Day 11 Post Op

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Today it’s been 11 days since my stem cell implant.  For the first time I really feel like I turned a major corner. I was able to walk around the neighborhood here in Santa Maria, California for 30 minutes with no pain. I was strolling along like years ago without pain being a part of every step. I know I am not healed but I can tell I am getting better than I have been in years. So grateful to feel this progress!

I have been going to physical therapy at the gym every day and have been biking and swimming. Yesterday, on day 10, I was even able to run on the elliptical trainer for about 5 minutes. That felt really good and I would have stayed longer but my spirit sister who is here with me was ready to go.

If I were to compare myself to her abilities, I’d be really stoked at where I am because she can’t even make it 10 minutes on the bike or 1 lap in the pool. B20170130_143535ut she does have soaking in the Jacuzzi down.  I just know that I have to look at my personal progress and know that I have a way to go before I’ll be skiing down mountains, riding my bicycle on the single track or hiking like days in my past.

We have one more week here in Santa Maria before we start our journey back to Phoenix, AZ and then Merletta flies home to Alaska. I’ll still have a month to heal and recovery before I go back home but I’m starting to move that direction.

So here’s to continued progress and hope for a complete recovery thanks to Regenexx and my stem cell implant.

 

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Beginning Physical Rehabilitation

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On Sunday, four days post-op, I began physical rehab at Western Village Health Center in Santa Maria, California.

The doctor has released me to walk about 60 minutes a day, swim and ride a stationary bike. Having access to a fitness center that provides all of those amenities makes this a delight.

On my first day I was able to ride the bike for about 10 minutes, swim 8 laps in the pool and sit in the jacuzzi and sauna which felt incredible.

So happy to be on the road to recovery and feeling optimistic about my outcome!

 

 

Stem Cell Harvest Day

Wednesday,  January 18, 2017

At 12 pm I took a dose of Valium and hydrocodone and then at 1 pm I was checked into the Healthlink Medical Center in Oceanside, California for my bilateral hip rebuild. This started with a harvest of bone marrow from my iliac crest. A local anesthesia was used to numb the site clear to the bone and then a250px-pelvis_diagram small incision made in my low back (hip bone) and then a special instrument inserted and pounded into the bone and into the marrow cavity where bone marrow was extracted. Three extractions were made on each side for a total of six incision sites.

The most painful part was when the marrow was sucked out, but fortunately that isn’t much worse than a root canal. It was definitely a huge relief when the doctor finally said, ‘That’s it. We’re all done and we were able to get enough marrow to work with to complete the bilateral procedure.’ Apparently that isn’t always possible as some people just don’t have enough blood, stemcells, or marrow to work with. I was extremely grateful that by following all the pre-op instructions, it worked for me and they were able to get plenty to make this procedure possible.

Afterwards, they used steri-strips to seal the incisions and then covered both hips with sterile bandages. I was sent out for rest and lunch and then scheduled to come back two hours later for the stem cell implant.

bone_marrow_drawThis part of the procedure took about an hour and involved using a fluroscope to view the hip joint and then carefully insert a needle through the side of my hip into the hip capsule and plant the stem cells directly on the femur. Once this was completed successfully, my blood platelets were injected and bathed the entire hip joint to feed the stem cells. Apparently getting the needle to thread into the joint precisely is not always easy but in my case, despite the left side being extremely narrow and requiring traction to get the needle into the space, the doctor was successful and was able to complete the procedure as hoped. Hooray.

By the time this part of the procedure was completed I felt sleepy, a bit beat up, and more than ready to just pass out. I was wheeled out and crawled into bed where I slept until the pain meds wore off. I really needed the medication to be tolerably comfortable for the next 16 hours but then I was able to get up and move my legs which helped to alleviate the stiffness and pain pretty quickly.

By Friday morning I only needed Tylenol to handle the pain. I returned to the clinic on crutches Friday morning and had six vials of blood drawn. On the way out, we stopped to watch the inauguration of our 45th president taking place, and then my sister helped me get back to bed and rest. I returned to the clinic two hours later for my final injection of blood platelets that would feed the stem cells and encourage them to grow.

I’m feeling optimistic and looking forward to recovery and getting back to doing all the things I love without the pain.

 

 

 

Stem Cell Harvest eve

16114000_10208206289251092_7178019301829517152_nWell it’s now the night before my stem cell harvest and implant. I have been fortunate to be here in Oceanside, CA making this journey. Not too many other places like this on earth.

I’ve been through this before yet still I’m a little anxious about it but also feeling optimistic. And grateful that this time I have my soul sister, Merletta, here to help me. I’ll be happy once this is over and I can begin the healing process. I’m also still confident I’m making the right decision because I feel so grateful that I’m going through this process and not a total hip replacement.

To prepare, on Monday I had a complete exam and the doctor measured my range of motion and determined what I can and can not do. Then he did an injection of prolo therapy in each hip to help the joints prepare for healing. Tomorrow they will harvest my stem cell and implant it in my injured hips. Then we’ll see how much I improve. I pray this takes away the pain and allows me to resume all the activities I love and want to be able to do.

Over the past few months, I have come to understand that this path takes a lot of hard work. More than just going in and having a joint replaced. I could not recommend this for everyone, but for those who are generally healthy and willing to put in the hard work, it’s likely a good option. I think  it’s right for me and I think I have done fairly well preparing but know there was a lot more I could and should have done. I still ate foods with sugar, didn’t work out as much as I could have, and didn’t under-eat often enough.

But I did swim, walk on the beach, worked out with weights, ate a wide variety of foods, took my vitamins and drank lots of water every day. I feel healthy and happy and I have definitely seen an improvement in the quality of my movements and reduced pain since following the recommendations. Now, with the stem cell treatment, I honestly believe it’s going to give me the chance to really improve to the point I can have a normal life again and that’s what I am focused on.

Onward ho tomorrow.

Preparing for Stem Cell Treatment

colorado20162Things are looking up from my perspective. I have been working hard to prepare for my stem cell treatment set for January 16th. I have been biking, hiking, swimming, and amazingly, I actually skied two days. I’m so happy that I opted to cancel the hip replacement in December and try this path. It’s not easy. In fact it’s been a lot of diligent hard work. Especially giving up sugar. But I’m doing better and feeling stronger every day.

I went to Colorado for two weeks for my high altitude vacation which proved amazing. Although I still have lots of joint pain in my hips and legs, it’s diminishing every day by following the regiment from the doctor and I’m feel more optimistic about my potential outcome.

While in Colorado I had the chance to shovel snow, hike, swim/soak and like I said, ski. Two different days. One day was a beautiful sunny day with fresh snow from the days preceding and then  one storm day. A fun, although very short (I only made 5 runs before my legs were saying ‘Enough’! but those five runs were awesome and make me long for the future of pain free fun.

Here is to a wonderful, amazing 2017 and successful healing!