Rebecca Koets has always been athletic. The Jacksonville resident spent her life on the softball diamond and in the gym, working hard to perfect her skills.
Of course, over the years, wear and tear began to take a toll.
“I’ve been in sports my whole life. I’ve done just about every sport you can think of ... even got a scholarship for softball. I really used and abused my knees,” she said.
But even after Koets finished her college career, she continued to lead an active lifestyle. It wasn’t long though before she started noticing that activities were becoming more and more difficult.
“All my joints were basically overused but I really started to have more and more knee pain. I wasn’t able to get out and do as much fitness stuff as I wanted. And, after playing volleyball with friends one day, I couldn’t move for a week,” she recalled.
“The straw that really broke the camel’s back was that I wasn’t able to run when I wanted to ... and I also couldn’t get on the floor to play with my nieces and nephews.”
The pain and joint stiffness even prevented Koets from walking down stairs. With each step, she’d simply hope for the best, dropping one foot to the next step in a dangerous descent.
“I would just gracefully fall. I knew I had to do something. My dad has bad knees and can hardly move and my grandfather actually died from a blood clot during knee surgery so I knew what was what was ahead for me if I didn’t do something.”
Koets had access to a wealth of information about wellness. Her sister is Dr. Jen Heller, a chiropractor and owner of Heller Healthcare, in Brunswick. The facility utilizes a number of modalities to promote health and wellbeing including chiropractic care, massage therapy, function and regenerative medicine.
“Regenerative Medicine is revolutionizing the medical industry as a whole. For decades, it was available only in other countries, but since 2015 we have been able to provide this kind of care here to help restore muscle, bone, cartilage and tendons, and of course combat joint pain, arthritis, sports injuries” Heller said.
While never pushing her sister, Heller did share the results she experienced from her own regenerative treatment, as well as from countless patients who received the therapy.
“At first, I was telling myself that I was too young to do this. But I started thinking, ‘if I don’t do it now, I may never get back to where I want to be,’” she said.
Koets traveled to Heller’s Brunswick office to hear a presentation by Dr. Rajen Naidoo, Heller’s orthopedist and regenerative medicine specialist, and meet with members of the Heller staff including Dr. Kalpesh Mistry, a medical doctor who works in Heller’s practice, as well as Kyndra Thomas, NP, to map out the best course of treatment for patients. After meeting with the team, Koets decided to go ahead with the regenerative therapy.
“I was a little worried about getting the injections ... and I got nervous when I saw the needle,” she said with a laugh. “But they numbed the area beforehand and I seriously didn’t feel anything. It was the weirdest thing. I had no pain ... so I was freaking out for no reason at all.”
Her results proved even more impressive. In a matter of days, the fluid in her swollen knees receded, returning them to their normal size.
“I always called them my ‘angry knees’ because they were so swollen and irritated. The very next day they felt less swollen. On the following Monday, I started getting some control back in them while walking,” Koets recalled. “Then on Tuesday, they looked like real knees again!”
By that following Friday, she could descend the stairs without falling from one step to the next. And the results only continued to improve from there.
“Three weeks out ... I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was just phenomenal. I really couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Koets only regret is that she didn’t seek treatment sooner. And she strongly encourages those who may be in a similar situation not to wait before getting help.
“I always had a couple of things mentally that I’d tell myself ... one was that I needed to lose 10-20 pounds before I did it so that it would be easier on my joints. But I couldn’t move well enough to do the work to lose the weight,” she said. “This was the best option ... you just have to go for it and make life what you want it to be. I could’ve just continued to sit in the chair or I could get up and do something to start living again.”