Limb lengthening tests human will power

by

Patients endure unimaginable pain
for a few inches

Growing pains
Christy Ruhe stood 4-foot-3 before choosing to undergo a leg-lengthening process that broke her bowed legs, then stretched and straightened them to make her seven inches taller.
See pictures from her painful, but gratifying experience.

By Gretchen Parker, AP

Limb-lengthening surgery is controversial among dwarfs, and it is painful. Still, many choose to undergo the bone-breaking and difficult therapy to gain inches in height. One patient who made this decision, Christy Ruhe, allowed an Associated Press reporter and photographer to closely follow her two-year progress. This is her story.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The tiny, silver BMW roadster slides out of the garage and zips toward the freeway. Christy Ruhe adjusts the rearview mirror and rests one hand on the steering wheel. The car, her dad’s, is a perfect fit. She looks like she’s been driving it forever.

Two years ago, she couldn’t have reached the pedals.

Christy recently finished a procedure that surgically broke her bowed legs, then stretched and straightened them, an agonizingly painful ordeal that would leave even her questioning how much she could endure.

Once 4-foot-3, she’s now just 2 inches shy of 5 feet tall.

She had always craved just a few more inches. Enough to drive any car and pump her own gas, or reach the pedals under the piano. Practical things, but seven inches would accomplish so much more.

To understand why Christy would put herself through the grueling surgeries and therapy is to understand a spirit determined to be as independent as possible.

Continue reading this story at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4242093/

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