I am sharing my journey with you so that it might give hope to others.
The year 2019 began on a high note with my passing advanced levels of Pilates teacher exams, of which I was immensely proud; studying anatomy at my age for the first time, let alone remembering, is no small feat. It was the culmination of over 10 years of practice.
And then disaster hit, and this year all became about managing pain. First with a rotator cuff injury and secondly with crippling back pain. I could hardly lift my right arm and I was bent over double with intense back pain upon awakening. I became an expert in pain management using Chiropractic, PT, Pilates, an inversion table, back jacket, and TENS, Cannabis cream, plus mega doses of anti-inflammatories. Tens and Pilates gave me the most relief. Cortisone shots were mostly ineffective.
I battled through it as best I could, often with a TENS unit at my back while having a dance lesson. But as the months passed, my dancing decreased and it was far less pleasurable. Tennis or golf were both completely impossible. I was slowly losing this battle. An MRI confirmed multiple serious problems with my back, undoubtedly exacerbated by post breast cancer meds which have decreased the density in my bones; now I have osteoporosis and the loss of height is causing compression, inflammation, and deformities in my spine. I recently had a yearly infusion to stop further degradation of my bones. But that did not stop my existing pain. A last-minute cortisone shot in October took the edge off so I could compete in a ballroom dance competition on Nov 1, but that was an emergency bandaid, and my doctor said not to be repeated.
It has been very depressing to wake up in such severe pain month after month, it has been impacting my quality of life in a major way.
Then something happened. I prayed for a miracle. I feel it was divine guidance that led me to explore stem cell therapy as a method of natural healing. To cut a very long story short, I ended up going to a reputable clinic in Mexico in mid-November to get the best quality stem cells at the best price. If this didn’t work I was facing surgery with an iffy prognosis. Both my shoulder and back got treated by stem cells in Mexico and I was told not to expect any discernible effects for at least 3-4 weeks and full healing would take 4-6 months. Stem cells can reduce inflammation, repair tissue and grow bone and cartilage and help reverse an amazing number of inflammatory based diseases. Clearly, this is a medical frontier, but would it work for me? Given my particular constellation of severe back conditions, there were no guarantees but the odds looked good. After my treatment, I waited and prayed, often fearing the worst and wondering if I had wasted my money. And then the miracle started to happen.
Two weeks ago, I noticed that my use of anti-inflammatories was reduced by 90%, my use of TENS was cut in half, and I could stand kind of upright first thing in the morning. I still have a long way to go to be completely pain-free, but I am thrilled at the progress. Given my MRI results from Mexico, my own Pilates teacher has altered my daily exercise regimen in incredibly intelligent ways that are helping to heal me. My range of motion has improved and I can now sleep without pain in my back or shoulder waking me up.
As for dancing, after weeks off the dance floor, I finally tested the waters last week. Rhythm dancing was truly rough on my back and most likely not back on my calendar for a bit, but Smooth dancing was delightful and hugely improved. Now I am not trying to dance through intense pain. As I look to 2020 this makes me VERY happy. I still spend the first few hours of every day working through pain to get mobile but by the middle of the day, I am returned to the human race.
Enjoy your Christmas and a healthy New Year to all.