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Author Topic: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020  (Read 1934 times)

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BelowTheMean

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BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« on: October 12, 2020, 05:37:11 AM »

Introduction
Greetings everyone, I will be doing Stryde bilateral femurs with Dr. Debiparshad approximately one month from now. Therefore, I’m starting a journal to document this process as many have before me. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to write a journal at first as I’d like to keep this procedure as private as possible, but having read so many of these over the years and having learned so much from past patients’ experiences, I thought it was only right to do my part and give back to the community as well. Also, Dr. D still doesn’t have that many data points on here yet, so I thought it was especially important to add my contribution to the mix.

This will likely not be a daily journal, but I will try to make as many updates as my schedule allows. I plan to detail both the good and bad as accurately as I can, and really dive into what I think about the process and my personal experience living with legs of varying degrees of functionality over the next few months. I’m not sure if I’ll post any media yet as I want to remain as anonymous as possible (as I mentioned) but I might change my mind on that a bit over time. Also, if you see me being vague about exact dates, it’s on purpose. However, if you have any questions for me I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.

Basic Stats
  • Demographics: Early-Mid 30s, Male, USA
  • Starting Height: 169cm (5'6.5")
  • Wingspan: 169cm (5'6.5")
  • Lengthening Goal: 8cm (3.15")
  • Starting Body Type: 155 lbs (70kg), 14% body fat
  • Starting Inseam: 29” (73.5cm)
  • Staring Tibia-to-Femur Ratio: ~0.805

Starting Height and Lengthening Goal
I measured myself at 169.5cm (5'6.7") first thing in the morning and 168cm (5'6.1") before bed. I stood under a box, marked the wall with a pencil, then used a tape measure. I actually forgot to ask what my measured height was during my in-person consultation, but I think my own measurements are fine. I also left the two marks on the wall so I can compare them to my final height when I’m done lengthening.

I will be going for the full 8cm. As long as my bone growth isn’t so fast as to risk premature consolidation I’m willing to slow down considerably toward the end, at the cost of increasing the duration of the lengthening phase. I plan to get the full value out of my nail as long as I am able to physically. For simplicity sake, I’m just going to say I’m going from 169cm to 177cm. With dress shoes or thick-soled sneakers I’d be comfortable calling myself 180cm (5'11") which is more than enough for me.

Proportions
Overall, I don’t care too much about proportions as I think the most important thing is to get my eye level a couple of inches higher so I don’t have to look up at as many people when interacting with them. I highly doubt anyone is going to look at my legs carefully and judge my proportions unless they know about it, and even then I doubt they can tell if I'm wearing regular pants. Otherwise, I think my baseline stats are pretty typical for a short man.

Physical Shape
I was at my personal peak shape right before the pandemic started. However, since March 2020 I’ve been avoiding going to the gym so I have gradually been losing muscle and gaining fat, putting me at my current stats. I’m not totally out of shape as my diet is fairly clean, but I’m not at the optimal strength to weight ratio either.

Sports
I’m part of an amateur tennis league and I certainly won't be able to play next spring, but I hope to get back to it someday. Losing agility and explosiveness is definitely going to make me worse, but I’m not too concerned about it since I’m not super competitive anyway.

I used to do endurance sports a long time ago, with multiple marathons and Olympic distance triathlons under my belt. However, I quit running to reduce the long-term risk to my knees, so being able to do these is not a concern for me post-LL. However, at my peak, my best mile (1600m) was just over 5:30 and my best two-mile (3200m) time was just over 12 minutes. However, that was five years ago when I was still in my 20s, so I don’t think I could ever get back to that, even if I wasn’t going to do LL. If I can run a 9 minute mile after my rods are out, I think I’d be okay with that (not that I’ve actually run a whole mile even once in the last year or two) but I plan to do some timed runs once I’m healthy enough to, so that I can benchmark and share my recovery progress.

Finally, I snowboard and ski and I’ve heard that snowsports are one of the few sports where it’s possible to return to almost 100% after lengthening so I’m definitely looking forward to that! I will definitely report back on my performance in all sports related stuff over time, but I think first I’ll have to walk normally and consolidate before I can even think about any of these ;)

Flexibility
I’ve been stretching about an hour almost every day for the last month, and will continue to do so for the month leading up to surgery. I’ve been doing stretches from the YouTube videos in some of the journals here that I’ve been rereading. I also have a guide from Dr. D’s office. I know some people on here don’t believe in stretching pre-op, but I’ve seen multiple sources say that stretching consistently pre-op will definitely help with flexibility during the lengthening phase. I also don’t think it would hurt to consistently stretch leading up to the day of surgery (as long as you don’t get injured) so even if it doesn’t help with tightness, it will at least help with establishing the habit.

I did gymnastics as a kid and used to be very flexible. In middle school I could do a front split with my left leg forward, and could almost do one with my right leg forward. I could nearly do a side split with my crotch only 1-2 inches off the ground. I could also easily touch the ground with my palms with my legs straight and touch my knees with my face. While doing a back arch, I could also grab my ankles. With that said, I’m not sure how useful any of these are for femur lengthening and currently my flexibility is not as good as when I was younger anyway.

While my legs are straight, I can still touch the ground with my palms, barely. On both my side and back, with both legs straight, I can lift one leg up just past 90 degrees. Doing a side split, I can get my crotch about 10-12 inches off the ground. I can barely do a back arch. At max stretch all of these positions are very hard to hold for more than a few seconds. However, I have noticed some gain in flexibility over the last month. Dr. D said I was pretty flexible at the consult as well, though what he tested is different than the stretches I described. My goal by surgery day is to be able to touch my wrist to my heel with my legs straight for my hamstrings, and to improve stretches on everything else as well, especially my buttocks.

Health Status
I last got a full physical three years ago and the only thing concerning was that I was Vitamin D deficient. Unfortunately, this impacts calcium intake and bone growth. However, Dr. D says that I wouldn’t be the first person starting this process with a Vitamin D deficiency, if I still have one. I’ve started supplementing Vitamin D since my phone consultation, but I don’t think I’ll know what my current Vitamin D levels are at until I get the pre-surgery blood work done (if that's even part of the testing.) I also won’t know what the impact of all this is on my callus formation until my first post-op X-rays, so fingers crossed! I have no other health concerns at the moment, though I am as paranoid as the rest of you about complications.

My Backstory
I’ve known about CLL for almost seven years and have been a member of both the old forum and this one. The original thing that got me to look into this was (of course) my girlfriend at the time – let’s just say she left me for a tall guy and told me the reason was because I was too short. Eventually I realized that my height wasn’t actually the primary reason that I got dumped; it was just the primary excuse. Unfortunately, by then I had already developed height dysphoria and it has stayed with me ever since.

After that experience, anyone who has casually mentioned my height has left a negative mark on me. Every time I get my car back from the valet and have to adjust the seat forward, I think about my height. Every time I meet a new group of people, I think about how I’m usually the shortest guy. Whenever I’m outside walking amongst a crowd of people I start comparing everyone’s heights. These are just a few examples, and anyone reading this is likely to have their own experiences with being short, but I think this surgery will finally fix these issues for me personally. I don’t need to be very tall; I just don’t want to feel short all the time and think about height constantly.

Who Knows About This
I told my best friend about the surgery back when I got dumped by the girl noted above. However, I haven’t mentioned it to him even once since then so hopefully he has forgotten about it. I know my mom is aware of the surgery since she saw a segment about it on TV a few years back, though she probably thinks it’s still performed with leg cages. I’m considering telling my sister about it as she would possibly understand since she only dates tall guys. For now though, I haven’t told anyone that I’m actually going through with it, but I think some of the people I interact with a lot will figure it out and I’ll just deal with it as it comes up. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission imo. I don’t plan on seeing anyone until my gait is fixed anyway.

For post-inpatient assistance I plan on hiring a part-time home health aide, maybe for a couple of hours a day in the first week. I don’t think the cost will be that high if they’re not staying with me 24/7. I will try to do everything myself though and accurately log what can or can’t be done alone.

Cost of the Procedure
Dr. D’s current prices are listed on his website and I’m paying full retail price. I plan to write an entire entry on costs later, once I have a better idea of what I’ll be spending outside of what I’m paying the doctor.

How I’m Paying
I work in a career that pays decently well and I’m currently employed at a large and profitable company. Having been out of college for about a decade, I’ve climbed the corporate ladder to a middle management role. However, what’s more important than the job itself is the fact that I’ve always been aware of the concept of financial independence and have been working toward it since my first job. The cost of the surgery coming out of my investments now will push back my estimated date of financial independence by about 5 months.

I’ve technically had enough liquid savings to get the surgery done since 2017. However, I haven’t been single since then, so I didn’t really have a strong drive to get it done. Now that I’m single again and there’s not exactly a lot to do during the pandemic, I figure this is probably my best chance to do it. Realistically, if I don’t do it now and life resumes after the pandemic, in all likelihood I’d probably never get as good of a chance to do it, which means I’d potentially be stuck with height dysphoria for the rest of my life. Having waited just long enough to be able to do femurs with Stryde and not have to take a break from work is just dumb luck.

Time Off Work
Everyone at my company is working from home right now. I picked the end of the year for lengthening because there will be a lot of holidays off and work is generally not very busy. I can also double dip on both floating holidays and purchased PTO. I’ll be capped on regular PTO going into the surgery as well. Basically, I won’t have to work much at all during lengthening if I’m unable to. However, based on the journals I’ve read I should be able to perform remote work throughout a good part of the lengthening phase, especially if I can manage my pain without opioids. If I don’t feel like working, I’ll just take some time off. I definitely plan to discuss in detail my ability to get work done during the different phases of lengthening.

When I eventually return to the office, I won’t have seen any of my coworkers for at least a year. My boss is a solid 6’3” (190cm) so I doubt he’ll notice the difference in my height. I don’t really care what anyone else in the office thinks, though I think it’ll be likely that some people near my original height will notice.

Why Dr. D?
I initially reached out to the major US CLL doctors by email. I was able to book an initial online consultation with Dr. D the quickest as his office is pretty responsive. He had availability around the time I wanted to get the procedure done, so everything kind of just worked out. He seems very focused and straight to the point each time we’ve talked which I appreciate, and his clinic is pretty nice as well.

I have no doubts as to his competency as a surgeon as his education and medical background are top notch, and a big part of the lengthening phase and successful outcomes is dependent on the patient’s own dedication to PT, which won’t necessarily vary by doctor.

Shoutouts
I've recently re-read a bunch of Stryde journals in various phases of the CLL process in preparation for this. In reverse chronological order: Amanexp, StrydeNailChallenge, Movie, TheAlchemist, VerticalPush, BoneStretching, and InFullStryde. I also want to give a shout out to DoingItForMe, OldieButGoldie, and leechlet, whose journals have also inspired me over the years. Hopefully I didn't miss anyone! Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences regarding the process. Hopefully someday my own journal will help someone else as much as all your journals have helped me.

Next Steps
One of the reasons I'm starting the journal a bit early is that I think it's important to discuss pre-op preparation. I'm interested in anyone's thoughts on what needs to be done before the operation. I’m continuing to stretch and expanding my repertoire of stretches. I may go up to two or three stretching sessions a day and then rest a few days before the operation. I’m also preparing a shopping list for equipment and supplies, and making sure that everything is wrapped up at work before I go on my “long vacation”. My travel and lodging is already booked, so I'm just counting the days now!

Finally, I just wanted to say that I’m looking forward to sharing my personal experience going through this procedure with all of you, and I’m hoping to get some encouragement on here as well, especially on any of those tough days during the lengthening phase!
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

ghkid2019

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2020, 06:05:47 AM »

Let's goooo BTM.

177cm the dream 😍😍
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TheAlchemist

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2020, 04:27:46 PM »

Congrats on moving forward with LL BTM! I remember researching LL back in 2017 and appreciating the perspectives and insights from your posts, it's great to see you moving forward with the procedure.

Amazing first diary post- your diary will be a valuable resource to both yourself and this community. I found that journaling through my diary was helpful and therapeutic for me in reflecting and navigating through all the uncertainty of the LL journey. It made me feel connected to others going through it at a point in my life where I felt alone and isolated from my friends and family..... I think it will be of great use to you. I've found a bit of myself in your story and I think you will reap all the benefits I have, and many others have, from this procedure. Very excited for you man!

I'll offer a few tips in preparation of the procedure:

1) Build a solid sleep plan. Practice sleeping on your back every night. Pre LL I had been a slide sleeper all my lfie. During the first few months of distraction it will be nearly impossible to sleep on your sides due to the surgery wound trauma. It took me a few weeks to really train myself to sleep on my back and it cost me dozens of hours of valuable sleep time.

2) Build a social network. Just like you, I did LL privately and none of my family and friends knew what I was doing. The loneliness and solitude were A LOT harder to deal with than I anticipated. Being bed ridden, and crippled, in a hotel room all day, will eat away at you. Humans are social creatures after all. What really saved me from going crazy was staying at a recommended LL hotel where many Paley patients stayed and building friendships with many of the other LLers. There's a strong bond that forms between people going through incredibly difficult times, you find that you can help each other with resources, talk things out, or even have a laugh about getting taller as grown adults in our 30s.....all of it helps. I would reach out to Dr. D and see if any patients would be willing to network before the procedure, or perhaps reach out to folks through this forum, to try and build that network before you head out to Vegas. Ideally you find a hotel with other LLers to hang with in the common areas.

3) Build up a backlog of Audiobooks, podcasts, and TV shows...basically passive entertainment - when planning for LL I was overly ambitious and thought I'd learn new skills, work on new projects, and find new hobbies. I did none of that and I consier myself a pretty hard working, dedicated guy. Between stretching, physical therapy, and pain management, LL was a full time job. Keep in mind you will be sleep deprived where the majority of your calories will be dedicated to rebuilding a broken bone that get's stretched every day so you won't have much energy left for anything else. My cognitive abilities dropped significantly and I could barely read a book or even draft an email. I would plan to occupy your time with passive activities like audiobooks, podcasts, or TV shoes. Preferably those that are in line with your interests, or those about stoicism to help you through the grind of LL.

I'll be checking in on the diary, best of luck man!



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Dr. Paley Patient: Femurs (Stryde) / 8 CM gained
Surgery: Sep 17 2019 / Distraction completed: Dec 14 2019
Starting height: 5'9 or 175cm / Ending Height: 6'0 ft or 183 cm
Diary: http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=64373.0

BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2020, 02:18:10 AM »

Thanks guys!

@TheAlchemist: I'm glad you stopped by and I'll definitely take your suggestions to heart.

1) I'm usually a side sleeper too, though I can fall asleep on my back so we'll see how things are. I've read about other people putting pillows under their knees and stuff, so I plan to try out a bunch of different things to see what works for me.

2) I would be more afraid of the social isolation, but due to the pandemic I was alone from March to July having minimal contact with the outside world. Having done it once, I think I'll be more ready the second time. Of course the pandemic is a double-edged sword and it won't be as easy to meet up with other LLers while I'm in Vegas, but I've been reaching out to and talking to more people about this online. If anyone else is starting in November, definitely let me know!

3) I did start an entertainment backlog already, and I bought a laptop just so I wouldn't be going to Vegas with only my work laptop heh. I'm probably still in the ambitious thinking phase though since I'm hoping to stay caught up on work. As long as I'm caught up, I can get away with doing less than 4 hours of focused work each day, which leaves me plenty of time for lengthening-related activities. I am a bit concerned about the lack of sleep, though I think I sleep less than a normal person, so if I can get 4-6 hours a night, that's probably enough for me to function normally. I've seen people talk about napping during the day as well, but I'm not really a napper so we'll see if that's possible.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

StrydeNailChallenge

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2020, 06:07:25 AM »

This is great news! I am glad you are finally starting the journey. Go and beat the stryde out of this challenge!  I'll make sure to follow your journey into it :)
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Starting Height [morning time]: Both feet on the floor: 173 cm, One foot (left) : 174,  One foot (right) : 175
Ending Height: 180.5, 181.5, 182.5 cm

Femurs' Stryde Nail Diary: http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65337.0

Amanexp

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2020, 10:54:42 PM »

Nice bro!! I’m super excited for you, I know you will do great and you will be supper happy!! That’s so awesome!!

Let’s gooooooo!!!
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Joker

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 06:23:05 AM »

All the best man.
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Meta

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2020, 09:37:53 AM »

Sounds great! Best of luck and keep us updated.
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5'10 / M / Early 20s / Plan to gain 2 ¼ inch with Stryde (femurs) before 2025

AppleFanBoy

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2020, 08:45:17 PM »

Goodluck man! You seem like you’ve prepared quite well. Definitely do not hesitate to hire a home health aid as you are doing this alone. It will make your life a ton easier during the first week. Stryde is a game changer so you’ll be walking and independent in no time.

Also keep a circle of influence of other patients who are doing the procedure as well! Looking forward to this diary.  :)
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BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2020, 06:16:00 PM »

Thank you all for your kind words. Knowing that I’ll have a few readers will encourage me to write more here.

I can’t believe how fast this month has flown by! I was extremely busy with work but still I didn’t expect my surgery day to sneak up so quickly. I’m feeling both excited and nervous about this whole thing but I’m ready to get it done. I arrived in Las Vegas a few days before surgery day to get things set up. I rented an Airbnb close to the clinic and PT center for a great price. It’s a standalone studio unit in a nice suburban neighborhood. Of course, once I checked in, I realized that it was a bit smaller than the pictures. Nevertheless, I believe it should be suitable for a CLL patient. I went on a Costco run while I still had my rental car and stocked up on a ton of food. Unfortunately my Airbnb only has a mini-fridge and microwave, so my grocery options are limited, but between this stash and ordering delivery I shouldn’t have to worry much about food for the next month. Once I get back here from the hospital, I plan to only leave this place to go to PT and the doctor’s office if possible.

I should already be recovering from surgery right now, but I encountered a minor setback and my surgery date has been delayed slightly, so I actually have a few days to kill in Vegas now. Word of advice - have some flexibility around your schedule in case things don’t go as expected. I have already stopped by Dr. D’s office and confirmed that everything is ready on their end. My pre-op blood work shows that the Vitamin D supplements have been working as I am no longer deficient. Hopefully I will have normal bone growth, but we won’t know until my first post-op x-ray. I have reached out to a home health aide company and set up a schedule for part-time assistance once my inpatient stay ends. They will be picking me up from the hospital and they can take care of my transportation needs (at a cost.) My prescriptions are all ordered for delivery at the hospital, and I’m packed and pre-registered for the hospital already. All my projects are wrapped up cleanly at work for the time being. Now while I wait for surgery day, I’m going to go out and do some activities that require legs while trying not to catch the 'rona.

It's hard to describe how I feel at this moment as there are a whirlwind of thoughts floating around in my head. Having these extra days before surgery has given me a lot of time to overthink, but if I slow down and contemplate what I’m about to do, here are a few things that may merit being written down.
  • There are a lot of risks I’m taking to get this done while the benefits seem mostly theoretical and potentially only within my own head. Yet I believe it would still be worth it if I could just remove that nagging feeling of being short and all the implicit negative connotations that accompany it.
  • I used to feel like doing CLL at nearly 5’7” was a little bit unnecessary. I’ve seen plenty of 5’7” guys living perfectly normal lives and my life has certainly been pretty good so far. Seeing all the guys under 5’5” do CLL just to get to around my starting height made me feel a bit guilty for even wanting CLL at all. I could have probably been okay with not getting the surgery done even if I couldn’t get over my height dysphoria. While it has affected my psyche, the hindrance from being short has mostly been hypothetical for me. Even many of the girls that have called me short I eventually succeeded with, so I think it’s fair to say that doing this is mostly to remove an internal roadblock that’s preventing me from enjoying my life as much as I should. Being a spoiled millennial, I don’t just want a normal or good life, I want a great life that I can be happy with all aspects of. With all that considered, I think the advent of Stryde has actually made more guys near to the average US height (5’8” - 5’9” range) start doing CLL, which in turn has greatly ameliorated any feelings of guilt that I previously had for wanting it at my own starting height.
  • PT is surely going to be difficult over the next few months and I worry about whether I can focus on it 100%. I certainly hope to have a good outcome and to return to normal as soon as humanly possible, so I need to stay on top of my stretching. I’ve never broken any bones, had surgery, or had to take any serious painkillers so I don’t know how my body or mind is going to react to all of this. I certainly hope that at least one painkiller is effective on me and that my willpower is strong enough to power through the worst parts of the upcoming endeavour.
  • I believe that there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for the pandemic as I would not have had the idle time to ponder the actual logistics of getting CLL. I would also likely never have as good of an opportunity to take a break from normal life as I do now. I would have been wary of being out of the office for an extended period of time and I would constantly be using my vacation time to do more enjoyable things. Honestly, given the lack of productivity in my personal life since the start of the pandemic, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile that I could be doing for my personal growth during this time than getting CLL and recovering from it.
  • However, the pandemic is not all sunshine and roses for prospective CLL patients though. The resurgence and larger wave of the pandemic in the US is certainly concerning to me. At this point I’m just glad that I’ve been able to board the plane and make it to Las Vegas, and that the hospital has confirmed my surgery date. With so many unknowns I can only look forward one step at a time. I suppose with the pandemic rebound it seems less and less likely that my company is going to call me back into the office in the near term and I’ll probably be working from home for a significant chunk of next year. I do hope that the pandemic is completely resolved by the time I’m fully recovered as it would be quite unfortunate to continually be stuck indoors and perpetually single while physically capable of enjoying my new height in the outside world.
  • Thinking about the high cost, sometimes I feel bad about spending money on CLL since at least a portion of it is due to pure vanity. The money would go a long way in my investment portfolio, though I suppose money is made to be spent. Investing it is essentially just waiting to have more of it to spend in the future. In the past, a lot of guys on here have compared doing CLL to buying a sports car (and of course you can get both) but between one or the other, CLL is usually the better long term purchase. The car would just depreciate in value while the freshness wears off quickly. The freshness of being taller might also wear off over time, but I don’t think the value of height will ever decrease. I’ve actually never spent this much money at one time - even the down payment to my primary residence was less! Keeping the money and retiring 5 months earlier at my current height just doesn’t seem practical given the alternative. I think CLL is for people who don’t want to just exist and follow norms, but to live their life as fully as they can.
  • Regarding women and dating, for me there’s a much bigger can of worms here than just my lack of height and I don’t feel like going into it right now. To simplify things, I think that while it’s easy to use numerical measures such as height to quantify the likelihood of success in dating, attraction is quite situational and unlikely events can and do occur. Therefore, height is not the be-all and end-all to dating success. However, given the exact same man, being taller is a strictly positive attribute (with a normal walking gait) and if the cost doesn’t have a material lifestyle impact then there is essentially no drawback. The marginal utility of an additional eight cm of height in dating is different at each starting height, and this has been thoroughly discussed on these forums. I think the confidence boost from getting CLL should help all men, but the overall boost to dating or pickup from a few cm in height will definitely vary for each guy. Given the type of girl that I like and my “short”-comings (haha) I personally think that CLL will be extremely beneficial for me in this arena.
  • While on the surface I can say that I don’t care what other people think about my new height, I do worry about people realizing what I have done and pointing it out. I can avoid and deflect all I want, but I think it’s inevitable that some people are going to notice. I have a lot of friends who are within 2-3 inches of my starting height (on the taller end of course) and I just can’t imagine that none of them would notice that I have suddenly become the same height as them. On the other hand I’ve hardly seen anyone during the pandemic and don’t plan to see anyone for a good 5-6 months post-surgery if I can help it, so hopefully all that will assist in diminishing suspicion. If my gait has recovered by then, it will be much harder for anyone to conclude that something is different about me. In the worst case scenario I can always move to another city. I’ve been in my current city for a very long time and was already considering moving even before deciding to go through with CLL. In the less extreme case, at the moment I plan to just avoid or change the topic as well as I can if it comes up at all.
  • My parents are certainly going to notice something, and I don’t know if I have the heart to inform them of what I have done. In a way, it would be like telling them that the genes they provided for me were insufficient so I needed to modify myself. On the other hand, one could say this about all the other millions of people getting cosmetic surgery in the US every year. And that’s not even counting all the non-cosmetic or corrective plastic surgery and other procedures being done to fix what our genes have produced. I suppose the “natural” form is not necessarily the ”best” form in this modern world of ours. Still, as I mentioned in the OP, I do think that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission in this situation. Plus, I might get lucky and they won’t ask about it even if they unravel the mystery. My mom has even stated in the past that one of my flaws is that I’m too short. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that she would ever have imagined that I would actually do something about it!
  • Finally, I’m actually a bit proud of myself for going through with this. Taking a physical trait of mine that I don’t like which is “impossible” to change and then going ahead and modifying it is empowering in some ways. It allows me to redefine what is actually possible and expands the boundaries of control that I have over my own life. After this is done, I think that the perspective that I gain should help me exert more control over my personal satisfaction and contentment. I’m very optimistic about my life coming out the other side of lengthening but I need to get through the difficult part first.
Okay, those were basically my pre-op CLL “shower thoughts”. My next entry will be post-surgery with a pair of broken femurs. How soon I write an entry will depend on how I feel. In previous journals I’ve seen some people write from the hospital while others just weren’t in the mood to visit the forum at all after surgery. I’m not sure which type of person I will be yet, but we will certainly find out. See you all soon!
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

AllAboutPerspective

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2020, 07:28:36 PM »

Finally, I’m actually a bit proud of myself for going through with this. Taking a physical trait of mine that I don’t like which is “impossible” to change and then going ahead and modifying it is empowering in some ways. It allows me to redefine what is actually possible and expands the boundaries of control that I have over my own life. After this is done, I think that the perspective that I gain should help me exert more control over my personal satisfaction and contentment. I’m very optimistic about my life coming out the other side of lengthening but I need to get through the difficult part first.

This is a really great perspective that I didn't think about before. Doing this is absolutely something you should be proud of, it takes a lot of mental and physical willpower that not many people can do.

My surgery is in a few months and I'm really nervous, but reading this has made me feel more at ease. I'm looking forward to your updates!

Good luck with your surgery!
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Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Giotikas Jan 2021

BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2020, 08:19:42 PM »

Hi everyone! Unfortunately I was not in the mood to browse the forum after surgery, and I definitely didn’t have the energy to write anything. I actually didn’t even bring my laptop to the hospital. Since I’ve been gone for a couple of days, I hope you all weren’t too worried about me. I’m still alive and things are progressing for me. Here is what has happened starting from surgery day. Note that I’ve never had surgery before this, so I will write everything in detail so that other people who have never had surgery can know what it’s like. Note that some of the stuff I describe may be a little gross so be warned!

Surgery Day
I took an Uber from my Airbnb to the hospital at 5am and checked in. The only entrance that was open was the ER, and they checked for COVID symptoms when I arrived. At the front desk, since I had already pre-registered and pre-paid all I had to do was review and sign a bunch of paperwork, which was pretty quick. I sat in the lobby for about 15 minutes and then I was called into a prep room. I changed into a hospital gown and then had to wipe my entire body down with some kind of sticky chemical wipe to reduce the likelihood of infection. All the stuff I brought to the hospital was placed into labeled bags for safekeeping, then the nurse just told me to lay in bed and wait. Eventually another nurse came in, took my vitals, and inserted an IV line into the inside bend of my elbow, which was super uncomfortable. I turned off the lights and lay there doing nothing. Over the next 30 minutes a bunch of other people including the anesthesiologist and OR nurses came by to say hi to me. Dr. D was the last person to stop by and we had a quick chat. He said that we would get started shortly and then left to prepare.

After another 30 or so minutes, one of the OR nurses came and disconnected me from all the equipment in the current room I was in and wheeled me into the OR. While being wheeled I remembered seeing a bunch of the same faces that I saw earlier and everyone was watching me. Once inside the OR I had to scoot from my bed onto the OR table, which was cold. The nurses pulled my arms out from under my blanket and put them on these metal stands which were also very cold. I was shivering, and then I heard the anesthesiologist say that she was injecting my IV with some meds now so that I wouldn’t feel anxious anymore.

The next thing I remember I was in a recovery room, which was a hallway with a bunch of beds on each side, though most of them were empty. Nurses would periodically come over to check my vitals and give me water through a straw and ask how I was doing. I floated in and out of consciousness but did not feel any pain at all. It was all very hazy and I don't remember any of the conversations I had - only that I had talked to people.

Some time later, they wheeled me into my room in the hospital. It was a pretty nice private room so I didn't have any complaints there aside of being right under the vent, but keeping my blanket on was enough to keep me warm. While they were setting up the room I noticed that I had a second IV attached to the back of my hand, but I don’t remember if they put it on during surgery or after I arrived in the recovery room. Later on, I would find out that having an IV in this spot was absolutely terrible for using a walker as I would be pushing the needle into my arm every time I put weight on my wrist. It must have been mid afternoon at this point since it was still light out, but I was still totally out of it. Nurses stopped by my room every hour or so to check on me. I also eventually realized that I was hooked to a catheter, and after noticing it, immediately started feeling uncomfortable there as well.

In the early evening when it was dark out a hospital PT came by to try and do a session with me. I was able to stand up with the walker and transfer from the bed having no pain and I started walking. However, I was still super nauseated from the anesthesia so I didn’t even make it out of the room. The PT had to grab the vomit bag and I dry heaved into it for a bit. Since I was on an empty stomach, there was nothing to throw up. I walked back to the bed with the walker and lay back down to continue resting.

Dinner was brought to my room at around 5 or 6 but couldn’t eat since I was nauseated and wanted to throw up if I sat up at all. I spent most of my time laying flat on my back with the bed reclined all the way. The nausea eventually wore off and around 8pm and I was able to eat part of my dinner (which was already cold.) After that I had zero nausea and could get up easily. I actually didn’t even use my cell phone on the first day. I was just so tired that I could fall asleep instantly and randomly if I lay down and close my eyes. However, time went by incredibly slow for me. I would fall asleep for what felt like hours, but then I’d look at the clock and only 30 minutes had passed. I woke up at least five times in the middle of the night, mostly from the nurses coming to check my vitals or draw blood, but each time I fell back asleep easily since I was so tired.

One annoying thing during the first night is that my ice packs kept leaking so I actually had to get up twice during the night and stand with the walker while waiting for the nurses to change my sheets and gown. After the second leak at 4am, they decided to swap me to some kind of closed electric pump system which was nice and cool but didn’t have any chance of leaking.

Surgery Day +1
I’ll consider the start of this day as sunrise, though the days kind of melded into each other. Now this is super embarrassing, but I woke up with morning wood (not good with the catheter still in.) It felt super awkward and uncomfortable and I was desperately trying to think of things that would make it go flaccid and reduce the pain. While my mind was racing I drifted off again. A nurse woke me up at 6am and fortunately I didn't have morning wood anymore (phew) and just when I was thinking about when the catheter was going to come out, the nurse said that she was going to take it out right now. I was not psychologically prepared for this, but it was quick at least. It wasn’t super painful or anything like that, but there was an internal burning sensation that felt like it lasted for a few seconds. Of course, while pulling it out urine spilled everywhere (which was super gross) but she had paper towels ready to catch all of it. It was definitely routine for her, but I still felt kind of bad.

The nurse then said that I had to pee within 6 hours since the catheter was removed or they would need to ultrasound my bladder and check for issues. Having read about this from some other people on here, this could result in needing to have the catheter reinstalled while I was awake, so I was certainly determined to pee asap. I actually felt the urge to pee less than an hour after the catheter came out and I tried to pee into a bottle while sitting on the bed. I tried this a couple of times but could never get any flow, and eventually I really really needed to pee, so I called a nurse and told her I wanted to try and get up to go pee in the bathroom. Like the previous day, I was able to stand up with no pain at all. I walked into the bathroom with my walker, and although it took a while I was able to start peeing. It was just a small trickle, even though I felt like my bladder was full, but I was so happy that I succeeded I didn't care. After clearing my bladder, I went back to bed to eat breakfast, which I had no problem wolfing down. I actually managed to pee three times in those first six hours after the catheter came out, so everything was perfectly fine. Between all the water I was drinking and the IV fluids, I had to get up and pee quite a bit while I was at the hospital.

A PT stopped by my room around 10am and we did a long walk around the hospital corridor on my floor. I estimate that I walked at least 50 meters, and it took forever, but I was not in any pain. It definitely felt really good being able to walk, even with the walk being more of a limp. I’m still amazed by how I could weight-bear on day one with Stryde. I can’t imagine how tough the guys with P2.2 and earlier rods must have had it. While walking around the hospital floor I bumped into Dr. D and he had a few questions for me about my recovery. After the walk, the PT gave me some stretches to do in bed before lunch. They were quick and easy, though at this point I had noticed that my left leg had a super awkward movement, like my heel bone was moving inside my heel. It wasn’t painful or anything, it just felt really weird! Dr. D left at the same time as the PT so I didn’t get a chance to ask him about it. At this point I thought that it might have to do with how inflamed my legs were.

For the rest of the day, I’ve also been off the IV and ice packs since the PT said it would be hard to stretch and walk while I’m iced, but that we could put the ice back on later at night to reduce the swelling. Unfortunately even though I wasn’t hooked up to the IV, the needle was still in the back of my hand so it still hurt to use the walker, especially if I put any weight down on my right hand. I was still getting Toradol and antibiotics through the IV, so they didn't want to take the needle out yet.

Next, I had lunch and took stool softener for the first time. I was hoping it would help me go number two before leaving the hospital but the nurses said sometimes it wouldn't happen. But as long as I was passing gas, that means my digestive system was working, and as long as I was taking laxatives, I should eventually be able to produce stools. I actually haven’t needed too much pain medication, which was quite surprising to me given some of the journals that I’ve read. I’m hoping this lasts and my surgical pains just happen to be minimal.

The Nuvasive rep stopped by after lunch and gave me the ERC device which itself isn't big, but is in a gigantic box. He showed me how to use it and gave me his contact info. It’s the 4th generation device that knows when it’s connected to the magnet on the rod, so I don’t have to worry about running it and not getting my 0.33 mm because it was misaligned. Also, the device is faster than previous generations so the amount of time spent each day lengthening is reduced. Hopefully it won’t be too hard to transport it on the plane as a checked bag. The rep also gave me the documentation that certifies the device for flying as a checked bag.

The PT stopped by again in the afternoon which gave me a chance to use the restroom again. I have been able to vacate more of my bladder each time, so I feel good about that, though I have not had a bowel movement yet. I’m making sure to drink a lot of fluids but I probably just haven’t eaten enough to make stools yet. We did another walk around the hospital floor with me on the walker. I was able to walk a little faster this time, even though it wasn’t really necessary. I guess I’m one of those people that likes to push my limits and the PT did encourage it. Of course, it’s only been one day since surgery so I’m still holding back quite a bit. Last year when I was still working out inside the gym, I could do a set of 8x weighted dips with two 35lb plates attached, so even though I’m not as strong now I can easily support my entire body weight with just my arms, which makes me very confident walking with the walker. We also did two sets of half squats in the PT gym which was very tiring, but he said that he wanted me to be stronger and able to transfer from bed to walker in the Airbnb.

After PT, he had me sit in a chair instead of on the bed to practice my knees bending. It felt okay so I watched an hour long episode of TV on Netflix on my phone, but that might have been overdoing it. When the nurse came to take my vitals, she said I had a slight fever and low blood pressure. I moved back to bed to be more comfortable and to eat dinner. Dinner, like the other meals, was good because I was quite hungry, but otherwise the hospital food wasn't gourmet or anything. I ate one of the protein bars that I packed after dinner to supplement. Having nothing else to do for the night, I just watched Netflix and occasionally moved my legs around. I fell asleep after dinner and woke up around 8pm, with my legs and neck in pain. This was at least 4/10 pain and the most I had experienced since waking up from surgery. I called the nurse in to administer my oral pain medication and use the ice machine on my thighs again. This definitely helped after a bit. I was able to get up and use the restroom before going to bed for the night. Another nurse came and took my vitals an hour later and I still had a fever and some pain, so she gave me toradol and put me back on the IV drip as well. After that I slept like a baby.

Surgery Day +2
I was awakened by a nurse at 4:30 to check vitals. My fever had subsided and my blood pressure was normal again. I fell right back asleep for two hours. The IV alarm went off since it needed to be refilled and I wanted to go to the bathroom as well, so I called in the nurse. I was feeling zero pain sitting in bed and only 2/10 pain from soreness when I got up to use the restroom. I felt way better in the morning than I did during the previous night. At this point I’m wondering if I was going to continue being in more pain at night than in the morning. I also got my blood drawn again and after that I decided I might as well stay awake since it was daytime.

I watched some TV until breakfast arrived, which I took with some more laxatives and MS Contin. I still haven’t gone number two yet. I was actually a bit light headed all morning, but I did a set of the three laying down stretches that my PT wanted me to do. After that I was pretty tired and drifted off for a bit. The PT came by a few hours later and we did another long walk, where I realized my left leg was a bit in pain, like 3-4/10 when putting weight on it. It has been wobbly, which I don't know if it's an issue with my skeletal structure or muscle weakness, but overall my right leg is doing way better than my left one. We got back to the room and did three sitting exercises and I was allowed back onto the bed. At lunch I was a little light headed and nauseated, though not to the point of wanting to throw up. I finished lunch, then promptly passed out for a few more hours while listening to music. Some time after, Dr D stopped by my room and checked everything and said that I was okay to be discharged today. I was awake for most of the afternoon watching Netflix. After dinner, I was sitting up in bed just waiting to be discharged. I was told that I would be discharged at 6pm, but apparently it’s right before a shift change so it took forever to get me processed.

Finally, after signing the discharge paperwork, the thing that I was looking forward to the most finally happened! The head nurse took all the IV needles out of my arm and I felt so much better! It’s a bit amusing to me how the intramedullary rods are super invasive and literally screwed to my bones but I don’t really notice or feel them at all, while the Foley catheter and all the IV needles attached to my skin were the worst part of my hospital experience by far since they had been making me constantly uncomfortable for days! Before taking the IV line out I had the nurse give me one last shot of Toradol just in case, since I hadn’t had any acute pain meds yet for the day. It worked pretty well the night before, so I assumed it would get me back to my Airbnb at least. The nurses had no problems giving me any pain meds, since I was in low pain for most of my inpatient stay and didn’t need to take all the meds meds on the dot. While they took all the needles out, there was still a ton of tape and bandages, etc that I still had attached to my body. I will need to find a way to clean all of this over the next few weeks.

My home health aide came up to my hospital room to grab my stuff, and boy did I have a lot more stuff than I came with. Aside from my clothes, I also had to take back all my prescriptions, PT worksheets, the two ice machines, and the ERC in a giant suitcase. A nursing assistant also helped me with all the stuff and got me onto a wheelchair. We loaded everything onto the aide's car and drove to my Airbnb incredibly slowly. Since each home health aide session needs to be at least 3 hours long, I had her stay with me at the Airbnb until 9pm. It was a bit crowded inside, but she was able to make me a snack and chat for a little while, which was okay. I let her go before 9pm, and then I was all on my own. My legs were pretty stiff and sore, but I didn't take any pain meds except MS Contin, which didn't do much. I was more or less ready to pass out anyway around 10pm.

Surgery Day +3
I woke up at 6:30 am, after having also awakened 4-5 times overnight. I went to the bathroom 3 times last night, with each time being progressively more difficult than the prior, since I hadn’t had any painkillers aside from MS Contin at 9pm. Since my legs were still swollen and tight, and I was in a bit of pain while walking (maybe a 4-5) so at 7am I decided to take all my prescriptions aside from MS Contin (which I wouldn’t be able to take until 9am) It made me super drowsy within 30 minutes, but at least that meant that it was working. I’m not sure if it’s the pain medication or the muscle relaxant that was making me more drowsy, but I’ll probably get a chance to individually test each one out later.

This was my first day of outpatient PT. They scheduled me for 9am but my home health aide showed up late so we didn’t even arrive until almost 9:30. I had already put on clothes, so I was ready to go as soon as my shoes were on. The drowsiness was not a huge deal as I figured that I could just power through the hour, and once I got back I could easily take a nap. At the PT, all I had to do was fill out some paperwork since the cost for the first two weeks was covered as part of my payment to Dr. D. The PT had me do a couple of exercises, then used a heat pad on my thighs for 15 minutes. I was actually still pretty flexible while he was stretching me, so I don't think I've so much lost my flexibility as I have lost the ability to use my muscles. I scheduled PT for the next two weeks, and I have some exercises that I brought back with me.

After the aide dropped me off, I just had her make me a snack and help tidy things up a bit since there was still some time left. Once she was gone, I pretty much had nothing to do. I had a set of PT exercises to complete in the afternoon - other than that the only thing there was to do is watch TV. I’m still waiting for the go-ahead from Dr. D to start lengthening, but I guess that will happen in the next day or two. So yeah, pretty bored right now, I'm at 0/10 pain while sitting on the bed and maybe 3/10 pain at most when I get up and walk around. I'm also using a cane instead of a walker when I go to the since since the walker doesn't fit in the hallway. I hope any soreness and stiffness due to surgical pains continues to decrease, and hopefully lengthening pains don't kick in for a few weeks so I can have a break in the middle. In the meantime, I need to continue practicing rationing my pain meds and using them at the right time.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

Undecided

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2020, 02:37:12 PM »

Hey man thanks so much for doing this!

I noted that you mentioned that you've read a lot of journals on this site. I have to ask, weren't/aren't you at all worried? To me it seems like the risk of complications is like 20-30+%, which is what's personally holding me back from doing it. I'm looking forward to your next updates :D

Good luck on your journey!
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BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2020, 06:12:26 PM »

Hey man thanks so much for doing this!

I noted that you mentioned that you've read a lot of journals on this site. I have to ask, weren't/aren't you at all worried? To me it seems like the risk of complications is like 20-30+%, which is what's personally holding me back from doing it. I'm looking forward to your next updates :D

Good luck on your journey!

I'm not sure where you've seen such a high risk of complications. I feel like Paley is one of the few doctors that has the volume to publish stats on complication rates, and I haven't seen him show anything near 20%+. There are obviously risks to doing this compared to not doing it, but most of them should be manageable. What specific complications are you worried about? Even reading through the journals on here, most of the complications are pretty minor, especially with Stryde femurs.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2020, 03:50:32 PM »

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant as in based on the journals one can find on this forum, I kind of got the feeling that maybe the risk of getting serious complications is quite a lot higher than what it's being portrayed as. I guess maybe people who have had bad experiences are more likely to engange in a forum like this, since it was honestly a bit more gloomy than I had anticipated. You've likely read more journals than I have, did you not get the same feeling? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
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BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2020, 05:41:15 PM »

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant as in based on the journals one can find on this forum, I kind of got the feeling that maybe the risk of getting serious complications is quite a lot higher than what it's being portrayed as. I guess maybe people who have had bad experiences are more likely to engange in a forum like this, since it was honestly a bit more gloomy than I had anticipated. You've likely read more journals than I have, did you not get the same feeling? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Again, you'll have to be more specific about what complication you're afraid of, otherwise it's not possible to have a discussion. Each complication has a different likelihood of occurring and severity, and also varies with the starting health status of the patient and the type of procedure being done. Dr. Paley has previously published stats on complication rates for cosmetic lengthening, and I don't have the link off the top of my head (maybe you can search for it on here) but I don't remember any of the complication rates being higher than the low single digits, except maybe needing a blood transfusion during surgery. All of the severe complications were super unlikely.

I think there's a lot of selection bias on here. Keep in mind that all of the major CLL doctors do way way more LL cases (both cosmetic and not) than there are journals on here. There are plenty of people who got CLL and don't even know that this forum exists, let alone are willing to spend the time writing a journal for it while in pain. Also, the members on here who stay here after lengthening tend to be the ones with more issues, or whose height dysphoria wasn't fixed by getting CLL, so they tend to have a more negative attitude toward the surgery. The ones who succeed move on with their lives and don't come back here anymore. I would also say that the diaries with the worst outcome (i.e. Unicorn) get the most traffic, so I think people certainly talk more about negative outcomes than positive ones on here, regardless of their likelihood. One topic is clearly more interesting and drives more discussion than the other.

I'm not trying to convince you to get CLL by any means. If you browse this forum and feel like the complication rate is truly 20-30% then you should avoid it like the plague. I would say trust your gut feeling and don't get the surgery; it'll save you a ton of money and potential damage to your health.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

ghkid2019

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2020, 09:08:54 AM »

good job man glad surgery went well
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BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2020, 08:38:04 PM »

good job man glad surgery went well
Thanks, ghkid2019! Welcome back.

Hey everyone, I'm adding a couple more days to the journal. I you are all doing well; I feel like I've just been enclosed in a little bubble here in Vegas. Again, note that some of my entries talk about gross topics, so be warned.

Surgery Day +4, Lengthening Day 1 (+0.66mm, 1.66mm total)
I woke up at 5am, went to the restroom and back, then sat on my bed and ate the pills I prepared last night in case I woke up early. I then went back to sleep and got up again around 7am. I went to the bathroom again, but it was quite a struggle. I was walking extra slow and I was more than a bit out of breath. After splashing some cold water on my face and eating breakfast, I felt better, so I don’t believe it was anything too serious. However, I still spent much of the morning taking blood O2 readings with my watch since I’m scared of blood clots. I don’t know if the watch readings are accurate, but they were consistent enough so I wasn’t too worried about it. I took some more meds on schedule and tried to stay awake until my PT appointment, but the hydrocodone was making me super sleepy, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I went back to sleep for another hour or two.

My home health aide arrived at my Airbnb on time, 30 minutes before PT. However, she got here while I was in the bathroom trying to go #2, so that initial interaction was awkward. After we met and talked, she drove me to the PT facility. So far I’ve had a different aide for each session, but I don’t mind. Aside from having to explain a bit about the surgery to each aide, none of them have actually been super inquisitive about the details my procedure, and they’ve all been kind and encouraging to me.

Today’s PT training was quite similar to last time, though this time I had a chance to ride the stationary bike as well as the normal exercises. I was extremely slow on the bike (like maybe 15-20 rpm) but it actually helped me warm up my quad flexibility by quite a bit before doing the regular exercises. I felt pretty good doing PT, just like on the first day. Walking definitely helps loosen up my muscles and I’ve found that the more I do, the easier it gets, at least until my muscles are sore. The first rep of every exercise is the hardest for sure. I got the heat pads again at the end of the session, which felt great. After each PT session I always feel like I can walk a long distance.

After PT, the aide drove me to out to get some food - I was looking to get something with extra fiber since I still trying to go #2. While we were out for food, there was a bunch of people awkwardly trying not to stare at me (and probably feeling sorry for me) though I was in a good mood so I didn’t mind. One guy actually tried to hold the door open for me even though I was 30 seconds away from him at my current snail pace. Fortunately, my aide thanked him and waved him away so I didn’t have to try and go faster. The handicap spot right outside the restaurant was taken by two different non-handicapped people while I was ordering food. I walked past one on my way in and one on my way out, with the walker in full display, but neither of them gave me a second glance. Somehow I don’t think either one of them were the type of person that would feel bad for parking in the handicap spot. Anyway, I could walk fine with the walker, I was just really slow.

After getting back to the Airbnb and eating, I noticed that my appetite wasn’t very good, but I needed to eat more calories, so I wolfed down my whole meal. After that, I felt the food coma coming on, so I sent the aide back and passed out for a bit. After waking up, I warmed up my legs and did another set of PT for the afternoon.

It was around this time that I heard from Dr. D’s office that I could start lengthening, so I was pretty excited. Finally, I could make some progress on those height numbers! I decided to do a total of two sessions during the first day since I was starting in the early afternoon. Lengthening for the first time was pretty uneventful, though the right nail seemed to make some clicking sounds during lengthening that didn’t happen with the left nail. I asked about this and they said it is normal, so hopefully there are no issues. If there is something wrong with the nail, I guess I won’t find out until my first follow-up appointment with an x-ray. Having done some self-PT right before the lengthening session, I only felt a tiny bit tighter after lengthening, otherwise my legs are still the exact same as before. I’m assuming that the first few millimeters, or even a centimeter or two won't really stretch out my legs all that much.

Overall, my pain has been 0/10 while laying in bed, and anywhere from 3-5/10 when walking. I get around 2-3/10 pain while stretching my legs either sitting or laying in bed, though I have been stretching pretty hard. If I stretch lightly, I don’t really feel any pain at all. I’ve tried a lot of different positions so my legs don’t get stuck in one position all the time and I think I can stay in most positions without pain. I would say that I’m pretty comfortable with the current baseline of pain, and if it stays this way during the whole distraction phase, I won’t have any complaints about pain at all.

I tried to eat more for dinner than usual, since I realized I wasn’t eating all that much, especially considering I need all the extra calories for bone regeneration. I don’t know how much of it is because of painkillers and how much of it is due to a natural lack of appetite, but I do have to focus on forcing my food down.

After dinner I did some light stretching and noticed that maybe because of sweat or my knees bending, that some of my waterproof bandage covers were starting to get loose. I texted the team and they said that I could come into the office tomorrow to get it fixed. I wasn’t even that worried about it since I wasn’t planning on trying to take a shower yet, but if they can take care of it, then that would be great.

I did some more light stretches and PT exercises, then took my routine pain medications before my second lengthening session of the day. It went smoothly again, though the machine still made clicking sounds when I used it on the right side. Since it was late, I decided to go to bed soon after. First thing though, I drank a giant glass of milk thinking it would help me poop, and it got me really close. I figured out a technique that allows me to sit down on the toilet much easier. Still, although I was close, I did not succeed even after trying for nearly 30 minutes. My legs were numb from being on the toilet seat too long and getting back up was hard. I dejectedly went to bed and passed out like a rock.

Surgery Day +5, Lengthening Day 2 (+1mm, 2.66mm total)
I woke up at 4:30am and took a laxative. Went #1 and suddenly noticed the toilet water was green. It scared me at first since I was still drowsy and I was scrambling to Google “green pee” on my phone, but then I realized that the toilet cleaner was fading away so the color was just a mix of yellow pee and light blue toilet cleaner. I also tried to go #2 as well, but didn’t try for too long since nothing happening. I planned to try again later in the morning after drinking a ton of milk, so I went back to sleep.

I got back up at 7:15am and took a couple more meds. I drank a bunch of water too since I had cottonmouth. Then I drank another giant glass of milk. I tried to go #2 again as I figured I should be close since I was constantly passing gas. Unfortunately, I did not succeed, but it actually felt like I was almost able to, so hopefully that means there is progress. I’m continuing to eat more fiber and I increased my fluid intake, so I'm really hoping that helps me go #2 soon. Personally, even before surgery there would be days in a row that I wouldn’t need to go #2, so this doesn’t feel like a totally uncommon occurrence for me, but I think it’s still necessary that I do it at least once soon.

I relaxed for a bit while chatting with friends on my phone, then started a self-PT workout at 8:30am to loosen my muscles for the first lengthening session of the second day. Everything was still routine, though I noticed the right rod clicked fewer times during lengthening than before, and I had slightly adjusted the position. Maybe it's possible that the v4 ERC will show that it senses the rod even if it's not at the exact right angle. I don't have any lengthening pains and flexibility loss yet, and my surgical pains seem to be going away slowly, so things are looking up. My main complaints are that my sutures are still a bit itchy (itching is better than pain though, for sure) and that my thighs are still bruised, sore, and swollen.

Since I had nothing important to do for a bit, I got my laptop out and watched some TV while doing some light stretches. At 10:30 I took both prescription laxatives, and over the next 30 minutes I ate cookies, dried cranberries, yogurt, clementines, a protein bar, and chugged two glasses of milk. Sure enough, within the next 15 minutes I was in the bathroom successfully going #2. Although not large in mass, my stools were pretty regular, came out easily, and there was no indication of bleeding. So far so good! Even though I was pretty confident that it was coming soon, it was still a big relief when it actually happened.

After getting up from the toilet seat I felt light-headed and realized that I had been sitting on there for way too long. My watch indicated my heart rate was as high as 140 bpm, which is very high for someone sitting down and "resting". I went back to bed and sat with my back against a pillow on the wall and it dropped to 100 pretty quickly so I guess sitting on the toilet is still tiring since my legs are partially supporting the weight. I was sweating a bit as well. That things which may seem trivial and easy in daily life can be a challenge after LL surgery. I rested in that sitting position for a bit and everything returned to normal.

Since there was no PT scheduled today, I wasn't going to go out at all. However, since I needed to replace some of the waterproof covering on my surgical dressings, I stopped by Dr D’s office during the day. Since I didn’t have anything scheduled with the home health aide company, I decided to take an Uber over by myself. My Airbnb is actually only one mile away from the office so it was a quick hop. I already had plenty of experience getting in and out of different types of cars from the walker. As long as my driver was willing to help fold and store my walker in the trunk and get it back out for me, then I would be fine.

The driver was happy to help and I arrived at the clinic on time. It felt quite good to do some walking around as well. While I was there, I didn’t see Dr D, but both Teresa and Ronnie were there to greet me. Ronnie replaced the waterproof covers on my bandages. Even though I was only using bath wipes to clean myself (not comfortable with showering yet) he said that the bandages should stay waterproof until the sutures are out. I mentioned that the wound sites were itchy, and he said that was normal and would go away when the skin heals. Everything looked good, though my thighs were still swollen like fat sausages. Ronnie recommended that I use the ice pumps that I got from the hospital, as icing frequently will help with swelling. Before I left, he also helped remove some of the stickers that the hospital put on me that I wasn’t able to get off myself since I didn’t have the right solvents at my Airbnb.

On my Uber ride back, the driver assumed I was recovering from a sports injury, and I just nodded and agreed with everything he asked about it since I was tired and not in the mood to talk a lot. I was pretty sweaty as well when I got back. It was the early afternoon and too early to do the second lengthening session of the day. Therefore, I tried to use a makeshift ice pack (frozen yogurt bars) to cool my thighs for a bit, but the "ice packs" were too small to really get any effect. I was also a bit sleepy but had trouble taking a nap. However, since I was playing down with my legs under the blanket the whole time, when I was ready to lengthen, my muscles were stiff again, and I had to warm them back up with a set of PT exercises. Nothing special to note about the lengthening session.

After lengthening I realized I was still very tired from going out in the afternoon, so I lay down trying to sleep again. Another hour and a half of YouTube videos later and I was still fully awake and noticed that my left heel was a bit numb. I was a bit sweaty and overheated even though I wasn't doing any physical activity. I got up to pee and walk around a bit and felt better. I need to avoid staying in one position with my heels digging into the bed for a long time. I thought about what I wanted to eat. Although I had a lot of food in the pantry, I just wasn't in the mood to cook, so I thought ordering pizzas should be good since it's a ton of calories. The pizzas arrived late but at least they were still hot. I was only able to eat half a large pizza though, which honestly isn’t enough calories (or all that nutritious.) It’s difficult to shove food down when you don’t have the appetite though. I stuck the rest of the pizza in the fridge to microwave later if I needed a quick meal.

At this point, there were still over four hours until the final lengthening of the day (if I wanted to do it on schedule) so I had to find something to do. I was too physically tired to do PT, and mentally tired of playing with my phone/computer. I'm sure many previous LLers have encountered this type of boredom early on during lengthening. Hopefully, I’ll become more mobile soon so I can walk around the Airbnb a bit more casually. Right now it’s still a big deal to switch from laying to sitting to standing position.

Eventually my left leg started hurting a bit (like pulsating) and I realized that I hadn’t taken any pain meds in a while. I took some of the anti-spasm muscle relaxant and that helped a lot. I sat around reading the LL forum and checking random websites, then took some hydrocodone and laxatives at 9pm. It was late enough to lengthen, so I started warming up my legs with PT exercises.

It was at this time that things took a turn for the worst. After my first exercise, I realized that I was not able to do much with my legs at all. They felt a bit overheated, very swollen, and in 6/10 pain from the swelling. I didn’t know what to do, and Googled how to reduce thigh swelling. I found out that I could raise the level of my legs above my heart and that should help a bit. I stacked a bunch of extra pillows on the bed to use as a leg stand, and lay there for a while. It only helped a little, but at least it helped. Soon after, I was able to take a hydrocodone pill, which I took promptly, hoping to reduce swelling. That also didn’t do anything for me in the short term.

After laying in bed for another hour with medium-high pain from swelling in my thighs I also noticed that I had two gigantic bruises on my inner thighs - one on each side. I didn't remember if they were already there after surgery or if it just started bruising. Now this freaked me out quite a bit, and I was worried it could be compartment syndrome or some kind of blood clot or that I might be suffering from DVT. I sent the pics to Dr. D’s team along with a message that I was in severe pain and didn't think I could do my last lengthening session today. They replied and said it was just normal bruising and not blood clots. Then they said I needed to warm up before each lengthening session and cool down afterwards, frequently stretch and to use the ice pumps. Also, it’s much too early to give up and slow down on lengthening.

After hearing this, I gained the willpower to lengthen once more (or maybe the hydrocodone kicked in.) I did a full set of each PT exercise and realized that I wasn’t feeling as weak anymore. I proceeded with the lengthening session, then set up my ice pumps. I was originally going to wait until Monday for my aide to help set it up, but I was determined to ice my legs now to reduce the swelling, so I decided to do it myself. It took a grueling 45 minutes, but I got it done one small step at a time. I put cold tap water and a half-frozen bottle of water on each side. I don’t actually have any ice in the mini-fridge so I had to improvise.

At this point it was well past midnight already. I turned the ice pumps on, climbed into bed, then applied the cooled pads to my thighs. Even though the water wasn’t as cold as if I had real ice in there, it still felt incredible. I couldn't believe that I had waited this long to use the ice pumps after getting out of the hospital. I also felt a great sense of satisfaction from setting the machines up all by myself, even though it’s something I could have done in 5 minutes with two working legs. Pushing through the pain was definitely the right move for me on this night, so hopefully you can see how important it is to be psychologically prepared for this. I drifted to sleep with a smile on my face.

Suddenly I woke up from a weird dream. It was not even 2am yet so I had only been asleep for an hour or so. The ice pads were barely cool now. This is good because you're not supposed to fall asleep with ice pads on. Since I didn't have enough real ice in the machine, it wasn't going to give me frostbite though. Nevertheless, I unwrapped the pads from my thigh and then lay back and fell asleep immediately. I forgot to turn the ice pumps off, but the ambient hum from the motors probably actually made it easier to fall back asleep.

Surgery Day +6, Lengthening Day 3 (+1mm, 3.66mm total)

The following morning I woke up at 5:30. I lay in bed for 10 minutes while reflecting on the dream I just had and eventually realized that I wasn’t going to fall back asleep again. I was just going to have to try and take a nap later in the day. I got up and went to the restroom and turned my ice pumps off while walking over. The pumps were definitely a tripping hazard based on how I set them up. I needed to figure out a way to keep my room safe for a temporary cripple. Given how difficult it was for me to carry any heavy objects or to even just slide things around on the ground, it wasn’t going to be an easy task.

I rearranged the ice pumps with the corresponding wires and tubes, then lay down and played with my phone for a while. Before I knew it, it was already 7am - time for me to take my pills and start warming up for lengthening. At this point every lengthening session seems like an arduous task so it's definitely not routine for me yet. I hope that things will get easier over time though. It actually took two hours for me to finish my PT exercises because I got a bunch of messages and was talking to people for a bit. However, over the course of those two hours the hydrocodone fully kicked in and it was pretty easy to do all the PT exercises. My left leg is still quite a bit weaker than my right leg but I think both are improving. Lengthening was the same as usual, though I changed the position of the ERC on the right thigh and this time there was no clicking sound, so maybe that means it is perfectly aligned. If that's the case, then the X marked on my right leg might be a bit to the left of where it should actually be. Given how swollen my thighs are, I wouldn't be surprised if it had moved. Afterwards, I dumped and refilled my ice pump buckets so I could ice my thighs and rest for a bit.

I sat around on the bed for a few hours playing on my computer and phone, then it was around lunchtime. I heated up some leftover pizza, but didn't have the appetite to finish it. I only ate a slice and a half, but at least I was able to fill with some other snacks. I still think it’s going to be very difficult to eat adequately during this phase of lengthening. Maybe once I’m done taking painkillers my appetite will get better. After eating, I took both laxatives and the muscle relaxant drug. I tried to go #2 in the bathroom, but nothing was happening, so I went back to bed. I listened to music and watched videos hoping that I would be sleepy enough to get a quick nap in. However, I didn't manage to fall asleep and the early afternoon flew by uneventfully.

It was 4pm and I decided to get another lengthening session in. I took both my short and long acting painkillers and got started on the warmup. In the last few days I've been doing the most PT exercises right before the afternoon lengthening session. I got a pretty good workout in and was all sweaty. After lengthening, I started changing the water in the ice pumps. I realized that the “cold” water that I got out of the faucet was only a tiny bit colder than the water that was still in the pump (which is insulated.) Therefore, I realized that it wasn’t worth refilling the whole ice pump bucket each time. Instead, I could just keep the water inside, and swap the frozen bottle of water from the mini-fridge into the pump and start running it. Since I’m still not very good at carrying things, let alone heavy buckets filled with water that could spill, this was a much better solution for me. The icing session felt great as usual, and I went from tight and sore almost to the point of cramping all the way down to relaxed.

After icing for a bit I got up and turned off the pumps, then went into the kitchen looking for snacks. I really didn’t have an appetite though, and I didn’t have an appetite for dinner either. All I could do is stuff myself with snacks whenever I get a chance so I was at least meeting some kind of minimum calorie requirements. I can definitely see why many people who do CLL lose a ton of weight throughout the distraction phase, even though they have more flesh, bone, and metal at the end.

After "dinner" I was pretty bored. I browsed the web on my laptop and played some games on my phone. I also frequently got up to walk around, eat snacks, and use the restroom so I wouldn't be stagnant. While walking around, I noticed a few new bruises. Well, I’m not sure if they are new or not, but my right wrist (where the IV was taken out) is bruised. My left palm is also bruised (or maybe this one is a sore muscle) which makes using any walking aid somewhat painful on my hand. This is unfortunate since I'm supposed to be increasing my daily step count each week. I also noticed the big thigh bruises from the day before were actually even bigger than yesterday, though only by a little. I also felt like I had bruises on both shins, but I didn’t see any discoloration, so that might just be from the impact of swelling. Xarelto makes you bruise more easily and makes bruises last longer, which is quite unfortunate because surgical procedures produce a lot of bruises and swelling! I still feel more comfortable being on Xarelto though since I’m a bit paranoid about blood clots after orthopedic surgery (and blood clots on flights.)

Anyway, the evening went by and even though I got up so early in the morning, I was never tired. Just before 11pm I remembered that I still needed to get another lengthening session in before midnight. I did a quick warm-up, lengthened, then swapped the frozen water bottles in the ice pumps. I turned the ice pumps on and attached the ice pads to my legs. Everything is starting to be streamlined now! I felt great after icing, and I was suddenly very sleepy, so I got ready to go to bed. It was at this time that I noticed my surgical sites were a little uncomfortable, as well as my shins. Nothing too serious, maybe 2/10 pain, but still it was a completely new type of pain that I hadn’t experienced yet after the surgery. Since there were no available painkillers for me to take at the time (all on cooldown) I decided to just ignore it and try to go to sleep.

I wish the night had just ended like that, but instead I got the worst night of sleep yet, since the surgery. I had this terrible sense of dread the whole time laying in bed, with no certainty to where it was actually manifesting from. I kept feeling like something bad was going to happen to me if I fell asleep, but I was still trying to fall asleep at the same time. So I would sleep for a few minutes, dream that I was suffering somehow, and then wake up and not be able to sleep again for a while. Also, there was quite a few occasions that I'm not sure if I was actually awake or asleep. I had a ton of nightmares throughout, dreaming about post-apocalyptic scenarios, and nearly dying a few times in my dreams. Overall, the whole night was absolutely terrible.

(Checking data from my watch later on, I saw that I had woken up eight times in total on this night and only got a total of three and a half hours of real sleep.)

Surgery Day +7, Lengthening Day 4 (+1mm, 4.66mm total)

I woke up before 7am and was not able to fall back asleep, and when I woke, I also realized that my base pain level was higher than it was the night before. However, the areas that were sensitive were not the same ones as during the prior evening. Last night, I feel like my shins and incisions hurt more, but this morning my thighs felt incredibly swollen. I was at 3/10 pain from thigh swelling even while laying down and not moving. I realized that I probably could not get up and walk comfortably without taking any painkillers, since I had sharp 5/10 pain when moving my legs. Since I wasn’t on any medication “cooldowns” at this point, I took both my short and long-acting painkillers, both types of laxatives, and Xarelto. I sat down on the side of my bed to check my phone for a bit and wait for the painkillers to kick in. At this point I was very glad that I bought a grabber tool. It was a lifesaver since the nightstand with all my prescriptions was just out of arm's reach from the bed and I was in pain trying to move as little as possible while getting my meds ready.

About 15 minutes later I wanted to pee pretty badly, so I was forced to stand up. I managed to get up and walk to the bathroom. I peed quickly and came back, then I immediately sat back down on the bed because my legs were tired already. That was one of the hardest bathroom walks I’ve had since arriving at the Airbnb from the hospital. This was definitely a low point for me, but having heard so many people say that things get better after the first two weeks, I can only remain optimistic. Still, it’s difficult not to worry because I won't have any x-rays in the first two weeks, so I won't know if all this pain has been worth anything yet.

The painkillers at least partially kicked in by 7:20, so I got up again. This time it was a bit easier, and I walked to the kitchen to make breakfast. At this point, I realized that my left leg was not weight-bearing at all, either due to pain or weakness. My right leg was still fine though. While I can make up for the lack of leg strength with arm strength, my hands are starting to get bruised from all the pressure I put on them from supporting my weight. My left leg has consistently been weaker than my right leg so far, but this is the first time I felt like I couldn’t stand on it at all. I ate quickly, then limped back to bed. I wasn’t sure if I could start my PT exercises and do my first lengthening session of the day due to the pain, but I wanted to get it done earlier in the day since I was going to have to go to the PT clinic at 11. I was planning to do my second lengthening session after exercising at the PT, so I wanted to do the first session as early as possible in the morning. However, all I could do at this point was lie down in bed and rest.

A couple of friends randomly messaged me throughout the morning, and while none of them know that I'm this procedure, just talking about fun stuff with them put me in a much better mood. I was distracted for a while, and then without even realizing it, my pain had gone back to a baseline of 0/10. I guess that meant all the narcotics kicked in. However, if I was moving around then it would be around a 3-4 level.

Now that I was all good pain-wise, I realized it was well past 9am already, so I rushed to do a full set of PT exercises and some stretches, and then did an lengthening session. Afterwards, I took the muscle relaxant drug and iced up my legs. I lay there for a bit, until my home health aide arrived, since I knew she was coming soon. When she arrived, she helped remove the ice pads from my thighs and poured out the water in the ice pumps. She also helped toss out some garbage while I was putting my socks on. I still needed help putting my shoes on though. Well, I could possibly do it at this point, but I think it’s riskier than trying to put on any other item of clothing. We drove to PT and there was no parking, so she dropped me off at the front entrance.

Inside the PT center, I got a new trainer today, since my prior one (who was very good) had all of Thanksgiving week off. However, since we were doing pretty much all the same exercises, it didn’t really matter who the trainer was. The PT office has been progressively making workouts harder for me, adding more weight, reps, or hold duration to the various exercises over time. I’m still not sure why my left leg is so much weaker than my right one, but I pointed out all of the weakness and pain that I was feeling during the various exercises to the PT. The PT’s theories as to what the problem could be were all related to muscle or soft tissue flexibility (though I’m hesitant to come to any conclusion as to what the problem is yet.) At the end of the hour I didn’t have time to use the heat pad, but I did get a quick massage that hit the right sore spots on my quads perfectly. After PT I felt so good that I asked my aide to take me to get some food, and grab a bag of ice before we got back.

I went to the same restaurant again (though it was with a different aide last time.) Someone was parked in the handicap spot again (of course) but when I walked past the driver, this time it was an old lady and she had a handicap sign hanging from her rear-view mirror. However, there was still the issue that she was actually only taking up 1/3 of the handicap spot, and 2/3 of the empty spot next to the handicap spot. I needed to walk through that empty spot since it's where the ramp starts, but I had trouble squeezing between her car and the next car without bumping into them on my walker. Eventually I did get through though, and went up the ramp. When I got to the front of the restaurant, there was an employee standing there who said that the building was at capacity due to new lockdown rules, so I would have to wait outside until more people ordered/ate/left. I was already tired from my 50 foot walk to get to the entrance, so after that I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I told the aide to go to the next location. We went to a chain grocery store hoping that they had ice freezers outdoors, but they didn’t, so we had to park and go inside. I told the aide that I wanted to spend more time walking with the walker, so she didn’t drop me off at the front of the store. There were tons of people in the grocery store, and lots of people either stared at me or awkwardly tried not to look at me, especially this 80-year old man who was walking about the same speed as me, but without a walker. I’m still pretty built in the upper body and I was wearing tight workout clothes, so I probably looked like a crippled gymnast or something. Okay, maybe not that buff, but you get the idea. After buying the 10 pound bag of ice, we drove back to the Airbnb.

During the drive back, the Airbnb host asked me if I wanted my unit cleaned since he had housekeepers over. I said sure, so they came over and started on that. The housekeepers were also able to do my laundry, which was nice since I don’t think I could do it myself. Since I was nearly halfway into my trip, with all my dirty clothes from the first half of the trip cleaned, I could easily make it through the second half without doing laundry again. They changed my sheets and towels, and mopped every room, and even took out all the remaining garbage for me. I was waiting outside so as to not get in the way, and when they had the bed ready, I went back in to sit on the bed. I started stretching since I wanted to do another lengthening session. I noticed that my time with the aide had run out, so I sent her back to avoid accumulating any additional fees.

Once the housekeepers were done cleaning, I was already done stretching, so I immediately ran the ERC on each leg. Afterwards, I still had that 10 pound bag of ice in the sink to deal with since the aide didn't have time to help me with it, so I unloaded half of it into each ice pump bucket and then filled each of them with water using a glass. This by itself was quite the workout and I was sweating by the end of it. Fortunately, everything was ready and I turned the pumps on and attached the ice pads to my legs. Let me tell you, the feeling that you get from using ice pads with real ice is so much better than cold tap water; it's not even on the same level. This time I was nice and relaxed within 20 minutes, which worked out fine, since 20 minutes is the maximum ice time anyway.

After that, since I had skipped lunch, I prepared a ton of warm food (microwaved) and ate it. My appetite was actually decent, so I ate a bit more than usual, but still I don’t think I’ve been eating enough to produce stools. I had a lot of free time before the final lengthening session of the day so since I had only slept 3.5 hours the previous night, I tried to take a nap. I watched YouTube for a bit and actually got pretty sleepy, so I put on some music and tried to nap for a while, setting an alarm so I wouldn’t sleep too long. I think I actually did doze off for a bit, but I doubt I got more than 30 minutes of sleep total.

Around 7pm I was ready to take the afternoon dose of my 12 hour drugs. It’s usually around this time that the pain starts acting up again, so maybe that means the extended release pain kill works better than I thought. I prepared and ate some more food, and also took some laxatives (with no success.) Since I had real ice in the ice buckets, I iced myself again for 20 minutes, which was nice. My thigh swelling was still quite severe though; I’ll probably need to wait another week for it to go down. Overall, I don't feel too bad right now, but not great either. I really hope the second week will be better than the first one.

I watched more TV and tried to get some my quad stretching in at the same time, since the PT said that was one of the big issues with my flexibility. Eventually, it got late and I was starting to get sleepy, so I did a full set of PT exercises and a lengthening session. Fortunately, the water still had a tiny bit of ice in it, so I basically got a full day’s worth of icing out of one bag of ice. I might try to get ice delivered to the Airbnb in the future, but I’m not sure what grocery service would be able to do it.

I fell asleep quickly after shutting down the ice pumps. I had a lot of dreams, but fortunately no nightmares. I woke up two times to go to the bathroom, but was able to fall asleep immediately afterwards each time. Overall sleep was very good, though I still totaled less than 6 hours.

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P.S.: Is anyone actually reading this stuff or is it just too much? It’s actually starting to feel quite time consuming for me to write at this level of detail, so future entries will probably be much shorter. I have a feeling that most people would rather read a cliff notes version of what happened, and only care about things specific to the procedure and lengthening.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2020, 10:28:04 PM »

I read the whole thing and enjoyed the level of detail. I think most people going to go through LL should read these as they would be able to feel prepared on exactly what to expect/feel during the process.

It looks like you’ve had a heck of a lot easier time than me during the first week. I was dead in bed until day 7 when I took a few steps and was forced to go to PT. It’s great to see you walking so soon and recovering well. It would be nice if you continued to post like this, but as we all know, life is busy. Don’t worry too much, focus on recovery and post in point form summary to share your journey if you can’t. Now is the fun part of growing taller ;)
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jem_semarc

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2020, 11:55:07 PM »

I also read the whole thing! I’ve never seen so much detail, it honestly helps a ton since I’ve got my LL scheduled next month. keep it up and I’ll be following closely.
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Stryde on Femurs in Jan/2021 with Dr. Giotikas - currently @ 5 ft 5, goal height 5 ft 8.

InFullStryde

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2020, 12:32:19 AM »

Hi BelowTheMean,

The details are perfect and so appreciated!  I would keep it going as is and/or however you are able to do. :-)  I can remember that I used to hang on to every word of the diaries that came before my surgery.  You're doing a great service to future CLL'ers!  The diaries just keep getting better and better.  Frankly, it was the great diaries I read that lead me to having the confidence to go forward with the life changing CLL procedure.  You're doing great, man!

IFS
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"Make the BEST of what you have and Make what you have, the BEST"
InFullSTRYDE with Dr. Mahboubian - Jan 2019
Start Height/End Height: 5'1.25"/5'4.25"
Status: Gained 3" and Recovered Successfully! | Stryde Nails Removed: November 2020
Diary: http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=9671

AllAboutPerspective

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2020, 01:47:17 AM »

I read it all too! Thank you for putting that much time into your diary, it's really beneficial to know about all the details involved with this procedure
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Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Giotikas Jan 2021

BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2020, 07:26:55 AM »

@AppleFanBoy, @jem_semarc, @IFS, @AllAboutPerspective, and anyone else who is readying this - thanks for the support guys! I’ll continue to write detailed daily entries until at least my first post-op office visit. I’m sure once I start working again and my surgical pains are mostly gone, my days will be less interesting from a CLL perspective (which should be actually a good thing theoretically.)

Surgery Day +8, Lengthening Day 5 (+1mm, 5.66mm total)

I woke up without an alarm around 6am. This whole week I’ve been waking up without an alarm. I wanted to say waking up “naturally”, but I’m not sure how natural waking up from the pain of your broken femurs every day is. Actually, I was in minimal pain waking up this morning and didn’t need to take any medications right away. I walked to the bathroom, which wasn’t the easiest, as usual first thing in the morning, but nonetheless tolerable. I came back and sat on my bed checking my messages from the previous night. At 7am exactly, I took my full round of morning meds. I feel now, that taking meds on a schedule is probably a good thing since that’s how they’re designed to work. It’s possible to experiment with, or reduce painkiller usage, but you should probably be confident about your pain levels before doing so.

The meds kicked in pretty quickly, and I felt the best that I have yet since surgery, like I could even fully weight-bear on my left leg (not that I was going to try of course.) I could walk around pretty easily, though obviously with the post-CLL waddle. I did all my warmup PT exercises easily and a lengthening session. Nothing special this time around, though I’m placing the ERC machine more to the right of the X on my right leg (still within the bars of course) since it looks like this is giving a better signal to the ERC than the initial positioning I was trying. Afterwards I added a frozen water bottle to each ice pump and iced my legs for 20 min while playing on my phone.

After finishing with the ice, I stretched a little bit, then got up to go to the kitchen and made a big and fancy breakfast. It seems like my pain and mood somehow align with my appetite. Even though I’m not fully healed from surgery, the lack of pain definitely helps me in wanting to eat more. I ate the biggest meal yet since surgery, with lots of protein, fiber, and carbs even. I’m starting to eat out of my Airbnb stash instead of craving delivery since I don't mind walking around the kitchenette preparing food. Also, in hope I can finish most of what I bought and it doesn’t go to waste.

It was at this point that I wrote the previous giant 4-day journal entry before this. Since it took hours, and I was mostly sitting in bed with my laptop on my legs, I had to take frequent breaks so I wouldn’t be in pain, numb, or anything like that. The breaks worked well since I wanted to get a snack or drink frequently as well, and the pain meds were giving me major cottonmouth again. Every time I stood up to take a quick break, I had a much easier time getting up than in previous days, and I was actually pretty surprised. I feel like I have a major improvement in walking power today, even though nothing has changed in my routine.

After listening to music for hours and updating my journal, it was lunch time already. However, I wasn’t hungry (naturally, since I had so many snacks) so I did some stretches and played some video games. My legs started hurting a bit so I took some muscle relaxant. The short acting opioid had probably worn off already.

3pm came by and I felt good, so I decided to do another lengthening session. First, I did all my PT exercises, which were still pretty easy, given that my hydrocodone had already worn off. Then I swapped the water bottles from my ice pumps with frozen ones. These aren’t as frozen as the ones that stayed in the fridge overnight, but I can’t do anything about that. Before I lengthened, I cleared out a pathway in my Airbnb and recorded a video of my walk with my phone. Here is the video:



Note, in this video I was probably halfway through an MS Contin extended release pill, and just had a muscle relaxant pill, but had no short acting opioid in my system. My pain level while recording the video was only 1/10. Also, I swear my legs are swollen, these pants are super loose normally!

After taking a quick look and making sure the recording was okay, I ran the ERC on each leg and then iced up for 30 minutes. (I moved the pads mid-icing to get my hip suture area as well, and so I wouldn’t go over 20 minutes on any single patch of skin.) After that I sat up and did some stretches, then chatted with friends and family for a bit to keep my mood up.

(This next paragraph is kind of gross, so skip it if you’re easily grossed out.) About an hour later, while I was still laying in bed, I suddenly had the urge to go #2. I didn’t have time to warm up my legs, so I had to just get off the bed and walk to the bathroom. After sitting down, I immediately realized that I would be able to go. However, it still wasn’t easy, and I had to push. Finally I got it all out and it was about a 1.5 on the Bristol stool scale. No issues with discoloration, but it was kind of coarse coming out, so I was a bit worried for my hemorrhoids issue. Fortunately there wasn’t any blood in the toilet, but I did see a tiny bit on the TP after wiping. It was little enough that even I (someone paranoid about both blood clots and not being able to stop bleeding) wasn’t concerned. Even though it was only the second time I went #2 I figured I was getting a lot better and I decided that I should try to be more consistent with my laxative drug intake and try and eat more regularly.

After that I sat down and played with my phone again until dinner time. Although I was not hungry yet, I figured I should probably eat something. I wanted to do some stretches before getting out of bed since my MS Contin was about to wear off. However, as soon as I moved my legs I realized they were in pain and pretty sore since they have been wrapped under the blanket for an extended duration. Heat feels great when I’m not moving, but not moving for a while feels terrible once I do start moving. Before I got the chance to stretch, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom immediately, so I got up without warming up and walked over to the bathroom again. It was doable, though I was in 4-5/10 pain like I had just left the hospital again. While washing my hands, I noticed that my hands were shaking too. I wasn’t sure if this was from the overall pain, or narcotic withdrawal. It’s moments like these that make me wary of the potential of addition and to keep my painkiller usage minimal.

I went back and stood by my bed and checked the time - 6:30pm exactly. I couldn’t even stand in one place without feeling pain, so I immediately took a hydrocodone pill. I sat on the bed to recover a bit, and realized that I was at 3-4 pain just laying down, with very tight legs. If I moved and did a stretch thought, it would slightly lower the overall pain, and focus the pain more on whatever muscle I was using, so I just did some light PT exercises until the pain started going down. By 7pm, I was back to 1/10 pain staying still, so the hydrocodone works pretty well and kicks in fast. I was still in a little pain while moving around but I got up, took my laxatives on schedule, and then made dinner.

While I was waiting for the tiny microwave to heat up my plate of food, I did some more stretches, since I knew I was going to be sitting there watching YouTube while eating. A couple of minutes later when the microwave went off, I walked over there with no pain at all, and brought dinner back to my bed and put it on my nightstand. At this point, I’m very confident that I don’t need to be taking both hydrocodone and MS Contin at the same time, since hydrocodone is enough to relieve my pain by itself. MS Contin clearly works as well, after the hydrocodone wears off. However, I’m still not sure exactly how to time the pills so that I feel no pain at all, but still take the minimum number of pills.

While eating and watching shows, I thought a little about what I should do regarding pain pills. I planned to wait until the slightest sign that the hydrocodone was starting to wear off, and then immediately take MS Contin. If it doesn’t wear off by 10pm then I would take MS Contin anyway as an overnight protection, since it would be nearly time to go to bed. Then I shouldn’t need any hydrocodone until the following day.

Around 8pm I realized that I had been sitting for quite a while but at least I was in 0/10 pain, as if I hadn’t even had the surgery. I moved my legs a little to test and got a sharp pain on the left side. I guess I was only imagining things! After a while I did start to feel a bit of muscle stiffness even while stationary. I tried to fight back by taking a MS Contin pill instead of muscle relaxant, since I wanted to be able to take one tomorrow morning if needed. The MS Contin actually did something, and I went back to 0/10 pain.

After 10pm I realized that I had been in bed too long watching YouTube, and got ready to do the last lengthening session of the night. I warmed up with all the standard PT exercises, but I had been inactive for so long that I was slow and my muscles were stiff. I ended up taking a muscle relaxant pill after warming up, but my legs stayed sore. I guess it's that time of the night, where I have to just get things done and then go to sleep hoping tomorrow is better. I quickly did the lengthening session with no problems, and then swapped out the warm water bottles in my ice pump buckets for frozen ones. Amusingly it reminds me of swapping nuclear fuel rods in one of those spent fuel pools you see on TV ;D

Finally, I laid down to ice my legs. Then I posted this entry to the journal and we're now caught up to real time! I'm about to go to sleep. Good night all!
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

ghkid2019

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2020, 12:21:55 PM »

You are right when you say that: When dormant and feeling a nagging subtle pain, get up and do some exercises- yup that sounds like a good idea even in normal life. Laying in bed on my phone all day is way worse than walking around my house for a little bit
It's good you have the conscience to recognize this already. I feel tons of CLL people suffer unecessarily because they lay in bed all day even with stryde.. those people don't have diaries as you would've expected haha

Mscontin seems very strong. Also seems good you can do PT without pain relievers.. that's good.

And that video looks solid too. Faster than I expected after a week post op even with walker. Good job
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las vegas baby

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2020, 01:04:04 PM »

youll do great under Kevin Debiparshad's care.

the legs seems swollen please ask him about that. to be honest I thought you were fat when I first saw the video Lol.

I LOVE this diary and attention to details.
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BelowTheMean

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2020, 06:56:00 AM »

the legs seems swollen please ask him about that. to be honest I thought you were fat when I first saw the video Lol.
All the pics I've sent the team, they say it looks normal. I feel like my swelling has gone down considerably today though, so fingers crossed.

Mscontin seems very strong. Also seems good you can do PT without pain relievers.. that's good.
I usually try to take something before PT. After all, I'm still experiencing post-surgical pains, just a little bit less than the average person it seems. MS Contin is indeed very strong to me, but the nurses at the hospital actually treated the extended release pill as a "weak painkiller" as far as I could tell. (with Toradol as the strong painkiller.)

Surgery Day +9, Lengthening Day 6 (+1mm, 6.66mm total)

I woke up at 7am to the sound of my alarm. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, both because of difficulty falling asleep and because of waking up randomly, whether having to go to the bathroom or not. My watch said I got about 4.5 hours of sleep over the 7 hours I was in bed. After waking up, I realized I had to go to the bathroom yet again, so hopefully that means I’m hydrating well and not just have a small bladder. I sat back down on the bed, I silenced all my followup alarms and then ate my morning meds. I had PT fairly early today, and wanted to get in a session beforehand.

I did my warmup exercises and got ready to lengthen. I leaned my cane against the bed, then turned around to grab the ERC device and move it from the table to the bed. At this moment, the cane slipped and smacked the ground with a loud bang. With no weight support and ERC in hand, I flinched hard. I imagine that any fast or twitchy movement is not good during lengthening, but fortunately I didn’t drop the ERC or fall. Remember to be careful with all your stuff during lengthening, I’ve dropped things on the ground many times in the last week and it’s a pain to pick it up. Fortunately I have a grabber tool, though at this point I don’t think I need it anymore, I just use it when I’m feeling really lazy.

Lengthening went well, with no hitches. I haven’t heard the ERC make that clicking noise like it did on my right leg the first few times lengthening. I’ll assume for now that everything is on track. I’m getting x-rays in less than a week anyway, so I just need to be patient for a little longer. I had no time to ice up after lengthening, so I continued to stretch a bit, while listening to music. I wanted to make sure that my legs didn’t get stiff or tense before heading to PT. I also changed clothes and waited for the aide to arrive.

The aide got here on time and it was the same one, so she knew how to get to my unit. Once she was inside, I had her help take out the garbage, then I said we could head over early, in case they would let me start early at the PT place. Everything was getting pretty routine at this point. When we got to PT I had only been sitting in the car for about 15 minutes and my legs were a bit stiff already. I walked in with the walker, and walking usually helps me warm up. I was early, but they were able to start me early so I didn’t have to wait too long.

Today’s PT was harder than the last session, which makes sense since the PTs record what you did each session and try to push you harder each time. I’ve come to realize that warming up on the bicycle is a really good idea. Even though my left quad was extremely tight and sore when I started to cycle, and every revolution of the pedals made it hurt a bit, after four minutes (out of the five minutes I was supposed to pedal) my left quad suddenly decided to play nice and loosen up. I think I will definitely try using a stationary bike for future warm-ups when I return to my city. Today was also the first time they had some extra workouts for my left leg compared to my right one, as they are well aware that my left leg is weaker. However, in the last two days it has been weight-bearing fine, so I have no complaints about the left side aside from weakness and muscle tightness. At the end of this PT session I got both the hot towel treatment and a massage for the sore spot on my left quad just above the knee. Both of these were really good, and I really appreciated them. I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue PT even when I’m lengthening from home if I can get this level of service every time I go. Before leaving, I set up my next two PT appointments, and I’m not sure if they are covered or not since they’re technically during the third week, but I’m sure they’ll be happy to send me a bill later if it’s not covered.

At the PT clinic I also bumped into another one of Dr D’s patients from the east coast who also had his surgery last week, though not on the same day. He could tell that we were CLL brothers since we were both wearing shorts that revealed our surprisingly similar bandage locations. If you’re on here, feel free to PM me to chat! (Though for all I know he might not even know that this forum exists.)

After leaving PT, the aide drove me to the grocery store again. On top of a big pack of ice, I also needed tape to secure some of the waterproof dressing covers on my legs. There’s still almost a week until I get the chance to remove them, so I should keep them intact if possible. The grocery store was absolutely packed with people trying to shop for Thanksgiving dinner. You would think that the lockdown rules would have fewer people being out and about, but I suppose that is not the case. Inside the store, I felt kind of bad because it was crowded, and I was going down the main aisle to the pharmacy section and there were a bunch of people following me, going really slowly. There’s not much I could do about it though, since I couldn’t increase my walking pace. In the first aid section there was indeed 3M Nexcare tape, and it was pretty cheap, so I just went with that.

On the drive back from the grocery store my legs were getting tired already. Between all the PT and walking and warming up early this morning to lengthen, it felt like my legs had been working for hours (and I suppose they have been.) When we got back inside, I tried taking off my shoes and was able to, and then I hopped on the bed to relax for a bit. The aide helped me fill my ice pump buckets with fresh ice and then tidied up the place a bit. She left at exactly the three-hour mark, so that was perfect. I’m not sure if I’ll need the home health care company to assist me for next week’s appointments. I feel like I should be able to handle transportation on my own. I have the whole long weekend to decide, but right now I’m leaning toward no. If today was the last session, then I would have used them for only 15 hours total.

Now that I was all alone, I noticed that I was hungry. I made a big bowl of noodles and a turkey sandwich and ate those pretty quickly. The timing wasn’t great, since I wanted to take a nap, but I also wanted to do my second lengthening session first, but it was too early to lengthen. Therefore, to kill some time I got my computer out and wrote the first half of this entry and watched some YouTube.

By the time I got off the computer I wanted some snacks and walked around a little in the Airbnb, it was 2:30pm and I needed to do a lengthening session. I sat down on the bed and noticed that my calves were no longer swollen. I have no idea when it happened, but they were soft now (unless I flex my calf muscle.) I also noticed that my hamstring bruise on each side was still growing, and both sides of my right foot were bruised below the ankle. None of it is painful though, so it’s probably connected to post-surgery swelling and bruising while being on Xarelto. At least that’s what Dr D’s team has told me every time I sent over pictures. I suppose they’ve seen a lot more cases than I have, so if it was serious I’m sure they would recognize it and tell me.

I did a full round of PT exercises (which got me kind of sweaty) and I felt like my flexibility was still okay, so I did a set of stretches for all the main muscles as well. After that I sat down to lengthen. I guess from this point forward, if I don’t make any comments about using the device, that means it worked normally, because using it has definitely become routine for me now. After lengthening it was time to ice my legs up. Since I had real ice cubes I set a timer for 20 minutes so I wouldn’t hurt my skin. Afterwards I felt pretty good. I got the tape out that I bought earlier and fortunately I also had a pair of nail scissors that I brought with me, so it was easy to cut the tape into the exact shapes I needed. After I was done, I was confident that no sweat would get into the bandages. I’m not too worried about shower water since I was still only using bath wipes to clean myself. In less than a week, if all goes well Dr. D will remove the dressings anyway.

Now in the late afternoon I had to decide if I wanted to keep my legs active for the rest of the day (a bit hard) or rest a bit and let my legs get stiff. I figured it would be a while before I did the final lengthening session and I still wanted to try and take a nap to catch up on sleep, so I lay down for a bit without looking at my phone or laptop. I was sleepy very quickly, but I couldn’t get into a good position for sleeping. My thighs would get tight and uncomfortable if I kept my legs straight, but they would also become uncomfortable if I slept with my knees bent. Also, both positions could potentially make my heels numb depending on what angle I was pushing my heels into the bed. So for an hour and a half I tossed and turned in the two or three positions I could hold though I know I got at least a little shut eye during the period since I had some weird dreams.

I finally got up when I had to pee, then took a hydrocodone pill since it was past 7pm already. I sat back down on bed and started to do a few light warmup exercises and then I realized I was actually pretty hungry, so I proceeded to make dinner. After dinner I played with my phone for a bit, and was actually pretty comfortable the whole time sitting in bed, as opposed to when I was trying to nap. It may also be because I switched back and forth from legs straight to knees bent 90 degrees every 20 or 30 minutes, which I think helps a bit with general stiffness.

Now it was time for the final lengthening of the day. I did all my PT exercises, did my stretch routine, then ran the ERC on each leg. After that, I did my stretch routine again, then proceeded to ice my thighs. The ice from earlier in the day still hadn’t fully melted yet so I thoroughly enjoyed the coldness. Afterwards, I got ready to go to bed. Btw, I don’t think I’ve talked about hygiene that much in this journal yet, but in the hospital I didn’t have supplies to brush my teeth at all (since no one told me to bring any) and I don’t think I would have been able to do it unless I could do it from the bed. But the first day I got back from the hospital I could already stand for a minute or two without any support, so brushing, flossing, and washing were no problem for me. After coming out of the bathroom I sat down, finished this post, and now I’m getting ready to go to bed. I haven’t taken any medicine for the last four hours or so, but I’m pretty confident I’ll be fine until tomorrow morning.
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Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase

Quad Stryde

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Re: BelowTheMean – Stryde Femurs w/ Dr. Debiparshad – Nov 2020
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2020, 11:21:29 PM »

Thanks for all of the work you are putting in to make this diary, it is a brilliant read and helps tremendously.
If you can, please upload as many progress video's/pictures as possible.
I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to read your next update!
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BelowTheMean

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Thanks for all of the work you are putting in to make this diary, it is a brilliant read and helps tremendously.
If you can, please upload as many progress video's/pictures as possible.
I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to read your next update!
I don't currently plan to upload any pictures, as there are already plenty on here for various things related to lengthening, and I don't think there's much that can't be described with words. As for videos, I may consider uploading more if I feel like there is no way for anyone to identify me from the videos.

Surgery Day +10, Lengthening Day 7 (+1mm, 7.66mm total)

I woke up at 7:30am. I already knew that my sleep stats were going to be pretty bad, but my watch data showed that I only got 4.5 hours of sleep out of about 7 hours in bed and I had woken up 12 times last night! I only remember going to the bathroom once though. For whatever reason I couldn’t fall asleep at all for the first few hours I was in bed. I kept tossing and turning in bed and felt way too hot underneath the blanket or way too cold without the blanket covering me. All I could do was keep changing positions and how much of my body was covered by the blanket in hopes that I could find an optimal way to fall asleep. In the last few days I haven’t felt too tired from lack of sleep because I normally sleep less than 8 hours a night, but I also normally fall asleep quickly when I lay down and sleep solidly until my alarm goes off. I look forward to the day I can achieve this type of sleep quality again.

I got up and went to the restroom. It had been nearly 12 hours since I took any painkillers, so I was expecting to be in a lot of pain, but surprisingly I was only about 2/10 pain while laying down, and maybe 3-4/10 when walking around. If someone had told me that my pain level while walking around without any painkillers would be tolerable within 10 days of my surgery, I wouldn't have believed them. Even last night I would have been skeptical about this. On the level of stiffness though it is just as bad as before. Even if it didn’t hurt to walk around with no painkillers, it was hard to walk since my legs don’t bend that much before I warm them up.

I proceeded to take all my meds since I’d rather be at 0/10 pain than have consistent low level pain. Also, I was planning to do a workout and lengthening session soon, during which I’m sure my pain level would quickly increase if I pushed myself. Unfortunately my plan hit a hitch; at this time I needed to use the restroom badly, and upon using the restroom I realized it might take a while. Straining after surgery is generally a bad idea, so I tried my best to go #2 without pushing too hard, and it took a really long time. I literally had to stand up twice and take breaks from sitting so my legs wouldn’t go numb. My advice here is that even if you reduce painkiller usage, you’ll want to make sure you keep up on laxative usage. Finally, I finished to the extent that I could. I went into the kitchen and made a giant bowl of oatmeal. Upon finishing the oatmeal, it was time to lengthen.

Lengthening has been getting more and more routine for me. After finished all my warm up exercises and stretches, I ran the ERC on each leg. I was starting to get the ice machines ready, but realized I had to go to the restroom again. After sitting on the toilet for a while I came back and iced my legs for 20 minutes. Since I was laying down while icing I got kind of sleepy, so after I took the ice wraps off I tried to take a nap. I managed to fall asleep quickly, but at some point I dreamed that I kicked a ball which caused my right leg to twitch in real life and startled me awake. I had gotten a decent nap in though.

I ate a big lunch, then had to use the restroom yet again. After that, I played with my phone and browsed the web. Nothing too exciting, and I felt like my pain level was pretty good, though I wasn’t moving around very much. At some point I dozed off again, and got back up around 4pm. Now I had to get ready for the second lengthening of the day. Since I had been stagnant for a while, I did some extra sets of PT exercises and extra stretches before lengthening. As usual, I also did a set of stretches after lengthening, but before using the ice. I talked to some people further along than me and they all said that they stopped using ice packs early on during distraction, so I guess I am the only one who needs ice to handle the continuous swelling. Good thing the hospital gave me those ice pumps then.

After lengthening I sat in bed playing on my phone and computer for a couple of hours. Shifting back and forth between legs straight and knees bent and getting up to use the restroom and eat snacks I was mostly pain-free the whole time. I probably should have warmed up more before getting up each time, but even just coming straight off the bed I was only in 2-3/10 pain walking around, though I was walking quite stiffly. By the time I noticed that I could take more drugs it was almost 8:30pm. I took another MS Contin and the laxatives; while I don’t think I necessarily need the pain meds at this point, I think they still do help a little, especially when I need to stretch harder for PT exercises.

The rest of the evening wasn’t too exciting either. I just chatted with friends on my phone while sitting in bed and changing positions every so often. I started my last set of PT exercises early again, so I’d have extra time to do more sets before lengthening. I lengthened, then stretched again, but didn’t ice my legs since I wasn’t feeling swollen at all. Afterwards, I just went to bed. Given the number of times I went #2 on this day, I can definitely say my bowel movements were regular again.

Surgery Day +11, Lengthening Day 8 (+1mm, 8.66mm total)

Last night I actually got decent sleep (at least compared to this previous week.) For just over 8 hours in bed, I was fully asleep for 6.7 hours. I did still wake up many times due to leg pains and needing to stretch or adjust my legs, but it seems like I fell back asleep pretty quickly each time. I also only needed to get up to use the restroom once the entire night, which is the fewest times in one night since the catheter came out. My current baseline pain level is at 1-2/10, where I think my legs just felt chronically uncomfortable no matter what position I'm in. I got up and used the restroom to get ready to start the day.

Upon returning to my bedside, I took a set of pills just like yesterday morning. Although the pain was tolerable, I still wanted to minimize it before doing any heavy physical activity. After that I started my pre-lengthening exercises. I noticed that they were a bit harder than before. Maybe I was just hungry, and tired because I was lacking energy. I’m probably not keeping up with the calories needed to sustain my body’s current metabolism. My joints also felt weaker than before. I was pretty sure the MS Contin hadn’t kicked in yet, but I pushed through and finished everything. I lengthened to 7.99mm, so I’m basically 10% of the way (well, assuming I make it all the way to 8cm.) While 10% seems like a small amount of progress, it surely feels bigger than any of the tiny mm counts that I’ve been dealing with so far. Anyway, I’m counting it as a personal milestone.

Afterwards, without doing my post-lengthening stretches I rushed to the kitchen and heated up a giant bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I also put my walker next to the door, since I was planning to take an outdoor walk later in the day. I sat down on the bed to rest a bit while I was waiting for the food to heat up and then cool to a temperature I could safely consume. After waiting a bit, I went back into the kitchen to eat my breakfast. Then I went back to sit on the bed and use my computer for a bit. Since Las Vegas wasn't actually that warm right now, I wanted to wait until the daily high temperature was hit in the early afternoon to go out for my walk. Also, if I did it in the early afternoon, I could come back and lengthen right away with very warmed up legs.

On a side note, I can feel that I’m starting to get a tiny bit impatient with this whole process over the last few days. The novelty of everything has already worn off, and daily tasks are starting to feel more and more tedious. I’m also unsure of my true progress since I haven’t gone to the doctor to get x-rays yet, and I still have four more days until my appointment. Maybe seeing those first x-rays with the gap in each femur and a little bit of callus growing will reinvigorate me to the process. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m doing this all alone in a different city halfway across the country. At this point, I do feel a little homesick, especially having just spent Thanksgiving alone. I have talked to many of my friends over the last few weeks, but there is certainly a psychological barrier given that I haven’t told any of them what I’ve done. I guess having this anonymous journal is helping me talk myself through this process once step at a time.

After lunch I just sat around for a bit resting, and then the time finally came to do my first outdoor walk. Over the last few days I’ve felt stronger each day, and I could already walk days ago, so I was fairly confident about going outside and taking a walk for the first time. First, to warm up I took out the garbage in my unit. This was just walking 10 feet from the entrance of the Airbnb at the side of the house to the trash can by the garage door with my cane a couple of times. That felt quite easy and I believed I could even go out for a walk with just the cane at that point, but I still wanted to use the walker just to be safe. I made sure that I had my keys and phone with me, then proceeded to walk down the driveway to the sidewalk. I followed the sidewalk to the main street and continued along the sidewalk for one block and reached a crossroad. I wasn’t ready to attempt to cross the street yet, so I turned back and walked the same distance back to the Airbnb. When I got back I checked the stats from my watch. I had walked about 0.4 miles at a 54 min/mile pace (which is almost 10 times slower than my personal best mile sprint.) However, I felt like I certainly could improve my pace over time, since I wasn’t trying to go very fast, and I was focusing instead on my gait.

I realized that I hadn’t drank any water before leaving for my walk and I was quite thirsty. I chugged half a bottle of ice cold Gatorade, which rapidly quenched my thirst. Based on my one experience, I think it’s a good idea to walk for the sake of practicing walking. For me at the moment, since I can’t easily walk around in my Airbnb due to space limitations, going outside is a reasonable alternative. I believe that I will need to try and do at least one outdoor walk like this every day to optimize my recovery. This is also in line with what both the doctor and PT have told me about trying to get in a certain number of steps daily, then increasing this number of step each subsequent week during recovery.

After eating another snack I sat down on the bed to lengthen while my legs were still relatively warmed up. This went by smoothly, especially given that I hadn't taken any pain medications since the morning. After lengthening I sat down on the bed do some work. However, as soon as I relaxed I suddenly became tired, which is probably not all that surprising given the physical activity had I just performed, and I really wanted to sleep. Since there was nothing else I had to do immediately, I simply pulled the covers over my body and quickly fell asleep. I woke up a couple of times, but easily went back to sleep after doing some half-conscious leg stretches. The nap ended up being over 2 hours long and it was dark outside when I fully awakened. I got up to eat dinner, and after that I just played on my laptop and phone.

A short while later it was time to take some more medications. I took MS Contin and both laxatives. I haven’t taken my short-acting opioid for two days now, with no serious pain issues. However, I did notice that my joints (even ones unrelated to the lower body, like my fingers and wrists) were a bit more sensitive than they used to be. If that persists, then I may have to ask the doctor about it, since I don't see how it's related to the surgery. I continued playing on my phone for another hour or two, by which time the MS Contin had kicked in. Then I warmed up and stretched in preparation for the last lengthening session of the day, which I completed without a hitch. After that it was time to go to bed. I was feeling very optimistic at this point.

Unfortunately, the night didn’t end here. Just as I thought I was no longer in pain anymore, my joints and legs started hurting more and more as I lay in bed. I believe this was a new type of pain that I hadn’t experienced yet. If I lay completely still, the joints behind my knees would still hurt 3/10 on both legs. If I moved around, then my muscles would feel really stiff and ache continuously. I couldn’t settle into a position that was 0/10 pain, or even 1/10 pain. As I lay there trying, eventually I reached a 5-6/10 pain which was a throbbing muscle ache in both my legs. I got up and took a muscle relaxer in hopes that it would fix my problem, and lay back down. I twisted and turned and eventually thought to put a pillow between my knees, which enabled me to lay in a few new positions. After some time the drug must have kicked in, since my legs calmed down a bit and I eventually fell asleep.

Surgery Day +12, Lengthening Day 9 (+1mm, 9.66mm total)

I woke up very tired to my 7am alarm. I hit snooze a couple of times and then decided to get up. Just laying there I was at the same level of throbbing pain as the night before and it didn’t feel good at all. I got up to use the restroom, then came back and immediately took my morning drugs. This time I included a hydrocodone pill in hopes that it could provide some much needed relief. I lay back down, and wrapped my legs under the blanket and waited in pain. I checked my phone and it said I had gotten about 6.2 hours of real sleep the night before, which was actually quite a bit considering I remember tossing and turning frequently the night before.

While laying in bed, I fell asleep again and then awakened about an hour later. My legs still felt stiff and tight, but the pain had been greatly dampened by the Hydrocodone. On the overall pain front, I felt like I had regressed a couple of days, but with so many painkillers left, maybe it was my own fault for not taking them regularly. I’m not sure what the source of pain was, and maybe it had to do with my long walk yesterday, but if it was related to that then there was quite a delay from finishing the walk to the onset of pain!

I got up and made the bed, then climbed onto the bed to do my warmup exercises and stretch. I lengthened another 1/3 of a mm and my pain level stayed the same. Afterwards, I decided to clean up my ice pump setup so it wouldn’t be a tripping hazard. My swelling has gone down significantly from the peak three or four days ago, so I really don’t think I need the ice anymore. I also made breakfast since my stomach was empty, though I wasn’t hungry at all since I was taking opioid painkillers again, so I had to force myself to eat. My mouth was also very dry, which is another side effect of the strong opioid, so I drank a lot of water all morning.

It was at this point that I decided I was going to try and get some work done. I don’t want to take too much time off work, since the year-end performance review is coming soon, and I want to maintain the overall good impression that my boss has of me leading up to this review. Getting a solid year-end bonus would go a long way toward defraying the cost of doing CLL. However, based on how I felt in the last few weeks, I'm pretty sure that I will likely only be able to put in 4-5 hours of real work a day for the next few months since I'm going to need to spend a lot of time stretching, exercising, lengthening, and just resting during the day. Therefore, if I wanted to perform well, I would have to either be very efficient with my time or try and spread my work out over a longer period.

I pulled out my work laptop for the first time in weeks and booted it up. I was pretty productive and caught up on all my emails and summarized all the outstanding tasks I needed to finish in the near future. I took a quick break for lunch, and continued working after lunch. By the early afternoon, I was feeling quite productive and it was time for my daily walk again. While I could have taken another hydrocodone pill at this point in time, I decided not to since I was feeling okay. I was actually back at 0/10 pain sitting on the bed, and 2/10 pain walking around, mostly due to stiffness. I could always take a painkiller later in the day if the heavy leg pain from last night decided to reassert itself. Plus, I don't want to be on pain meds while taking a long walk, since I might not realize I'm pushing myself too hard if can't feel it. I changed into outdoor clothes, grabbed my walker, and started tracking my workout on my watch.

I walked the exact same distance as yesterday, about 0.4 miles, at the blistering pace of 46 min/mile. Again, I was not focused on speed, but rather gait. I was able to go a little faster just because I felt better. I tried to keep my legs closer together and raise my knees higher and bend my knee more while walking but it was not easy and I’m sure I still looked like a waddling penguin. When I got back I drank some Gatorade, changed into my indoor clothes, and sat down on the bed to lengthen. Lengthening was normal, though I felt extra tight after running the ERC. I tried to do a couple of stretches on the bed while listening to music, but this made me very sleepy. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a nap at this point, so I got my computer out and watched a movie. I did not fall asleep.

After a while it was dinnertime and I wanted some food. When I tried to get up, I realized that I hadn’t had any painkillers at all for a while and that the throbbing pain from the last few days felt like it was about to come back. I wonder if it is because of the long walks I’ve been taking or something else. I resisted taking any painkillers at first hoping it would go away, but eventually I was at 3-4/10 pain just lying down and not moving so I took a Hydrocodone. My pain gradually improved starting about 30 minutes after ingesting the pill. I was still at 1-2/10 pain though, so I took a muscle relaxant as well.

My baseline pain went down to 0/10 approximately 30 minutes after taking the muscle relaxant, but when I got up to use the restroom it was still difficult and painful to walk. My muscles were not "relaxed" and still stiff. Therefore I took an MS Contin pill as a last resort. Finally I was at a reasonable level of pain, though it took every type of painkiller I had. I really hope all this recent pain is related to the surgery and that it will go away soon, because if it persists then I’m eventually going to run out of painkillers (and there are no refills!) If these are lengthening pains, then I don’t see how I’m going to be able to lengthen any reasonable amount based on the amount of pain I currently have at under 10mm. Regardless, I have more than enough painkillers to last until my first doctor’s appointment, so hopefully I’ll have a solution at that point.

Finally it was late enough to do my last lengthening session of the day. I started with my usual PT exercises and stretching first. With all the painkillers running through me this was fairly easy, though I still feel like I have more joint pain doing these exercises than I did a few days ago. Once finished with the stretches, I ran the ERC on each leg. I noticed that my thighs actually looked longer than before but I'm pretty sure it's more from the massive reduction of swelling over the last few days than any lengthening gains. Once I was finished with lengthening I stretched again and focused on the areas that were feeling pain after lengthening. Unfortunately a large portion of the pain was coming from behind the knee cap, the same area where I would get throbbing pain if I didn’t take painkillers.

I suppose both the surgery and the process of lengthening are impacting similar areas on my legs, so surely there is some interconnection of pain between the two. However, I guess at this point I can still only take it one step at a time. Right now I just hope that lengthening from 1-2 cm won’t be harder than 0-1 cm was. It was time to go to bed now, and I lay down relatively early in the night with 2-3/10 pain and no painkillers available. I grabbed a pillow to put between my legs and hoped I could fall asleep soon. Fortunately I did.

Surgery Day +13, Lengthening Day 10 (+1mm, 10.66mm total)

I fully woke up at 7:45am, after repeatedly hitting snooze on my silent alarm for over an hour. My sleep data showed that I was asleep for 7.6 hours out of 8.5 hours in bed, which was great. I only woke up 2-3 times last night to adjust my legs, and I only woke up for an extended period once at 4am to go to the bathroom and drink water. I got up and went to the restroom again, feeling about 2-3/10 pain while walking over, mostly from stiffness. Then I came back and took all my morning drugs, including painkillers. I went to make breakfast as I waited for the painkillers to kick in. I remembered some of my dreams from last night. In one of them I was parched, just like in real-life. Another one was a sci-fi horror dream, though not quite a nightmare because I had the tools to defend myself in the dream.

While I was zoned out the toaster popped and my food was ready. I ate over the kitchen sink so I would have one less plate to clean later. I spent some time thinking about how much food I had left since I would be staying in Vegas for another two weeks or so. I would definitely need to resupply on milk and bottled water, so I was going to have to use a grocery delivery service, which I have never done before. I decided to try Instacart, and found a random coupon for first time users. I ordered everything I needed, plus some extra stuff since I had to get to $35 for free delivery. While I was grocery shopping on my computer, the painkillers had all kicked in and I was sitting in bed with 0/10 pain. I put my computer away and started my pre-lengthening exercises.

Lengthening this morning was a lot easier than lengthening last night. I’m not sure why this is, since I was on painkillers while lengthening both last night and this morning. Maybe it has to do with overall pain or some kind of timing. I do feel like generally I have more pain at night than I do during the day. It could also be because there’s a longer gap between my last and first lengthening of each day than between my middle and last lengthening. Regardless, after lengthening I did a couple more stretches, then sat down in the bed to do a little bit of work while waiting for my grocery delivery.

The groceries arrived right before noon. Of course the delivery driver dropped it off at the wrong entrance of the house, even though I explicitly stated on the order where to drop it off. Fortunately, the Airbnb host was home and he helped carry everything into my unit. I started preparing lunch, then suddenly got a slight nosebleed. I plugged it with some tissue paper and finished making lunch. Any type of bleeding is a concern while on Xarelto, but the air here is dry and I have a history of nosebleeds, so I personally would not be too concerned unless I was unable to stop the bleeding. Sometime later when I removed the tissue, the bleeding had stopped, so it wasn't a big deal to me. After lunch, I continued working until about 2:30pm, when it was time for my daily walk and 2nd lengthening.

Even though it seems like some of the pain I’m experiencing at night could be related to these walks, I don’t think it’s too likely. I won’t be doing a long walk tomorrow since I will be going to onsite PT in the afternoon, so I can use the evening pain today as a benchmark for tomorrow. I tried to walk the same distance as usual, but before I made it to the end of the block, my left quadricep started hurting and I decided to turn around. I rested briefly then continued back to the Airbnb slowly. My final distance was 0.25 miles (400m) at a pace of 49 min/mile. After I got back I sat on the bed and stretched my quadriceps and hamstrings, then ran the ERC on each leg. I did feel a little tight after lengthening, but I have had pretty much been the same feeling after many of my lengthening sessions. After lengthening I stretched some more, though to no avail as my legs continued to have a 1-2/10 pain from general tightness.

I didn’t take any more painkillers at this point; I just sat on the bed and continued to work. Eventually my legs stopped hurting as I was just resting and focused on other things. I got up to use the restroom and had 2-3/10 pain from tightness, which persisted for a bit even after I sat down. I was also getting a little sleepy, so I decided to take a break, take my MS Contin and laxatives, then eat dinner. I watched football while eating dinner and I was distracted enough so that my pain was 0/10. I tried to do some light stretching as well while watching TV.

After a couple of hours it was time to do my last lengthening of the day. I hadn’t taken any painkillers since the MS Contin a few hours ago and I wasn’t sure if I could do my pre-lengthening exercises without any pain reduction. I stood up and walked around for a bit, and had about 3-4/10 pain while walking (though with no warm up) so I decided to take a Hydrocodone pill. Afterwards, I waited for a bit and then started my PT exercises and stretches. One interesting thing I realized while stretching was that while my left quad is tighter than my right quad, my left hamstring is more flexible than my right hamstring. This is also in line with me being able to do a left foot first split and not a right foot first split back in middle school gymnastics. I'm amazed that this asymmetry in flexibility has persisted my entire life.

After the PT exercises and stretches I lengthened both sides, and felt a little bit of tightness on each leg, but not as much as the prior session, possibly because I was on Hydrocodone. I stretched some more, then massaged my sore quads and got ready to go to bed. I think my biggest concern now is differentiating between surgical and lengthening pains. If what I’m feeling after lengthening is residual surgical pains and will go away, then I don’t have any concerns about getting at least a few inches of lengthening. If what I feel after lengthening is lengthening pains, and will continue to be painful at this level after every lengthening, or every few lengthenings, then I will need some kind of painkiller (maybe something that not a narcotic) that I can continue to take to manage the pain after using the ERC. Given my flexibility, I’m a little surprised that I have lengthening pains so early on (if that's what they are.) Especially since I’m still pretty flexible after lengthening my first centimeter. I can still touch my toes with my wrist and almost do a butterfly sit. My quads have lost the most flexibility through surgery, and that might be related to the IT band release, but I don’t have pain in my quads after lengthening. It looks like I’ll have to collect more data over the next few days through trial-and-error and hopefully when I talk to the doctor and PT later this week, they will have some solutions for me!
Logged
Stryde Femurs - Debiparshad - Nov 2020
169cm -> 177cm (goal)
http://www.limblengtheningforum.com/index.php?topic=65617

Current Status: Distraction Phase
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