I love the holidays. Christmas was always a special time at the Centeno household, a moment where the world revolved around the kids. So this Christmas Eve, I want to leave you with my favorite Regenexx video. Julie’s Christmas spirit is enough to get us all in the holiday mood!
Julie had a condition called avascular necrosis (AVN, or osteonecrosis). It was in the femur bone at her knee joint. In AVN something happens to the normal cells that help replace the worn-out cells (osteoblasts) that make bone and repair damaged bone, and these normal cells can no longer do their job. When these worn-out stem cells and osteoblasts (bone creating cells) can’t be replaced, it causes the bone to turn to mush or die off.
AVN is a progressive bone disease that when left untreated leads to a collapse of the structure and often to arthritis in the joint that’s closest to the dying bone. Julie’s case was complicated because she also had psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own immune system sees the joint as a foreign body and attacks it. Research has shown, however, that if caught early enough, before the bone collapses, AVN progression can be halted or even reversed by precisely injecting stem cells into the lesion.
In December of 2014 after Julie’s third Christmas on crutches due to avascular necrosis (AVN), Julie was determined to avoid another Christmas on crutches. Before her diagnosis, she’d been a woman constantly on the go, and now this horrible disease had benched her and was running, and ruining, her life. While a joint replacement would be the usual treatment, it wasn’t a good option for her due to her autoimmune issues and young age. By the age of 60, she would have reached the end of the lifespan of two knee replacements (the most she could have had), and then what?
Fifteen doctors later, no one knew what to do with her, so the only solution she was given was to get on crutches and just hope for the best. That was unacceptable. Given that she is an experienced online patient advocate, she began to research her options. She came across Regenexx and unlike other stem cell sites that looked like sham miracle cures, Julie could tell there was more here.
In February of 2015, Dr. Pitts performed a Regenexx stem cell procedure on Julie’s AVN. She hoped and hoped that Christmas 2015 would be the first in many years without crutches. Did her Christmas wish come true?
You can follow Julie’s powerful story and her month-to-month recovery following her stem cell procedure on her blog: “It’s Just a Bad Day, Not a Bad Life.”
I first brought you Julie’s story just before Christmas of 2015 (see the fantastic video production by Doug Orchard at the top of this post to see Julie’s story in her words), and I am still so inspired by it, we wanted to give you another update on Julie this Christmas.So how is she doing? Here’s a video of her at the September FDA hearing testifying as an advocate for patients. She’s not only not on crutches, but she’s also wearing pumps!
The upshot? I love Julie’s video because I love Christmas and Julie’s unconquerable spirit! So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Holidays from Regenexx!
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…