February, 2012: It was time to receive more Supartz shots in my left knee. I showed my knee doctor the right knee MRI and he suggested that both knees receive the Supartz shots. My left knee improved, but the right didn't. I got a brace for the right knee.

Since becoming somewhat mobility impaired, I've seen the best and the worst of people. Some people truly believe that bad things only happen to bad people. Anyone with any defects is a second class citizen to them. I can't believe some of the things that have been said and done to me. I was starting to put my things in the last shopping cart at a store and a guy actually pushed me out of the way and took the cart. I used to walk a public trail, but had to quit because a group of runners complained that I was too slow and couldn't get out of their way fast enough. I cannot climb stairs and often there is no alternative.

My left knee had gone through a lot of degradation while waiting for proper treatment to be okayed by Workers Compensation. There wasn't much that could be done for my right knee. I went from doing physical, outdoor activities to staying at home icing my knees. Periodically, I did something physical and then paid for it with days of excruciating pain. I couldn't even ride an exercise bike. The right knee was worse than the left. It hurt all the time. The doctor and I discussed knee replacement and decided I should hold off as long as possible because I was too young and physically active. He suggested that he surgically clean up the right knee or do Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP).

In PRP, platelets are extracted from centrifuged blood and then injected into your knee. The platelets help with inflammation, but the cartilage doesn't grow back. PRP is expensive and usually needs to be repeated. While looking into PRP, I discovered Stem Cell Therapy. Stem Cell Therapy in the US is very different than in other countries. Stem cells are extracted from liposuctioned fat from your back. They are mixed with your platelets and then injected back into your body. It is being used for osteoarthritis, COPD, spinal cord injuries, macular degeneration, alzheimers, head trauma, ALS, etc. Stem Cell Therapy might grow new cartilage in my knees, but it is experimental and not FDA approved.

What amazed me the most of the lack of data on anything. How is success quantified? I believe the arthroscopic surgery on my left knee was not successful, but I think the doctor who did the surgery would call it a success. There are plenty of knee surgery youtubes. One of them shows a doctor with a stopwatch doing a knee replacement in less than10 minutes. Parts of the surgery are not shown in the video--probably where he used an axe. Are arthroscopic surgeries and knee replacements the best way to treat knee osteoarthritis or are they so lucrative that doctors aren't looking for a better way. Is Stem Cell Therapy a cure or a way to get money from desperate people?

Selecting who to do Stem Cell Therapy is difficult. It is new and experimental. Everyone does it different. My decision was somewhat arbitrary. I selected a company that had been doing it for awhile and was a member of the Better Business Bureau. They required a $3800 deposit to make appointments for a consultation and treatment. They said to bring the MRIs.

May 1, 2012: The consultation discussed my health, problems, and the treatment. I paid another $3800 (Cashiers Check) to complete the $7600 payment.

May 2, 2012: In the morning, my back was liposuctioned. Local anesthesia was used. Two small holes were cut in my back and 3 bags of water were shot under the skin of my back. They waited an hour and then used long tubes to suck out the fat. The tubes were a smaller diameter than the ones used to suck fat from overweight people. After they got all the fat they could, I went home for lunch.

After lunch, blood was taken and I was given me an IV of nutrients. The blood was centrifuged and the platelets were extracted. 270,000,000 stem cells were extracted from my fat. A solution was made of platelets and stem cells. Two people brought in an armload of full syringes. Each syringe was used multiple times. The injections were too numerous to count. Here are the places the solution went:
1) Nose: I snorted about 10 syringefuls (no needles in these)
2) Both Knees: After local anesthesia, the solution was injected under my kneecaps from all directions
3) Lymph Nodes: It was injected into lymph nodes near my neck
4) Right Shoulder: Multiple places
5) IV: Leftover stem cells went into the IV.

An elastic compression garment (corset) was wrapped tightly around my middle to keep the liposuctioned area from bruising. I received antibiotics, lots of nutrients, and was told to stay away from sugar. Basic after care is to not do anything for about a week and then take it easy for awhile. If it works, new cartilage should be deposited in 6 to 9 months.

Later that night, all the local anesthesia wore off and I experienced horrible pain throughout my body. After 2 days, the pain was pretty much back to where it had been prior to treatment.

May 8: The liposuction holes are almost closed.

May 9: Prior to Stem Cell Therapy, I'd been experiencing constant pain in my right knee and my right shoulder hurt whenever I used it. Both of these pains went away today. It still hurts to walk. It's too early for cartilage to be growing. I believe the inflamed areas are being soothed by either the stem cells or platelets. I did a little bit on the exercise bike and treadmill--no pain.

Problems with my left wrist began when I started using 2 canes. I did not do Stem Cell Therapy on it because it was a fairly new problem. It still hurts.

May 10: I had no night pain last night. Both knees used to ache all night. I haven't had any sugar since they told me it was bad for Stem Cell Therapy. I'm continuing to cut down on coffee. My runner friends told me about a locally owned shoe store for runners. They watch you move, look at the bottoms of your shoes, and then show shoes that might help. I walk on the outside of my heals which causes the cartilage on the inside of my knees to scrunch. Most of my damage is on the inside of my knees.

May 11: I am doing knee strengthening exercises to get muscle support for my knees. I am also doing 10 minutes at low resistance on a recliner exercise bike. I can now walk around the house without pain. I believe the stem cells and platelets are soothing the inflammation. It is too early for new cartilage growth.

May 16: I've been going to Physical Therapy for knee strengthening exercises. I've been going for my left leg which is worker's comp. It has started painfully giving out on me prior to the Stem Cell Therapy. The giving out was because my left leg did not fully straighten. The Physical Therapy is independent of the Stem Cell Therapy. I use a cane for my right leg and still limp. I've told the Physical Therapist there's no cartilage in my right leg and that I cannot stand alone on it or use stairs. I've told them this at least one time at every session. The knee strengthening exercises had helped.

Today, the room was full of patients with only one Physical Therapist. I did my normal exercises and then the Physical Therapist took me over to a Stairmaster. I reiterated that the doctor told me never to use stairs. She said a little bit would help. Against better judgment, I decided to try it. I wasn't able to get it going, so she took me to a raised height step platform. I again told her that I wasn't supposed to do stairs. She again said a little would help. Stupidly, I again attempted. She left to deal with other patients. I managed to do the step by holding on to the rails to support a lot of my weight.

My right knee, right shoulder, right hand, and left wrist were in pain by the time I got home. I cannot take NSAIDs because they interfere with Stem Cell Therapy.

May 17: I am still in pain. I canceled the rest of the Physical Therapy sessions. They only cared about making money. The room was full of patients. She was throwing exercises at me to keep me busy. I may have scraped off new cartilage growth and ruined any chance I have for future growth. All that pain and expense for nothing. No new cartilage means knee replacement surgery.

May 19: I still hurt all over, but it's getting better. Still wondering what good the physical therapist thought would come from a person with no knee cartilage doing Stairmaster and extended height step.
Stem Cell Therapy