Hey folks, long time! I was planning to post an update after titaniums went in on Nov 30, but the pain was much more than expected and as soon I got back to Toronto, I was swamped with year-end work. The good news is, i'm much better now.. it's been about 9 weeks since I had the procedure and it's been an uphill battle. Unlike femur LL, Betz has to cut the patella tendon for a second time to insert solid titanium nails, and drill a new set of holes to secure the nails. I was hoping since I already had scar tissue on the patella tendon from the initial surgery (when Betzbone nails were implanted) it would be easier this time around.. I was sadly mistaken, it was just as nasty as the first time it was cut. And besides that, the impact on the body was considerable, took a good 2-3 weeks to discontinue painkillers and all other meds. I'm happy to say, I've weened myself off everything and there wasn't much withdrawal. I already began tapering dosages towards the end of my clicking phase for the sake of my poor liver. Tibia LL is a much longer process and taking pain meds over such a long period can be risky as well, so I started early.
Moving along, I've continued my weekly physio and massage routines but reduced the frequency (2x physio, 1x massage). I'm also able to get my feet flat on the ground and take a proper height measurement. Drum roll please...... 179.5cm final height! Let's just call it 180cm
In-frickin-credible boys and girls! I'm over the moon with this last LL chapter and very pleased with my proportions, my height is only 3 cms over my armspan which doesn't show at all.
The biggest challenge is getting off the crutches at this point, i'm much more stable with titaniums in place and I'm able to walk or waddle around without support, but because of muscle atrophy in the quads, hips and glutes, I actually look like senior citizen with a double hip replacement when I try
but it's getting better on a weekly basis. I remember back when I had femur titaniums implanted, it only took 8-9 weeks to get a decent gait going, i'd say close to 80-85% normal - it was passable. With tibs, because the lengthening process was so much longer (more atrophy) and the fact that i'm almost a decade older, recovery is taking much longer. I'm hoping I can shed the crutches completely after my fibula fixation screws are removed which is scheduled for early next month (16 weeks after I finished clicking as recommended by Betz). These screws have already started to move and click because of the motion between the tib and fib during gait. In terms of flexibility and ballerina foot, etc. all is back to normal for the most part. The smaller intrinsic muscles in the foot are still tight but no cramps or contractures to note. Even my right foot which was supinated badly, has improved by almost 80%.
Here's a pic of the Xrays taken a couple days after titaniums went in.. you can actually see where the previous screw holes were and the solid, dense nature of the nail in comparison to the distraction nail. Pretty cool stuff.
I got a chance to speak with Waves on the phone recently regarding his questions below, but I think it's important to share this with the forum as well.
I am seriously contemplating on the femur surgery with Dr. Betz for the femur surgery and one of my biggest concerns with internal LL or any type of LL is the long-term complications. I am not talking about things like infections, broken nails & screws, non-union, nerve & blood vessel damage, pre-mature consolidation. I understand there is a risk with any type of procedure, but with an experienced surgeon like Dr. Betz, these risks can be minimized. What I am concerned is about are long term effects on your body once you are fully recovered. I am referring to things like tightness in your muscles (flexion contracture), back pains, arthritis and etc. I would think that because you are stretching your nerves, blood vessels, and muscles/tendons by such a large extent, you would run into these problems.
Have you had any problems since consolidation & recovery (with your femurs)? Given your medical background and previous experiences as a patient, it would be great if you could share your knowledge and thoughts on this. I know this is something I should discuss with the doctor, but it would be great to get a third-personís (past patientís) thoughts on this matter as well.
The long term complications I would say is muscle stiffness if you don't continue physical therapy and training. I noticed after my first LL chapter with femurs, the last 10% of muscle function was the hardest to achieve and maintain. It took an extra couple years to really get back optimal muscle function, but then again I wasn't very dedicated in my recovery routine.. It should have been much faster but due to work and personal factors, I didn't prioritize this. I figured due to the fact that I wasn't a competitive athlete and I had pretty much given up on martial arts because my flexibility was so terrible, I was just happy with walking relatively normally. But this was a bad approach.. as we get older, we naturally lose elasticity throughout all musculature in the body, especially when you're not active. If we compound LL without a dedicated recovery routine, there could be further issues with muscle function and tightness later in life, in comparison to someone who has done minimal lengthening or no LL at all. When I hired a personal trainer to get back the lost function and flexibility almost a year after the fact, I was able to get closer to the 100% mark and could really see the overall improvement, less robotic and more natural motion. I continued this routine and training for years after.. right before I came back to Germany for tibiae LL, I was in the best shape of my life - but it took time and dedication to get there.
Well, that's it for now folks.. a belated Happy New Year to all from da 6ix!