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Kelly with one of her chickens

Invest in yourself.

Kelly Koehn leaves arthritis pain behind with innovative stem cell and PRP therapy.

For Kelly Koehn, dealing with pain had become part of daily life.

For years, the 50-something, Sheboygan Falls resident coped with both psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis—affecting both of her knees to the point where she could no longer manage the stairs at her workplace and had to transition to working from home.

“I was extremely impressed by Dr. Delo’s approach and how she really took the time to walk through things with me and get to the root of my issues.”

Even as her pain worsened, Kelly pressed on attempting to keep up her normal routine. She settled into working from home, continued volunteering once a week at a local nursing home, did her best to care for her energy-filled dog, Abbie, as well as her pet chickens, and spent time with family and friends.

But with each day that passed, “normal” life became harder and harder to maintain.

Kelly with her dog

No walk in the park
Kelly reached a crossroads—literally and figuratively—after she signed up with a friend to participate in a charity walk for autism.

“It was a two or three-mile walk at most,” she recalled. “It should’ve been a cakewalk, but my knee pain became so severe about a half-mile in, I had to stop and turn around. I was frustrated and embarrassed, and I’d had enough. With traditional treatments and medicines not cutting it, and knowing I didn’t want to pursue total joint replacement surgery at this point in my life, I had to take it upon myself to seek out something that would help me get back to some kind of normal.”

Taking control of her own healthcare
After returning home from the charity walk, Kelly wasted no time, and immediately began researching alternative treatments and therapies for her arthritis.

One recurring search result caught her attention—stem cell therapy—where your own stem cells are extracted from your bone marrow and then injected into your problem area to help heal an injury or condition. From her research, it appeared especially effective to treat arthritis.

“If you can use your own body to heal itself, it made a lot of sense to me,” Kelly noted. “So after I was set to pursue stem cell therapy, I shifted my research to focus on finding a provider who was holistic and collaborative. I explored a variety of specialty clinics throughout the Midwest, as well as other regional providers, but ultimately landed on Dr. Marjorie Delo at Lakeshore Orthopaedics.”

For Kelly, the decision to go with Dr. Delo and Lakeshore Orthopaedics wasn’t one she took lightly.

“I went in for consultations at other providers, but I was extremely impressed by Dr. Delo’s approach and how she really took the time to walk through things with me and get to the root of my issues,” Kelly explained. “She talked about the makeup of my knees, and explained how arthritiswise, the stem cell therapy would help. But she felt that some of my pain was actually caused by my kneecaps being out of alignment, and recommended specific physical therapy exercises along with the stem cell therapy. No one else saw or mentioned that—not even my own rheumatologist. She also mentioned I should consider adding platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to act as a booster for the stem cell therapy and to help speed the healing process. Dr. Delo was all about me and what needed to happen to get me to the best place I wanted to be. I was so comfortable and confident in her, I scheduled the procedure at my first appointment with her.”

“I didn’t want to pursue total joint replacement surgery at this point in my life, I had to take it upon myself to seek out something that would help me get back to some kind of normal.”

Healing from within
A few weeks after her initial meeting with Dr. Delo, Kelly was back at Lakeshore Orthopaedics for the stem cell therapy procedure. Done under local anesthetic, the strategically timed process took only a couple hours. Stem cells were drawn from her hip, concentrated and injected into her knees.

“Dr. Delo kept me informed and comfortable throughout the entire procedure,” Kelly explained. “After the injections, I got up and walked right out. My knees felt a little tight following the treatment, but I had no added pain whatsoever, and within a week, there was a remarkable difference—especially since I was also religiously doing the physical therapy exercises she’d prescribed. I was ecstatic at the early results!”

Six weeks following the stem cell therapy, Kelly returned for the PRP therapy procedure. Quick and painless, platelet-rich plasma was extracted from her own blood and injected into her knees to act as a booster for the stem cells and to continue to speed her path to living pain-free.

Kelly feeding her chickens

A worthwhile investment
Making the decision to pursue stem cell and PRP therapy is one that Kelly has never second-guessed. But, it was also a decision with a notable financial element that needed to be considered, due to the fact that these treatments are relatively new, they’re currently not covered by most standard health insurance policies.

“For me, I looked at it as an investment in myself—as well as everyone else around me—since my pain was so severe it affected everyone I came in contact with,” she explained. “It was like a special vacation fund, where the vacation was me getting back to enjoying normal life. Because if I hadn’t invested in myself, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I enjoy, like gardening and caring for my pets—let alone simple things like walking up stairs or sitting in a chair for more than a few minutes.”

A walking advertisement
Now months post treatment and feeling like a new person, Kelly is happy to serve as a “walking” advertisement for the benefits of stem cell and PRP therapy. To her and those around her, the results speak for themselves.

“Eight months before the procedures, I took a trip to New York with a group of friends,” she recalled. “I saw the same friends recently, and they were absolutely blown away by the results. I love to share my story because of how successful the treatments were for me, and because I know there are so many others out there dealing with the same arthritis pain I put up with for so many years. I want everyone to know there is hope and there are effective, cutting-edge treatments available right here in our community.”