Recipe For Relief

Stem cell therapy alleviates crippling knee pain.

With her son graduating from high school and going on to college later this year, Kathy Candler is contemplating taking on some new challenges in the next year or two. Trying out for a spot on the Food Network could be one of them.

Kathy Candler

And why not? Kathy has become comfortable in front of the camera hosting online videos for Pampered Chef, which sells kitchen accessories and offers cooking tips. She’s also developed a unique flavor profile that’s rooted in her childhood and would make her a good fit with the network.

“I’m known for cooking with pineapple,” Kathy explains. “I was born in Hawaii, and I collect just about anything to do with pineapples. I’ve developed nearly a hundred recipes using pineapple as one of the main ingredients.”

Kathy’s signature dish is teriyaki chicken with rice and roasted pineapple, served in a pineapple bowl. She perfected the recipe during a long stretch of aggravating knee pain that rendered her virtually homebound.

“I’m a consultant with Pampered Chef, and that started after I hurt my knees in an accident at school,” Kathy reveals. “I was working as a substitute teacher in Georgia at the time and took a pretty bad fall in the hallway one day.”

The fall resulted in Kathy cracking both kneecaps and suffering severe ligament damage in both knees. She underwent surgery, but her recovery proved to be long and agonizing.

“I went from being a very active person who would spend 17 hours a day on my feet working and volunteering and riding bikes with my son to someone who was barely able to walk or stand,” Kathy laments. “It was just awful. We love to go to the Keys and go kayaking, boating and ride jet skis, but I couldn’t do any of that anymore. I had to sit and watch everyone else do those things. I also love to shop, but my knees hurt too much.”

During a search for relief that lasted more than five years, Kathy tried the remedies regularly recommended by orthopedists, including physical therapy and
steroid injections.

“With every visit to physical therapy or every shot, I’d walk away hoping this would be the treatment that will make me start to feel better,” Kathy relates. “But that never happened. Any relief was always very temporary, and then I was back to where I was before.

“Then one day, while doing a Pampered Chef video, I mentioned that I wasn’t able to proceed because my right knee had given out. In response to that, a friend watching the video reached out to me on social media and suggested I look into stem cell therapy.”

Kathy did some research and discovered a video with Timothy Steflik, DC, of Coastal Integrative Healthcare explaining the benefits of regenerative therapy.

“The video intrigued me, but I was still on the fence,” Kathy explains. “Then a friend said to me, What have you got to lose? You’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked.” I asked my husband and he said, Sure, let’s give it a try.

Body’s Building Blocks

Stem cells are the foundation cells that grow body tissue. When stem cells are injected into damaged tissue, they support the natural healing process by regenerating that tissue and stimulating the body’s repair mechanisms.

Many in the medical community, including those at the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine, consider stem cell therapy, or regenerative medicine, the future of medicine.

Dr. Steflik is right there with them.

“Stem cell therapy is definitely on the leading edge of medical technology,” Dr. Steflik observes. “It’s a great alternative to surgery because it regenerates the body instead of trying to fix it or cover up a problem with surgery. The real beauty of it is that it’s a one-and-done, in-office procedure that takes about 15 minutes to complete and needs no anesthesia. It’s a simple injection of the cells that are cryopreserved in our office.

“I’m getting my life back. I found my miracle.” – Kathy

“For some patients, we administer the injection using color ultrasound to help guide us. We do that because we need to be very specific where the cells are placed. Once the cells are injected, patients need time to heal, but they can return to normal activities right away.”

Regenerative therapy can be used to treat arthritis, muscle or tendon tears, even peripheral neuropathy, almost anywhere in the body, including knees and shoulders, ankles and wrists, hips, back and neck, Dr. Steflik educates.

But not all patients are good candidates for regenerative therapy. For example, patients with a tear of more than 50 percent of the rotator cuff would be encouraged to first try other options.

Back on Course

With her friend and husband encouraging her to give stem cell therapy a try, Kathy first visited Coastal Integrative Healthcare early in 2020. Following a thorough examination of her knees, she learned she was a good candidate.

Since regaining her mobility through stem cell therapy, Kathy has lost 30 pounds and resumed her active lifestyle.

“I found out that I had a lot of arthritis in both knees, but I also learned that I had just enough cartilage left for the therapy to work,” she reports. “My husband and I discussed it and decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

“I was still a little hesitant because I was told that each knee might react differently, but the more I looked at the three-inch-thick medical file I’d compiled from these knee problems the more I thought it was the right thing to do.”

Kathy adds that she went into the procedure fearing it might be a bit painful. She was pleasantly surprised when the injection proved to be a smooth, pain-free event.
She was even more pleased with the results.

Within days of receiving the regenerative therapy injections and beginning a course of low-level light therapy designed to boost the proliferation of the cells, Kathy began to feel the positive effects of the treatment.

“For the first time in almost six years, I was able to bend down and touch the floor,” Kathy exudes. “Prior to getting the stem cell injections, I had not been able to move my legs to do that. I was actually shocked at how well the therapy was working. I could literally feel the change as soon as I got up in the morning each day.”

Another big milestone: walking from her bedroom to the bathroom without pain.

“That happened about 3 o’clock in the morning, and I was so excited that I was screaming,” she recalls. “That woke up my husband. When he asked me what was wrong, I said, Nothing. I just walked over here with no pain, and I can’t believe it. He said, Well, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but could you wait to share that until the morning?

Other major moments since her treatment included walking without a cane and riding a stationary bike. She’s also lost 30 pounds after regaining her mobility, and she’s looking forward to walking to her son’s high school graduation ceremony this year.

“It’s a one-and-done, in-office procedure that takes about 15 minutes to complete and needs no anesthesia.” – Dr. Steflik

“I’m slowly getting back to doing all the things I used to do,” Kathy says. “I’m getting my life back. I found my miracle. That’s why if anyone else is struggling the way I was and wants to get their life back, stem cell therapy is a great solution. It definitely worked for me.

“Dr. Steflik and all the people at Coastal Integrative Healthcare are great. They care about their patients and go out of their way to make sure they’re getting the most out their treatments. They make you feel as if you’re the only patient that matters to them, and I wholeheartedly thank them for all that they have done for me. They made a huge difference in my life.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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