Ollie’s limb lengthening patient diary

Ollie’s limb lengthening patient diary

Our patient, “Ollie”, had a surgery on 2 March 2020. He chose LON method for femur lengthening. He had an initial plan of lengthening femurs by around 4 cm. Everything went on smoothly: as we always do, we met with Ollie at the airport, and took him to hotel. After having a rest, on the next day we arranged a doctor consultation for Ollie and he also went through routine tests. After the results were announced, the consent form was signed, the payment was made and the patient was taken to surgery. After a successful leg lengthening operation, we made sure Ollie has everything he needs, and doesn’t feel alone, by making regular visits and arranging necessary services for him the way he wanted. He decided to stay for a few weeks in Istanbul, till he finished lengthening process and the external fixators were removed. We arranged a hotel room for him, which had its own kitchen and all other necessary facilities. Although he refused to share his images, videos and info on the Internet, we were absolutely excited when he informed us he would be keeping a diary. It made us really happy to see him share his diary on the Internet and update it regularly. He was kind enough to let us share his limb lengthening patient diary on our website as well.

Ollie’s diary:

Hi all, I had my limb lengthening surgery a little over a month ago and have kept a diary of how I felt each day and what was going on and thought I’d share it with everyone.
So I went through the wannabetaller company and it wasn’t until a week before the surgery that I saw some negative reviews on this forum about them and I started freaking out a little, however I decided I’d at least meet them and ask about these reviews/patients and hear their side of the story. I can’t remember what was said but I know that they answered all my questions and they showed me videos of other patients of theirs and how they went with their surgeries and it was enough to satisfy me and I decided to go through with the surgery.
I felt that the wannabetaller team were very helpful to me and listened/respected any decisions I made. That being said it doesn’t magically make the surgery easy by any means and personally I would recommend to people not to do it as it’s a brutal mental battle the entire time especially if you’re doing it in secret and don’t tell anyone what you’re doing as you don’t have their support. I’d done a lot of research but there were still plenty of surprises and nothing can fully prepare you for it. If you decide to do it then I think wannabetaller is a safe choice but of course you shouldn’t just take my word for it and I strongly recommend you look into plenty of options before making a decision.
I paid 17000 euros for the surgery + 650 for fixator removal + 2700 for 7-8 weeks of hotel stay, physio, food etc. So it is by no means cheap but money was never an issue to me.
I think that’s everything I wanted to mention in my little introduction here, I’ll start posting how I felt each day tomorrow.

 

Day 1 – Landed in Istanbul feeling very nervous and wondering if I should back out or not.
Met the team who did make me feel a bit better and we went and had dinner with another guy who is having his surgery a week after me so it was nice to see someone else is doing this.
Going to sleep now, then I have my legs x-rayed in the morning and then surgery tomorrow, it does feel very rushed but I’d also rather have it all done as fast as possible.

Day 2 – I was given some things to sign which I assume is just standard hospital legal things but it’s a bit annoying that it’s all written in Turkish.
I’m waiting in my hospital room with my translator for my surgery at 2pm, my translator keeps telling me I’m going to be crying all night and in pain, I don’t know if he’s trying to be funny but it’s something I could do without.
I know this is something I want to do, I want to be taller but I can’t help feel so nervous and wonder if I should back out, I’ve already made my mind up that I’m going through with it but I hope I’m not making a mistake.
I was originally planning on doing 4cm but I’ve decided I’m just going with 3, lots of people will think that’s not worth it but I’d be happy with it I think it’s a noticeable amount to make me feel better.
Hopefully the pain when I wake up isn’t as agonising as I expect, I’ve accepted that this will likely be some of the worse pain I’ll ever go through.
I’ll be spending 5 days in hospital and then 30 days lengthening so I’m hopeful that the whole thing will be over in a little over a month.
Just came out of surgery at 6pm, I’m told surgery took 4 hours for me and when I came too I was shaking quite uncontrollably and it felt pretty scary though I wasn’t in a lot of pain at this point I could just tell something was wrong with my body. They’ve hooked me up to a drip with pain killers so I don’t really feel any pain, apparently the shaking I experienced is a normal side effect from surgery and putting your body through that sort of trauma.
For the last seven hours I’ve been in and out of sleep and under a few different pain killers, I’ve been able to flex my toes backwards and forwards, slightly bend and lift my legs and will try walking tomorrow.
My main problem at the moment is that I have a catheter in my penis so when I piss it really stings and has made me nervous to try go since the first time. I would describe the pain in my legs as a dull ache at the joints where the pins are going into my ankles and knees.
The pain might get worse but I’m told I’ll be hooked up to different pain killers for the five days I’m in hospital. After that I’ll be given a whole heap of different medicines to take and they’ll explain how and when to take them.

Day 3 – It’s 9am now, it hurts slightly more than earlier but it still isn’t bad it still just aches a bit.
I’m still too nervous to pee but I’m hoping they take the catheter out soon.
1pm now and it’s just been me and my translator in the room, I might ask him if he can find my doctor soon so I can have help taking a few steps. I’m glad the pain hasn’t been too bad so I’ve been able to prove the translator wrong, he seems like an alright guy and under different circumstances I’d probably get along with him but he’s been talking about the wannabetaller team and saying they won’t help me that for 4000 euros I could stay with him for a month so I told him that was way too much and he stopped asking about it.
Pain is still just a dull ache which is fine, sort of managing to pee through the catheter as well but it more just drips out bit by bit.
2:30pm I had some people come in and change the bandages which took about 15 minutes. Still not much pain but I’m nervously waiting for it to start. 3pm I took a few steps with a walker, it was very uncomfortable and unpleasant, I wouldn’t say super painful but there were times when I felt like my leg was going to twist around which scared me.
5:30pm pain is still just a dull ache but feels a little worse so I might need more painkillers to get to sleep.
Stood up again after dinner at about 7:45 but couldn’t walk as my left leg was hurting too much, I just stood up as straight and tall as I could while using the walker to steady myself and did some light marching on the spot.
Trying to sleep now but painkillers have worn off it’s 8:40, the pain isn’t terrible but it’s enough to keep me awake.
Right after I typed that a nurse came in and gave me painkillers so I’ll try get some sleep.
The painkillers didn’t do much and I’ve been in little bits of pain but still nothing to make me cry out or anything.
My translator had a falling out with the Wannabetaller company and he left me so someone from Wannabetaller came and stayed with me for the night. I wasn’t too bothered by it, they told me that was only the second time they’d hired him and won’t be doing so again.

 

Day 4 – Only managed a few hours sleep last night and my legs feel very stiff and sore. I hope walking is a bit easier today so I can go to the toilet by myself and they take the catheter out. I still feel quite scared and afraid, I don’t even want to lengthen much anymore as I just want to get it over with. I am exactly 177.3cm tall so I might only lengthen 2.7 cm getting me to 180cm.
I’m sure this won’t seem worth it too anyone but if this surgery has shown me anything it’s that I could actually be happy with whatever height now so at least I can confidently say that I won’t feel insecure about my height regardless of how much I lengthen.
Legs are mostly aching where the pins go into my legs which I always assumed would be the most uncomfortable part, I was able raise my legs up and down though it did hurt quite a lot.
I really need to take a  .
Walked a bit more at 9:30 probably only for about 10-15 minutes but it has made me feel a lot better to know that I’m capable of some walking this early on.
Finally had the catheter taken out at about 12 o’clock and that was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve felt so far, wasn’t overly painful but still not pleasant and my penis stings a little bit, I didn’t realise how far in the catheter went.
Walking is definitely getting easier already but I can really feel where the pins are inside my ankles and knees. My right ankle is pretty sore and when I stand I can’t put my right foot flat on the ground, I plan on talking to my doctor about it.
I was given a new translator and this guy has been awesome he let me play South Park games on his laptop and he was really good to talk to about anything.

Day 5 – Slept a lot better last night and was shown my x-rays and saw the my bones are still kept straight and was assured that it’s normal to have some pain putting a foot down.
I was able to get up with a walker by myself this morning and walk to the toilet and do everything by myself.
I was able to stand and use the tap to wash myself a bit which felt great as I’ve been feeling really unclean.
I was also able to walk a bit more normally and put my right foot flatter on ground so I think it will get better each day.
Less than 24 hours since I had the catheter out and it all feels normal again down there.
I walked around again and the doctors said they’re impressed with how well I’m able to walk so maybe I’m lucky and am coping better than previous patients, I hope I can walk normally once the lengthening is done and external fixators are taken off.
6pm now and nothing hurts when laying down, when I walk with the walker I feel tension in my right ankle and can’t step properly, it makes me feel scared and I can’t believe I’ve actually done this too my body.
Even if everything works out I can’t say I’d recommend doing something like this for purely cosmetic reasons, it’s quite terrifying thinking you’re potentially going to be crippled and it’s your own fault.
It’s 7.30pm and I walked maybe 50m (with a walker) and got a bit of a better understanding of walking normally with my right foot. I also feel I could walk with crutches but I’d probably neglect my right leg too much which would end up making it weaker.
I slept from about 12am – 2am but now I’ve woken up sweating which hasn’t happened before and my legs are hurting worse than they ever have.
Also my translator snores which can be a bit maddening but I still love the guy.

Day 6 – I played some music through my earphones to block out the snoring and managed some restless sleep for about 5 hours, I really hope I’m over reacting and that everything turns out fine.
I keep having to remind myself that plenty of people have done this and lengthened more and still recovered and that of course it’s going to be uncomfortable walking on broken legs with metal going through them. I’d say as of right now I regret doing this however if I can recover fully then I think I will feel indifferent about it and just try forget and move on with my life.
I think I feel confident about only lengthening a small amount and then having the external fixator removed but I’m worried that I’ll feel the internal nail the whole time during the consolidation process which will prevent me from bending my ankles and knees and walking normally.
1pm and I’ve just been shown how I’ll do the lengthening along with some more physio exercises which has already made me feel better when walking on my right foot.
They’ve also assured me that should I do everything right then I’ll be able to walk properly within two weeks of having external fixators removed and I won’t notice the nails in the bones during the consolidation phase. Two weeks does sound a bit fast and they might just be saying that to make me feel better but I guess at this point all I can do is wait and see.
It’s the external fixators that put the tension on your ankle and knees so that will likely be an issue the entire time they’re in.
I’m still scared of course and I’m sure I will be until I’m back to normal but I do feel better.
Every 3 days I’ll have a nurse come and help me change my bandages and keep them clean as well as do physio and I can do physio myself for the other 2 days and every 2 weeks I will go get an X-ray.
The physio I’ve been shown involves lying down with my legs straight and having a band go around my foot and pull my foot towards me to help stretch the calves. And the other exercise is to lie down and bend my knee and bring it as close to my chest as I can. I do 25 on each leg 4 times a day.

 

Day 7 – I’m leaving the hospital today!

Here’s the medicines they’ve given me:
Lansor (stomach protector) – once a day before brekky (empty stomach)
Dolorex (painkiller) – Take 1 after brekky (full stomach)
Gerelgine K (painkiller) – Take 1 after brekky (full stomach)
Oksapar (Blood thinner)- An injection into belly fat once a day
Coraspirin – Another blood thinner to be used after Oskapar
Contramol (strong painkiller) – Take 1 after lunch (full stomach)
Contramol (strong painkiller) – Take another 1 after dinner (full stomach) must be at least two hours after taking the first one
Dolorex (painkiller) – Take 1 after dinner (full stomach)
Gerelgine K (painkiller) – Take 1 after dinner (full stomach)

I slept pretty well last night, didn’t have any pain killers and was still fine. I woke up twice, once from some aching in my legs and a second time from someone snoring but both were manageable.
One thing I definitely wasn’t aware of was how many needles I’d have to constantly have, so at least this will help me get over my fear of needles, I’ve had them in several different spots in my arms and have to have one in my stomach every day.
I’ve just gotten changed out of my hospital clothes and put on some pants and flip flops and it’s infuriating how difficult such simple tasks have suddenly become.
I’m in a 3 star hotel for the next month and it’s pretty nice and it’s good to finally be on my own and feel some independence again.
I’ve been told as well that once I have the external fixators taken out I can have the internal nails in for however long with no risk of infection (once the holes have healed) I do plan on having them out as soon as I can but they recommend leaving them in for a year or two anyway while the new bone fully heals.
Physio exercises absolutely help making walking easier a lot of the tension is in my right ankle where the pins go, it’s a bit uncomfortable but already getting easier and then I can walk reasonably flat footed for awhile but then when I lie back down I have to redo the stretches to walk comfortably again.
It’s 8pm and my legs were aching a little, I’ve done plenty of walking and physio today so I’ve just taken some Dolorex and am going to sleep.

Day 8 – I’m sleeping better each night, I slept from about 9pm – 5am but woke up with a sore back which I think is just from lying on my back and not moving while I sleep. I miss being able to roll around on my bed.
My feet and ankles also felt a bit stiff but I imagine it’ll be like that every morning from not moving, once I did some stretches they felt better.
It’s 1pm now and I’ve done lots of stretches and walking but my right ankle is being extra difficult today, my nurse Onur is coming at 3-4pm so he can check if everything is alright. The cleaners at the hotel don’t speak English but are still very kind and come and go to help me out.
It’s nearly 4pm now and my ankle is hurting a fair bit making it tricky to walk but that could be because I haven’t taken any pain killers today.
Onur was here and he showed me where to do my belly injection, I didn’t even feel it go in but I’m still not looking forward to doing it myself.
5:15pm now and my right ankle is in quite a lot of pain, I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance based on my experiences so far and that the doctors have been surprised that I can walk so much and everything but I seriously wouldn’t recommend doing this for purely cosmetic reasons.
I truly can’t believe I ever thought this was a good idea, I’ve never been a super athletic person but suddenly all I want to do is run and jump around but even once I get these off my legs it’ll take a long time to be able to safely do all that.
Painkillers have kicked in now so feeling abit better but I don’t want to have to rely on them.

Day 9 – I ended up having a pretty decent sleep and asked my doctor for a copy of my x-rays so I could look at them a bit closer.
I think there are no good days or bad days with this surgery, all days have good and bad moments. It’s obviously too late to back out now so all I can do is what my doctors say and hope it’s all worth it in the end.
Just did my needle in my stomach and it wasn’t bad at all, still not happy about having to do it every day for the next month though.
Onur came and changed my bandages and I am now officially 0.25mm taller, he also helped me do my stretches at my ankle and he did it a lot further back than I have been which I guess I should do, it’s just hard doing it myself because of the pain but I’ll force myself too.
He also said the swelling will go down within a week and that I have no infections.

 

Day 10 – Had another good sleep though I have to set an alarm for 3am to do one of the lengthening turns.
Hope I don’t end up with any permanent hip or back problems, they hurt in some spots from putting more weight on my left leg than my right.
I think the next month each day is going to be pretty much the same, the mornings are the worst but still not terrible.
It’s 3pm now and I’m officially an entire mm taller.
6:30 now, my feet are still kinda swollen and I hate looking at them but all I can do is the physio exercises and wait for the swelling to go down. Only 26 days left until I finish lengthening anyway.

Day 11 – I guess now that the lengthening has started I somewhat feel like it’s worth it but it’s still in no way a pleasant experience and I’m still worried about my right ankle, it’s going to be really annoying if I can’t put it flat until the fixators are taken off.
Some bad news about today, I have bit of a tummy bug and have had to go to toilet 3 times now and it hasn’t been pretty.
12:30 now and my stomach is all good, doing the stretches and going for a short walk definitely make me feel better in terms of recovery but I don’t want to overdo it so that still leaves a lot of the day to just be bored.
It’s 7:45pm now, the days do feel like they’re going fast which is good and bad in the sense that I hope I’m doing enough exercises and walking. I think I am though, the only problem I have is my right ankle, other than that I can walk fine.

Day 12 – Didn’t sleep very well last night but I’m not sure why, I didn’t have any pain I think I just couldn’t sleep.
Same problems as usual, swollen feet and my right ankle refuses to cooperate.
I’m looking forward to being able to shower again next Monday or Tuesday(it’s Thursday at the moment). I’m not overly dirty or anything but I can still feel I’m not clean.
Onur came to see me again and I no longer have bandages around my legs so now I have to get used to seeing my swollen legs in all their glory with various cuts and stitches in them. The cuts aren’t too bad though, I can tell they’ll fade and my legs are hairy enough to cover them up but I’m worried about where the pins go into each leg, I think they’ll be noticeable for quite awhile.

 

Day 13 – Swelling on my right foot is starting to go down though it’s still hard to put my foot down flat.
I haven’t done as much stretching as I normally would but I did walk a lot more than normal and I’ve been told that walking is the best thing to do for recovery.
I think a good way to keep positive is once you start lengthening you can think about how much taller you already are, I haven’t grown in about 4 years and now within 4 days I’m 0.4cm taller.

Day 14 – I don’t think it’s possible for me to properly do the stretches on my right ankle, I’m gonna ask Onur about it today because of where the nail is going into my ankle I think it would do more harm to try and force it to move when there’s a nail in the way.
I’m not having a great day today, can’t help but worry about my right leg, left leg seems fine and like it’ll recover but my right leg doesn’t.
Went for a walk which always makes me feel better, doctor said when the external fixators come out they also take those screws out so I just need to keep up with my physio.

Day 15 – Waking up this morning was okay, swelling is going down and I was able to make my way to the toilet without much pain.
About to go to bed, been a pretty good day though I’m still clueless as to what I’m meant to do with my right ankle/foot when I walk, should I force it to go flat or is that bad, should I walk on my toes which feels comfortable or is that going to make it do that permanently? Doing my head in.

 

Day 16 – I’m officially 178cm or 5’10”
20 days and I’ll be 180cm and can hopefully have the fixators taken off.
It could be my imagination but I think I feel more awkward walking due to the added length, I assume I’ll get used to that though over time.

Day 17 – Don’t really know what to keep writing as every day is the same, I guess my left leg is hurting a bit more than usual this morning.
Went and had some xrays this afternoon to check my progress, I’ll hopefully get to look at them in a day or two.

Day 18 – One of the worst parts is that every morning, regardless of if I go before I go to sleep, I wake up needing to pee really bad and it takes a good five minutes to make my way to the toilet and walking is more painful in the morning unless I do the stretches but then that’s another 10 minutes of needing to pee.
I’m going to start trying to do more stretches that will help fix my right foot/ankle as well.
Also just had my first shower today and washed my hair and face properly, nobody told when I could or couldn’t shower so I just figured as long as I keep my legs dry it should be fine.

We really wish this detailed, honest and informative diary gets updated more. We will make sure to keep our readers updated…

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