Week before last, I had a stem cell treatment for my hip. I’d been struggling for a few years with arthritis, trying many alternative treatments that helped, but the blasted thing just kept getting worse. Since I love to travel, I knew I’d have to do something more serious sooner or later. Last summer, I got a chance to go to Peru, so I broke down and had a steroid injection just so I could climb all those magnificent sites. And I did it! But steroids don’t last and they’re toxic, so I started researching both hip replacement and stem cell treatment. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can differentiate and divide, creating new tissue.
I’ve always been a fan of natural medicine. It’s my first go-to. For me, allopathic medicine has its place—especially for serious accidents and as a last resort—but often there are better options.
I got to know more quite a bit about natural medicine in my life. After graduate school, I worked at Bastyr University in Seattle part time. For those who don’t know, Bastyr is one of only a few schools for naturopaths in the US. When I worked there, the headquarters was in an old elementary school, but now they have a 51-acre campus.
My partner all during the 80’s and into the 90’s was a naturopath, Ruth Adele, who now practices in Colorado Springs. She and I became professionals together, me a professor and she a doctor, and I watched her become one of the best naturopaths I know.
The problem with stem cells is the same problem with much natural medicine—health insurance doesn’t cover it. Insurance is covering more and more natural procedures and eventually, I think the two fields will come together, but this might not happen in my life time. Hip replacements are covered and everyone I talked to said they’re pretty easy these days and recovery time not so bad. But when I stared at that artificial hip in the doctor’s office, something in me just couldn’t quite say yes.
So I saved some money from an extra gig and finally did it. And I am really glad I did! I’m healing well, my pain is way down, and I’m very hopeful I’ll be traveling pain-free soon.
We have several options here in Colorado for stem cell treatment, but the Centeno-Schultz Clinic has been doing research on stem cells and treatments for fifteen years now. People travel from all over to come to it. That’s who I went to. They have a clinic here in Broomfield and one in the Cayman Islands where they can do the best treatment of growing your stem cells so you have gobs of them and reinjecting them at a later date. The US doesn’t allow this now, but it’s done in all over Europe and Asia. You can travel there to have it done, too. But that was a bit out of my price range, so I went for same-day reinjection. I instructed my bones to grow a bunch of stem cells and my doctor said I had the best harvest that day. So visualization and meditation, plus a really skilled doctor did the trick.
This clinic does two PRP injections, one before and one after, to really bring the best healing to the area. That’s Platelet Rich Plasma, a concentration from you own blood of the prime healing factors in the body. Those little suckers really go to work. The stem cells (pictured here) are harvested from your own body as well (iliac crest for you technical folks) and reinjected in between those two PRP shots. Yes, I was a pin cushion, but surprisingly the injections are not as painful as I’d anticipated. The stem cell harvesting was a breeze, but they give you just a little chemical help.
So now I’m growing a new hip. Part of one at least. I still have to be careful with the new tissue, but it will grow stronger and stronger. I’m glad I made this decision.