Finally! I had leg lengthening surgery for a second time

LON limb lengthening on tibia Turkey 1

This article is about my second leg lengthening surgery experience. Hope you enjoy and find it useful.

 

“To progress again, man must remake himself. And man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.  In order to uncover his true visage, he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer.”

– Alexis Carrel, “Man, The Unknown”

 

I just read this quote from Alexis Carrel and I wanted to share it with you, as I liked it very much. We need to believe in what he has said. If we want to change, if we want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we have to tolerate all the sufferings of this transforming journey.

I am writing this article while I am myself going through this pain and suffering. It has been 5 years since my first surgery, and today it has been my 34th day since my second limb lengthening surgery. I think I have just passed 3 cm mark. Today, I am planning to have an x-ray done and my doctor’s assistant will examine the results.

Just a small note before getting into details: I hope this article will be a comprehensive guide enriched with photos, videos and x-rays for people who are considering, planning or just want to learn more about leg lengthening surgery. I will talk about my height increase journey from 160s to 170s, and about all the challenges and the solutions I have found.

At the same time, I am a coordinator at Wannabetaller company, which is an institution arranging pre-op/post-op and consulting services for patients who want to have limb lengthening surgery.

I am writing this article with my “patient” identity rather than my “company coordinator” identity. Additionally, I hope this article and my experience will be useful for you since this is my second surgery, additionally I have had the chance of seeing the work of more than 10 doctors in this field, as I have monitored hundreds of limb lengthening patients.

An odd fact: My actual major is Psychological Counselling, but I wasn’t able to adapt my own psychology to accept my short height and live happily with it. I never managed to get rid of this obsession, neither when I was seeing my peers growing taller at the age of 15, nor when I was assigned to an official public duty when I was 23 years old. I had already tried all absurd height increase methods known at that time or found on the internet, writing about which can be a material for an entire book.

I had my first surgery when I was 24 years old, and when I was sure that there is no other solution to getting tall than surgery. But I was even afraid of a simple injection. How could I bear 12 pins on my leg for one year? Also, these surgeries were new in Turkey at that time and the number of limb lengthening cases was small.  Normally, I should have taken a step back with my anxiety but I dived right into the first opportunity like a mad lover.

I can’t even tell you how hard those days were. And those days were long. Holyfix method was applied in my surgery, which is like Ilizarov but it is a more compact and modern tool. After 5th month, my bones weirdly decided not to consolidate and I slept and woke up with those devices for exactly 15 months and 12 days. I walked like a penguin with 12 pins in my leg and I needed someone else’s presence and assistance. Moreover, I had my surgery on femur. Those who know will understand how it feels like. In femur surgery, pain is more and mobility is more limited. In that period, I was unable to sleep on my side. The back of my body was greatly damaged in the first few months.

Holyfix / A Counselling Psychologist
A photo from my first surgery back in 2015: Holyfix on femurs

Since these are my views for my first surgery, I am hesitant about recommending it to other people. I can only recommend leg lengthening surgery to those who believe they have no other option to live a normal life and couldn’t get rid of the obsession for a long time (at least for two years).

I still don’t know why, but I never regretted from those days. I was so obsessed that I was tolerating all of the difficulties of leg lengthening surgery, with the hope to experience better days in the future. 15 months and 12 days for 6 cm. Although it does not sound like a profitable solution, I believed I had no other choice at that time. I think I adjusted my psychology to that situation.

No matter what happened, all remained in the past and the devices were out. Now, I was enjoying the relief after the bad days when I heard, “hey did you get taller, you look different”.  I think this relaxation was also partially caused by the relief from long and painful process coming to an end. I even enjoyed simply standing with my arms wide open when I saw the sun.

Everything was going well but I couldn’t give up my habit to wear hidden heels (elevator shoes). I felt that my obsession degree decreased from 10 out of 10 to 3-4 out of 10, but I made a mistake in one thing. Once you get used to elevator shoes, it is not easy to give them up. You internalize the extra height gained from those shoes and you have this unnecessary obsession when you take off the shoes. I should say that prior to my surgery I felt short even with these shoes. Now, I feel normal when I wear them. In the past, I was sweating from anxiety when someone talked about height and I froze even if I was the one making the most of the jokes. But with this surgery and with the support of the shoes, I could give examples to my students to be realistic when setting a target and that it is not a very smart decision to become a basketball player if you are extremely short heighted.

Meanwhile, I was heading to my second leg lengthening surgery, due to the effect of those elevator shoes, and because I was thinking that 170+cm range is a safe zone for a male.

LON limb lengthening on tibia Turkey 1
My second limb lengthening surgery: LON on tibia

I woke up to a new morning. 35th day. Before beginning today’s diary writing, I did my Achilles Tendon flexibility exercise and then 0.25 mm bone distraction. I become a taller person every 8 hours. I think I am growing faster than a teenager. Of course it is difficult to say that I enjoy it during the process, because our health is always the first priority. Especially the pain related to muscle tension, it has increased a lot. I expected to face this pain when I reach 4-5 cm, but I was caught unexpectedly. I have just gone past 3 cm, but my heels gradually rise up when walking, especially the heel of my left foot. I understood one thing: If you want more than 3-4 cm, you need to increase your leg flexibility sufficiently before surgery. Additionally, you need to make sure your Achilles Tendons stretch well enough when you do these exercises. If I had this done in time, I suppose I would sleep better on last 3-4 nights.

I strongly recommend getting physiotherapy assistance. You will benefit from it, even if you get online physio support. Or, even watching exercise videos instead of watching movies and playing games will make you exercise more on that day. Additionally, sharing your experience with others and exchanging your knowledge will also increase the efficiency of your exercising. For example, when I shoot videos for sharing, I exercise faster than usual. When I don’t make videos, my performance is not even half of this.

This is also true for my walking videos. You know, sharing something brings more rather than taking from you. In my video below, I can tell I walk faster than normal. Moreover, I like listening to music, so walking while listening to music helps me get more efficiency from my efforts.

Here you can see my video where I am doing exercises and walking at various stages of my procedure:


 

Yesterday I had lots of pain. This pain was mostly caused by muscle tension. After having my x-rays done, my doctor and his assistant told that I can overcome this with the help of exercising. To be honest, in a similar manner to many other patients, I was lost in thoughts, such as, “doctors don’t empathize with us patients, at the end of the day, it is us who were pierced by those nails and screws, not them, I have pain at the moment and I’m not in the mood of doing exercises”. In the end, I realized that my pains are much more stubborn and persistent than me, and decided that I am only deceiving myself. So I did stretching exercises accompanied by music, then got up and despite the pain, I walked with a walker and then with crutches. After 10-15 minutes, my pain had already reduced. Because my blood circulation increased, and after the stretching exercises I had given my legs what they needed. This is what I want to say: Either you curse the darkness, or walk towards the light. Yesterday I too saw the benefit of fighting this battle and thinking in a solution-oriented way instead of getting lost in the darkness.

Furthermore, I am planning to lengthen 3 times a day instead of 4 times (4×0.25 mm).

Please stay tuned, I will update my diary with photos, walking and exercise videos, x-rays etc….

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