Patient Reported Outcome – Tony
In early Sept 2018, I had scheduled a total knee replacement (TKR), which per my orthopedic surgeon, would be the first of several joint replacements as well as right and left shoulder surgeries. Perhaps more to the point, I was living with chronic inflammation and debilitating painful joints from my shoulders to my feet.
Instead, I canceled the TKR and opted for stem cell therapy at AMBROSE. I am now 18-months out and am pleased to share that my quality of life, pain scores, range of motion, and activity level have improved remarkably. With the reduction in pain and improved function, I have a sense of equanimity I did not have before – despite having the same stresses I have always had from being a successful entrepreneur. To be candid, the difference in the quality of my life is just unbelievable. You can’t describe to someone what it is like to live without that ever present and often excruciating pain.
Throughout my life, I have been highly active. I played high school football, competed in karate, and was on the college soccer team. As an adult, I have enjoyed flying vintage aircraft, being an outdoorsman, working out at the gym, cycling, and walking. I am also active with my church and with our community.
- As I aged, I developed a lot of inflammation and multiple painful, arthritic joints.
In 1975 and 2005, I had meniscus surgery on my right and left knees, respectively. Despite the earlier operations, both knees were arthritic, hurt, and had limited range of motion. My let hip also hurt when I walked. My orthopedist told me I needed both knees replaced, and a total hip replacement would follow.
- Both shoulders had tears – my right labrum and the left rotator cuff. My doctor indicated that shoulder surgery on both was my only apparent option.
- I had left and right finger pain as well as finger deformities – typing was painful. My right wrist hurt as well.
- I had residual pain in my left ankle from a past surgery and right foot pain from fracturing it when I was 4, followed by a traumatic amputation of my big toe.
- I had tennis elbow (right-side) from fly fishing.
- During my history of contact sports, I may have had head injuries that may have affected my sense of wellbeing.
- My work as an entrepreneur also contributed to high levels of stress and inflammation.
It was frustrating and exhausting to live that way. Plus, pain can make you irritable.
When I first spoke with Matt Feshbach, CEO of AMBROSE, I was honestly skeptical. I did not understand how stem cells could repair my “bone-on-bone” joints and shoulder tears. That said, I wanted to get back to my active life – and the prospect of a long series of surgeries was far from appealing.
Matt explained the repair process of the adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs) are “repair cells.” These cells address all of the factors involved in osteoarthritis, such as inflammation, abnormal immune response, and lack of blood flow in the joints. In contrast, joint replacements and orthopedic surgeries address structural abnormalities and deficits but do not reduce the inflammation and the other known causes of the pain.
I was also interested in the potential to reduce my systemic inflammation as well as treat multiple joints in a single procedure. After consulting with the doctor who had introduced me to Matt, I decided to postpone the knee surgery that was scheduled for the following week, opting instead to go to AMBROSE.
AMBROSE’s patient screening process was conscientious and diligent. The medical team reviewed my imaging studies and required comprehensive blood tests as well as a current history and physical. I also received clearance from my primary care doctor.
The protocol consisted of both an IV infusion and direct injections into the many joints that were bothering me. The injection strategy was quite thorough, addressing both knees, the left hip, both shoulders, the right elbow, each of my fingers, my ankles, and feet, all under ultrasound guidance.
I didn’t notice much difference for the first month following the procedure. Then at about five weeks out, a switch seemed to flip. I felt ten years younger and had begun doing things I had not expected to be able to do. As one example, I started working in my barn for up to 10 hours per day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Soon after the treatment, I began a physical therapy program. At one point, my PT noted a surprising improvement in the range of motion of my right knee from about 90’ to 131’, which is normal. He was literally laughing with delight, as before cell therapy, I had not responded to physical therapy.
It was a pleasant surprise when I attended a business conference a few months after the AMBROSE treatment: I was shown a picture by the host taken before stem cell therapy and a picture taken the day of the meeting. She (coincidentally) pointed out how I looked “10 years younger” than in the earlier picture. Also, somewhere along the line, my integrative physician did a test of my stress levels. Previous to stem cell therapy, I had scored 100 – that was as high as it could go. On the follow-up test, the score had reduced to 20. The way I felt correlated with the change in score.
In the last 18 months, I have been on trips to Asia, Europe, and Antarctica, walking or hiking many hours per day without knee, hip, ankle, or foot pain.
Both shoulders are pain-free and have full range of motion. Along with my improved mobility, I am back to flying my 1934 Waco bi-plane, pheasant hunting and fishing. I do have some occasional tennis elbow, but, again, it is not limiting me from any of my activities.
In contrast to the prior chronic pain in my fingers and wrist, I can now type and shine my shoes.
To be clear, if I eat gluten, I do experience some inflammation in my hands. But even so, it is better, not particularly limiting, and, most importantly, it is under my control. I don’t have to eat the bread.
Doing stem cell therapy at AMBROSE has given me back many of the aspects of my life I most enjoy – without the risks of invasive surgeries or drugs. It has also given me more energy to pursue my business purpose of helping people achieve their dreams. As my wife, Sharon, says, it has been “a miracle.”
Pheasant hunting in South Dakota. I used to have to block all day. I haven’t blocked in two years. I take the nastiest thickest corn, grass and thickets to walk to give the young guys a break.
Hiking the glacier in Iceland last year.