As a journalist, I don’t just take someone’s word for it. Somebody tells me something – I need proof. Give me a source, add up the numbers, show me some pictures. When it came time to lengthen my leg, of course I trusted the doctors that their method would work. Although if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll realize all of the equipment helping to grow my leg is on the inside of my body. For seven days, three times a day, we entered the ‘Adjustment Room’ at the hospital where we stuck a magnet on top of my leg for one minute. Each time it was supposed to make my leg .25 millimeters longer. But I couldn’t see it happening. My leg still looked the same. There was no measurement that could be taken to prove to me that this whole system was working. It didn’t quite feel real, until about a week in right before we were released from the hospital when I saw the x-ray.
This is the inside of my right leg. You can see the rod and the nails. The empty gap is where my bone is getting separated by the magnet. The gap in this picture is about 6 millimeters and everyday with the magnet that gap is getting bigger which means my leg is getting longer. Proof! It’s really working! We are now allowed to lengthen .25 mm FOUR times a day which is a millimeter a day total. Going at this rate, my legs should be the same length by the very end of May or the beginning of June. When we finish pulling the bones apart, the bone will regenerate on its own and fill in the gap naturally. I think that will take anywhere from six to eight weeks after lengthening ends.
After all the thought and prayer that went into making this decision, then all of the anticipation and nervousness leading up to the surgery, it’s very strange to sit here and think “I’m doing this. It’s happening right now.”
Since being released from the hospital on Monday, living at home in Pittsburgh with my parents has been great. I get to have my dog with me, my mom and dad are very attentive and help me with anything I need, physical therapy is going well and several people have volunteered to drive me there since both of my parents work.
I am getting around short distances just fine on crutches, but have a wheelchair just in case we need it for longer strolls like the grocery store or mall. (I have several friends who are seriously excited to escort me through Walmart in a motorized cart. I suppose I’ll let them have their fun! How many times in life do you get to do that?!) I also got some wonderful Welcome Home decorations from my friends.
I have lived at least 10 hours away from home since I started my career five years ago. Although this time at home will not always be comfortable and sometimes painful, I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to bond again with my parents and see my hometown friends more often.
“Just keep moving toward your goal, as long as you keep moving the obstacles will move out of your way.” My mom said that and it has proven true so far!
Pain, discomfort and my mood can fluctuate hourly and daily, and it certainly hasn’t been easy. Plus we still have a ways to go. But I am still happy with my decision. It’s a challenge to stay positive all the time, but I’m trying to find joy in everyday. I never want to forget all the things I have to be thankful for!