The Normal (At Any Cost) Blog
June 3, 2009
In her May 30 column for The Times of London’s "Times Online," Anna Moore – who is 5/1" -- wrote about the painful procedure of leg lengthening.
"Twig. Squirt. These were only a couple of my childhood nicknames. I can’t recall feeling hurt by them, though. For some reason the jokes about me being the smallest child of my year usually went over my head — in every sense.
It must have been a very different story for Hajnal Ban, an Australian local politician recently outed as the author of a book entitled God Made me Small, Surgery Made me Tall. Ban had her legs broken and stretched by screws, wires and surgery because she was concerned that her height would hold her back at work. The procedure cost Ban $40,000 in Siberia and ensured that she went from 5ft 1in (155cm — my height) to 5ft 4in."
Moore finds this difficult to comprehend, because her own experience – with friends, boyfriends, and jobs, has been positive. She goes on to talk about the use of human growth hormone. Many anxious parents choose to attempt to boost their children’s heights because of bullying at school. Bullying and teasing are real problems. But Moore quotes David Sandberg, a University of Michigan psychologist who’s spent 20 years working with short children and their parents seeking hGH treatment: “If bullying is the reason behind it, getting hormones is a terrible response. It’s like telling them, ‘Yes, there’s a problem, the bullies have a point. A syringe will fix it’.”
We visited Sandberg when he was working at a growth clinic at the University of Buffalo, a visit we describe in the book. He likes to point out that height is only one aspect of who we are, and that what’s important is the story we tell about ourselves. Sandberg also wrote this comment to The Times article, which was published online:
"I recommend the recently published book Normal at Any Cost: Tall Girls, Short Boys, and the Medical Industry's Quest to Manipulate Height (by Christine Cosgrove, Susan Cohen) which is both well written and based on extensive research. For those interested in the topic, it's a page-turner."