I woke up on Thursday morning and was SO EXCITED! I had an outfit planned for the day and everything (of course I did haha!) I knew I wanted to wear my ‘Expect Miracles’ shirt because that’s exactly what I was expecting… a miracle!
My Mom, of course, was all misty eyed all day. It had been such a long journey up to this point and I honestly couldn’t even believe it was here.
I must have said 100 times, I can’t believe it’s here.
I can’t believe this is real.
I can’t believe I’m having this done.
Even when it was over I couldn’t believe it was over… I still can’t and it’s 2 weeks later…
My day was split up into two different parts. In the morning, I had my bone marrow draw and in the afternoon I had my stem cell reinjection.
Bone Marrow Draw
We had to wake up bright and early on day 4. I’m not a morning person at all, but I WAS SO EXCITED! I may have not been showing it on the outside, but I was beaming on the inside.
I was one of the first patients at the clinic at 7:10 am. Remembering how my body tensed up with the prolotherapy injections, I prepared myself by remaining in a calm state the night before (had my serenity diffusing the whole time) and in the morning I took the vallium that the doctor gave me.
There’s always a time and a place for medication, and, I’m pretty sure, when you’re having someone drill into your hips to eject your bone marrow that is most definitely the time and place for it.
By the time I was taken back into the little surgical room right at the clinic, I was feeling extremely relaxed. Seriously, I was so freaking excited. I wasn’t nervous – I was just SO EXCITED.
Jessica, the nurse, put oxygen in my nose and had me lay on my tummy. My parents actually watched the whole procedure! I told my mom to take pics because I wanted to see what happened. She even got a short video. haha! I literally thought the whole thing took about 10 minutes on each side – but my parents told me it took a bit longer than that.
The vallium made the whole thing a bit blurry, but I remember them spraying me with a freezing spray and then injecting me with the numbing meds. He started on my left hip first, so I definitely remember feeling it a bit more on my left since the right had a little more time to kick in. There were a few times that I remember it hurt, but honestly, the pre-injections hurt worse. It reminded me of when I used to get sympathetic nerve blocks – how I’d be super relaxed and loopy, talking the entire time and watching on the monitor while they injected the meds in my back.
Dr. Pitts used a silent drill to get into my bone marrow in my hips. I could feel the needle, or whatever he was using, going into my bone, but it was more of a pressure feeling than pain. When he started to pull out my bone marrow it felt like a burning/aching pain that went down my butt and leg. It sounds horrible, but it truly wasn’t bad. The times that I did start to feel a little pain I did some deep breathing exercises and tried to breathe into it. That really helped disperse my pain and it really wouldn’t last more than a few seconds.
I thought it was crazy when he said that the worst feeling part would be the prolotherapy injections, but seriously – the bone marrow draw wasn’t bad at all. Everything was done and I was on my way back to the hotel by 8:30! I left there feeling like I did a ton of squats. My back was sore after the draw, so sitting back in the car was a bit difficult.
It was such a gorgeous day out so when we got back to the hotel we sat outside for a few minutes. The vallium started making me queasy, so I went in and ended up falling asleep. After a short nap, I got up and we left for the surgery center!
Stem Cell Reinjection
I had to be at the outpatient surgery center at noon. The place was beautiful! They had a very welcoming waiting room, complete with a fish tank (I found nemo 😉 haha!) and the women working there were beyond nice!
While I was waiting for the procedure, we found out that one of the nurses daughters has psoriatic arthritis as well. I gave her my card and I hope she told her daughter! The anesthesiologist came out and seemed like a very serious man, but once we were back in the operating room he started cracking some jokes.
Right before they knocked me out for the procedure I called in all my angels and my pap pap! I told them it was all in their hands and I gave them permission to intervene to make sure everything worked out as perfectly as it could. There was music playing in the room and the last thing I remember was Ed Sheran playing on the radio!
I woke up and the next thing I knew I was out the door headed home! Was it seriously over? Did it already happen? WHAT?! I couldn’t even believe I was laying in that bed, let alone my stem cell reinjection was already over! They gave me a percocet before I left (I asked for delodid, but they told me no. Boo!)
They had me eat some apple sauce before I left, but I woke up craving an Arby’s Chicken Sandwich and Pizza so bad. I even asked if we could go to Chuckie Cheese haha! I don’t even remember the last time I ate those things so it’s kinda funny!
After the procedure I was definitely in a lot more pain than I anticipated. I’ll be honest, I truly wasn’t expecting to be in a lot of pain after the reinsertion. Call it naivety? I thought that since I had been in pain, everyday, for the past 3 years, that it would be nothing to really give a second thought. I definitely spent the rest of the day at a 7 / 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. My back didn’t hurt by the end of the day, but my hip all the way down to my ankle really bothered me. My ankle pain reminded me back to 3 years ago walking around NYC and having so much pain. My knee was swollen and I couldn’t bend it more than 90 degrees. Oh, and I bled through my bandage! haha
I spent the rest of the day in bed, resting and sleeping. Honestly, I spent the next few days in bed resting and sleeping. My expectations of the weekend were that I’d be in a little pain, but I would be fine to be wheeled around in a wheelchair to see different things. My reality was definitely a bit different. 2 days after the procedure my knee was HUGE. It became so swollen that I could hardly move it. It reminded me of the time I spent a week in the hospital December 2012. I can’t lie, I was a little nervous that my overactive immune system was attacking my stem cells. But! All is well, Dr. Pitts assured me that it was all normal. The stem cells were recruiting in all of the immune cells to the area to help heal what was wrong. Sunday I woke up and my knee came down almost half the size. By Monday it was down even more.
Everyday that I laid there recovering, I repeated to myself ‘I can’t believe it’s done?!’. The 10/325 hydrocodone pills really ended up doing a number on me – so on Sunday I started cutting down to taking my 5/325s. I couldn’t stay awake! They made me feel like a zombie. I was sooooo out of it, so dizzy and light-headed and so nauseous. I feel like that was the worst part of it all.
The day of my procedure I started using my infrared heating pad 30 minutes, twice a day. I’m supposed to avoid ice and NSAIDS at all costs. Dr. Pitts printed out a pretty regimented therapy schedule that I would have to start following the second week. For the first week, post procedure, I had to keep all weight off of my leg. I completely forgot how EXHAUSTING and HARD it is to do ANYTHING when you can’t put any weight on your leg. The simplest task wears you out. Those first couple days I truly didn’t do anything but rest . . . and that’s exactly what I needed to do!
I went into my follow-up appointment on Monday most nervous about having to fly later in the day! Want to read about the last day of the whole process and my journey home? This is the post for you!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
Check out how the procedure went:
Monthly Recovery Posts: