John Robson, 61 years, Osteoarthritis

Age: 61

Job: Entrepreneur

Disease treated: Osteoarthritis

"The pain in my left ankle is virtually gone"

I'm a 61-year-old entrepreneur with my own plumbing and heating engineering business; which employs a number of people. Since about my 50th birthday, I started to get pains in my ankles and was soon diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Now combine this with my work, wherein I kneel and squat down a lot, during long working days, and you'll understand that my ankles have a lot to endure.

The osteoarthritis developed rather rapidly and the condition of my ankles worsened. I consequently had four operations on my ankles, alternating on the left and right ankles. During these operations they would clean out any scar tissue and smoothen the joint.

To illustrate the discomfort I was in at work, for any fifteen minutes working while kneeling or squatting down, I would need fifteen minutes to recover. And before I went to sleep, I always did some stretching exercises to alleviate the pain so I was able to sleep. The pain during the night, I describe as a dull pain, always there,and never giving me much rest. It would on occasion wake me up or prevent me from having a deep sleep.

About three years ago, I was on the verge of undergoing a rather invasive operation. As the doctors no longer saw much possibilities of improvement with the condition my ankles were in. I had to choose between either replacing each ankle with a prosthesis, or fusing the ankle joint and limiting its movement. Regardless of my choice, I would not be able to work for 18 months, and would need extensive medical rehabilitation. It would take two of these operations, first one ankle and six months later the other. It was literally on the day of the operation that I decided that I could not afford to proceed with it, neither mentally, physically, nor financially.

At that point, I kind of gave up the hope for an alternative solution. I just kept going- in pain. One person refused to believe I ran out of options- my secretary. She started delving into the vast amount of information on the internet, in secrecy, as she did not want me to get my hopes up too high. Only when she had already contacted the clinic and needed to provide medical information, she told me.

Results after stem cell treatment

I did not expect my ankles to be pain-free ever again. But here I am, just three months after my stem cells were injected into my ankle joints, almost pain-free. The pain in my left ankle is virtually gone, while I do feel pain in my right ankle, but not as much as before. Furthermore, the time needed to recover from kneeling or squatting is now reduced to just a minute or so. And I can finally have a good night sleep, without my ankles waking me up.

The MRI scan showed a very thin film of cartilage left on the top joint of each ankle. That might just have been enough for the stem cell treatment to work. I'm planning a follow-up MRI scan as I'm very curious if the results will show something different than the previous scan did.

I would just like to say one thing about the clinic: the people there are marvellous. They've left me with such a good feeling, even if the treatments did not succeed, I would have left feeling much better. Everyone needs a little bit of personal attention now and then.

I'm a husband, a father of two sons and a daughter, and a grandfather of six. I really feel the quality of my life has improved since the treatment. I'm cautious with my ankles as I don't want to destroy the gains that I have made, so I'll only walk right now. But who knows, one day I might run with these little fellows again.

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