Agnes Hiemstra-Teyken, 52 years, Rupture of left pelvic artery

Date of birth: 1954

Occupation: Childminder

Marital status: Married, four children

Rupture of left pelvic artery

How it happened

Pregnancy with my fourth child was very straightforward and without anycomplications. I was healthy and fit when I went to the hospital inFebruary 2004. Immediately after giving birth to Fabian sudden massivebleeding occurred. The doctors performed an embolization of the iliacartery, which later on ruptured.

The consequence

As a result of the rupture I was in agonising pain around the clock. My leftside was numb. I could hardly feel my leg and did not have the power tostand properly. Whenever I tried standing, my hips gave way. Thenumbness spread across my stomach, resulting in total numbness of myupper middle body. I could not use the bathroom more than once or twicea week, I suffered from insomnia and groin inflammation and I couldhardly sit. Walking was only possible when I could steady myselfsomewhere and only in the house for very short distances. I could notwalk up the stairs to the bathroom. I would sit on them and hoistmyself up one step at a time. My muscles continued to weaken and due tomy disabilities I could not leave the house on my own.

I could hardly cope with the household chores. Myhusband, who works full-time as a computer safety systems specialist, didthe chores before he left in the morning or after he returned home inthe evening. Our older children were already at the university. My job as achildminder became impossible. I had four children to care for butunfortunately the two younger ones were too much for me to copewith. The parents of the two older kids did not want their children tohave a new nanny and they wanted their children to stay with me, despitemy disability. Yes, we managed it! The kids were at my house only afterschool. I had to look after them and play with them while I lay on thecouch with Fabian always by my side. Because of all the limitations wehad to face, Fabian had hardly been outside during thefirst 18 months of his life and I was very worried that the authoritiesmight take him away.

Naturally I consulted all kinds of doctors. I went toneurologists and to two vascular surgeons. Physiotherapy for my hip andknee did not help. I felt terrible and I lost hope. I was afraid of thefuture and I was depressed. Our daughter and our son got married inApril and in August 2004. Even though I was looking forward to theirweddings and attended them both, I felt as if I was in a trance. Walkingand holding Fabian was so hard for me! It took all my energy. This wasso sad.

The moment of truth

In October 2004 my husband arranged for me to have an MRI scan at our own expense. We wanted to know what was happening to me. Unfortunately our worst fears about my disabilities were confirmed. Unfortunately there was nothing more to say at this point.

In the waiting room we found a brochure from Cells4health. We gathered more information about autologous stem cell treatment. My husband wanted to register me for the treatment, but we were refused because of a lack of experience with comparable cases and because the therapeutic benefits were questionable. But my husband and I insisted and I was finally accepted for therapy.

First stem cell treatment in September 2005

Bone marrow containing the stem cells was extracted from my hipbone. The separated stem cells were re-injected in two different places: into my lower stomach and into my left hip.

The result

After three weeks I started feeling my left leg and after six weeks my leg was totally normal. The pains were fewer but did not disappear totally and my bowel function returned to almost normal. After four months I faced short periods when I was free of all pain. Due to my weakened muscles physical work was still a burden to me but I could sleep and that felt wonderful. Gradually, I managed sitting and walking over longer periods, in spite of my knee, which was still stiff. I could even master the stairs in an upright position and I was able to do my chores.

All these achievements finally enabled me to go out with the kids. I was full of hope and gained self-confidence. I was motivated to go the extra mile. I wanted to get rid of my stiff knee and to be free of pain for longer periods.

Second stem cell treatment in March 2006

Again bone marrow was extracted from the hipbone. But this time the separated stem cells were injected only into the knee. They injected only half of all stem cells, the rest have been kept in case I need any additional treatment.

The result

My knee got more flexible and I stopped immediately being in pain when under stress. Fortunately I was finally able to sleep normally.

Third stem cell treatment in October 2006

The stem cells were injected into my left groin.

The result

I can stand physical stress for almost an hour without feeling any pain. After I rest my body I can start all over again. Now I cope just fine when I accept my limitations and I try not to ask too much of my body. My horizons have broadened and our family life is almost back to normal. Only Fabian still bears traces of that terrible time. He does not know how to occupy himself, because he was constantly at my side and never alone. I feel a sense of guilt even though I know that I could not have handled that time any differently.

My advice

Health problems should be dealt with quickly and much more constructively and openly. If necessary one should take the initiative and find suitable therapy for oneself.

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