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pain pumps

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi! I am new to spine-health. I have had 9 back surgeries, ranging from a laminectomy, to being fused from S-1 to L-3. I was trampled by 12 300lb. hogs back in 8-2000 and it's been one surgery after another. Now my neurosurgeon wants to put in a pain pump. Just wondered if there was anyone out there that has any opinions on a pain pump. I am in a great deal of pain and don't know what to do. I have thought about ending my pain permentently but I have to much to live for in a loving wife and 3 wonderful children. I am 43 years old and the only thing I know how to do is be a hog farmer but my NS told me if I keep on farming I will be in a wheelchair within 5 years. Please help me! It's comforting to know there is people out there just like me. Thanks!
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Comments

  • I wish I could offer splendid advice but I know zilch about pain pumps...sorry.

    What I did want to say is sorry about you situation. I am very glad you realize that the other way is not the way to go. Yes my friend, you need to stick around and be a dad to those kids and a husband to the missus...they love and need you......don't think that stuff.....please remember that the pain meds cause depression....I am not an expert and I don't mean to sound insulting or anything...but you likely have depression going on......maybe go see someone about that.

    Did your fusion not take...was the surgery not successful? You say you are fused.....maybe it is the hardware causing problems....has your surgeon discussed why you are still in pain?

    I am fused but I have hardware pain....not nearly as bad as what I reckon you have.....but I plan to take the hardware out if the Ins Co approves it.

    Remember to come here as often as possible and talk things through with people. You will get a wealth of info and also sympathy. You can rant and rave your heart out.....I came here over a year ago before my surgery and it really helped me get through it....big time. I only show a few posts because the website reset recently and I changed my screen name as I was tired of the old one. Trust me this place is very important to a persons recovery and state of mind.

    Since the injury happened on the job...are you eligible for work comp on this. If so you might be eligible for vocational retraining. They pay up to $10,000 and also pay for books, computers etc...in California anyway. Maybe you could get some assistance at the farm and do a little more finger pointing and less manual labor....and in the mean time do an online course or go to a community college and study something you could do as a side thing for more income.

    I was a master motorcycle mechanic for over 23 years...a job I did while I chased a career in music. I was in my 40's when I decided I had to get up off my a$$ and get a real career going and I went into Film and Television and within 2 years I was making respectable money and now it is pretty good.....with no college education I am able to make around 90K plus a year and have great benefits. I only mention that so as to be inspirational, not to toot my horn......if I can do it so can anyone. I was about 45 when I changed careers. I know a bunch of guys, ex-musicians who after struggling in music made late in life career changes and are doing splendidly. Some in real estate, one in personal injury law, a pyscologist, computer dudes......you name it.

    It is never too late to make a change. Hey, if a bunch of ex long hair guitar playing hippy dudes can do it, anyone can..LOL!!!

    Hang in there.
  • I only mention that so as to be inspirational, not to toot my horn......if I can do it so can anyone.


    You have every right to toot your own horn and should be damn proud of what you have accomplished! I for one am inspired.

    B)

    People like you show that this can be done and that a good life can be forged even under difficult circumstances. You have done well and serve as an example for all of us.

    Cheers, Mate
  • Thanks for the encouraging words L-Dogg. My last surgery was on 5-1-2008 to repair broken rods from a defective medtronics device put in on 7-5-2007. Yes, the device had a recall notice sent to me by certified mail in 1-2008 that it might break. Of course mine was broke on both sides so had to have another fusion which probably isn't completely healed yet but am getting very frustrated because I have a crop of corn and soybeans to harvest in a little over a month and don't know if I can do it. I farm with my dad but he is having triple bypass surgery on 8-19 so he will be of no help to me. So I'm going to have to go back to work rather I'm ready or not. Afraid I am going to do more damage if I go back to work.
  • Hi there, I am from Nebraska and grew up on a dairy farm we also had wheat, corn, and milo crops. I know how much work goes into running a farm and harvesting crops. I am so sorry that you suffered so much pain from your injury. I know how you feel, I too have been struggling with feelings of suicide, but please don't do anything. Your family would be devastated. Are you taking anything for depression. Because chronic pain and depression go hand in hand. My husband has a co-worker who has recently had a pain pump put in. I think it is really helping him. Take care.
    Hope
  • Hi Pig Farmer,
    What a rough trot (pun intended) but hopefully it made you smile. :D
    Seriously, you really had had a difficult time and I so wish I could click my fingers and make it better for you.

    What I can do is share with you what I have learned during my journey with my back.
    Firstly- You have to come first! Really difficult to do but if we dont make ourselves no 1 then we cant do anything for anyone else in the long run.
    You said your Dad needs to have surgery so this means you have to harvest(?) but no it doesn't. It means that someone has to do it but that doesn't mean it has to be you.
    It may mean that you have to employ someone - even an apprentice, but it doesn't HAVE to be you.

    Next is that this is a wonderful opportunity for change. Did you just cringe like most of us? :O
    Often when something like this happens to us we get so wrapped up in how we are going to cope, support our families etc that we dont really look at the opportunity for change.
    I know you said you only know pig farming but there are a lot of skills involved in that which can be used in other fields.
    L-Dogg mentioned that if it was a work related injury then you can be paid to be re-trained in another field.

    So open your mind and your heart and start thinking about other things that you would like to do. Forget about the how and why just focus on the what at the moment.

    Continuing what you are doing is not worth the risk of ending up in a wheelchair before you are 50. :O So make the change now when you can.
    You can also see a vocational guidance counceller who can assist you in looking at options that would be open to you.
    Most importantly of all, Change can be a good and exciting thing when you embrace it. You said you have kids so you could make it a family thing, a real change for you all.

    Blessings Sara



  • Oooops - sorry I forgot to mention that I dont know anything about pain pumps. only the hospital ones and I'm sure this is different.
    Have you tried the slow release pain killers. I find them good.
    Hope you get an answer.

    Sara
  • My husband was offered a pain pump before his microdiscectomy surgery. He ended up in the ER with severe pain and was hurried into surgery before the pain pump became a reality.

    I do worry about you going against dr.'s orders to get your crop in. Is one crop worth the rest of your life in pain? Is there no community/friends that can get your crop in?

    My dad is a farmer and has had 3 back surgeries himself. I for one and VERY grateful that he did as the Dr. ordered and stayed put until he was healed. He currently has a S1-L4 fusion with screws and rods that is 10 years old. He still has the intrumentation in there and is doing very well. He needs 2 knee replacements this winter, but his back only aches - he doesn't have to look down to see if his leg is coming with him anymore. Much more success than his Dr. thought possible.

    My brothers weren't old enough to help out when my dad had his surgery. My uncles aren't farmers. My dad had to lease his land out. He kept partial crop as payment to feed the horses and the guy who did the work got part of the crop too.

    My dad went to work for the government afterwards, he did get a different career. Now he is retired and is back to farming, doing what he loves.

    He and I agree that keeping in shape and following the Dr.'s orders have been the best thing for us in our recovery.
  • Thanks for the replies and words of encouragement. Yes I am on 3 different anti-depressants. The first two since my injury in 2000 when I was also hospitalized for deppression because my wife caught me with a gun in my hands. The pain consumes most of my thoughts and days, but my family keeps me going! Because I am self-employed I can't draw worker's comp or anything like that. Just seen my ns today and he just said see ya in three months, keep on the oxycontin, didn't care if I was in severe pain or not just give it time. Getting frustrated because my legs keep giving out on me and I just fall. Right leg is numb most of the time and has no reflexes in it. Sorry for venting but I've just about had all I can handle. Thanks!
  • Maybe it is time to seek the advice of another surgeon. That seems strange that he is not more sympathetic to your pain...actually not really because some of these guys have a bedside manner that flat sucks!!!

    My dad used to teach for Dale Carnegie in addition to his own career. He would tell the story of an American POW who was eventually released after being in a Vietnamese POW camp for years and years. On his return to the USA and after he was released from debriefing etc had one thing he wanted to do immediately...play a round of golf. He was an avid golfer before he was captured and had a good handicap. So his friends picked him up and off they went and he played an amazing game and was either right on or very close to his handicap he had when he was playing a lot before his capture.

    His friends were amazed....." how is it possible after being imprisoned under terrible conditions for so many years, the torture, the improper diet etc etc that you can play such a great game" To this he replied that every day of his life while in prison, he played a perfect 18 holes in his head to keep his sanity and give him something to live for.

    My dad used to teach about the power of positive thing and consciously creating your circumstances....visualizing what you want...seeing it in your mind and holding it there. You must try to boot out the negative and destructive thoughts and see a positive outcome for yourself.....hold on to that.

    In the meantime do as much legwork as you can.

    Coming here and talking to others is a fantastic start.....you will interact with others who are in a similar boat and by doing this you are engaging in research...knowledge is power....keep it up PF.....I hope I don't sound trite and contrived.....it is important though.

    It sucks about dad and all, I hope his bypass goes great.....do what you have to do but be careful and try not tweak yourself....you really ought to not stress your back but I can see how you have to harvest also....tough spot......no help available for the real physical work?

    Also .......this crap is not supposed to fail and cause misery, the hardware.......do you expect any kind of compensation from the manufacturer......should you get an attorney?

    Just a thought.

    Good luck, all the best to your fathers upcoming surgery.
  • All I can say is I am so sorry for all your suffering. I wish I could help you. I wish I could give you a hug. I know how it feels when it seems that no one understand the pain or cares. You mentioned your surgeon putting in a pain pump. Is this still a possibility? I don't know anything about pain pumps, but I think you maybe you should seriously consider it. It may bring you so much relief because the drug will go directly into your blood stream (at least I think that's how it works) instead of a pill that you have to swallow that goes thru your digestive system. And, I think the pain medicine would be stronger. I have also heard people talk about some kind of patch they wear on their skin that puts medicine into their system. Please keep us posted. Have you been to a pain clinic? I have not been to one yet, but if I don't get relief soon that will be my next step. Please take care of yourself. Hope
  • I'm so glad I decided to join this forum. It's nice just to talk about back pain and know that there's people out there that actually know what I'm going through and just not blowing sunshine up my butt like my psychiatrist does! I have hired an attorney to try to recover some of my expenses from the surgery and good ole blue cross has raised my insurance to 1800 dollars a month!! Don't know how much longer I can keep paying for it but can't afford to not have it because each surgery is around 100 grand! I have been going to a pain clinic since 2001 and have had numerous injections that sometimes helped and other times didn't. I also had a spinal cord stimulator put in that worked good for about a year until it quit working. That's when I found out that I had scar tissue that had got between the leads causing it to fail so I had to have it removed. If I didn't have bad luck I would have no luck at all. Sorry again for the long post but it's nice to vent to people that understand what kind of pain I'm going through. Also wish that I could get some sleep, but don't think I dare take anymore oxycontin or I might not wake up, but maybe that would'nt be a bad thing. Thanks again for caring and listening.
  • Hi again, you'll probably think I'm a dope, but have you tried Ambien CR, or another prescription sleep aid to help you sleep? I have been taking Ambien CR every night because the pain keeps me from being able to sleep. Right now it's 1:32 in the morning and the pain and I are the only ones up in my household. Sounds funny, but it's really not. I'm glad you joined this forum too. Talk to you later. Hope
  • is that afer you take them for so long your body gets use to tem and they dont work as well. Dont try Lunesta though, those pills leave a nasty taste in your mouth that doesnt leave and makes all your food taste nasty. *shivers*

    Christina :)
  • Hello Farmer -
    Your experience sounds much like mine (well, minus the trampling from pigs!) I have a degenerative disease called Shuermann's disease that has caused me back problems for over ten years. Like you I have tried everything under the sun with no real luck. In February I started having exactly what you described: my leg would give out on me and I'd fall almost out of nowhere. One day I fell down the stairs in my home because of my leg giving out (so be careful!) After going back for new MRI's and all the fun tests I learned I as well have lost reflexes in my leg. (Ironically it's my right leg as well.) I am not a candidate for surgery since I have a degenerative condition - even if they fix what I have now it will continue to worsen anyway. They gave me heavy duty meds and said try to cope. That is simply not good enough for me. As a 23-year-old woman with a very active life style and physical job (I am a teacher for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities so LOTS of lifting, bending, restraining, ect thoughout my day.) It is unaccepatble to me to be told to live my life in this degree of pain.

    I read on these forums about pain pumps and became quite interested. I researched a bunch of information about them and thought it might be something beneficial in my case. I started seeing a wonderful PM doctor who agreed that I was a good candidate for a pain pump. I had my trial done two weeks ago and it was simply amazing. About 4 hours after they started the catheter drip my pain went from a 6-7 to maybe a 3. Truly amazing. I felt wonderful for the two days I was doing the trial. I started getting cynical and thinking that maybe I just happened to have 2 good days, but within two hours of them removing the test catheter I was back to vomiting and heartrate issues (side effects from the severity of my pain) and basically bedridden again. That removed any doubt from my mind, and I immediately called to schedule the official surgery.

    I am going in for the implant on the 25th (this coming Monday) and I am so excited. After experiencing the trial I can't wait to start living pain free. And the wonderful thing is that my doctor told me if the trial worked the permanent implant will work even better (because of the difference of where the trial leads and permanent leads are placed). If you are a good candidate for this surgery it's something that feels like it could be lifechanging in my case.

    I would highly suggest you talk to you doctor about it. The wonderful thing about this surgery is that you can have the trial to see if it would help you rather than just jumping into surgery. Plus there is less risk of problems than with an SCS because there are fewer and different placement of the permanent catheters.

    Sorry to write so much, I was just so drawn into your story and really feel your pain and despair. I had people telling me that I needed to switch jobs because mine is way too physical. With the success of the trial for my pump NO ONE is suggesting I find a new path anymore. I hope this information helps you and gives you hope. I was truly at the end of my rope and didn't know how I was going to make it. This pump has given me a huge bright light at then end of this tunnel. My mom, who has been with me through all of this, feels like God has answered her prayers for me to find something to help control the spiral I was in. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about it. The surgery is relatively minor - 2 days in the hospital followed by 4-6 weeks of no bending, twisting, lifting, or raising your arms above your head. After that simple refills done in the doctor's office every 3 months to fill up the pain medicine. (There is a rubber port that they inject with the meds they'll use to fill it up...)

    Again, sorry to ramble, but I know no one has been able to tell you much about the pump, so I'm trying to tell you everything I know. Please don't hesitate to PM me with any questions. I truly, truly feel the depression that you are experiencing right now. PLEASE follow up on this pain pump - it has the chance to give you so much renewed hope!

    All the best -
    Janiel
  • Farmer,

    You must be strong recovery is a martahon not a race and remember - your crops will never be there again for YOU if you are in a wheelchair - but for the sake of finding ANOTHER way around your problem of harvesting this year PUT your health first.

    I live by solution finding not problem solving! try it.

    I understand (as many others do) your despair with constant severe pain but you have to be strong. Try out the pain pumps, its got to worth a go?

    Good luck and DON'T over do it. You and your kids deserve that much. xx
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