My reflection for having limb lengthening surgery (Michael from Australia)
Of what seems like a lifetime ago, I was reading the newspaper which detailed a new procedure that would allow men and women to increase their height. Breaking bones, inserting metal frames and slowly distracting the bones apart ever so slowly. Just enough to let new bone to form. Obviously, once that new bone had consolidated would provide the newly achieved height and growth. A few centimetres.
I found this information intriguing. Despite this procedure seemed so traumatic and painful, it always lingered in the recess of my imagination. What a difference this opportunity could do to my life of what I thought was an unachievable dream. A dream because I felt my height was a barrier, people would judge and critic my stature with negative connotation. This fact had negative impact on how I viewed myself; sociologically and physiologically. It imposed a real barrier to my happiness.
Without rhyme or reason, everyday I would be confronted with a consciousness and awareness of my height which was impacting my life. Reluctant to put myself forward to approach the gorgeous girl at the bar or have confidence to talk myself up in a job interview. These everyday occurrences impacted my mental psyche negatively.
I know the thoughts around obtaining a limb lengthening procedure needed to be addressed. The decision was mine, the time was right and the development of new techniques accumulated the weight of my decision to step forward towards achieving my goal. Biting the bullet was the decision I made. My thoughts surrounding my height were impending all aspects of my life. So here I go.
So with that in mind, I contacted, ‘Wannabetaller’. I saw an advertisement on instagram months earlier and had noted down the contact details. I tracked the contact details down and made the first step. ‘Hello my name is Michael and I wish to be taller….”
Within a day later, I was contacted by a representative from Wannabetaller, Yusif. He detailed the different opportunities I had to achieve my goal. He offered details and information about the different procedures, the times available and the doctors’ experience and expertise. Yusif just assisted and guided me without pressure towards making an informed decision. And a decision that was best for me.
Reflecting on this time of make initial contact with Wannabetaller, the way in which Yusif conducted himself was a very professional manner. It was very matter of fact, without the feeling of a sales technique to lure you in. It was simply informative and allowed me to understand the different options available to me to best meet my desire to achieve my goal of being taller.
Going over all the information and possibilities obtained during my time spent with Yusif, I made my decision. I chose to have the Precice 2.2 Method for lengthening with Dr. Ozgur. It seemed the best option for reducing complications with the operation and fitted my budget. Going over all the information, I made an informed decision and was booked ready to head to Turkey to embark on my journey.
As the plane caressed across the tarmac, I gazed outside the windows of the plane in amazement. A sight I’d never seen before. Snow flakes danced in the sky. For me it was a first. I couldn’t stop smiling. I made my way off the plane and through the airport. A sign with my name on it awaited me. Mohamed was the representative from Wannabetaller. Just on Mohamed, over the course of the up coming days, we formed a close friendship and he offered great support to me during the course of the procedure. I would strongly recommend obtaining the assistance of a caretaker if you chose to have this procedure. Mohamed was worth his weight in gold.
As the sliding doors opened to exist the airport, a gust of icy wind penetrated my bones. So cold. Mohamed informed me that it was the first time it was snowing this time of year for a very long time. Chaotic could best describe the scene outside the airport. People, taxis, buses and cars everywhere. The noise was deafening. Horns blazing and people yelling out. Plus yelling in a dialect that was unrecognisable to me.
I climbed onboard the chauffeured car with my belonging and made our way to the hotel. Traffic was something to behold. Driving in Istanbul is a real skill. So many cars and highways that divert in all directions. I guess with such a huge population it makes sense. I arrived at the hotel. Five star. The room was amazing with views that stretched as far as I could see. Later that evening, for the first time I heard the sound of the mosques. It drew me towards the window. It was like the whole city was singing. I’d never experienced anything like it before.
That night was the night before my operation. I was very nervous and apprehensive towards what I was about to do? I guess fear. Fear of the unknown. I had something to eat, making sure that it was before the cut off time of 9.30pm because it can interfere when you are put under with an anaesthetic. Then I tried to get some sleep.
Yusif messaged me early. ‘Be ready at 9am, Mohamed will pick you up and transfer you to the hospital and your operation will be at 3pm this afternoon.’ This is real, it’s happening and I packed my belongings and with trepidation I made my way to the foyer. Packed and ready, we departed the hotel and made our way to the hospital.
Logging into the hospital, administration took my passport and processed my details. Then I was brought to my room. I set myself up and awaited the doctor’s arrival. Mohamed and I watched some television to pass the time away. I had many thoughts going through my head and envisaged many thoughts about the trauma I was about to put my body through.
My doctor arrived with his assistants. Dr. Ozgur sat down next to me and asked how I was and went into details of how the operation would proceed. He was pleased to inform me that my femur bone was perfect size for the nail. His smile resonated and highlighted his pure friendly nature and kindness. His demeanour reassured my decision to have him perform the surgery. I felt more than just a patient and he exudes passion for his profession.
It is noted that Dr Ozgur is recognised in his field. He has written many papers in regards to the study of limb lengthening. These papers are accessible on the internet. Prior to going to Turkey I read these examples of his work. It gave me insight to his knowledge and expertise in this field.
Once I threw a few different questions at Dr Ozgur. This was where Mohamed shone brightly. He created the bridge to link the communication between myself and the doctor to ensure that language was not a barrier. To ensure we were on the same page. And with the meeting drawing to a close the Doctor stood up and said we will go to prepare for surgery. Upon leaving the room he said, ‘we will see you soon.’
Once time drew near for my operation, a bed was wheeled into my room and the nurse motioned for me to get changed and climb aboard. I followed her instructions that were relayed by Mohamed. I lent back onto the bed and gazed up at the roof as I was wheeled towards the operation theatre. I focused on my breathing just to relax and calm my nerves. Nurses surrounded the bed and were preparing me as the anaesthetist administered an anaesthetic.
My eyes slowly emerged from my slumber. Sleepy and drowsy I assessed my surroundings. Back in my room with Mohamed asking, ‘how are you feeling?’ To be honest I was a bit thrown by the anaesthetic. ‘I’m good’…
I replied gazing down at my legs, I lifted the bedsheets. My thighs were huge! Almost double in size. It felt so peculiar and uncomfortable. A nurse provided the drip off my arm, essential painkillers. She motioned to press the attention button once the pain killers had depleted in the bag.
Despite the communication breakdown across the languages, as my Turkish is limited or to be honest, non-existent. The nurses were so friendly and helpful throughout my entire stay at the hospital. Zeynep was so helpful and she had a bit of English which we attempted to communicate in our own unique way.
A visit from the doctor and his assistant, Onur checked in with me to highlight their delight in the successful procedure and check my overall well-being. With that they stated that Onur would be back tomorrow to check up on me. And with that, the doctor departed. I lent back into the bed and let the painkillers course through my body. My eyes closed and I drifted off to sleep to recoup from the events of the day.
Onur was in direct contact with the doctor and he would end up spending the majority of the time with me providing care, taking me to get x-rays and physiotherapy in the upcoming weeks. He is a real character. He is a cool identity. Nothing bothers him, always smiling and when he enters the hospital people are wanting to chat and converse.
Over the upcoming few days, I simply rested and managed the pain in the hospital. Mohamed offered great company. He told me about his experience with leaving Syria and forming a new life and family in Turkey. I take my hat off to him he is far braver than myself. Plus we engaged each offer in friendly competition, playing FIFA on the PlayStation. I would recommend to bring things to pass the time. The procedure is a time consuming process in which requires you to remain very inactive. Therefore, you must stimulate the brain otherwise you will go crazy. Books, drawing, puzzles, iPads, computers, chess, whatever is your thing is a must.
I spent approximately four days at hospital with relatively no pain. Just more uncomfortable and incapacitated. Onur came into the room with a wheelchair and walking frame. Onar wanted me to attempt to use the walking frame. I positioned myself at the end of the bed and levered myself up onto the frame with the assistance of Mohamed and Onur. Once up I braced my own weight by myself. I had been lying down for the past four days and I could feel myself getting lightheaded. I blacked out, collapsed in a heap. I woke with people surrounding me encouraging me to wake. ‘Michael! Michael! Michael!” I could hear. I was out of it and exhausted…
I returned to the bed and Mohamed collected and packed my belongings. Ready to depart, I was wheeled out of the hospital to an awaiting vehicle ready to start the next stage of the procedure the lengthening phase. I felt abnormal, my thighs were enormous. I just fitted into the wheel chair. The next challenge was getting into the van. Fortunately, a strong man that I never met before bear hugged me and lifted me up onto the seat like a weight lifter in the Olympics.
We headed for the Hotel, Tempo Suites. Braving the traffic, Onur wheeled me through the streets and into the hotel. Mohamed set me up putting all my belongings in places where I could access them and with that my newly formed friendship with Mohamed drew to a close. He departed with a kind smile and wished me all the best.
There is a five day latent period where the bone initiates the healing process and starts to generate new bone. Once this period is finished then you can start the lengthening process. Precice has a magnet machine that initiates the nail in the leg to lengthen. It increases in increments of .33mm each time you perform the lengthening. During the operation, crosses are painted onto my legs to highlight where to place the machine. Each day I would perform the distraction on each leg three times. Achieving .99mm each day.
Upon performing this procedure each day for a week, it was time to head back to the hospital to have an x-ray. The X-ray showed that my bone was generating quickly. The distractions had to be increased to ensure that the bone would lengthen. I did this for another week and had another follow up X-ray. My first set back. There was a problem with the precise nail in my left leg. It wasn’t working properly and needed to be replaced.
Knowing what I was about to go through I was better prepared. Or as I thought. I had the same procedure again. It was great to see Zeynep and some of the other nurses again. Being stuck in the hotel with limited interactions with people had started to affect my being. So it was good to have people around. The Doctor said prior to surgery that he was impressed with my body to regenerate bone, but said we have to be careful that it doesn’t impact my ability to lengthen the bone too.
After the operation, I had immense pain. More than I’d experienced prior. My leg felt like it was under pressure and could burst at any moment. The pain killers were my best friend. I don’t know why it felt more painful. Perhaps the use of a bigger nail? I don’t know. This lead to some interesting nights ahead once I returned to the hotel. After a week of managing the pain and the swelling of my leg my pain levels returned to a more tolerable level…
(to be continued)