Woman who lost limbs now inspiring others

March 3, 2013 6:50:48 AM PST
A former Chicago-area woman lost several limbs from an infection caused by a thumb injury.

However, she never gave up through all her pains.

Despite life-altering and devastating losses, Loretta Goebel, 48, found confidence to feel attractive and to speak out about moving forward.

"It's been quite the journey thus far. I've been blessed. I had a 10-percent chance of survival. So, I am blessed to have every gift of tomorrow, and just again, baby steps," she said.

Looking at Goebel, you would notice a few fingers missing.

"My left hand is artificial, and both my legs [are, as well] eight inches below my knees," she said.

On December 11, 2001 while wrapping Christmas presents, Loretta's life changed.

"I had a crack in my thumb, a crack that you get from chapped hands in the winter time. What I didn't know about that crack on that particular day was there was a strep germ harboring inside there," she said. "My doorbell rang, and I ran around the corner to answer that front door and hit my hand. And when I did that, blunt trauma unlogged that strep germ into my blood stream."

" I'm awakened by a severe pain in my arm, thinking that I had slept on it wrong, thinking I can get past it, but it won't go way. Go to the emergency room, and they have a red sling going up my arm," said Loretta.

Losing her hands was the most difficult.

"Because I sat in the chair and thought, 'How am I gonna -- how am I gonna make a meatloaf? How am I gonna braid her hair? How am I going to continue to the walks with the children?" she said. "I overwhelmed myself with that, but taking everything one step at a time, I mastered all it all."

Last fall, Loretta's life story, a book entitled A Life in Parts by Vicki Bennington and Daniel Brannan was published.

"I've have been doing a lot of public speaking and pull my hand off and typically pop my legs off. So then, everyone wants to touch it. So, I need to be in tip top shape," said Loretta.

"My message is not just for amputees. Everyone suffers at some point. We feel sorry for ourselves at times, but if I had given in to my overwhelming emotions or my physical limitations, it would have been like having another amputation. I would have been the loser again. I had to fight and push, and I couldn't let me circumstances define me," she said.

A Life in Parts is available in books stores and online at www.amazon.com. More information at www.lorettagoebel.com.