9/19/2017 Word On Wednesday: “Toil”


Seven Months, And I Still Cry Over It

By: Carmen Ureña


One more month, another doctor visit

physiotherapy and tears.  

Now, seven months and a half,

seven months and a half without seeing the  light,

the light at the end of the tunnel.

Seven months and a half that to me

seem infinite.

I ask myself with no hopes at all,

I’m I ever going to recover from this?


Four doctors,

three radiologists,

50 therapy sessions,

ultrasounds, magnetic resonance.

360 pills, Lidocaine and Corticoid injections.

but my pain is still there,

as a constant reminder of my barriers,

the ones I can’t overcome,

the ones that haunt me everyday.

No changes,

the pain,

is even worst than when all of this started.


Seven  months,

and I just keep losing hope.

I toiled,

I have taken care of this injury as I have never done with any of my previous accidents.  

Even though I hate it,

I toiled,

3,000 hours stuck resting in a bed.  

Always the same, hot packs, cold packs,

magnetic waves, electric current.  

3,000 hours stuck in that cabin,

and it still hurts,

even  when I have to stretch the softest of the

strengthening rubber bands.


Seven months,

and I still cry over my lost of strength, muscle

and endurance.

Seven months,  and I keep crying about my

tonified calves, thighs, and arms.


Seven months,

and I keep crying over the races I had planned for this year.  

My hopes of competing  around the world,

are gone.  

I toiled to reach time limits to compete around the world,

5 years toiling,

just to see all of my efforts vanish before me.


My bike, full of dust,

waiting for my recovery,

seven months,

without anyone using it.  

My cycling shoes,

waiting for me in my closet.  

Every morning, afternoon, and night,

I open my closet,

I can hear them calling me;

while I can hardly walk.

Seven months,

without buying any running shoes, energetic

gels, goggles, or trisuits.  

Seven months, that changed my life.


Seven months,

and I know there’s at least four more months of

my suffering.  

Ahead of me,

and unusual Christmas,

an unusual New Year.  

No parties or high heels,

instead, a cast,

crutches, and stitches.  

What I thought was a simple ankle twist,

that will recover within  days,

has turned into an unuseful foot,

needing surgery.

My “insignificant” injury, has now destroyed


Seasons pass by,

leaves fall,

and they grow back, but I’m still here.


The days pass by, and I feel numb,

trying to understand how to live with the pain I feel,

but it just gets worst every day.  


Me, the strong woman,

or so I thought,

the Iron Girl,

is now crying,

crying because of her situation.


Seven months,

I toil not to,

but I keep crying,

Crying like a three-year-old on their first day of


Seven months,

and I now understand the importance of taking

care of injuries.  

Seven months,

and I still try everyday to do what I love the most,


my life,

but I fail.


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Poetry Friday: Women, Who Dress Up, Who Dress Up To Impress

Women, who dress up, who dress up to impress men; like the houses in the magazines my mom buys every month.  Then, there’s me, and my friend, breaking stereotypes.

Why do we get picked-up by men, while we are not interested?

Millions of women, behind make-up, surgeries, and well-dressed; waiting to get picked-up, and no one notices.

There we are, two girls, standing still, all sweaty, in the Panamanian heat. Focused on cadence and time, like elite athletes training for a world championship.  Two girls, with no intention of calling the attention, the attention of older men.  

Two girls, shocked with horror at the thoughts of men who passed us by on Monday afternoons, we were eye candy, just like three-year-olds who are scared of clowns.

Even if we wanted to call their attention, we only receive nasty pick-up lines.  We are seen just as sexual objects, like women in the past. Sitting by the window, with hope, waiting for their man.   Like women in those old stories, we read about in books.

Why do we still suffer from sexual abuse? Like if we were living in those old stories where women were seen as an entertainment.  

Why can’t we be seen as normal people?  Why can’t women walk down the streets without people looking and calling out their body?   Why can’t people focus on emotions and internal beauty, instead of on how your body looks?

Slice Of Life Thursday: One More Day At The Hospital


      One more day visiting the hospital, it’s not even rare for me anymore.  Once again, I went to visit one of the four orthopedics to which I have attended this year, due to my current injury.  This was a different doctor’s appointment, this was not to find a possible solution, or to see my progress; this time I was getting Corticoide, and Lidocaine injections.  The whole point of getting Lidocaine and Corticoide injections was to see if the inflammation and pain reduces, after several failed treatments.  This will determine if I get surgery on the front and back part, or just the front of my foot.  It will determine which activities I will be and won’t be able to do in the next months.  It will determine to how many more shopping days I’ll miss because I can’t walk without pain, and to how many more quinceaños I’ll assist using my Adidas, since I can’t use heels, I can’t stand the pain.

     For more Slice Of Life Thursdays, click here.

Memoir Monday – Overcoming Fears At San Onofre Beach, California


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      This vacations were different to others, as usually.  I was in Concordia University at Irvine, California, a business university that for summer, it has entrepreneurship camps for kids and teens.  Teens have the privilege of experiencing how life in university works, since we get to stay in the dorms.   For this vacations I wasn’t expecting traveling, but suddenly my dad found out about an entrepreneurship camp in California.  He bought airline tickets, fill out forms, and I was ready to et involved into university life for one week.

     Part of the camp, was to go surfing one morning at San Onofre beach.  To be honest, when I read the surfing form that said “we are not responsible for any injury or even death caused by any animal at the beach,” I got really scared.  I started researching about shark attacks in California, but never found anything.  The night before we went surfing, one of the teacher assistants found out that a month before, there was a shark attack.  It made me doubt about going surfing, in the first place, I wasn’t even supposed to go surfing because of an ankle injury, but I didn’t mind.  I was alone, at a university, out of my home country, with an ankle injury, and there was a shark attack in that beach just three weeks before.  It didn’t sound like a good idea, but after reflecting, I was in California, with the opportunity of doing something I love, surfing.

     I never told my parents that there had been a shark attack the previous month, and I just went to surf at an unknown beach.  The fact that there was a shark attack kept stuck in my mind, but it didn’t keep me away from the surfboard and waves.  

     Once I got into the water, suddenly all my fear disappeared, I fell off multiple times, and my foot was hurting, but I didn’t stop catching waves until it was time to leave the beach.

    We will always fear something, but never let those fears keep you of  trying new things, or  doing what you love.

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My Abuelito, My Abuelito Querido


  Lelo, who is always working at the hospital or at the farm.  Lelo, who at 81 years still does surgeries, every week.  Lelo, who have had three open-heart surgeries in 80 years.  Lelo, who still refuses to stop driving, unless he is going to the farm.  Lelo, who works from Monday to Friday, and spends his weekends at the farm, every single weekend, no exception.  Lelo, who now walks slowly, and still gets tired.

     “Estoy en el hospital con Lelo, está enfermo,” my mom texted me, while I was at school. “Pero que le paso?” I texted my mom and dad.  

     Lelo, who raised my father and uncle alone, because my grandma died when he was 37.  My father was three, and my uncle was four.  Because losing my grandmother wasn’t enough, he had to get open – heart surgery when my dad and uncle were young, probably teenagers.

     Lelo, who entered with my mom to the operating room when I was about to be born.  Lelo, who was the first person to carry me, because my dad was in Chile.  Lelo, who a few months after I was born, his heart stopped again; taking him to have  second open – heart surgery.  

     Lelo, who was in a very important hospital for me, and my family.  The hospital in which there is a conference room with the name of my grandmother, to honor her.  Lelo, who after attending a patient in the Hospital Santo Tomas, his heart missed again.  By this time, a third open – heart surgery, my brave, hard worker abuelo, with three open heart surgeries.

     Lelo, who was going to travel with me for carnivals.  Lelo, whose heart held him back again when we were going to travel.  Lelo, who now has a major heart structure deteriorated, my abuelo, with a heart structure deteriorated, even that sounds alarming. I can remember this moment perfectly, it was a normal Thursday night, or so I thought. My dad was doing a surgery, I texted him: “Puedo ir a casa de Maria Jose mañana?,” I asked.  He answered immediately, “No.”  Just like that, with no explanation. I couldn’t understand why?, what was the problem?.  The next morning, while I was getting ready for school, I asked him again: “Puedo ir a casa de Maria Jose.” Same answer: “No…”  Then he explained: “quiero que vayas a pasar tiempo con Lelo.”  I knew Lelo was at the hospital, but I didn’t knew why was my Dad so desperate.  “Lelo tiene una estructura importante del corazón muy deteriorada, pero que podemos hacer, ya está mayor, con tres cirugías de corazón abierto,” my dad said, with watery, red eyes.  “Y no se puede hacer alguna cirugía o tratamiento?” I asked.  My dad explained to me, there’s no medicine, surgery, or treatment to fix my abuelito’s heart.  “Quiero que pases todo el tiempo posible con Lelo, en cualquier momento se nos va.”  That was all I needed to start crying, crying like a river without control.

     “Ahora viviré hasta los 105 años,” mi abuelito querido used to say after his third open- heart surgery.  Now I notice, that since the moment my dad told him that he had a major heart structure deteriorated, I had never heard him say it again.

Dear Diary,


       Dear Diary,

      Today, my first job, my first day of work.  I went to work at Peter Pan Photo Finishers, where I had to lie about my age.  Aunt Lala works there, she told me that I just had to lie about my age, saying I was a year older and I was going to get the job.

     All was going pretty good, until break…I think it was time for night or middle shift, because some new staff came in.  I was sitting at the bench by the lockers, alone, until I met an Oriental Man.   He said hello, and we talk for a while.  He told me that I could sit with him at lunchtime, after talking to him, I felt relieved, I didn’t feel nervous anymore.

     We talked for a while, he told he to guess what day it was, I didn’t know.  He said it was his birthday, so please give him a birthday kiss.  He is old, what could possibly go wrong?  I thought that there wasn’t going to be any problem to give him a kiss on the cheek, but I was incorrect.  When I was going to kiss him on the cheek, he grabbed my face, and pressed it so hard against his face, he didn’t let go.

     He is an adult, and I don’t like to talk back to them, I feel intimidated by them.  I just let him kiss me, I didn’t know what to do, even though I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.  I hope not to see him again, and if I do, I will be careful, because I already know his intentions.  My mom was right, she advertised me about these type of men, that only want to use me, and my lack of knowledge.




I Am From Poem


I am from threads, from Polleras and sombreros pintados.

I am from the dirt on my boot, rigid, and strong, which I could ever take out after those rainy days.

I am from Sterculia apetala. the national tree, who’s thorns got into my fingers on those January afternoons spent by the river.

I’m from livestock auction and big cheeks.

From Carlos, the attorney on December 20, 1989; and Carmen, the nurse, the one remembered by all nurses and doctors.

I’m from the “painstaking” and “past-it ons.”

From “you will be a carnival queen” and “you have farms to take care.”

I’m from the go to church and pray the Lord, even though I still don’t believe.

I’m from Panama, the land with two oceans.

From pork, guandu rice, and sweet plantains.

From the National Emblem my uncles designed and painted.

The couple owning a restaurant on main street, just to sen my grandpa to Switzerland.


Inside the drawers, old pictures, unknown faces, next to my grandma’s, my role model, which I couldn’t meet.  Those old pictures, which reflect hard work and persistency.