Jan G

Jan and husband, Dan

My name is Jan and I am one of the adult mentors on the I-Can Listserv. Let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born in 1962 in Oklahoma City, OK with a congenital absence of all four limbs. I have shoulders but no arms, my left leg is 10″ long, and my right leg is 5″ long. Based on the opinions given to my parents by numerous physicians when I was a child, I wore arm prostheses (usually one left arm and hook) from the time I was 5 until I was 13, when my parents finally let me make the choice to discard them. But I continued to wear artificial legs for “cosmetic” purposes until I was 29 years old. Today, I am very happy to be free of the prostheses, as they were always much more of an encumbrance than a help.

Despite the “significance” of my disability, I lead quite a busy life. On a daily basis, I need assistance with bathing, getting dressed (although I can dress and undress myself independently with the right clothing), housekeeping and driving. Otherwise, I am completely independent. I am married to a wonderful guy named Dan. When we met we knew almost instantly that we were a perfect match. Professionally, I work full-time as a lawyer training others in the intricacies of disability civil rights laws. I am also actively involved in the San Francisco Bay Area community where I live, serving on the board of directors of 3 major organizations.

Although I am often viewed with pity by strangers, I know that I am indeed fortunate. And my success, both professionally and personally, is directly linked to my truly supportive family and network of friends. That is why this listserv, and other mechanisms of support, are so important. You, the families of kids with limb anomalies, can and do make all the difference in the world to your kids. Keep up the good work!