Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finally got my stem cells!

Alright guys! I'm back from the Stem Cell Re-Injection! Boy has it been a busy and eventful day. Let me guide you through the details:

I traveled alone and arrived in Denver at 11:00 AM on March 21st. I went to pick up my car rental and drove to the mall near the clinic to get some food before the 3:00pm appointment (I got some sushi because I heard fish oil is good for joints!). I arrived at the clinic at 2:00pm only to be greeted by the $3000 for the stem cell re-injection.
 Anyways, they took me inside at 2:45pm, took my blood pressure, and injected me with an antibiotic. They say the antibiotic was necessary to prevent infections, given the size of the stem cell needle.

Finally Dr. Schultz walks in and guides me through the process. We go over the MRI's and he develops an injection strategy (I guess it depends on where the herniation is and where you pain travels to). He decided to go with a LEFT approach. Also, he decided to do only ONE (1) stem cell re-injection for the whole treatment, given that the needle causes a lot of damage to the disc and he said i'm too young to have a damaged disc. So he decided to inject the whole 41 MILLION STEM CELLS today. That's right, FORTY ONE MILLION STEM CELLS. 


I walk into the procedure room, which looks like a surgery room. It has a live x-ray machine that moves very swiftly around me. He starts out with some local Anaestesia. He then proceeds to do a series of injections (well it felt like it at least). He then prepared the BIG MOMMA injection, which he guided to the center of the disc using the live x-ray machine. This process was extremely painful for me. I handled it like a man though! He then proceeded to inject some contrast die and then the stem cells. By the way, i took a look at the stem cells.. it's a white/creamy colored cream.. it's weird.. and it was a VERY small quantity... i just couldn't believe there were 41 million in there.


He proceeded to inject the stem cells.. a procedure which he called MARVELOUS. He said he got them in exactly where he wanted them. After that, they proceded to draw some blood from my arm, which he would use to close down the hole that he made on the disc.. he patched it. This way the stem cells won't just squirt out the moment i stand up. This process was painful as hell too!

After that, he said: WE'RE DONE! He told me to lie there for a while, and so I did. Then i started feeling a moderate pain somewhere around the area.. sort of like a huge needle being throbbed viciously. It only got worse after that. He said that these pain levels are normal.. some people get them, others don't. He proceded to give me an IV with some potent pain killer (he said it wasn't an anti-inflammatory because this is in the list of prohibited stuff i can't take). He then gave me a prescription for Oxycodone (i had never taken it before.. which was of concern to him..). Meanwhile, while all of this was happening, I was crying in pain. I couldn't stand up until the effects of the IV kicked in. Then I lied down for 15 minutes and proceded to leave the clinic given that my flight was at 7:30. So I went to walgreens (yes, i actually drove there.. i almost died in pain) and bought the medicine. Then I drove to the airport, and the pain killers started wearing off.. so I took an oxycodone. By the time i got to the airport, it kicked in.. and BOY WAS I HAPPY. I was a jolly old fella. I was greeting everyone! I boarded my plane, and midflight, THE PAIN CAME BACK AGAIN. So i took another pill and now here i am lying in bed.. very comfortably. If I try to move it starts hurting.. but I don't really want to move because I want to take care of my little baby stem cells.

Recommendations:
-FLY FIRST CLASS!
-Stay a day after the stem-cell re-injection
-Get someone to drive you
-Get a comfortable car
-GROW SOME BALLS, because this shit is painful!

Some thoughts on Dr. Schultz:
He's awesome. He's a great person, very understanding, and i consider him my friend (even though he charged me haha). He was very understanding of my pain, and did everything he could to control it. The procedure was flawless... he has some pretty amazing needle hands.


So now, I have to take care of myself. No running, no doing stupid crap. No drinking, no drugs, no anything. Sounds like a reasonable price to pay for a pain-free lifetime after this.

So anyways, WISH ME LUCK. I will be posting pain levels throughout the week. So stay tuned!

I WILL POST PICTURES OF THE LIVE X-RAYS ONCE I SCAN THEM! I'VE GOT PICTURES OF THE NEEDLE GOING INTO THE DISC, THEN INJECTING THE CONTRAST DYE, AND THEN THE STEM CELLS. PRETTY SWEET!

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