Maria Del Carmen Gomez can no longer dress herself. She can't feed herself. She can't work the three jobs she was holding down. She can no longer care for her brother, a stroke victim.
The 53-year-old can't do "anything ... nothing," like she could before March 21, the day authorities said her ex-boyfriend ambushed her and hacked at her head and hands with an 18-inch machete.
The one thing Gomez can still do, she does readily: Speak out.
Gomez sat outside a North Las Vegas Justice Court room Tuesday ready to testify against Armando Vergara-Martinez, the man authorities said attacked her outside a convenience store at Craig Road and North Fifth Street.
But she didn't have to face the man charged with brutally assaulting her.
Before an evidence hearing in the case, Vergara-Martinez said through his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Steven Yeager, that he intends to plead guilty to attempted murder with a deadly weapon.
The case will be moved to Clark County District Court on April 30, where negotiations with prosecutors are expected to be finalized and Vergara-Martinez sentenced. The charge could get him four to 40 years in prison.
Gomez said she plans to speak at the sentencing hearing about what Vergara-Martinez took from her.
"He damaged my life. ... My hands are my life," Gomez said.
Outside the courtroom, she wore loose-fitting clothes. Her shoulder-length hair is gone. Her shaved head reveals four scars, including one from a scalping wound to the back of her head. Blood and fluid still leak from those wounds, she said.
Both of her hands are covered in thick gauze bandages. Her hands were severed from her arms during the attack with the 18-inch blade. Surgeons were able to reattach them, but there have been complications.
Gomez can wiggle the fingers in her left hand, her dominant hand. But her right hand is another story. The skin is dying, she said. Gomez will see a doctor today and undergo X-rays to learn what can be done to help.
"They may have to have more surgery," she said. "I don't know what the damage is. I don't. I have to wait."
It could be a long while before she learns how much movement, if any, will return to her right hand. She has more hope for her left hand.
Gomez doesn't know why she was attacked.
She had dated Vergara-Martinez years earlier, but violence ended the relationship. Vergara-Martinez had attacked her, Gomez said, and she broke up with him. She reported him to police, and he was jailed.
Gomez said Vergara-Martinez used to drink alcohol heavily. But he had stopped for a while.
Recently he had contacted her. He needed help finding recommendations for a job.
"We were talking. I was looking to help (him)," Gomez said.
The night of the attack she told him to meet her at the store.
Gomez hadn't even gotten out of her car before she was struck with the first blow from the 18-inch blade. She remembered being hit two or three times.
"They say it was a machete, but I don't know. I just collapsed," she said.
Gomez didn't show emotion as she recounted what she remembered of the attack and the medical ordeal that followed.
Rather, she quietly offered advice to other victims of domestic violence.
"Somebody in the same situation ... walk away. Run away. They (the abusers) aren't going to (change). Any violence, you better walk away from that," she said.
Gomez was accompanied Tuesday by Rebeca Ferreira, founder of Safe Faith United, an organization that aims to help domestic violence victims.
Ferreira is advocating for Nevada legislators to pass a measure that would require domestic violence offenders to wear a GPS tracking system to help protect victims.
Ferreira said the system would help warn victims when their attacker is too close to them and alert police.
"We need tougher laws," Ferreira said.
Gomez concurred. She recalled the first time Vergara-Martinez attacked her.
It was a misdemeanor strangulation case. He did 41 days in jail, Gomez said.
A year later, the restraining order she had gotten expired.
Gomez did not get back together with him, she said, but still he attacked again.
Gomez was left without any income. She had three jobs before the attack. She was a clerk in a Green Valley Grocery and worked as a cleaning woman.
Those are gone. "Who's going to pay?" she asked, referring to her medical bills.
Gomez showed photos of her hands after surgery to have them reattached. They're bloated, swollen. Stitches keep the skin at her wrists together and her fingers attached.
Ferreira believes the photos need to be shown so the public will know what happens in domestic violence cases.
Safe Faith United is raising money for Gomez. They are also planning a fundraising walk to help Gomez and other domestic violence victims, an event set for April 23, Ferreira said.
Gomez still thinks of the night she was attacked. Police told Gomez they found other equipment in the back of Vergara-Martinez's Bronco that led them to believe he was planning to kill her and maybe dispose of the body.
It takes her back to the unanswered question: Why was she attacked?
"He's just a violent person," she said, sighing. "He is ... bad."
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.