OA Patient Profile: Melissa McCoy
Melissa McCoy has the unique experience of having hyaluronic acid (HA) therapy to treat arthritis twice, spaced approximately 15 years apart. After her latest round of treatments at Apple Healthcare last fall, we wanted to learn more about her experience with our regenerative medicine treatments and get a patient perspective on how those treatments have evolved over the past decade and a half.
We spoke to Melissa earlier this week:
[lightly edited for context, flow and ease of reading]
Apple Healthcare Group: You had the OA treatment for your knee, correct?
Melissa McCoy: Both knees, actually. I had arthritis for a long time. My left knee had been the really bad one, but suddenly my right knee got worse, so I had a partial replacement in it.
After about a year and half, I started having a lot of pain in that knee (and continued to have pain in my other knee that had not been replaced). So I had both knees treated, even the one that had a replacement.
AHG: For how many years have your knees bothered you?
MM: At least 20 years. About 15 years ago I actually had [hyaluronic acid] injections and they did fairly well and things seemed to go fine.
AHG: So the original HA treatment seems like it bought you some time?
MM: It did.It bought me a good six months pain free, after which it started to come back. At that point I began taking glucosamine and chondroitin. What I had leftover from the [HA] treatment, along with that really took and it was many years before it got bad again.
AHG: When did you start treatment at Apple for OA? Did you have both knees treated at once?
MM: Last fall. I did have both knees treated at once.
AHG: What differences did you notice between your prior HA treatments and the ones from last fall?
MM: It was a different process [15 years ago]. It was a lot more painful, probably because they were going in blind. One of the things that I really appreciated at Apple Healthcare was that you and the technician can dynamically see on the screen what’s going on. It was very interesting. It helped to understand what was going on and they could explain things a lot better.
AHG: How did your OA interfere with daily function?
MM: When your knees start getting bad, like any joint in your body that’s a weight-supporting element, you’re going to run into problems. You start walking less, you start restricting your activities, you start thinking about stupid things like “I dropped that thing, is it worth picking up?”
People wait too long to try doing things. The first thing you do is start restricting activities like walking, hiking or getting in a boat, those fun things that are nice to do. Then you start losing muscle tone and the rest of your body reacts. Your gait changes, so your back’s going to start hurting, your feet and ankles are going to have problems, it’s just this whole roll out of over a period of time.
AHG: What motivated you to get HA treatments at Apple?
MM: My partial [right]knee replacement should have been a full knee one, and when my left one started hurting, I thought “I’ve got to buy myself some time.” I’m a big advocate of taking care of a problem when it needs to be taken care of and I do need to have my left knee replaced, but if I can time it with work, I want to do that. These treatments aren’t permanent treatments, everybody’s different, but it has such a useful benefit of buying time for most people.
AHG: What differences did you notice after treatment?
MM: I noticed a difference almost immediately. By the end of the third shot, it helped 50, maybe even 75%. Several months later, it’s worn off a bit, but I’m still enjoying the benefits of not having that “ooh!” every time I step. I’ve been able to manage my time and try to get that knee replacement at the end of the year instead of having it the middle of the year when everything’s busy.
AHG: Any advice you’d give to others facing OA?
MM: If you start having knee problems, don’t drag it out. You need to get in there way before you’re talking about knee replacement. You need to get in there so this can help mitigate it a lot. Also, when you combine it with cold laser treatments–cold laser is amazing!
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