English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-17-2021


Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) is a rare and misunderstood medical diagnosis, even in sophisticated clinical settings. Due to a mutation in recessive genes effecting nerve development and reception, a person with CIP doesn’t recognize their physical pain sensation from birth, as the abnormality “interrupts” that signal to the brain. Therefore, patients suffer injuries without direct knowledge of their ailments, leading them to aggravate and reaggravate injuries.

The following deals with the effects of this mysterious birth defect, not only from a physical standpoint, but from a psycho-emotional perspective. As a CIP survivor, I explore my past and how the condition directly and indirectly impacted my emotional state and awareness, including the perception of both physical and emotional pain in others. Further complicating matters, are themes of neglect, substance abuse and violence. What are the ramifications of pain, or lack thereof? What does it really mean to feel?

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Greg Martin

Second Committee Member

Lisa Chavez

Third Committee Member

Melina Viscaino-Aleman

Fourth Committee Member

Manuel Montoya

Fifth Committee Member

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Project Sponsors

Mark Sundeen




CIP, Disability, neglect, Chicano, Albuquerque, Memoir

Document Type



Follows the narrator as he struggles with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) while being raised in a neglectful and abusive environment. An intersection of Chicano/a and Disability Studies

Available for download on Wednesday, July 31, 2120