I’ve seen countless doctors (read about Dr. Glueck here), tried acupuncture (post 1 & post 2), the blood thinner lovenox (update 1 & update 2), have been on crutches for 2 ½ years, have tried braces, LifeForce Therapy, stim machines, creams, essential oils . . . you name it. Determined to try everything PRIOR to resorting to a surgical procedure, I really tried to do a ton of research and seek out the best advice.
I have met so many doctors who basically told me they couldn’t do anything for me, other doctors who told me to walk on crutches for 10 more years and then get a knee replacement, and others who suggested drilling into my bone, cadaver grafts and core decompressions.
To play catch up, incase you don’t know –
Avascular Necrosis “AVN” or Osteonecrosis “ON” are the terms used to describe parts of your bones that die. Most commonly this occurs in the shoulder and hip, but also can occur in the knees and really anywhere else in your body that you have a bone!
There are 4 stages of avascular necrosis which depict the severity of the bone death. Depending on the stage, there are many different treatment options available. The problem with treating AVN is that there are so many different treatment options because none of them are highly successful.
What basically happened was that my femur bone had a stroke like event occur. The blood supply was cut off in two parts of the bone and, because your bones need blood to survive, those two parts died. After seeing many doctors, it is my assumption that this occurred because of a blood clotting disorder (prothrombin thombophilia) that I’ve been diagnosed with.
There is no way to revive the bone, once it’s dead it’s dead. My doctor described the consistency to me as being similar to that of a mushroom. Not stable, but ‘squishy’ bone. BUT because death of cells can take awhile, it’s possible that some of the cells aren’t completely dead YET. Hence why the blood thinner therapy seemed to work on the smaller AVN part of my femur.
There are many procedures out there that can “help” AVN. Because there are several different ways to treat it, no one way is a sure fix. If AVN occurs in patients of an older age the doctor will do a hip or knee replacement. In my case, because there are so many other factors going on as well, a knee replacement isn’t in the cards right now. (You can find AVN resources on my AVN page)
At the end of Summer 2014, I had learned about 2 different therapies that I thought sounded promising! One was from my orthopedic doctor who said they did platelets rich plasma, or PRP, injections.
My integrative medicine doctor recommended either placenta injections, human growth hormone injections or stem cell injections. I was completely turned off by the fact that the placenta injections came from random women in Asia and was very weary about the human growth hormone injections because it was a synthetic product that would be injected into my body. I was REALLY interested in the stem cells.
My Grandpa said the first thing he was going to do when he got to Heaven was find a solution for my knee problem. He passed away the beginning of September and I felt very confident that I was going to have an amazing guardian angel from here on out. One night, about a week after my Grandpa’s death, I started thinking. What if I could get the stem cell procedure from my Integrative Medicine Dr and the PRP treatment from my Ortho at the SAME TIME. Wouldn’t the PRP help support a healing environment for the stem cells?
In my mind I thought this was an awesome idea, so I started googling.
BAM. Regenexx Procedures. “Stem Cell & PRP Therapy”.
Google say whhhaaatttt? Was this real?
So I started looking into it more and more and found that they specifically had a procedure to treat avascular necrosis! I first read this post about a woman who had a successful AVN procedure done through them. Summary of this post ” .. the lesion has dramatically improved in this end-stage knee, due to an injection of the patients own stem cells under x-ray guidance into this bone AVN lesion.” (Regenexx)
Here are more posts on successful AVN knee procedures:
I started looking at the search page and just for kicks typed in Pittsburgh. My socks were completely knocked off (literally 😉 haha) when someone popped up! THERE WAS AN OFFICE IN PITTSBURGH WHO DID THESE PROCEDURES?! WHAAATTT?!
I was extremely angry at first. I had been to see HOW MANY DOCTORS in the ti-state area and NOONE ever mentioned them?
After completing the candidacy form and talking to the Denver clinic over the phone, I went to the Pittsburgh office for an appointment. I was so excited. I felt so optimistic! So hopeful!
The doctor came in, did an examination and quickly told me that he wouldn’t be able to do the procedure for me. Currently the Pittsburgh office was only doing cartilage and ligament procedures, not bone.
BUT! He definitely suggested I talk to one of the other offices, if not travel out to the main clinic in Denver, because I sounded like a candidate for the procedure.
After talking with a doctor in New Jersey and one in Denver, I finally have a procedure set up March 23rd out in Denver!
I couldn’t be more excited!
Sooooooo… what exactly are they going to do?
Watch this quick video that gives a basic overview!
Now, because my procedure is going to be done on my bone, my procedure will be a little bit different.
From what I know, first they will go in and drill out the dead part of my bone. They will then inject a demineralized bone mixture (basically a paste that is ground up bone) into the freshly drilled bone. Once that’s complete, they will then inject my stem cells, mixed into the PRP solution, into the area of my bone and also into the area where my cartilage is damaged. Then, a few days later, I will get another PRP injection to promote healing!
The whole procedure will be done over the course of 8 days. I have my first appointment on Monday, March 23rd, 2015 and will have my last PRP injection on Monday, March 30th!
Honestly, I truly feel this is my answer. I believe that it WASN’T a coincidence that I stumbled upon this procedure right after my Grandpa passed away. I also believe that the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Mentally and physically my body is in a great state. In order to help the stem cells grow, I had to go off of my humira. It’s been about a year and a half that I’ve been eating anti-inflammatorally (did I just make up a word? haha!) and I feel like I have a great handle on it. I’ve detoxed my body from toxins in my beauty products and truly make every conscious effort to stay in a positive, up beat mood. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!
What am I doing to get ready for the procedure?
1. I’m making sure my body is in the best shape that it can be. I’m being EXTRA careful about what I eat – steering clear of red meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, corn, vegetable oils, soy, alcohol, GMOs and all other toxins. Anti-inflammatory is all about managing your omega 3’s and omega 6’s – so that’s a huge area of concentration right now! Bring on the chia seeds and salmon 😉
2. I’m stepping up my meditation game and truly getting my body in the mode of healing. I’ve been using mantras and keep telling myself this procedure WILL WORK!
3. I’m going to get a chiropractic adjustment to make sure everything is in alignment.
4. I’m doing foot detox baths, bi-weekly, at my chiropractor’s to make sure my body is rid of toxins that may prohibit stem cell growth!
5. I’m maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook by reading books, journaling, practicing gratitude, meditation, yoga, ect!
6. I’ll be using LifeForce therapy to help my body heal by doing a session a week before my procedure and then going in for my 4 session protocol right when I get home.
7. I’ll be relying on my support system and realizing I don’t need to take on everything myself.
8. I’m detoxing off of my immunosuppressant Humira in order to allow for my immune system to properly react to the stem cell injections.
9. I’m talking to past patients to make sure I’m prepared.
10. I’m praying for the best outcome and thanking my Grandpa (or whatever force) led me to find the Regenexx Procedure!
Only God knows how this will play out, but I honestly, truly, 100000000% believe that this is the answer I’ve been waiting and praying for!
Stay tuned to hear about my adventures from Colorado 🙂
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
Check out how the procedure went:
Monthly Recovery Posts: