Below is a college essay one of our patients wrote about how getting brachymet surgery changed her life. She describes her life with brachymetatarsia and how the surgeons at Brachymetatarsal Correction Center of NYC were able to help her...
"For the majority of five months I was immobile, homeschooled, and isolated from the world, and in looking back at that experience I wouldn’t change a thing. Growing up I was a normal kid, but I lived in constant paranoia and fear that someone would notice just how “not normal” I was. To the outside world my insecurity seemed minute, but to me it was the core of unimaginable pain. On both of my feet, my middle toe was shorter than all of the rest. Explaining this to people today, I get a lot of furrowed brows and questions. To other people having a short toe isn’t a condition at all, and shouldn’t be a source of insecurity.
As a child I hated pools, the beach, gymnastics in school, all because there was a chance that someone would see my small toe. I developed this condition at around seven years old, and the insecurities developed as well. I would get stared at, questioned and laughed at because of my weird feet by friends and family. I might as well have had a deformity on my face because that’s how vulnerable and paranoid I felt. I had never met anyone else with feet like mine and felt like the only one. As the years went by I skipped out on pool parties, refused to wear open toed shoes and hated going to the beach. Even vacations to tropical places were nightmares. It got to the point, that at seventeen years old I was on a cruise with my best friend, she had begged me to go in the pool with her and I became paralyzed with fear. I felt guilty depriving her from having a normal vacation and she had kept insisting that my feet were nothing to be insecure about. In the forty seconds that it took for me to take my shoes off and walk towards the pool I couldn’t breathe and felt like crying. I sat in the pool for about five minutes before running back to my shoes and hiding in the cabin for about an hour.
When I returned from that vacation I was persistent in asking my mom if there was anything that I could do about this. It wasn’t the first time I had asked her to see a doctor, but I was desperately begging her to take me to one by the end of the summer. My insecurity had consumed me and I felt like my feet controlled my life. One august day I walked into my house and mom my came running towards me with her laptop in hand, “Sammy you’re not the only one” she smiled, even she had tears in her eyes. All she had done was type in ‘short third toe’ into Google and tons of results had shown, all with people just like me. It’s called brachymetatarsia and it affects only about one into two million people. Before I knew it was had an appointment with a doctor who apparently specialized in brachymetatarsia corrective surgery in the city.
In the office I was shaking with nerves and when the doctor looked at my feet then back at me, asking when I would like to schedule the surgery I began to cry. I was under the impression that I would I have to live with this insecurity forever and to think that it would all be over in a matter of months was mind blowing. In September I had an external fixator placed onto my third metatarsal bone with the purpose of lengthening the bone. I went through a tremendous amount of pain throughout the ordeal with infections and broken bones, but even through all of that I wouldn’t change any of it. I now wear flip-flops in the most inappropriate weather conditions, and love going to the beach. I am not one to promote the dependence on plastic surgery for self-esteem, but I can say that I feel like a completely different person. My confidence has grown in ways I would have never thought it would have. Whereas in the eleventh grade I was bullied, for reasons separate from my feet, when I came back to school in February for my senior year I stood up for myself. I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this whole experience and matured and grown as a person. I now have faith that even the most hopeless of situations have a chance of success, and I know that I can get through anything. Whether it be physical pain, emotional upset, or social conflict I can handle it successfully because I have faith and confidence in myself."