In this article, we mention some effective coping techniques that can be followed during the limb lengthening post-operative period, specially during the lengthening period (3months). Since some patients prefer to stay in Turkey during the lengthening period particularly those who undergo LON Limb lengthening method, maintaining mental health at that time becomes pretty much important as maintaining physical health. As human beings, we are faced with many changes and stress daily, which push us to become more resilient by each passing day.
Having a surgery might be a bit emotionally exhausting and patients might have some fears and concerns about how to overcome the post-operative period. According to research (1) , patients who undergo a surgery might experience high level of anxiety whether pre-surgery or post-surgery. In this context, many researchers have studied the importance of utilizing coping strategies to overcome the post-surgery psychological effects (2). Thus, overcoming the limb lengthening post-operative period is not an impossible task, and if others could do it, then surely you can.
After conducting a scientific research and having interviews with our patients, we at Wannabetaller, suggest that the following coping techniques might be helpful to overcome the limb lengthening post-operative period:
Emotions are so powerful that they can drive the human behavior. That’s why a good emotion management which is the ability to realize and control emotions (3), can be one effective coping technique that leads to better outcomes. During the lengthening period, allow whatever emotions you have. However, do not exaggerate or deny them. Instead, understand, accept, embrace, control and face them. Talk about your emotions with the right people instead of keeping them inside. Keep a mood journal or a journey journal to remind yourself how strong you are.
Social interactions are one of the human’s basic needs (4), and humans are usually dependent on having social interactions and gaining support from their circle like friends, colleagues, spouse, and family. Both social and physical contact are significant for the human’s mental health (5). In this matter, research has found that social contact is extremely important for reducing depression, anxiety, stress, and isolation.
So in this time, try utilizing the internet to connect with your loved ones. Seek emotional support from the ones who can contribute to your mental health. However, seek professional support from Doctors, Patient Consultants , Nurses and Physiotherapists. Try making new friends, Turkey is multi-cultural, go back to your country with at least one new friend and one new thing learnt about the Turkish culture or any other culture.
Alter your perspective. Try to look at this limb lengthening experience as a journey to reach your lengthening dream. Live in the present and focus on what you are really feeling now. Do not worry about the pain associated with a certain level of height increase, because pain is a very individual thing and you might not experience what others did. Instead, track your progress. Remember why you really wanted this limb lengthening surgery; you didn’t cross seas for nothing. Keep in mind that everything is just temporary and what matters today might not matter 5 years from now. Moreover, if you ever think about giving up, remember that you have survived a lot already.
Everyone needs a time off from today’s rapid and busy world, consider this time as the break you always wished you can have. Gain new skills and find new hobbies, like photography skills by shooting your limb lengthening journey. Write down all the things you have wished to do if you were a bit taller and plan to get them done. For example, buy that pair of trousers you have always wished it fits you. Push yourself to be a stronger person. Connect with and try to get to know yourself on a deeper level. Heal both physically and emotionally.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle, have good sleep, nutrition, and exercise, and always stick your physiotherapy schedule.
Treat yourself as you would treat someone you love. Limb lengthening post-operative period can be either overwhelming or exciting, it all depends on how you let your mind perceive it. Thus, following our suggested coping techniques might help you change your perspective and enjoy the journey instead of worrying about it. Finally, always remember to be easy and patient with yourself and the process.