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Submitted on
February 28
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2.2 MB


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Gillian - An old photograph by tomalee Gillian - An old photograph by tomalee
I've been asked how Gillian ended up with almost no limb left. Here is the answer.

I've been asked, too, to make a picture with an armless one-legged woman. That's called, if I'm not mistaken, killing two birds with one stone :-) (can't say I like this expression, but it seems appropriate).

A little warning: the story below is quite sad. An amputation rarely is something happy, all the more in this case. But the end is a little brighter.


Browsing through her files on the computer, Gillian found an old photograph that call back a lot of memories... painful ones.

"wow. I remember that photograph. It was taken by that guy I dated a few time. What was his name ? Ah, yes, Brian. He let me down shortly after that, for a girl with more limbs... but less brain. I remember I told him they fitted well together when I found out. He probably never understood I was insulting him. So much for his speech about my lack of limb making no difference to him. Too bad. He was rather cute and nice ...

It was good to walk like this in the countryside, especially in late spring. Well, rather hopping than walking but it's the same to me. It never were long "walks", at least by the distance, and I had to rest often. But there was no need to go very far to enjoy the colors, the quietness, the birds singing, the smells... A lot less easy now.

When was it taken ... june 2008. About 6 years. Not that old. It seems a lot longer. Like an eternity ago. It was a few months before that ...

... a few months before I started feeling pain in my leg. Doctors thought it was because I was hopping too much. I told them it wasn't that. I told them kinesitherapy and painkillers were a waste of money. And time. It took well over a year before they agree to do some decent physical exams.

Cancer. Bastards. Had they listen to me earlier, maybe it would have been possible to cure it. Maybe I would still have my leg.

I tried every treatment they offered, even the hardest ones. The fourth was hell. I remember being permanently nauseous. But it seemed to work ... for a time. After what seemed to be a complete remission the cancer grew back stronger than ever. The doctors told me there was nothing more they could do ... except for the unthinkable. I told them quite harshly that if they had done their job correctly, we wouldn't be in this situation. Oddly, they didn't argue...

It was the hardest decision of my life. I knew I didn't really have a choice ... it was either loose my only limb ... or die. I remember I considered the second one. Only for a brief moment, but I did.

I remember my foot was shaking a lot, and not only because of the disease and the pain, when I took the pen with it to signed the paper allowing the doctors to amputated my leg. What an irony. I was using the very limb they wanted to remove to allow them to do that.

I've never cried that much in my life ... Too bad my tears don't have the same effects as those of the phoenix in the books of JK Rowling. I would have cured my leg at least ten times over given the amount I shed on it ... but there is no such thing as magic in this world, and soon my tears where moistening the bandages on what was left of my leg.

It took me months before I began overcoming the amputation. I went though a long depressive phase. The therapist said that to recover, to mentally recover from this, I need to adapt, to find other ways of doing things. I almost laughed when he said that. It looked preposterous. I told him that being born with only one limb, I've done that all my life, but that now there was a slight difficulty ... I asked him for suggestions for someone who has almost no limbs at all ...  He was a bit embarrassed. I thought he would be.
But he insisted, saying that it helps a lot to find things I can still do, things that seem impossible at first. It turned out he was right. A lot of things seemed impossible. Most were. Fortunately, a few were not, and I slowly started to feel better.

I was quite happy at the time of that photograph. Last time I really was for a very long time.

Until the other day at the lake, in fact, when I found I was capable of doing something valuable, should the need arise. I'm quite proud of myself, even if it was not a real rescue. Thanks, Rebecca.

And I'm sure there are plenty of other valuable things I'm still able to do ... "


Background is "Maple Meadows" by HowieFarkes , dress is "Anais Summer V4" by 4blueyes ,  and shoes are "Ballerina Assembly Kit" by Dogz , all from daz3d.

I used a setting called "depth of field" to make the background blurry. I wanted to make the picture looking more like a real photograph, and also to make the Gillian stick out. The render is a lot longer: nearly 28 hours (about 3 without that), but I think it was worth it.
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vulcanknight Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
Very interesting image. Also, I understand something of her past. I'm glad that the character has finally adapted to its new condition, and tries to keep looking forward;)
tomalee Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks !

Keep looking forward, yes, it's exactly that. Becoming limbless does not mean all is over, that you cannot do anything valuable anymore, that you cannot enjoy your life.

And thanks for the fav too !
vulcanknight Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014
That is the spirit. I hope to see more of your character, who is along characters like those of Jerek or Gamera, one of the best.
tomalee Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I am very touched :thanks: .

I think you will see more of Gillian.

I'm also working on another character, but I'm experiencing some difficulties making it the way I want, so the next picture will probably still be about Gillian.

Whichever character, though, I'm afraid it will take some time.

Thanks again !
ngulu-b Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
Great picture and a gripping story to go with it - thanks for that - any more on the way how she lost her other limbs?
tomalee Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It seems the story got some success ! Thank you very much for the compliment on this, and on the picture too.

As to your question, I think I should have find a way to make it more clear, for you are the second one to ask me (see the comment of RocMegamanX) and ... well the answer is in the story.

I admit it's not obvious, but it's written. Read again the paragraph starting with "It took me months ..." ;-)

And thanks for the fav too !
zephyronze Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
Nice job : viewing & reading :thumbsup:
tomalee Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you !

I'm glad you liked the story too, for it required nearly as much work as the picture (not counting the rendering). Not easy to write a story in a language other than your mother's :-) .
zephyronze Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
I know that ;)

You've performed a great job.

Read you soon,
Pavlinka14 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Student Digital Artist
its absolutely beatifull :) i love it please make some more,like she was doing something with her feet... :( absolutely amazing work!
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