itching furiously at a phantom monster with long steel fingernails, and staring, disbelieving, in the dim nightlight at these unbelievable scars.

Oh, my God. My sister told me karma is a bitch. Whoa, Nellie. I don't think anyone deserves to be burned alive.

I am wondering how this grotesque, angry, twisted red appendage can actually be attached to my torso, something I lovingly held my newborn baby with as I breastfed him and rocked him to sleep with only two years ago.  This limb I used to climb trees, to sculpt clay, to do yoga and plies, back dives, handstands, cartwheels, and back handsprings, this arm I used, night after night, to hold the palette of colors while my right arm held a dancing paintbrush. This arm I hugged my long-gone Daddy and mother with — now a gnarled and mangled mess  of twisted and stitched pieces of flesh grafted from the lengths of my stripped upper and lower back.Scratching, scratching ’til it bleeds, at that very raging, reddened landscape of a back — once smooth, supple and tanned from years of biking in the sun by the sea — I am at a loss.

I am at a Complete. And Utter. Loss.

My Arm.  My arm.  My.  Arm.

Oh, i am sooo beautiful. Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall.

I repeat these words in my head until they no longer makes sense.  My arm. My arm. Myarm. Myarmmyarmmyarmyarmyarm. Army. Arme. Arm Me.

Arm Me.

Dear God, please arm me against the trials I must face now. I am so, so scared.

I am crying.

Silently, shaking, and hard.
I am mourning the loss of a great friend I had taken for granted for so many decades: my young and unscathed body, and most profoundly,

my entire left arm.  Half of the existence i lauded being able to live mostly with my hands.

this is what i have. this is not what i am . i am trying to love this anyway. i will.

Then, happenstance, I read a comment regarding my Facebook status update, a comment that I had somehow missed.
I had been lamenting, in a post (replete with brutally honest photographs), the horrors of my newly and deeply scarred arm and back — pitifully and publicly feeling sorry for myself.
My friend Robert, one whose writings i have read to be a very wise man,  simply typed as a response,

“You are beautiful. and courageous to let us see what you look like in these changes.”

This one sentence, in the instant it took to read it, profoundly changed not only my life, but my whole view on aging, experience, and wisdom as related to true beauty.

TRUE beauty. From the INSIDE, out.

my heart fell in one drop

Thank you so very much, my friend.
Thank you.

I shall attempt to sleep now, still itchy, but much more at peace.


RIght after they sewed it back together in four pieces, and before things got REALLY ugly.

i believe i have now paid my dues in full. Thank you.

and there is more and more and moreandmoreandmore it hurtsithurtsithurts.

Funny that "THUMBNAIL" is a photographic size option here. HAR

no sleep for the wicked, no rest when there are dues to pay

I was lucky to have escaped alive with an intact head. My ears were another story.

and…the question du jour:

...who cares???


Filed under diary, imperfection, life, sadness

4 responses to “Pondering Eases the Pain: On Perserverance, Loss, and Acceptance of a Limb Lost

  1. Thank you for sharing. You are a model of strength, even though you did not want to be in that role. I hope you are feeling better, even though it will be one small step at a time, perhaps.


  2. Gigi Martinez

    Wow Jan. I do look forward to your complete recovery from this. Be careful with infection. Take the proteins, vitamins, and keep well oxygenated and hydrated so that the skin can repair quickly. Lots of fruits and vegetables (clean thoroughly)..but you know this already…Keep up the good spirit with good music and positive ppl to keep that immunity strong and the heart happy.


    • My dearest Gigi!! I somehow missed this comment because I spent most of 2012 knocked out on pain medication. I am now drug free and 100% recovered with a closed traacheostomy and a fully rotational and functioning left arm. GOD IS GOOD. Every day, all day. I love you girlfriend. Kiss the Big Apple from MOI…MWAH XOX JJC


      • Gigi Ramos

        Love you too! And I am glad that you are completely healed, I saw the day in my mind and in my heart. Time heals all wounds as the old saying goes. Literally!!!! Praise God!


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