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Author Topic: Tombiezombie - External Femurs - Dr. Xia - 2010 - The zombie has landed!  (Read 27148 times)
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tombiezombie
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« on: August 24, 2010, 01:45:49 PM »

Hi peeps,

I finally feel the urge to start my diary (nearly 3 weeks post-op) having had femur surgery in Beijing.  I know from reading Halo's diary some of you are itching to find out all the gory details of my legendary 9 hour op and general suffering so feel free to hit me with any questions regarding this surgery.  Well I guess I should start by giving my motivation to go ahead with femur lengthening as I have never had any insecurities about my height, I was 178cm but unhappy with my proportions.  This was something that really bothered me and affected my self confidence and body image because people would comment on my "stumpy" legs and long arms (my wing span is 190).  I decided to go to Russia in may 2008 and did 5cm on my tibs but won't go into detail unless requested as that's another story! The quick version is everything went fine and I was happy with the outcome and returned home to look for work etc.  I knew that I should take at least a years gap before I considered femur lengthening so I spent 18 months researching and planning my next trip.  I ruled out the Betz institute purely for financial reasons which kind of narrowed it down to either Dr Xia in Beijing or the Ilizarov centre in Kurgan.  I decided in favour of Beijing as the internal rod technique means less time in hospital so arranged everything regarding my stay with Ronne who was very helpful and made my travel plans to arrive on 30th July.

During my consultation with Dr Peng we discussed the type of frame I would be fitted with and he told me the lateral frame would be suitable considering my weight and desired lengthening (5cm).  This frame looked a million times more comfortable than the old skool Ilizarov hoops so I was relieved to find out it was for me! The lateral frame only covers your outer thigh but on the downside the pins are MONSTERS but I thought on balance it looked an easier ride.  I had my surgery on Thursday 29th and even though I'd been through this before I was a little nervous but also buzzing that my op was finally here! Once the epidural went into my spine I felt the numbness spread down my legs and pretty quick I was unconscious. . . . . for a while.  I didn't really have any concept of time (thank god) otherwise i probably would have been freaking out but I estimate I was awake for 2-3 hours during the op.  I later discovered it had taken an epic 9 hours and the surgeons had even left me to sneak off for some lunch! Anyway I was well dosed up on weird and wonderful medication so couldn't have cared less at the time and the next thing i remember was coming round that evening in my room and feeling pretty okayish so just chilled in bed and soon went to sleep.

To be continued. . . . . . .   Seeing as I'm playing catch up with my diary I'll do it in bitesize instalments as I'm not exactly Stephen King so stay tuned if you want the rest and i'll add some tomorrow.

Tombie out. . . .  :0)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 09:29:49 AM by SysOp » Logged
jack0life
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 07:35:39 PM »

tombiezombie, its great that you've decided to write about your own experience.
I've deicded to split this so you can have your own section but it didn't turn out right.
Halo, copy and paste the last post to your own diary before I delete it.
I'll let MMT move this diary to the appropriate section.
And welcome tombiezombie, I'm interested to hear more about your venture.
You are another rare 2x LL patient.
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Every cm was TORTURE.
Went from 158cm to 166cm in Beijing !!
Moshe
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 04:01:11 AM »

Good luck with your lengthening.  I plan to have surgery late this year or very early next year.  How much did everything cost you?
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 12:01:41 PM »

Jackolife : Thanks for making my diary official, I will attempt to catch up to in the next few days seeing as I'm now 3 weeks post op so I'll give a fairly brief recap of the early days as in general they wern't too eventful so i'll pick out the high(low)lights and to be honest my memory has seen better days! I'll take off from day two which is where I got to last post.

Day 2.

The day after my op I remember feeling really drowsy still from all the meds.  and to be honest with the epidural still in my spine I really couldn't feel much at all from the old pegs.  From what I recall I spent most of the day chatting to my new roomate who was pretty cool and playing some PSP! I was hooked up to loads of stuff. . . .  the cathota, IV, epidural and heart monitor so couldn't really get comfy but overall felt pretty good considering this was my first recovery day.  The IV was pretty much non stop and the nurses kept fussing which was to be expected.  Fell asleep quite early after watching some TV.

Day 3.

Ah yes the dreaded day 3! It's all coming back to me now. . . . .

This so far has to be the worst day here as I was paid a visit nice and early by one of the doctors who had come to change my dressings.  After attending to my right leg he took off the bandages on my left and I was horrified to see a look of concern spread across his face.  I noticed that there was more swelling on my left thigh and after he cleaned my wounds he then tried to drain my thigh which basically consisted of prodding it with a pair of medical tweezers until gunk started to seep out.  (Sorry if anyone's trying to hold down dinner at this point!) This really started to hurt so he looked even more concerned and dialled up a mystery number (possibly one of the surgeons) and then he patched me up and left me in peace to finally have my now cold breakfast. 

After a pretty uneventful day Ronne called me and explained they were going to take me back into the operating theatre to drain my leg properly so I was rolled down the hall and back under the knife.  After some rummaging around Dr Peng pulled out what appeared to be a piece of bandage from inside my leg and proudly showed it to me while simultaneously shouting "OUT" so i can only assume they left it inside during the initial op and this was the cause of the extra swelling.  After a few more minutes (maybe he was just checking for his car keys and wallet in there) he patched me back up and sent me off.  This capped off my worst day but on the plus side they gave me a new epidural supply and at least I knew the reason for the swelling.  Went to bed pretty pissed off.

Day 4.

Day 4 was marginally better than day 3 but still not great.  The nurses discovered I had the beginnings of a bed sore around my tailbone area and decided to give me an inflatable O ring to sit on.  This was so uncomfortable but I just put up with it seeing as i had google'd bedsores and found out they can be fatal! I routinely gave the epidural a cheeky squeeze which pumps an extra dose into your spine so really had no pain from the legs except a dull back ache.  By the evenig the dull backache was now really quite strong and I slept very little but was concerned about the bedsore so kept my bum on the inflatable ring. 

Sorry guys gotta go. . . a hot chinese chick is visiting :) To be continued!

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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 03:39:39 PM »

Quote from: tombiezombie link=topic=3449. msg38471#msg38471 date=1282824101
After some rummaging around Dr Peng pulled out what appeared to be a piece of bandage from inside my leg and proudly showed it to me while simultaneously shouting "OUT" so i can only assume they left it inside during the initial op and this was the cause of the extra swelling. 
This is a fair example that doctors are also human and prone to mistakes no matter how good and well-intentioned they are.  But it is extremely important if they do make a mistake to be able to resolve it as best and fast as possible. 

Quote from: tombiezombie link=topic=3449. msg38471#msg38471 date=1282824101
The nurses discovered I had the beginnings of a bed sore around my tailbone area and decided to give me an inflatable O ring to sit on.   This was so uncomfortable but I just put up with it seeing as i had google'd bedsores and found out they can be fatal!
A friend had some problems with a lot of complications on one of his legs(not related to LL).  He stayed in bed for 3 months with doctors not giving him the right diagnostic, until he was in critical shape and transferred to another hospital.  They fixed his leg, stayed another 3 months in bed but this give him terrible bedsores on his butt.  This gave him even more complication and almost cost him his life.  He stayed another 6 months in the hospital because of this, constantly changing position from left to right and face down.  This happened about 3 years ago, and although he is ok now and put his weight back(lost 25 kg in the process), he still can't walk straight.

tombiezombie, I'm not trying to scare you or anything because it is definitely not the case for you, but just a reminder to people on how important having good doctors next to you is and how little problems not taking care of can have terrible consequences. 

I give you my best wishes.  Keep your spirit high and good luck with the chinese chick Wink

shark

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tombiezombie
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 10:43:56 PM »

Legolas: Thanks for the welcome message and yeah I have some stories from Russia too!

Moshe: The total cost was 24k euros, they bumped the price up a month before I arrived but this was mainly due to the weakening euro.  Ronne told me they would let me stay for an extra month though seeing as I was paying the new price.  I get the impression there might be a little room for bargaining but bear in mind you want the best care and maybe they cut corners if you pay less.

Shark: Cheers for the message.
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jack0life
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 01:21:47 AM »

I missed hot Chinese chicks visiting my room.
Not LL though  Grin
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 02:51:07 AM »

Shark: My bedsore seems to be healing well now but only after they gave me a special bed to take the pressure off it The thing with doing femurs is you can't sleep on your side and it's too painful to turn over without help so basically you have to lie on your back the whole time so the chances of getting a bed sore are multiplied compared to the tibea frames.  After researching bed sores I found out the are one of the biggest killers in developing countries and they need to be treated asap.  It sounds like your friend had luck on his side!

Jackolife: Chinese girls are awesome!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 10:22:30 PM »

Hello and good luck, tombiezombie!
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 09:17:25 AM »

Day 5 of Diary:

Having had little sleep due to strong back pain I felt really drained but was relieved to hear from Ronne that a new bed was on its way with a hole in the base to take the pressure off my tailbone which was the cause of the bedsore.  After breakfast it arrived and once put together I was lifted on my bedsheet from the old bed to the new one.  To be honest this was a bit worrying because the nurses are only little and no doctors turned up to help move me but they did a great job so I guess its a well drilled technique! This bed was a big improvement but my back pain was still going strong so I did my best to get comfy and soon caught up with some much needed sleep.  In the afternoon one of the docs changed my dressings again and applird some treatment to my bedsore.  I felt in better spirits by the evening and watched some tv before crashing out.

I have decided not to give a day by day account for days 6-20 because they were so repetitive seeing as I was confined to the bed the whole time and the only notable things to happen were:

A gradual improvement in my legs flexibility (tried to bend knees in bed for exercise)

Bedsore started to heal

I was taken off IV on day 12 and the cathota and epidural were removed

Started lengthening on day ten (1mm per day)

Went for an x-ray on day ten

The x-ray was really tough, I had to lie on wooden blocks while one of the doctors pulled my legs into position for the different x-rays.  It took close to an hour and was quite painful. 

Day 21

Ronne decided to move me over to the other wing of the hospital in order to make some room for a new LL patient so I was lifted onto a roller bed and pushed over to my new room.  I was lowered onto a regular bed which was pretty comfortable and all my belongings were moved over by the maids.  Even now I still don't know where half my stuff is! The new room was quiet so I spent most of the day just chilling in bed and chatted to a few of my new neighbours,

Ok its dinner time so will post some more soon, nearly caught up now!

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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 02:22:16 AM »

Hope your troubles get better soon! You are a brave man.
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2010, 07:25:12 AM »

Diary 30th Aug.

Feel in good spirits today for some bizarre reason  Grin

I've had a mixed few days really, I've have been making good progress with the legs but the bed sore has been owning me and is not letting me go without a fight! For the last few days I managed to get myself out of bed (with a lil help) and walked to the door and back each time with almost no pain.  The first time was such a great feeling, I'd been confined to bed for 3 weeks before this point so was going slightly crazy just lying there 24/7.  Ronne and a doc.  were close by in case i needed assistance but although I felt dizzy and weak I managed to shuffle along like a zombified pensioner towards the door and then back again unaided so this was a big moment for me.  My legs are looking really skinny now, it's amazing how much muscle you can lose in such a short space of time, where there used to be muscle is just losose skin and flab and both calves and thighs have wasted away equally.  I think it could have it's advantages though as I must be around 4/5 kgs lighter now and it should mean less resistance against the lengthening device.  My duty doc.  gave me some good news that my latest x-rays look good and both frames are distracting the bone well.  He told me to cut down from 6 turns per day too 4, which translates to . 66mm per day instead of 1mm.  He says the reason for this is to help with exercise and to reduce pain but to be honest I would prefer to crack on and do 1mm per day as this would mean frames removed 3 weeks earlier but I'm no doctor so will be "patient" and follow the advice.

So all is good regarding legs but as you should know by now my diary would not be authentic without a moan about my bedsore.  I have been advised not to sit on a chair for more than 20 mins.  as this will aggravate the sore and it could burst open again.  This might not sound too bad but it basically means I can't hang out with the other peeps here unless they visit me in bed and it also stops me going outside and getting any sunshine/fresh air.  It also means I'm still lying in bed for 23 hours a day minimum and trust me after a month of this you start to lose the plot a bit.  Luckily I have internet to keep me relatively sane but can't wait for the day when they tell me it's healed cos it will make my life here so much better!

Anyway I don't feel too bad right now and am spurred on by the fact that every day that passes is another day closer to frames coming off.  I knew this initial phase wasn't going to be a teddy bears picnic so once the tough part is done its all uphill from there.

Tombie out




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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2010, 09:12:25 AM »

SAludos compañero y muchos animos desde españa te deseo mucha fuerza mental para superar esto,que tiempo tiene que estra en el hospital y sabrias decirme el precio de la operación completa de femur y tibia en beijing. Ya estare otra vez por aqui dandote aliento y apoyo mental.

aluchar compañero. . . . . . . . .
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2010, 07:26:40 AM »

helloo tombiezombie.. how are u getting on? i hope everything is fine.. I am interesting what was the rate of pain from the attachments? as i learned from your diary you are having much troubles from the other ways..
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2010, 06:49:10 AM »

Vato:  I'm good thanks, the pain varies depending on what I'm doing (e. g.  strong pain during Kung Fu classes  :D) but in general its mild to non existent now.  The only times I feel strong pain are when the skin around my pin sites gets stretched, either by accident or when I get out of bed.  Surprisingly things like walking give me almost no pain and I also have no lengthening pain but maybe this will come soon cos I'm only at 1cm (estimate. ) My bedsore is finally gone too but i still need to be very careful how long i sit or put pressure on my tailbone or it will come back.   This is a risk with femurs because you have to sleep on your back with the external frames. 

Diary 2nd Sept

Legs looking really skinny now, I can pinch lose skin where there used to be muscle.  Hopefully my recent efforts on the walker will pay off soon and I can claim back some of my muscle mass but it will take time.  I walk for around 15 mins.  a day and try to make it a bit further down the hallway each time (in a bid to escape, but don't tell anyone!).  Walking feels pretty good but my legs start shaking if I do to much so I guess its something to build up slowly.  Ronne keeps giving me a hard time about not eating enough, even though I order three meals a day from the menu and eat everything.  Ironically I'm a chunky  munky compared to the majority of other LL patients here but who knows maybe she gives them a hard time too.  I had to bite my lip a bit cos I badly wanted to reply something along the lines of "Why don't you go and hastle some scrawny @!#%$&*!@#$%" but you really need to keep Ronne on your side here so I just try to smile sweetly and agree with her.  Come to think of it this is usually my approach with most women  :D Anyway I wont say a bad word about her as she is kind and well meaning and more importantly gets things done when needed.

The days here are cooling down a little now we're in September so this is giving me more incentive to go outside but up till now I haven't tried sitting in a wheelchair so the jury is still out regarding if I'll even fit in one.  I will confirm the results of the wheelchair test next post as I'm sure the suspense is eating away at your sanity. . . . . . 

Tombozoid




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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2010, 02:14:55 PM »

I am happy that u dont have much pain. I hope u will gain as much cms as u wish.. I want to be lengthened too Smiley)))
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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2010, 05:55:27 PM »

Zombie:

Best wishes to you and hope you experience a good recovery.  I look forward to reading your diary, just like Halo's, as I will be making my trek to Beijing at the beginning of next year.  Your 13 Ghosts avatar thing is starting to freak me out however.

Cheers,
LittleScare
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2010, 09:32:00 AM »

I've been thinking about doing the femurs in China for a while and I have a feeling your diary will have great influence on my final decision.  Looking forward to your entries!
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tombiezombie
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2010, 10:51:41 AM »

Firstly thanks for the messages of support peeps, it's appreciated!

17th Sept.

Last few weeks have been less of a rollercoaster ride and more of a gradual improvement with a few minor setbacks.  The most notable of which was the news that my right femur had fused together and had only lengthened 3mm as opposed to 1. 5 cm on the left. . . . not impressed! They knocked me out for some "adjustments" to my frame which I suspect involved loosening the nuts and sending a shock through the frame to break the consolidated gap.  I was out for the procedure so can only speculate but thankfully woke up with no pain and an xray was taken to confirm gap now present so full steam ahead lengthening at last! This means I am only turning 1/2mm a day on the left leg and 1mm on the shorter one so hopefully it will catch up soon and i'll stop walking in circles!

Walking has improved steadily for me lately.  Sometimes its the best thing to pass the time, especially when you have one of those days where you can't get comfy in bed. . . going outside for a walkabout is a great distraction and its good to catch some rays.  Today we had some rain which has cooled down the air and I guess pretty soon autumn will be here so for me personally this will be a welcome change and a more similar temp.  to rainy old England.  Also the mosquitos will be saying adios soon as we head towards October.  I waged an epic one man war against them (with the help of my spare pillow and XL size can of Raid) and I'm pretty sure I finally crushed their morale. . . . but cap off to them for fearlessly bringing the fight! Its a mystery how they get in seeing as there are nets on every window but they always find a way.

Im pleased to be able to say I have very little pain day to day now and this includes all the things that were a big challenge before, e. g.  getting in/out of bed and getting up/down from the x ray table.  Also I can get myself to the bathroom and back and sit on a chair for an hour or two which seemed impossible a month ago so I feel a lot more independent now which is good for keeping positive and gives me more options to pass the time (such as chilling outside with the other LL soldiers!).  Things like washing, shaving, brushing teeth can all be done standing up without the walker for balance so again big improvement to a month ago.

A few patients have arrived recently, some have gone too. . . . the time really passes quick here for me now.  I'd recommend to anyone doing lengthening to bring enough stuff to keep you occupied.  I have just started learning Mandarin on my notebook, it may not be that useful long term but you have SO much useful time and its easy just to waste it online, playing video games etc.  so why not do something productive too?

Tune in next time for the same blend of useful info.  and random cra* that lives inside my head

Tombie

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jack0life
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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2010, 05:05:51 PM »

Hey TZ, any chance you can post pics of your frames ??
Curious to see.
Did you get to see what the Ilizarov frame for femurs look like ??
Does it just wrap half around your femurs or all the way around ??
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Every cm was TORTURE.
Went from 158cm to 166cm in Beijing !!
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