Stem Cell Therapy

In my search to find a solution that did not involve surgery, I discovered the Regenexx Stem Cell Therapy. In December of 2013 I visited the Healthlink Medical Clinic in Oceanside, CA where I met with Dr. Ronald Cohen. After looking at my MRI, he felt confident I would find relief with a stem cell treatment. I opted to give it a try and was scheduled the next morning.

OceansideCa3The process started with a through exam and a blood draw. This was then followed with a prolo injection to the hip to prepare it for the stem cells. The following morning I was admitted to harvest the stem cells from my bone marrow. This procedure sounds much worse than it actually was. They used a surgical medical tube and pounded this into the illiac crest of my hip to harvest the precious marrow which was then spun to separate the stem cells.

A few hours later, back in the doctor’s surgical room, the stem cells were injected into the injured hip using a floroscope and xray assisted imaging. I was then told not to put any weight on the leg and to go sleep and rest for two days. I then went back to the doctor’s for a follow-up injection of my own blood platelets to fertilize the stem cells. That was it. The doctor recommended I stay off the leg for at least a week and then slowly begin to increase my activity for the next five weeks. At six weeks, I was able to add more physical activity like biking and swimming. At 12-weeks I started cross fit. The results have been remarkable and I would definitely recommend this procedure to anyone that has been told they need their joint replaced.

For the past few months, I’ve been skiing, biking and hiking. I’m so thrilled that today as I stand here writing this blog, I have no pain. Well, okay when I move I do feel some pain and tightness but it’s minimal and easily handled. All I have to do is jump rope for a minute or two and it all goes away. I’m hopeful that this improvement continues and will be sure and keep you posted…

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Dislocated knee

2012-07-05_19-11-52_531It was Memorial Day 2011, after a long busy day working in the yard, when I crawled into bed looking forward to a good nights sleep. Instead, I rolled over in bed and reached to turn off the light when my knee suddenly dislocated and intense pain roared through my body. I screamed out in agony but I was alone and could only force myself to relax and realign my leg until it popped back into place.

Sweat rolled off of me and I was terrified to try and get up but I knew I should ice it. Hopping on my left leg, (which had been injured the year before when I fell skiing),  I made it to the freezer for ice and back to bed.

The next day, I tried to walk but the leg would not support any weight. A few days later, when I realized my knee wasn’t getting better, I went to my first orthopedic specialist. She ordered an MRI and a few days later, told me I needed my knee replaced. “The knee has severe arthritis and their is no cartilage left. There is nothing we can do to help you.”

All I could think was, what? Until this happened it was my left hip that hurt all the time. What could be wrong with my hip if my knee was this bad?

For the next four months I got around on crutches and tried to figure out what I was going to do. No insurance. No money. No way could I afford, or did I want to, undergo joint replacement surgery. There had to be another solution.

Fortunate for me, I had a dream that convinced me their was another way!

Getting back on skis

I’ve often heard people say, ‘I love to ski,’ or ‘I live to ski!.’ For me ‘I ski to live.’ It brings me relief from stress and joy of being alive. In January 2010 I went skiing with a friend that admittedly was far above my ability.  He was a world champion, while I was an advanced intermediate. I do not blame my friend because I was feeling a bit bold and cocky. I had finally learned the art of floating! I let myself be pushed out of my comfort zone and right off the face of a 2,000 foot cliff. recovery17

It was a lot like living through a slow-motion nightmare as my friend tried to stop my slippery slide while hanging on to a tree. Gravity sucks and it did a number on us. I couldn’t hold him and he couldn’t hold me and I slide over the lip and then cartwheeled my way downhill over 500 feet.

I tumbled like a rag doll and felt fortunate and blessed when I was able to walk away without any major injuries. In fact I skied (and fell again) the next day. Fortunately that was a minor fall compared to the day before, but it was enough for me to admit, I had gotten hurt and had lost my strength. I needed to take time off and heal.

In October 2011, after fighting chronic pain in my hip for more than a year, I discovered the truth of what happened that day in Utah. I had torn the labrum in the hip in multiple places, bruised the bone, been eaten up by arthritis and… well. it was grim. My knees were in almost as bad of shape. The injuries may not have crippled me at the time, but over time, they did.

I was told by two orthopedic specialists I would have to have both knees and my left hip replaced. They could not be fixed.

This blog is to tell you that is a lie. This is the story of my journey to heal my body without drugs or surgery. I have no medical knowledge beyond my own research and understand that what worked for me, might not work for you or someone you know and love. But it worked for me and I am happy to share.

I look forward to sharing my story and helping you learn more.

Big Mountain Fall

This journey began  in January 2009 on a ski trip with friends in Utah. DCIM100MEDIA

I was skiing with friends and felt so good and had been skiing so well that I let myself be led into a place I quickly realized was over my head. I’ll never forget falling, cartwheeling head over heels, and landing in a daze several hundred feet down the slope. I thought I was okay and in fact, picked myself up and skied to the bottom of the mountain. It turned out I was injured in ways it would take years to begin to understand.

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Friends Dean, Karen Wyatt and Tesslina Cummings

 

This blog is about my journey. It started a few months after my fall when I was told by three different doctors that I needed to have both of my knees and my left hip replaced. It’s continued with my search for an answer that doesn’t involve surgery. I’ve learned so much along this journey that many have encouraged me to share. I get asked all the time, how did I do it? How did I recover without getting my joints replaced?

That’s what I’m going to tell you. If you have been told you need a joint replaced, or are just suffering from chronic pain, this might help you. I’m not a doctor and only have my own personal experience to share. I know this won’t work for everyone. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of determination and dedication. But if you want to know if you can heal without surgery from the most devastating injury, the answer is YES.

Of course there are things we can’t heal from… But the human body is amazing. If you are willing to be open minded and dedicated, you can do what I have done and get back in the game of life without pain and impingement. Good luck on your journey! I hope you enjoy reading about mine.