Today’s post is going to be a little different. I’m not going to recap my week but I am going to share a story. 8 years ago today I made a decision that would forever change my life. (Also, let’s ignore the fact that I didn’t post a recap last week 😂 These last couple of weeks I’ve been finishing up my summer classes and have had other things keeping me way busy.) But hopefully, this post makes up for it 🙂
I remember it so vividly.
To start, my family and I had just spent a long weekend up in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. At this point, surgery was not on the radar what so ever. I didn’t even know who Dr. Standard was. If you’re familiar with Eureka Springs then you know its architecture and pathways. It’s a challenge for anyone. I honestly can’t remember what made me snap but I remember saying to my mom at one point on the trip, “I just need you to make me do it” and she looked at me like “what are you talking you about” and said, “…do what?” I remember just rolling my eyes irritated because she couldn’t read my mind (#lol) and I said, “lengthen my legs!!”
So we decided that when we got home we would call and make an appointment with Dr. Rozbruch at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. I met Dr. Rozbruch in 2005 to discuss lengthening and he was amazing. After a while, I sort of stopped talking about limb lengthening but I still had my moments where I would say, “well when I lengthen…”
Then it was like the sun, the earth, and stars all aligned or something like that. The time between my family vacation in Eureka Springs to meeting Dr. Standard and scheduling my surgery all happened in a span of 2 weeks. After we got home from Eureka Springs there was a special on TV that week that briefly mentioned limb lengthening. It was a story of a girl who had a stunted growth in her leg due to previous health complications. After they mentioned Dr. Standard, I said to my mom, “well what about that guy?” So we looked him up and he was at Sinai Hospital where I last saw Dror Paley in 2002. I had seen Dr. Paley a few times before that when he was at Kernan.
We called Sinai the next day and talked to Dr. Standard’s secretary at the time who said his next available appointment was Thursday, August 5, 2010. We went ahead and booked it because any dates after that ran into the school year. After scheduling the appointment she directed us to call Amy at the Hackerman-Patz House. The Hackerman-Patz house was built for patients and their families of the Rubin Institute who needed to stay in Baltimore for long periods of time. Like I mentioned earlier with the stars aligning there was availability at HP (which we didn’t know this at the time but if you know anything about HP is it books up FAST) We booked HP and plane tickets and were off. I remember on the way up there saying to my mom, “what if he want’s to do it the next day?!” I had so many what if’s going through my mind.
When it came to the day of the appointment I remember it all so vividly. We walked over to Sinai from HP and waited in the waiting room, then I had x-rays and they put us in the room. I remember Dr. Standard walking in and introducing himself. He sat with us for so long just answering every single question I had and discussing any concerns.
After the appointment, Marilyn gave us the tour of the hospital. Showed us where physical therapy and pool therapy were, the children’s hospital, and so on.
I remember waiting in the chairs right off the elevator in the RIAO clinic waiting for Barb, Dr. Standard’s secretary at the time, to come out with the surgery schedule. The next available appointment was in September. That broke my heart because I was ready to do it the next day. Then she remembered someone had just canceled their surgery on August 24 there was no pause. Right away, I said, “I’ll take it.” Right there on that Thursday afternoon, I made one decision that gave me a totally different life. I even remember eating the fries in the Sinai Cafeteria that were seasoned with Old Bay while I called my dad, brother, and sister to tell them I finally decided to do it.
It’s still all so surreal to me. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years. Most children with dwarfism begin lengthening around 8 years old. I was 16 when I started. I always wish I had started at a younger age like 8 or 10 but had I done so it would’ve been a totally different experience and a totally different story – there probably wouldn’t even be a story to tell.
I’m glad I finally took the time to sit and write about this moment. There are a lot more details I could have shared that I plan on sharing soon but I hope with today’s post it gives you an insight into how that day went and how I was feeling. Maybe it motivates you to make one decision you’ve been scared to make. Changes are scary, I know. But sometimes we have to just take the leap.