How a mom of two lost an arm and a leg and started a new life

Elena Mozenkova-Volokhova is one of the winners of the “Heroine of Our Time” competition. When she took the stage at the awards ceremony, the audience stood up and applauded for several minutes. Anna Litvinova wrote down her inspiring story.

I couldn’t take it anymore

Elena Volokhova with her son Pavel and daughter Sonya photo: Olesya Pirogova

I always envied those who found themselves. Those who do what they love have achieved something in it, those who go to work with a smile and joy.

I graduated from the Faculty of Law, but I have never worked in my specialty. She got married, gave birth to children – and it started “the happiness of a housewife.” Shopping, cooking, washing, digging in the vegetable garden. Take your son and daughter: kindergartens, circles. Gymnastics, hockey, everything. Always busy. And the constant feeling that this is not life, but horror. Yes, I am raising children. But they are all raised, this is our mission. What else are you doing? Once I am standing in a large chain store at a travelator, thinking about mine. And the background is a constant sound. Down to the supermarket, empty carts drove off. Whack-whack. From there – heavy, full of products rise. Ooh-ooh. Ooh-ooh. Back and forth, up and down. People live for this, they earn money. The time will come to die, you will understand – on what nonsense life was spent. But it will be too late, nothing can be changed.

… After a while, late in the evening, I was driving along the Novorizhskoe highway.
I’ve been driving a car for a long time, never any accidents. And suddenly – my wheel punches. The car loses control. He starts to twist me, takes me to the oncoming lane. A terrible blow. The car flies into the post with the driver’s side, it starts to fall. Later I saw pictures: the car was completely crushed. There is no chance of survival.

But I succeed. The blow to the post is so strong that I knock out the passenger door with my body and fly out – a split second before the car turns into a pile of iron. The leg is clamped in the car, at this moment it rips off. The hand is all shredded. I fall onto an iron rod that enters the soft tissue very close to the spine.

Empty night road. Terrible blood loss. But I’m lucky again. A man was driving behind him, he stopped and rushed to me. I bandaged my leg with a belt, called an ambulance.

I was taken to Istra, to the nearest hospital. Then he was transferred to the Sklifosovsky Institute. They tried to save the hand for a whole month. Ilizarov apparatus, something else. Opioid pain relievers were injected four times a day. The nurses constantly tried to place me more comfortably, put me down, hang my arm, but the pains were still hellish. It seemed that flies had crawled into my body, laid eggs, that worms were eating me from the inside. Therefore, I myself asked that the hand be cut off. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Another name

After the operation, they stopped injecting strong painkillers, which caused a constant intoxication in my head. I began to gradually come to my senses, learn to eat with my left hand.

The question “What is this for me?” I didn’t ask myself. I think it is initially wrong. Everyone is to blame for something, everyone has skeletons in the closet. But God never punishes anyone. He only gives you lessons, a reason to think. Therefore, we must ask something else: why did this happen? And you also need to find something positive in any trouble.

It seemed: what good can you find – in mine? But I saw pictures of the car, crushed like a beer can. And I decided: yes, everything is fine, it just ended wonderfully!

Just think, there is no piece of leg and piece of hand. But the head is intact, the spine is intact. And hitting that iron spine pin – I would have remained a plant at all.

Even in the hospital I began to look for reasons for joy. For example, I pulled my good leg out from under the blanket and admired that I now have it slender, graceful, like a seventeen-year-old girl. I lost twenty kilograms after the accident.

Once I decided: it’s time to make up. A little, tender.

I just put on makeup – the chief doctor comes in. Says: “Mamontov has arrived, he will shoot the program“ Special Correspondent. Who is ready to participate? ” I shout: “I’m ready!” And I myself think: “Wow, as if I felt that my“ television career ”was beginning.

When the program came out, calls rained down – from distant relatives, friends, acquaintances from all over the world. Nobody believed what had happened to me. Some reproached: “Why grind such nonsense – that you have no arms and legs? Did you really want to get on the screen so much ?! “

… We have our own two-story house, and at first I did not climb above the first floor. On one leg, and even without an arm, jumping up the stairs is unrealistic. Then she began to rise on the pope. And down – together with the children they moved out on pillows. They have fun – the game. I laugh too.

Everything is different now. Even games. I also changed my name.

I asked everyone to call me not Lena, but Alena. My grandmother once called me Alyonushka. And now I felt like in childhood, a helpless child. The affectionate name protected.

The first year I did nothing at all. She adapted herself morally. I got used to it. But then I got tired of messing around, and I decided: to learn something every day.

It is very difficult to cook with one hand, but the excitement seized me: “Can’t I?” First, to cook the soup, I waited for someone to help, peel the vegetables. Now I can easily cope myself. I peel potatoes and carrots. How? The shredders were very useful – which I almost never used before. I set the height of the gap to the very minimum – and forward, it turns out very neatly.

I can do almost everything around the house, even iron. The only thing that doesn’t work out is to braid your daughter’s pigtails.

It was very difficult to go out on the street alone. It is even more difficult to take the metro yourself. I fell a lot – my body was out of balance. Always fell on the right side, it hurts twice.
The prosthetic leg was not installed immediately. Before, I had to do two more re-amputations – to correct the mistakes of doctors in Istra. The hand was also operated on, the joint was forged. I have a prosthetic hand, but I don’t wear it. He’s only masking problems. Heavy, rubbery, can’t do anything. Deliver smart, with electronics? I’ve heard of them. But I have a pension of 4700. Plus two thousand from social security. You will not clear up. If we had the first group of disabilities, they would have paid more. But they gave only the second. They say: “You smile, your head is working, you can walk, and the first one is just very heavy.” And I don’t receive any child benefits either – because I have never worked.

Steel advantage

Two years after the accident, I again began to feel not a helpless Alyonushka, but Lena. And physically she could again become – an ordinary housewife.
But everything has changed – inside me. I completely rethought my attitude towards myself, towards life, towards people. And she began to do charity work. She founded her own foundation – “Give Love to the World”. In the Moscow region, where I live, we hold festivals with the Whole Family. The third has just finished – in the city of Balashikha. It turned out just amazing! River soap bubbles, master classes, science show, children are all decorated with face painting. Dzerzhinsky’s division brought a field kitchen, fed everyone with soldiers’ porridge. The elderly sang war songs and danced. The artists gave a great concert. Fun for the whole day. And we also gave presents to everyone as parting.

We also have a wonderful program for people with disabilities “From dating to marriage.” First, during the year, participants communicate on the forum, find interesting people to meet. And then we take them to a holiday home for three weeks. We conduct trainings, teach – and communicate, and just serve ourselves. We work, including with parents.

Some mothers wash the heads of their 40-year-old disabled sons. We convince them: “Don’t do it!” Let the floors flood, let it not work, let it try – but a person must do everything himself. He will feel differently then.

A disabled person must be able to turn their own shortcomings into advantages. No one has an iron leg, but I do. I do not hide my prosthesis, in the summer I walk on my steel leg in shorts, with two children, with my head held high. Happy, contented. I never pay attention to how they look at me.

One day I was standing at the metro, waiting for someone, thinking. Out of the corner of my eye, an elderly woman, brightly dressed, comes down the stairs. I also thought: “Well done, what a beauty, she watches herself.” And suddenly I see: she is returning. He shoves me a hand full of little things, says: “Take it, baby!” I say: “You don’t need that!”. But she didn’t listen. I had to leave the alms for myself. It’s a pity I didn’t ask the old lady what her name was, even if I went to church, I lit a candle for her.

… When you become kind, when you really truly love everyone, there are no bad people around you. They drop out.

Before the accident, I had it like everyone else – it happened, and in the store they get rude, and they push on the bus. And now only good people come across. They always give me a seat, although it is not particularly visible that there is no leg, and I cover my hand. They always smile at me, they always want to do something good.

There was a case. I’m on the subway. The man gave way. But I didn’t have time to sit down instantly, the balance of the body was disturbed. While trying on, some aunt flopped down instead of me. I didn’t say anything to her, went on. They gave me my seat again.

Recently I go to the store. My turn comes up – and there is this woman at the register. I did not remember her – and did not recognize her. But she was so happy! He says excitedly: “What a blessing that I met you again, that I can apologize. After all, then I did not understand that you have no handle and no legs. Please forgive me! Do you have a discount card? Not? Let me be on my own. And always come, I’ll do it for you with my discount! “

… Four years have passed since the accident. But there are still phantom pains. The body seems to remember the last sensations before the amputation. The leg, before it was torn off, was clamped – and still torments a wild feeling of constriction. And a non-existent hand sometimes just hurts – as it hurt before it was cut off.

Yoga helps a lot. I do a lot of breathing exercises. Asanas are those that my body allows. I study every morning for two hours. I see how training improves the quality of life. Next year I plan to open a rehabilitation center for amputees in my native Balashikha. There will definitely be a yoga department. In the West, its healing effect has been recognized for a long time, similar centers for the disabled are everywhere. And we have none.

… Many people know about my story, I often receive letters, answer everything. A young mother from Cherepovets wrote recently. She gave birth to a daughter, and the girl – just like me – has no right arm and leg above the knee. The woman writes that she suffers a lot, she sheds tears around the clock. And I shook her: “What are you? Your daughter, on the contrary, is marked by God and, perhaps, will become the happiest. ” In the summer I will definitely go to them, help, support.

What is my dream? Primitive. I want a car. You have to travel a lot for the foundation, but it’s very difficult with a prosthesis. Until I get to the stop, I have already rubbed my leg into the blood. By the evening – a continuous wound. I was advised: “Write to some automobile concern, ask.” After all, I don’t even need manual control, but just an automatic transmission, well, and throw the gas pedal to the other side.

But asking is not mine. Once I didn’t have thirty rubles for a minibus – I didn’t ask either. I went on foot from the metro. Four kilometers.

… And then there is a global dream. Thirty years later, I imagine myself on the ocean shore, in my house with large, panoramic windows. And such calmness, happiness – that you did everything. The children have grown up, they have their own wonderful life, everyone is full, fed. And I am calm that I gave them everything and now I can live for my own pleasure.

It would be nice, right? But, most likely, it will not work. Children will give birth to grandchildren, grandchildren – their children. So we only dream about peace!

And it will become boring. I love extreme sports, I involve other disabled people – and I myself fly a hang glider. And next year I want to jump with a parachute. Can you sit with my character in a quiet mansion overlooking the sea?