From Hopeless to Hiking

I met Dr Jen on my one year anniversary of a downhill ski accident that left me basically confined to crutches and a wheelchair, even after 6 surgical procedures and over 140 physical therapy visits during the previous year. The original surgeon said I would be skiing within a year and here I wasn’t even walking. Outside of the fracture healing, there wasn’t any improvement in my leg function. I felt hopeless and was seriously considering amputation as a way of having some sort of semblance of a life.

Dr. Jen immediately recognized from a picture of an x-ray on my phone that I had dislocated my knee, in addition to the tibial plateau fracture.  What?!?!? None of the other doctors that I had seen throughout the year had diagnosed this.  She explained that the dislocation would have left my ligaments stretched and my leg unstable .  She continued on to do a thorough exam, using ultrasound in addition to the physical exam.  The examination lasted well over an hour, with explanations along the way, unlike the 5-10 minutes exams that many of the orthopedic surgeons would do.  She offered a treatment plan that included the use of PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections.  She said upfront that this would help  progress me along my journey of recovery, but it would not solve all of my problems, and that due to the severity of my injury, I would require more than one treatment.

Over the course of the next several months, I received PRP injections and within a month of each treatment, I saw substantial improvement.  My despair started to dissipate.  Eventually when I had reached a plateau with the PRP, Dr Jen utilized her extensive regenerative medicine network to find the appropriate stem cell doctor for me and she helped me navigate the next steps that were right for me, acting as a sounding board and helping me evaluate options.  

At the time of this writing, I am not done on my road to recovery, but I am thrilled that about 18 months after meeting Dr Jen, I was able to hike a mountain in NH with my young daughter – a feat I only dreamed of during the past 2.5 years.  What is amazing too is that the day before I met Dr Jen, one of the surgeons told me that I needed yet another surgery, which did not feel right in my gut.  On top of that, he said that PRP did not work.  I think he needs to see me now and how far I came, without a surgery (which I am sure would not have progressed me).

It’s true that some PRPs might not work but that’s because not all PRPs are created equal.  I know doctors that I respect, who perform PRPs, but they do not use ultrasound to guide where to inject.  They just guess.  They also then stay more superficial.  And finally they use a kit to process the platelets, giving them a lot less PRP to work with, than Dr. Jen uses.  Many doctors are jumping on the bandwagon of PRPs and regenerative medicine, but go with one that knows their stuff and actively participates in Regenerative Medicine conferences.  It is not worth it to go with anyone less than the best.

In conclusion, Dr Jen’s qualities include (but are not limited to):

  • her thoroughness and taking the time to understand the problem, 
  • her attention to detail, 
  • her listening skills, 
  • her honesty and willingness to be upfront,
  • her knowledge of the workings of the musculoskeletal system and sports medicine, 
  • her preciseness with the injections,
  • her network of other experts in the regenerative medicine field, and
  • her own active life so that she knows what it is like to live a full life.

I am so thankful that I found Dr Jen. She was my saving grace (and the saving grace of a few friends that I had also recommended her.

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