Angela Sherzer is unique. The resident of St. Simons Island is a flautist with the Coastal Symphony of Georgia and a licensed pilot. And for extra kicks, she’s a cat show judge.
“I do a lot of unusual things,” she admitted with a laugh.
Although their interests are clearly broad and diverse, they have one thing in common: Sherzer must be able to use their hands. This turned out to be no problem for many years. She could thrive and grow while indulging in her passions.
Sherzer began to notice symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially when she picked up her instrument.
“My fingers went numb while playing,” recalls Sherzer.
As a musician, this was understandably very worrying. She decided to share this information with a symphony flutist friend, who immediately offered a solution. “She said, ‘Oh, you have to see Dr. Jen.'”
Sherzer didn’t hesitate and began to talk to Dr. See Jen for chiropractic. “I’ve never been to a chiropractor in my life,” she added.
Dr. Jen, of course, Dr. Jen Heller, who runs Heller Healthcare and Golden Isles Functional Medicine. Heller, a chiropractor, has built a holistic practice and team that specialize in holistic treatments that Heller would like to use to treat her own family on her own. The Heller Healthcare site offers chiropractic and medical massage. While the piece of functional medicine offers an anti-arthritis program, degenerative joint treatments, holistic pain therapy options, hormone optimization, diet planning and specialization in regenerative medicine.
When Sherzer first met Heller, the two shared a quick bond through a mutual love.
“She also plays the flute,” said Sherzer, pointing to Heller.
“I was also a flute player,” said Heller. “I played the flute and piccolo in my basic studies.”
Being a musician herself, Heller understood the importance of getting Sherzer’s hand in order so she could keep playing. The two opted for a conservative way of care.
“We did a variety of treatments, chiropractic treatments and some physical therapy and occupational therapy,” said Sherzer. “I had some exercises to do and that got better.”
But recently arthritis flared up in her hands. Sherzer’s ankles began to swell and eventually grew so large that she could no longer see them. The daily pain and stiffness not only made it difficult for her to enjoy the things she loved, but also interfered with her normal daily activities. The situation became even more complicated because her body was resistant to the typical drugs often prescribed for arthritis.
“I just can’t tolerate them. They just tore my stomach apart. So I thought let’s talk to Dr. Talk to Jen and see what she says about possible treatments for arthritis, ”she said.
“When we started Angela’s care plan about a year and a half ago, we wanted to be simple and conservative, so we started with chiropractic care and maintenance,” said Heller. “It was only recently that we decided we were going as far as possible and it was time to get a little more aggressive.”
It turned out that Heller’s team had a recommendation – and believed Sherzer was a great candidate for regenerative medicine (i.e., stem cell therapy). And while Sherzer was a little skeptical at first, she decided it was worth a try.
“I was afraid to hold a plate to put it away because I was afraid of dropping it. I couldn’t put on a necklace. It was getting difficult to blow dry my hair … just doing things in daily life had become difficult and painful, “she said. “So I decided to give it a try.”
That was quite literal – Sherzer had the injections for stem cell therapy in hand about six weeks ago. While results vary in terms of when to see improvement and how much function is restored, she immediately saw a change.
“The next day I felt better. So I was really optimistic, ”she said. “My carpal tunnel has also dissolved.”
She has good reason to do so. The new cells will double every 28 hours and hold this rate for about 4 months. After that, the original cells begin to die, but further healing and regeneration typically takes place for up to 18 months.
And while there will likely be more improvements, Sherzer is already living her best life again.
“I’m playing again. My next concert with the orchestra is in February, ”she said. “… and on day 3 after stem cells I was even able to put my necklaces on again.”
While seeing tons of similar results, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience for Heller.
“Since I was a flautist myself, I knew we had to get her back to play,” she said. “I’m just so proud of her.”