The Girl Who Feels No Pain
Gabby, at just 5 years old, is one of the most unique little girls around. In fact, only 34 other Americans live with the same condition—a congenital insensitivity to pain—as her. Like a derailed train, the nerves that carry pain signals from the surface of her body to her brain never arrive. Gabby never feels pain.
"When we first found out she doesn't feel pain it was like, 'What a relief,'" her dad, Steven, says.
However, that pain is necessary, Gabby's mom, Trish, says. "People always think of pain. 'Oh, if I could get rid of the pain.' I'm thinking, 'You do not even know how lucky you are that you can feel it."
When she was just a baby, Gabby started chewing her own hand while she was teething. "She had bit down through her skin," Trish says. "She would have bit down to the bone had I let her. It was just chewed up. It looked mangled and nasty, like raw hamburger on her hand." It got to the point where Steven and Trish decided to have Gabby's teeth pulled out to save her hands and tongue, which she chewed on "like bubblegum."
After literally poking her own eye out, Gabby now wears protective goggles to try and spare the sight in her one remaining eye. "Now the main thing is keeping her good eye healthy," Trish says. "Making sure that we don't ever get an infection or do anything to hurt the one eye she's down to."
In another instance Gabby suffered second-degree burns on her hand after grabbing a hot lightbulb. "She just grabbed a hold of the lightbulb like she was grabbing a baseball," Steven says. "On a normal person, that would be very painful."