'Dwarf' No More: One Woman's Story of Undergoing Controversial Lengthening Surgeries

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Controversy Around Lengthening Surgeries

We first met DiDonato four years ago when she and Gabrielse were about to tie the knot. After her story aired, she caught flack for her lengthening surgeries from critics who said The Little People of America organization doesn't support the risky procedures.

Reza Garakani was also born with dwarfism and said he regrets that his father pushed him to have the lengthening surgery back in the '80s. He was 12.

"I did not want to undergo the painful procedure which, in my mind, I was worried that, what if this fails," he said. "For a few inches, I didn't want to damage my life. I was happy with who I am."

Unlike DiDonato, Garakani said the surgery left him paralyzed.

"Because of this procedure, I lost a major part of me," he said. "Before I was just an average dwarf. I could run around, I could play sports, I could swim and do things. Now, I can't do what I was able to do. I would have rather been three feet tall than be a few inches tall with all the complications."

Even DiDonato's father, who still has mixed feelings about the surgery, said it may have taken a physical toll on his daughter.

"Personally, I feel she lost a little mobility with the extreme lengthening," he said. "I'll always remember her with her little jeans on chasing a ball, but she feels good about herself and that's the most important thing."

But DiDonato said she was well aware of the risks from the start and has no regrets. It seems to have paid off. Being a new mom and the wife of a Marine, she seems to personify the Marine's fighting philosophy: Adapt and overcome.

"Having a baby, every day I'm adapting and overcoming, but I kind of feel like that's for every parent," she said. "Every mom, every dad, you have to take the punches as they come."

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