According to the Mirror, Gibson’s initial 5ft 5in height made him feel insecure to the extent that he tried medications and even sought the services of a “spiritual healer” in an effort to get taller. After seeing no improvement, Gibson, 41, opted to undergo the procedure that involved several bones in his body being broken.
Following his 2016 surgery, Gibson grew taller by three inches and underwent a subsequent surgery after seven years. He initially spent $75,000 for the 2016 surgery before spending another $98,000 for the second; his goal is to reach 5ft 10in by June.
“I’ve struggled with height, I don’t know whether ‘heightism’ is what they call it, but being on the shorter side for men. Even when I was in high school, I was always unhappy with my height,” he said.
“It started getting to me gradually. I just didn’t feel good about myself, I was unhappy about it most of the time. I used to like clothes and shoes, but I started not feeling happy when I put them on and I wanted to look better.”
Gibson said his initial height also negatively impacted his dating life, adding that he decided to undergo the surgery after he came across it on the internet – after trying some medication and talking to the spiritual healer.
He managed to raise the money within a period of three years, working two jobs as a software engineer and an Uber driver at the time, per the Mirror. “After the first procedure, I was happy with it to some extent, but it was always in my mind that I wanted to do the second one to complete it. I’m a high achiever, I’m a go-getter so after the first one I thought, with all the heightism, I’ve got the money and I can finish the journey,” he said.
“I spoke with the doctor and asked for three more inches. He said after the second surgery it’s a bit more challenging, so two inches will be more reasonable.”
He added: “So I’m looking to go to 5’10. I’ll be happy at 5’10. If my body and everything else allows me to go three inches [5’11] then even better. I went in at 7.30 am and by 12 midday they were waking me up out of the surgery.
“They give you powerful pain medication as there are times when it’s really painful and you have to work through it. You go home and you have a week or two for some healing to happen before you get the device to start lengthening.”
Per the NHS, people with “particularly short legs” can opt to undergo the “leg-lengthening process known as distraction.” “Using surgery, the leg bone is broken and fixed to a special frame. With the support of the frame, the leg is stretched, allowing a new bone to form in between the two broken ends of the bone,” per the NHS. “Over time, this bone gets stronger until it’s able to support your weight.”
Though the surgery “can sometimes result in a significant increase in height”, it is a “lengthy treatment and has a risk of complications, so it is not always recommended.”
However, Gibson, who now has a girlfriend, said the procedure has made him gain more freedom in life as he no longer experiences heightism. He said he would also encourage people who find themselves in his previous situation to undergo the surgery.
“[After the first one] I became less hesitant and less worried about the result when talking to women. I now have a girlfriend. I started wearing shorts and taking full-body pictures, which I never used to do. It’s a crazy thing, nobody should feel that way,” he said.
“It’s about me as a person and the way I look at myself with the height thing. In my mind, when I’m done with this part I can just be free. I just won’t care about my height anymore. I’ll be satisfied with what I have.”
“There’s always going to be people taller, but it will just be something that isn’t on my mind anymore,” he said. “From a young age, I’ve just wanted to be a normal height or average. Not where your friends look at you and say ‘man, you’re really short’.It’s been my dream just for that [those kind of comments] to go away.”
He added: “People who said ‘you’re short’, they just don’t see it anymore. Even though they don’t know there’s a difference, they ask if I’ve been working out. I’d advise anybody who wants this to go for it, it’s definitely worth it. I’m definitely wanting to spread the word and if it can help other people go through it then so be it, I’m glad.”
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