so I went to see my stylist today. I feel SO relieved. She did take some off, but not as much as I thought...
end result? my curls popped when I was in the shower. my frazzled ends are gone, and my "patch" (evidently she knew about it and had been trying to disguise it) is under control-i.e. hidden again.
the lesson in all this? no more direct heat. for a very very very very very long time.
don't let it happen to you.