A New Lease On Life

Regenerative therapy injections put caregiver back on her feet.

Linda Teemer-Baker

Propelled by her passion for nurturing, Linda Teemer-Baker has spent the bulk of her career helping seniors carry out the various activities of daily living. Her fervor for caring is so great that she recently started a business aimed at preparing others to provide the same kind of care.

“The business is called Avenues of Excellence CNA Prep,” says Linda, a certified nursing assistant. “It’s an extension of the work I’ve been doing for many years, which has become a part of me. Nurturing and assisting others who can’t do everything for themselves is something that drives me.”

Linda is running her business while also working toward a PhD in human services. That doesn’t leave much time for her hobbies, such as bowling. It wasn’t all that long ago that even if she had the time she couldn’t have bowled anyway. The sudden onset of crippling left knee pain was the reason.

“The strange thing about my knee pain was that I had no idea where it came from,” Linda explains. “I don’t remember doing anything that would have caused it. All I know is that I woke up one morning, and when I went to put weight on my leg it was like someone was taking a razor to my knee and cutting right through it.

“It was a horrible, stabbing pain, and nothing that I did helped. I couldn’t put any weight on it, so I was unable to walk or stand. It still hurt even when I took weight off of my leg, so it was uncomfortable to even sit or lie down. My knee was so inflamed that it hurt no matter what I was doing.”

Hoping the pain would subside, Linda tried fighting through it at first. That didn’t go very well. She immediately found herself struggling at home and work. The impact the pain had on her at work was “embarrassing,” she says. After all, she was supposed to be helping her clients. Instead, she needed help from them.

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

“One of the many things I do for my clients is walk with them,” Linda relates. “Well, it got to a point where I was walking so slow and struggling so much that they were telling me, Come on, Linda, hurry up. I’m waiting for you. They were opening doors for me and things like that, so I knew I needed to take care of this.”

Unsure of where to go for help, Linda turned to her mother-in-law and asked what she did after a recent fall triggered a bout with knee pain. Linda’s mother-in-law suggested that Linda follow in her footsteps and visit Coastal Integrative Healthcare, which has offices in Edgewater, Palm Coast, Ormond Beach and DeBary.

Upon following up on that advice, Linda learned through x-rays that the cause of her left knee pain was a torn meniscus. Meanwhile, x-rays of Linda’s right knee showed that the cartilage was almost gone and she would soon be feeling the ill effects of that, too.

“Once we found out what was causing the pain, the doctors asked me what I wanted to do,” Linda remembers. “I told them I didn’t want surgery. I wanted nothing invasive or to be cut on in any way. They then advised me that I should try regenerative medicine and began to explain to me what regenerative therapy is all about.”

Body’s Building Blocks

Stem cells are the foundation cells that grow body tissue. When cellular products 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 regenerative medicine to be the future of medicine. Timothy Steflik, DC, of Coastal Integrative Healthcare, is right there with them.

“Regenerative medicine is definitely on the leading edge of medical technology,” Dr. Steflik educates. “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.

“My left knee started to feel better right away, immediately after I received the injection” – Linda

“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 help 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 details.

Not all patients are good candidates for regenerative medicine. For example, patients with a complete tear of their rotator cuff would be encouraged to first try other options. In Linda’s case, however, she was deemed to be a good candidate for the therapy.

Immediate Impact

Eager to put the issue with her knee behind her, Linda listened intently as Dr. Steflik explained the benefits of regenerative medicine and how the procedure would be done. When he was finished, she agreed it was her best option for both knees.

“I wasn’t there when my mother-in-law had this done, but she told me all about it and she spoke so highly of the treatment that I decided I should give it a try, too,” Linda reports. “I figured, if she benefitted from it, I will as well, and I was right.

“My left knee started to feel better immediately after I received the injection. I didn’t expect that. And now, my knee feels great. It’s like I’ve been given a new lease on my quality of life because I’m able to move around again.”

Regenerative medicine has Linda on the move and enjoying life again.

Linda is taking advantage of that new lease on life. Since receiving the regenerative medicine injections, she’s added an exercise routine to her schedule, water aerobics. And she’s back to serving and caring properly for her clients.

“I have a lot of people who depend on me to be there for them and help them out, and with those who I need to walk with, I can do that again,” she says. “But it’s not just that. I’m also communicating better with my clients now because I’m no longer in pain.

“That’s a very important part of what I do because, with some people, the security of holding my hand is what they need the most. But I can also help them get where they’re going better, so regenerative medicine was the best thing I could have done for myself.

“And in listening to my mother-in-law and going to Coastal Integrative Healthcare, I chose the right place to get the injections done. Everyone is so personable and welcoming. They really care about helping their patients, and that’s important.

“I tell everyone I know about them. I even carry some of their business cards around, and if I happen to come into contact with someone who I think they can help, I tell them, Go to Coastal Integrative Healthcare. They’re the best.

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


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