T Nation

I Threw My Second Chance at Life Away Because I Went Bowling

I have early stage osteoarthritis (OA) in all of my joints. It is painful and debilitating, the bane of my existence. The only viable treatment for my condition is culture-expanded mesenchymal stem cells, harvested from my own bone marrow and injected directly into the joints. Unfortunately for me and millions of others with joint pain, the FDA has regulated this therapy out of existence in the US for the foreseeable future, so only way to get it is by paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash at clinic in an offshore haven where the U.S.-based proprietor has government approval.

With a $30,000 gift from my father, I received this treatment at the foreign clinic in Feb 2017. We treated about half of my joints, targeting the most painful ones. It was no “miracle cure,” and some joints did better than others, but it DID result in dramatic overall improvement. For reasons beyond the scope of this post, I’m certain it wasn’t a placebo effect. It gave me my life back. I could work and lift HIT-style (i.e. slow technique, low volume/frequency) without pain. I spend the next two years working tirelessly, putting in 70 hour weeks to save for a second treatment.

In Dec 2018, 22 months after my first treatment, I returned to the offshore clinic for my second round of injections. I paid about another $30K to do a massive treatment, hitting most of the untreated joints and re-treating some of the same ones we hit in 2017. I was stoked to get even more improvement.

10 weeks after receiving this second treatment, things were going well, and I was getting very noticeable improvements in most of the joints treated. I could feel a definite reduction in the degree of stiffness and crepitus in my joints, which is the telltale sign of cartilage regeneration.

On Feb 16, I was invited to an old friend’s birthday party, which included dinner and duckpin bowling. I was unsure whether I should participate in the latter, because I was concerned that it could place too much stress on some of the joints that I had just had treated, particularly my hand and wrist. Too much stress on the joints too soon can cause the newly formed cartilage in the joints to break down, resulting in treatment failure.

I remember sitting in the restaurant and internally debating whether to bowl. I was clearly aware that doing so was a risk, but did not want to excuse myself from the group. So from the restaurant, I accompanied the group to the bowling alley. I decided to give it a try, and base my decision to partake on how it felt; if it caused obvious pain or strain, I would quit. The clinic’s recovery guidelines say to let pain be your guide to activity—if it causes pain of more than two on a scale of 10, don’t do it.

At the bowling alley, I held the 3.5 lb. ball in my hand, and it felt easy, like it had no weight at all. I bowled a few frames and felt absolutely fine. So I decided to continue, believing the activity to be safe. I bowled two games, totaling 60 throws of the ball. I did not feel any pain at the time, so assumed I was fine.

But two days later, while at work, I noticed my hands and wrists felt “off”—the joints had suddenly stiffened up and become much harder to move across the keyboard than they had been a few days before. Overnight, the improvement in the condition of the joints resulting from the treatment had been lost, and they were now in worse shape than before. As the day went on, I had a nasty whole-body flare, the likes of which I hadn’t had in years.

Over the next few days, I noticed signs of massive, body-wide joint damage, directly proportional in severity to the degree a given joint was used in bowling. I had severely miscalculated the risk; it had been WAY over the line, each throw of the ball causing joint damage too subtle to detect at the time, but adding up in a big way that was not immediately apparent.

The bowling incident completely botched my second stem cell procedure and caused fresh, raw damage to many of the joints involved. Thankfully, and serving as further evidence of how well the treatment works, the joints treated in 2017 held up better, I guess because the repair tissue in those joints had more time to mature before I fucked them up again. I am now back to being in deplorable condition overall. I’m in significant pain every day.

I am going to save for another another stem cell procedure. The total price tag to treat all the joints I want will be $65,000. I have about $50K of that, and it’s going to be fucking hard to save the rest as a change in circumstances has reduced my savings rate.

Because I went bowling. Because I was not assertive enough to excuse myself from a social situation when I knew there was a risk. Because I was irresponsible.

Thanks for reading.

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Activities to avoid:

Turkish Get Ups




I’m sorry to hear your pain. Has anyone suggested the carnivore diet?

Google / YouTube “Peterson carnivore diet”

Your body is attacking itself so it’s an autoimmune disease

I completely get why you feel the way you do, but making seemingly small decisions that go poorly at top levels happens all the time.

“If I’d just stopped by the house on my way out like I meant to instead of screwing around with my hair, she’d be alive now.”

“If I’d just left when I realized the guy was creepy…”

“If I hadn’t gone out that night…”

“If I hadn’t let the baby get in the car with him when I knew he’d been drinking…”

You knew it could be problematic, but you followed the protocol you’d been given for making the decision. It’s regrettable, but it wasn’t due to your irresponsibility from my perspective. Just a terrible, unfortunate, costly mistake. We all make mistakes, probably most days. They just don’t usually have the kind of impact that makes them memorable.

My friend, based off your post history here, you tend to frequently make poor decisions.


Nobody in the Peterson family even lifts. Why would you take diet advice from them?

When else did I do that except that one time.

All the things in this thread

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I blew up my heart for no good reason what so ever. Actually, took great measures and paid many thousands of dollars over the course of many years to fuck it up.

At least bowling is fun and your motives were good. Smoking and heart failure are just a repetitive and protracted series of self inflicted fuck ups.

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Your solution for him to fix his osteoarthritis is to avoid vegetables?


It’s to avoid anything inflammatory. Also the collagen and other nutrients from meat can help heal some diseases.

Personally I’d recommend high doses of bovine cartilage in capsules.

Weird, red meat can be inflammatory and green leafy vegetables are usually anti-inflammatory…

One of the leading side effects of bovine cartilage: swelling.

Honestly dude, let’s break this down in a more concise (and consequently hilarious) manner:

You popped in on a thread about a guy with osteoarthritis to tell him to avoid an anti-inflammatory component of his diet to avoid inflammation and instead of eating green leafy vegetables he should take capsules of bovine cartilage.

I’m aware they are thought to have benefits, but jeez guys, shits just getting weird around here recently.

@stooge do you think Lions got jacked eating capsules of bovine cartilage? Asking for a friend.


I agree Briks should do an extreme elimination diet. Glad to see someone else suggesting it on one of these threads.


As weird as it sounds I think this is definitely something worth trying.

I don’t think anyone can say try this thing or that thing (i.e carnivore) but systemic inflammation can result from specific intolerances. Im extememly sensitive to gluten, and its obvious to me that I need to avoid it (e.g immediate cramps and vomiting), however my dad is more mildy sensitive and gets away with it, but he gets pretty bad joint pain when he consumes it regularly that dissapears entirely on elimination. Obviously anecdotal, but try cutting out some of the more common things like gluten and dairy and see what happens. Add them back one by one until you find the trigger.

It might not work, but if the alternative is a $75k dollar procedure that might work, and only partially, that you cannot afford, it does no harm to try and could potentially be of huge benefit.

To add another anecdote, my brother spent the last two years with various PTs, getting various medications and site injections to try and deal with shoulder bursitis and inflammation in his knee. Gluten removal was also a complete cure for him.


Gluten removal cured my young son’s Juvenile Arthritis.


I’m not on the bandwagon that everyone is gluten intollerant on a spectrum, but I think there are definitely people out there suffering with things that could be pretty much cured with elimination of the right things. Cumulative chronic inflammation can be a bitch and hurt you in the weirdest ways, but people think if its not stomach ache then it cant be the food.

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I already have the anti-inflammatory diet thing down. If anything my systemic inflammation is probably suppressed to below-normal levels with the fish oil and turmeric I take. My problem is cartilage damage resulting from mechanical insult in the past.

Your diet guru isn’t involved in fitness at all - not endurance sports, not lifting, and I doubt any physical activity even at the recreational level.

Stop spreading bullshit

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How does that preclude someone from having a solution to a problem that doesn’t necessarily have to do with lifting or athletics?

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I feel like there is a joke to be made involving a bowling ball and a beta orbit. Too lazy to assemble the joke right now though.