Today marks 7 months since my last surgery, the insertion of the PRECICE rods in my femurs. Thought I'd give an update.
It's been 4 months since I stopped using the wheelchair (about a month after I stopped lengthening), and about 3 months of walking unaided. I haven't exercised as much as I should - only 2-3 times a week.
- The swelling in my legs has been gone for over a month
- I can squat with weights, and with far less pain. I can front squat 10 sets of 10 reps with a 50 lbs kettlebell.
- I can climb stairs without problems, and go down stairs, but slower than usual.
- I can jog, but only for about 20 seconds
- I can run on Precor treadmills for ~5 minutes at setting "5" (I should look up what speed that actually is).
- My right knee hurts when I get up from a squat (3-4/10). The pain hasn't diminished for the last month, and got a little worse after I've done a bunch more walking over the last week. The area right below the kneecap feels different on the right knee - there's a noticeable dent when I touch it. The very top of the tibia hurts as if I banged my knee into a piece of furniture. Dr. Paley had said that permanent knee pain is a rare complication post-CLL, but I might just have it :(
- I can't run
- Perceptive people can tell I'm walking weird
How I feel
I see the world a bit differently. The difference in height is perceivable. I'm taller or about the same height as most women. I haven't tried any dating, so I don't know how that side of life would be impacted, but in general, at work and around random people at conferences, I feel more their equal. Being taller than women just feels good - it's as things are meant to be; or rather - being shorter than most women felt annoying and weird before the surgery.
It's funny that even though I know what it's like to be short, I can't help but feel somehow "superior" over shorter people at work (unless they're in a higher role than me, but I haven't actually met a manager shorter than me yet). So yes, the heightism bias turns out to be real in me, a rational software engineer, in one of the most "rational" of all places (Silicon Valley), who also used to be short!
When I meet a peer who's shorter, I have a tiny bit of trouble taking him seriously, unless I'm already impressed by his reputation. Seeing eye to eye with other men feels good. This may be a coincidence, or the result of having worked in my job for several years, but I've also just led a large project for the first time, and was assigned to lead another large one.
I was quite enthusiastic about that large project, and during a work trip to complete it, I was a lot more friendly to people. My attitude was picked up by Uber/Lyft drivers, who chatted me up more than usual (or maybe drivers in that city are more friendly?).
All in all, I can't say for sure it's the height, or other aspects of life that make me feel more confident, but I do feel better about myself now, even though I walk with a slight limp, and I might be left with permanent knee pain. Was it worth $200k? It depends on what $200k means to you. To me, it means paying back debts to the tune of $5k/month. From that perspective, it was not worth it - especially if the right knee pain doesn't go away after I take out the rods, or if I'm never able to run again.