Until a year ago, I’d never heard of Stem Cells except in brief headlines and controversy. Then, I injured my hip during a move. I stepped off a ladder missing the last step. My hip took the brunt of the inopportune landing.
Weeks went by and my hip did not improve. In fact, it steadily became worse, limiting my walking, slowing my yoga, and increasing inability to even tie my shoe. I went to my doctor after I’d tried my personal approach through acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and stretching through the pain. I was referred to an Orthopedic Surgeon who insisted I needed a hip replacement as soon as possible. She then said to schedule the other hip for a replacement, as well. Even though the other hip didn’t hurt.
I read a pamphlet on Stem Cells as I was considering how to arrange a hip replacement. That article changed the direction I thought I’d been heading in. I learned that Stem Cells are being used for a multitude of healing. Stem Cells are used for healing joint issues. They are used for cancer. They are also used for healing & regenerating damaged organs. They are also used for conditions such as Parkinson’s.
Stem Cells appealed to me because they are harvested from my own body and placed where they are needed for repair and healing. Stem Cells use our own bodies to begin healing. What an idea!
What are stem cells? They are undifferentiated cells that live in our body waiting for a job to do. When we are injured, stem cells are called to the area, become what is needed, and signal to other cells in the body to heal the injury. Once they get the call or are placed in the site of injury, they go about differentiating into the cells needed to repair, rebuild, and signal other cells for help in repair.
Until recently, many people travelled overseas for Stem Cell procedures. Now there are a growing number of clinics using Stem Cells for healing within the United States. I decided to call some of these clinics on the East Coast and scheduled a free consultation with the Boston Stem Cell Institute in Framingham. The doctor looked at my X-rays and MRI which outlined the damage I’d done to my hip after many years of running and hiking. The step from the ladder was the last domino to fall. She outlined the options they offer and made suggestions on which procedure would be best for my injury. She also talked about the healing time frame. What struck me was that she sat with me and talked as if she had nothing else to do. The consultation lasted longer than an hour!
I took time to think about the logistics of choosing Stem Cells vs. a hip replacement. I chose Stem Cells. I scheduled an appointment to go forward.
It has now been over a month since my own stem cells were placed in the hip joint and are doing their repair work. Each day, I am feeling improvement, increased range of motion, and the only pain I experience are minimal and natural. I am quite impressed and pleased.
I was able to return to work within two weeks after the procedure. I also began Physical Therapy to help in the healing and rebuilding strength and flexibility. Now, I am ready to return to hiking, kettle bell workouts, and more strenuous yoga. I’ve been given the ok to push the limits and return to woodland trails.
Stem cells for healing makes sense to me as there is no removing or replacing body parts and long healing times. Stem cells are already in my own body and can be used for healing my own body. If I have problems with other joints, I will definitely pursue using stem cells first.