Pain was at 8 out of 10 almost every day. If I did NOTHING then the pain went down to 3. If I even walked up steps it would go to 5 or 6 for 24 hours. I’d rest and it would feel better so I tried to “live normally” and work…which means I would be hiking trails, running, walking at boot camp.
Friend Ann Archinal (pictured) had mentioned ONE MILLION TIMES that I should check into Regenexx’s procedure and possibly be part of a Clinical Trial.
I began the process but was told (by a Regenexx Call Center woman) I had to be “PRE-qualified” by a “Regenexx Doctor”, which required an MRI. I found a doctor in Simi Valley on Alamo Street (right around the corner from where I live).
Work continued to antagonize my knees and since it got worse and worse we opted to get an MRI at Ventura Orthopedic in Simi Valley, CA. That cost $400, cash. Most insurances will cover this (but we do not have insurance so have to pay cash).
The MRI on left knee only was analyzed and sent to my sports chiropractor Dr. David Sommer, Sommer Sports Chiropractic in Simi Valley, CA. He explained the findings. MRI showed torn meniscus and burst baker’s cyst in my left knee. DISCOVERED LATER: Bone spurs and arthritis in my right knee.
Set appointment for Regenexx doctor in Simi. Just to see him cost $350. I recorded the conversation to make sure I didn’t misunderstand any of it. Went to appointment, he reviewed MRI and told me I was a candidate. Offered three solutions: cut, stem cell, do nothing. He said he would do Stem Cell for $9700 for ONE knee. He printed two pieces of paper from his website and charged me another $100. I left there pissed and resigned with the fact that I would never get my knees repaired.
Went to Facebook, Regenexx’s site. Posted that I had been quoted $9,200 for my knee. Immediately replies started to pop up, One said “$1,700 in Texas” which prompted me to begin researching other possibilities. One hour later I discovered that Regenexx had removed my post PLUS all of the replies and information. DANG IT. Luckily I’d written down a few notes and discovered a realistic solution.
Found Dr. Venkatesh Movva and called to find out if I could go there and what the cost would be. Quoted $-private (call for your quote) for both knees (he would need to see my right knee himself and agreed to do this without the MRI).
We emptied our small savings nut and invested in my knees. I am happy to report after 8 months of holding my breath that the pain would return: I’M GREAT! Read below for the little ups and downs but overall I’m PAIN FREE! Like zilch, nada, nothing. I wake up every day so grateful we decided to invest in my knees. It was worth it.
Are you searching for a solution that doesn’t include DRUGS, CUTTING OR EXTENDED RECOVERY? Stop reading here. Pick up the phone and CALL THEM!
THE PROCEDURE – TIME LINE
Tuesday August 23rd to Saturday August 27th
Tuesday. Day 1 flew to Texas (round trip tickets American Airlines $204 through Hotwire), got a rental car (Hertz $200) and drove to my Air BNB place in Grapevine Texas ($262) which I highly recommend you book.
Wednesday. Day 2 arrive at Dr Venkatesh Movva’s office at 9:00am and filled in paperwork and paid for both knees to have the Regenexx Stem Cell procedure. At about 11:00am I had injections by Dr Movva that I was told would inspire my body to send my blood to my knees to prepare for my stem cell injection the following day. Left after an hour and drove to a nice outdoor mall and wandered around. Noted that I was in less pain (I’d say 25%) and got a bit excited.
Thursday. Day 3 arrived at 9:00am for bone marrow draw. You lie down on a table face down and injections to numb my hip area are done. It was numb. Dr Movva drew 3 vials of my bone marrow. It did not hurt at all and I was wide awake. I felt a sort of heavy pressure on my hip bones. Sent to lunch and then returned. My marrow had been split into platelets and stem cells. The stem cells were injected into my knees. This hurt a tiny bit and I think it was mostly because I was able to watch it happen (since I was on my back and wide awake). A little spray can was used in the areas the needles were going into. There was really no pain, just a “fullness” in the joint area. Sent to meet with the Physical Therapist for my PT assignment, fit for two knee braces and a set of crutches (same building) then directed to go home and STAY OFF MY LEGS.
Friday. Day 4 arrived at 10:00am to get my final injection which was my platelets. This hurt more than anything else. One side hurt way more than the other . Dr Movva said my reaction was the same as every other person and was normal.
Saturday. Day 5 got up super early to get to car rental return (Hertz) and fly home (American Airlines) from Dallas/Fort Worth. Hertz was ready (I was alone and called ahead telling them of my “stay off your knees” circumstances) to pick me up and take me to the airport in a private car! When I got dropped off a DFW employee scooped me up with a wheel chair and took me to my gate. I was embarrassed to use this but MAN it was necessary!
Followed instructions of NO RUNNING OR IMPACT for 5 weeks.
Began slowly. Tried Aqua Running before the 5 weeks was up and directed by Dr. Movva to go at 25% only (which I did).
I was 50% on doing my PT which I regret.
MONTH 1 SEPTEMBER
Went on a vacation to Oregon. Biked and walked a lot, braces on made it cumbersome. Knocking my knees a lot (the braces are very stabilizing…and HUGE) and tripping when they caught on each other. Knees had a slight pain but it was dull. Pain would be 3 out of 10. Did my PT 4 times a week average. It was tough stuff but when I did it I felt less pain the following day. My PT took 60 minutes not rushing.
MONTH 2 OCTOBER
Began walking slowly and jogged a little. Less pain. Knees felt unstable as though they were loose. Work was easier and I was able to run exercise stations and demonstrate (without extra weight). PT was 2-3x per week, regrettably. Began mountain bike riding and road rides for 1-2 hours at least once a week but started to feel pain on the back of my knees after a lot of uphill climbing. Continued to fall back on my “pain” habits such as gripping stairwell banisters, going down steps one at a time and slowly…mentally I feel like I’m shedding these go-to practices that always helped me alleviate the pain.
MONTH 3 NOVEMBER
Lots of activity, braces off. PT remained 2-3x per week. Again noticing how strong knees felt the day following PT. By end of October I was doing squats, running trails and road SLOWLY (partly because it has been years of low activity and my cardio was weak). Mountain bike riding was easier so I began pushing myself. Signed up for Spartan training and dialed it back on any lower body exercises. Noticed the pain in my knees when I did burpees (the kick out) so stopped. Pain stayed and moved to a 4 so I wrote to Dr. Movva and he replied right away despite being in India where he helps children (love that). He offered a Booster PRP procedure and said he would not charge me for it if I could get into the offices for the one-day procedure.
MONTH 4 DECEMBER
Feeling good and better after resting and staying mostly immobile during our time off of camp. It couldn’t have been better timing to have a break. I did no running, stopped drinking alcohol through the New Year! Focused on healthier nutrition during the down time. Felt like my knees were recovered.
MONTH 5 JANUARY
Started the year off slowly but eventually riding and running trails (slowly). No PT at all but do not feel the need for it because I feel stable and strong in my knees. RAN stadium at Moorpark twice, walked up and ran down Hummingbird Trail and Chumash. Ran /Walked Tapo Open Space. Things are stronger and no pain.
MONTH 6 FEBRUARY
Able to squat down low with kettle bells (26 and 18 lbs), swinging bells, burpees, jump rope and continued road and trail hiking.
Overall my experience was incredible.
The only part of my procedure that was awful was visiting the arrogant local “authorized doctor” to find out if I was a “candidate” for the Regenexx procedure.
CURRENTLY (APRIL 2017)
Wow. I’m SO HAPPY I got this procedure. I am able to participate in pretty much any activity (with training) that I want from being a boot camper to running trails and road. I am mentally still worried to push the envelope and blow my knees out – but so far I’ve had no pain at all. LIKE AT ALL.
One thing that began in 2013 was my knee going out of it’s joint. That is very painful. It’s “almost” happened on both knees a few times in the past two months. Randomly I’ll be moving my legs (like swinging them onto the bed or into the truck to sit) and a knee will get that pang of pain. It takes my breath away instantly then is gone – no remnants. I believe I just need to keep strengthening the surrounding tissue by USING my legs and following the PT work.
I would only recommend Dr. Venkatesh Movva. He can review your MRI and tell you the truth from any place on earth. Just get your MRI and send it to him.
If you do end up using his services, be sure you mention you read my blog. He will appreciate knowing and maybe (just maybe) give you a “Sarita special deal”!
Read on if you are bored and/or interested in my sob story! It’s so fun!
MY PITY PARTY
AKA more explanation on HOW I became injured and what we went through
Pain began three years prior (2013) in my left knee and got worse over the years. No ONE event happened. I was very active as a kid into my high school years playing soccer, softball and volleyball. I got tons of injuries, mostly twisted ankles, that I’m sure I did not allow to heal properly before jumping back into my sport.
At age 38 I became a boot camp owner which “required” teaching exercises, running road and trails. My life went from cubicles to running around the planet and it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
After the pain in my left knee began I backed off. It was an up and down ride on recovery inbetween visits to my chiropractor for therapy and my massage therapist for relief and excruciating fun on my IT band. The pain was undiagnosed because we did not have insurance and I am a “suck it up” type of person.
Eventually, over three years, I went from running races and training for them (25K Bulldog, Half Marathons, Xterra) and our boot camp regular trail running to walking races and trails for our boot camp to just sitting in the car because I could NOT ascend one of my favorite trails without paying for it dearly.
We finally saved enough money to get an MRI. This is after spending the three years going to chiropractic and massage for relief (which I did have, but then I’d go run again and it would return even worse).
MRI showed a torn meniscus with a Baker’s cyst that burst. NO WONDER I WAS IN PAIN ALL THE TIME.
Spent too much time trying to become a candidate for a Regenexx “Clinical Trial” which may have happened but I did not live in Colorado and/or they didn’t care who I was or my situation.
My friend Ann had the procedure for her knee and a shoulder injury and she was back up and operational in a short amount of time.
I decided to get myself to a doctor to find out if I was a candidate. We had to pay $350 just to sit in the room with this doctor and he looked at my MRI then described the few options: stem cell, surgery, nothing (pain management…aka pills).
He said he could handle my left torn meniscus with stem cell but it was not guaranteed (of course). Stem cell meant there would be no tissue removed and I was good with that. It would be my own stem cells…good with that. I would only need to pay him $9200 for it. He printed me two more pieces of paper FROM HIS WEBSITE then sent me on my way…after charging me another $100.
I left his office PISSED at his arrogance and certain I’d never get this procedure.
The next day I went to the Regenexx Facebook Page and left a note for everyone to read (or it was a comment, it has since been removed): “Got a quote for a torn meniscus and baker’s cyst in my left knee for $9200. This is way more expensive than I expected.”
Immediately comments began popping up from other folks that were in the forum. Most people were commenting on how much they’d paid. One person posted “$1,700 in Texas”. I almost fell out of my chair.
I hobbled downstairs to Randy’s office to tell him the good news!
From there my quest became locating the doctor that had given this procedure for this price. I logged back into Facebook to find the person and ask more questions. THE POST WAS COMPLETELY REMOVED. Like 100% gone.
Side note: every post I have made complimenting them is never replied to, answered, response of a ‘thanks’ in all of my social media. I think I must have hit a nerve?
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MORE PHOTOS AND COVERAGE THAT YOU MAY FIND INTERESTING
more to come!