Lenor Madruga was a
beautiful young woman - model, radio personality, wife of a
rancher, mother of two, and active citizen in her California
hometown. On the morning of her thirty-second birthday, she
discovered a hard lump in her groin and subsequently underwent
a hemipelvectomy: removal of her left leg and hip. Her
victorious story is an inspiration not only to the millions of
amputees throughout the world, but to all who face physical or
Lenor first realized the enormity of the new world she was
entering as an amputee when she went shopping for a leg. She
thought that you could just walk into a prosthesis shop and
walk out with a leg in your size. What she found when she
tried to do just that, and what she did to get the "shapely"
leg she wanted, will make you laugh, cry, and marvel.
Lenor provides one of the rare first-person accounts of
phantom-limb pain - a pain so bizarre, insistent, and real she
never really felt the shock of losing a limb - the "missing"
leg hurt too much. She describes her insidious addiction to
opiate painkillers, her doctor's sharp words that made her
quit "cold turkey," and the courageous change of attitude that
enabled her to adjust to the pain, although it has not changed
to this day.
Lenor's extraordinary energy, courage and sheer determination
not to be left out of life have brought her back on her feet
and back into a life that doctors and others thought was
impossible for a hemipelvectomy patient. Today she does almost
everything she used to do before her operation.
No Pollyanna, Lenor Madruga quietly lets us in on the down
side, too - the moments of depression when she can't ignore
the loss, the lack of a whole body. But these moments only
underscore her courage and strengthen her message: Life is
full -- there simply isn't time for self-pity.
Lenor Madruga Chappell now lives in Rogue River, Oregon, with her
husband, Roy Chappell. Her two daughters also live in Oregon. She continues to write and
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