Dr. Jen Heller, left, and Helen Morgan sit in the lounge area of Heller Healthcare in Brunswick.

Helen Morgan has certainly faced her fair share of challenges. From cooking for and raising her siblings from a young age, to physically caring for others as an aging adult, the Blackshear resident has felt this physical stress and endured chronic arthritis pain in her knees for years. Unfortunately, medication was not a viable option, as Morgan’s body rejects all forms.

“I am a problem child,” she said with a laugh. “My body rejects medicine. I went to the Medical College in Augusta and they diagnosed me with an idiosyncratic reaction to drugs.”

That basically meant that any traditional treatment was off the table. Even so, Morgan tried to find answers for her pain. She has tried many different types of treatments, from physical therapy to gel injections over the years, but the results did not only not help, but some even caused her body to adversely react.

“I have been having problems with my knees for years probably 12 years. I had bone-on-bone in my left knee first then it happened to my right knee. That’s when I said something’s got to give because I could hardly walk to the bathroom,” she said.

But she was not deterred. Morgan continued her quest for relief while holding onto hope for the future. What she was most concerned about was not being able to take care of herself as she ages.

“I’m 71 years young and I’ve always been a caretaker. I took care of two husbands and my mother. I don’t want anyone to have to take care of me,” she said.

After taking time to do some research, Morgan found some inspiring information in a book her daughter gave her.

“It was about regenerative medicine,” she recalled. “I read it and started thinking, ‘this is what I need to do.’ But then I thought, ‘there’s no one near me that offers that.’”

Almost as soon as the thought came to her mind, Morgan discovered there was in fact someone who could help her.

“It was crazy ... I pulled up my Facebook page and a story about Dr. Jen popped up,” she said with a laugh.

That would-be Dr. Jen Heller of Heller Healthcare in Brunswick. And while it was a little over an hour’s drive, the practice was offering precisely the treatment that Morgan was seeking.

Heller Healthcare has partnered with Golden Isles Functional Medicine to form an integrative practice providing a number of holistic options which combat a wide-array of conditions. Heller Healthcare offers chiropractic care and medical massage, while Golden Isles Functional Medicine offers an anti-arthritis program, degenerative joint care treatment, holistic pain management options, hormone optimization, nutritional planning and specializes in regenerative medicine. Together they develop and coordinate care plans for their patients to help each individual meet their health goals and get back to living their best life.

Morgan was hopeful that this treatment would help her and be something that her body would tolerate. She decided that it was worth the trip to sit down with Heller for a free consultation.

“I figured it was worth it just to talk to her. So, I met Dr. Jen and told her about everything I’d been going through,” Morgan said. “She did the x-rays and we talked about the options. I’d already done the research, so I knew about it. And I really trusted her because she looked me in the eye when we were talking.”

The two decided that Morgan was an ideal candidate for regenerative therapy. The process, after all, harnesses the body’s own power of healing to create new cells and tissue. That is vastly different from the previous medication-based care she had received and was rejected by her body.

Morgan received the regenerative injections a little over eight weeks ago. Over that time, she’s started to notice some positive changes, especially centered around her mobility. Morgan has been able to move around easier and with less pain. And she knows that her condition will continue to improve as the cells continue to regenerate over the next 18 months.

“She’s done such a great job. I’m really proud of her,” Dr. Jen Heller said with a smile. “I’ve been really impressed by her function change. Being able to go up and down the stairs when she couldn’t before was such a sweet moment to hear.”

One of the goals that Morgan and Heller reached for was Morgan to be able to travel to her beloved cabin in Blairsville, Georgia.

“Traveling is one thing, but being able to walk around on uneven surfaces and enjoy a walk through the woods to see her deer was a huge dream to accomplish in just 6 weeks” said Heller.

“Helping people to overcome pain is so magical, but to help someone be able to physically do what they love again is the dream come true” said Heller.

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