SkyGen Patient Experience Deborah Watters

Avoiding Knee Surgery with Stem Cell Knee Repair: Patient Testimonial

My name is Deborah Watters and this is my story.

The plastic coated package sticks out from under my bed, those shocking words “Stryker” just visible on the cover of the booklet. I’d shoved the packet there ages ago. Now I kick it further under the bed so that it’s out of sight. Done. I am phobic about sharp implements. Really phobic. Surgery is just not an option for me. I have  panic attacks just thinking about it. No-one is coming anywhere near my knees with a Stryker saw!!! Knee replacement surgery is a wonderful thing but it cannot be for me. Anyway, I’ve discovered stem cell therapy…

 

…I collapse onto my bed with a sigh of relief. It’s all organised. I’ve just come from the Travel Agent. The ticket to Bangkok is sitting on top of the empty suitcase along with my passport and and the all-important  Medical Travel Folio from SkyGen.

I pick it up for a browse before I lie down again. With two injured knees I do a lot of that. Lying down.

The Folio tells me everything I need to know and more. It’s got lots of information about regenerative cells, gives a thorough description of the procedure together with pre and post-operative care instructions and sets out an 8 day schedule of my treatments.

Page 17 shows a picture of the Thai doctors at IntelliHealth. They look so professional in their white coats. In the background I see the reception area of a modern-looking clinic.

I get a real feeling of rightness as I flip through the Folio. I’m taking a risk by giving up my place on the waiting list for two knee replacements for this.

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The SkyGen Medical Travel Folio


Strangely, I feel ok about it. I’ve had so many friendly chats with Daniel and Jake at SkyGen. I’ve learned a lot about the therapy and my chances for a recovery. They’ve supported me every step of the way and liaised with the team in Bangkok re my treatment. I’m to be staying in a 5 star hotel right next to the clinic. I’m having a package of therapies over an 8 day period. I’ll be taking home two months supply of vital supplements personally tailored to my needs to assist healing. I’m also having additional work on my hips for a fraction of the price. All this for a couple of grand more than the cost of a four hour stem cell procedure in Australia.

There’s no contest here. No contest at all.

And my body tells me that it feels RIGHT.

I close the folio and settle down to sleep. I know I’ll sleep well despite the fact that I’ll be packing tomorrow and the day after that, tackling the long trek to my departure gate. I do not allow the smallest doubt to disturb my peace of mind. I KNOW that this is going to be the right treatment for me.


I’m limping into my room on the twenty second floor of The Aetas Bangkok Hotel.

The first thing I see is a view of the ubiquitous Bangkok skyscrapers from the window. I’ve been in many many cites all over the world but this one takes the cake. It’s a big, modern city at sky level. Towering buildings in multiple designs. Below there’s plenty of local colour…Asian street life similar to that I saw in Cambodia and Vietnam while holidaying there last year. Lots to explore.

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Continental Breakfasts and Sunset Canapes – The Aetas Bangkok Club Lounge

I sit down at the desk and pull out my phone. Unpacking can wait. Must text Sylvia about the size of the bed in our twin room. My big sis. is flying from England where she’s been having an extended post-retirement stay with friends. She’ll be here tomorrow just in time to come to the clinic with me.

I’m just finishing up my message when the phone rings. Who on earth could it be?

“Mrs . Watters this is the concierge,” an accented voice tells me. She’s not easy to understand but I’m getting it. It’s the woman who’d shown me to my room.

“I would like to escort you to the Club Room for a drink and tappas. I worried about you in elevator. It closes too fast and you are limping. I will come for you in ten minutes?”

I was hungry but too tired to go out. I’d been planning to crash out.

“Thankyou, yes,” I reply.

I’ve been here for ten minutes and already am bathing in the incredible care, respect and service ethic of these charming people.


With my stick tap tapping on the pavement I am approaching the clinic, Sylvia walking beside me. We’ve left the lobby of The Aetas Hotel and are walking past the Aetas Residence. Yes, there are two of them. That was confusing for a while. Right outside Aetas Residence is a stern-looking Thai man with a peaked military cap manning a small booth. He steps out and salutes us as we approach the clinic. This is to become a daily ritual and Sylvia, typically, turns it into a playful exchange. We are learning too, how to do the hands together greeting. It’s such a lovely culture, everyone smiling and so graceful and polite.

One of the daily exchanges

Entering the clinic I am mobbed by a posse of pretty nurses in pastel uniforms and coloured head scarves. The clinic is ultra modern and clean. Beautiful art works grace the walls and exotic fish swimming in tanks are everywhere. The Australian liaison person gives me a friendly greeting and tells me that they were about to come and collect me! The nurses rush to pop me into a bed but then are told to send me to see the doctors. I meet the team and have an extended interview. They are the plastic surgeon, the orthopaedic surgeon and the head doctor. They review my case, then I’m in an operating theatre being prepared for the liposuction. I’m awake but not really present. There is vigorous work being done to my belly. Before I know it they’ve harvested (I’m told later) 8 billion stem cells!

It’s the middle of my stay and I’ve already had one round of stem cell injections into my knees. There’ll be another round in a few days. Every day I have an IV to deliver the oxygen and laser therapies. The nurses always tell me what they are about to do and they are thorough and competent. I love listening to them laughing and talking in Thai. There’s always a movie playing in the treatment room and I don’t really watch but just relax and zone out on the sounds of the nurses voices and dialogue of the movie. I’m always very comfortable and really appreciate the rest.

The IntelliHealth Plus Clinic boasts over 45 speciality staff

I’m about to have the second round of injections and have been moved to the seventh floor where they have additional rooms. My new room has an extraordinary looking fish in a tank. He has bristly fins on his head and a permanent smile. I’m told he’s not that nice as he’s a fighting fish. Anyway he keeps me entertained during the remaining round of needles and injections. Am really over the needles but, hey! It’s nearly done. Already I feel that some of the tightness in my knees has let up and there’s more strength.


 

My big sister (right) and I (left) at one of Bangkok's cultural performances during our trip.

My big sister (right) and I (left) at one of Bangkok’s cultural performances

I’m going up the stairs where I live. It’s been a week since I got back. I can do it slowly without my cane. My walking is so much better. It’s almost as though the time since I fell down the stairs, injured my knees and woke up all the arthritis in them has passed like a bad dream.

Already I can walk almost normally and the times I have pain are shrinking. I feel that the supplements and the vitamin D the Thai doctor told me to take are helping and I know that the stem cells in my knees are attached and working to build new cartilage.

I reach the top of the stairs realising that I had not even used the side rail.  I’m in my room and the phone’s ringing.

It’s Jake.

We have a long chat about recovery. I tell him all about my experience in Bangkok and he asks me to write a testimonial. I say “OK and thanks for everything”.

So, this is my story. But before I start there’s a certain package under the bed that needs to be filed away. It was ok for a default treatment, but definitely a last resort for phobic old me.

There, that’s done.

Deborah Watters

25/08/14

*Please read: Although the information provided on this page may describe a particular patient experience and/or outcome, readers must understand that each patient presents with a unique medical history and may be recommended a different treatment/surgery by their surgeon to that described above. Individual results may vary between surgery centre/hospital, surgeon, surgery type and patient. Although SkyGen agrees to share all updates from patients at their request, SkyGen does not endorse any physical activities attempted by patients following surgery which do not follow the explicit instructions provided by their surgeon. SkyGen encourages all patients to discuss the risks of such activities with medical professionals before attempting these themselves.

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Written by Deborah Watters

Deborah is a past SkyGen patient based in Sydney, Australia. She is a 63 year old Disability Support Worker who suffered from daily severe knee and hip pain. Her aim was to be free from pain and stiffness, with increased mobility and a new lease on life. She demonstrated only a partial response to heavy Anti-inflammatory and pain medications, as well as corticosteroid injections. Upon having her case assessed, she pursued the SkyGen Comprehensive 7-Day Knee Treatment Plan. As a gifted writer, this is her own recount of her experience as a SkyGen patient. As part of our ongoing relationship and patient support, her recovery will be closely monitored.