Marisa’s ABS story

Hello! My name is Marisa, and I was born 15 years ago with ABS. I am missing my left hand, and my left forearm is about 2 inches shorter than my other arm. You can actually see where the bands were wrapped around my elbow – apparently it was pretty tight.

I have been a prosthesis wearer since the age of 5 months old. I had myoelectric until I was about 10, but I only charged it about twice a month so it was pretty much useless. I then switched to the much lighter passive hand, which is more functional for me anyway.

Hardly anything stops me. I am a singer, dancer, International Baccalaureate student, and I like trying new things as much as possible. The only things I have issues with are swimming (but I hate pools anyway so I don’t really care) and styling my hair (but luckily my mom is awesome with hair). It takes people anywhere from a few months to YEARS to even recognize that I have a prosthetic hand! I used to hate it when kids asked me questions about it, but now I’m used to it and welcome their questions. I even have this cool book that shows how they made a prosthesis for a little two-year-old girl.

In the future, I’d like to either pursue a Broadway career or become an optometrist. Kids are a definite for me, and even though ABS isn’t genetic, I wouldn’t mind if my own children had it too. I feel like it would be nice to have someone who gets why I enjoy leaving my hand in strange places (to freak people out! duh! =D) I may not even wear a prosthesis when I’m older, it would certainly rid me of the terrible hand tan I have in high summer. =)

As far as advice to any other people struggling to accept themselves or having others accept them, I give this morsel: Hold your head up high. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion shape your soul. It’s a challenge, yes, but everyone has challenges in life. Keep inventing fun ways to do things (like popping chip bags) and we’ll have a beautiful, unique, interesting world.

2 thoughts on “Marisa’s ABS story


  1. Hi Marisa,

    I’m Kelsey and I’m 19 and a freshmen in college. I too was born without a left hand and my forearm is also slightly shorter than my right. You seem like a very wise person beyond your years. I tried wearing a prosthesis when I was young but I found that it made things more difficult. I’m curious about the myoelectric one though and wonder if that would be helpful. You should definitely consider not wearing it sometimes because I have found that I have adapted to do things in my own special way and it feels less restrictive and natural without one. You might feel like you are limited without wearing your prosthetic hand but there is always a way you can modify and utilize your little hand to accomplish something. Also, it’s fun to make up stories when little kids ask “what happened to your hand”. I think not having a left hand actually makes us stronger and more determined people anyway. Keep being awesome! 🙂


    1. I’m 24 years old. I’m slowly beginning to accept myself. I also find it difficult to wear my prosthetic hand. I think the only time I was able to wear was when they give it to me in the hospital. But, I do everything on my own. However, I find myself shinning away from career because I don’t what would other say about whether I’lll be able to complete the required tasks. I’m determine to not let my hand define who I am and my purpose in life.

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