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How much longer?

meydey321mmeydey321 Posts: 2,435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Pain Management
Hi everyone, I can't tell you how sick and tired I am of having chronic pain- the never ending low back pain, nerve pain in both legs, and of course the muscle spasms. I wish I did have something uplifting to share with you all, instead of the same old thing. But anyway, I will be having yet another surgery next month...a permanent morphine pump implantation.

The trial went pretty well, it was a single injection of morphine into the intracecal space. I don't remember any of it because I was sedated. I woke up in recovery with a lot of soreness in my back from the injection site. I was so sore that I didn't notice that the unrelenting agonizing pain in my legs had diminished. The injection lasted about 2 days...what a disapointment when it wore off- I was back to "normal".

I went in for a follow up appointment at my PM clinic and gave them the green light. The trial gave me a 50% reduction in pain, and I know my doctors will help me manage the other half. I was told the pump doesn't take all the pain away or cure the problem, but it helps you to function better. I will still need to take something orally for breakthrough pain and I'll be off the MS Contin gradually. They will also adjust the amount of medication in the pump until a therapeutic level is reached.

However it won't fix the permanent nerve damage in one of my legs according to a nurse. It can't reverse the weakness either so I'll just continue to use my cane as usual. I don't mind too much as long as I won't have to put up with so much pain I hope.

Well, I stare at my calendar and count the days til the big event. It will be an overnight stay at the hospital if all goes well, but the recovery period is 6-8 weeks long with restrictions. You can't move around a bunch because the body needs to heal so the the unit that holds the medicine can securely anchor down. It's the size of a can of chew and it holds 40cc. And, you also have the catheter to think about; the last thing you want is for it to migrate or get damaged. The battery lasts up to 5 years and then the pump has to be replaced.

I can't wait to do activities that I haven't been able to engage in for a long time. I want to go swimming, driving, walking, shopping without all the pain and discomfort. I want to sit up comfortably again. I've missed out on a lot of things. I know I'll never go back to how I once was prior to injuring my back, but I hope to recapture those little things in life I took for granted before all this happened. How wonderful it would be for my family to come home and find me sitting on the couch, and not laying in bed. I don't know how I would have made out without them.

To be continued... :H

PS I want to thank all my Spiney friends; I wouldn't have had the courage to go through all that I have without the contributions of advice, support and knowledge from all of you


  • I hope that everything goes smooth and you get good relief!

    Let us know how it goes! Try not to dwell on the waiting thing. I know that can be frustrating!
  • I'll do my best. Maybe I should go for some fun distraction like going skydiving or bunji (sp)jumping for example :$ PSICHE! (or is it spelled SIKE?) Ahh...the gold ol' 80's slang. Those were the days B)
  • That good ole 80's slang rocks actually...compared to all of the "new school" stuff ya hear now-a-days! Thanks for taking me back! :)

    Anyways, it sounds as though you'll be getting greater relief with the implanted pump and oral break-through meds and that's awesome...cuz after all, isn't that what pain management is about and what we're all looking for???

    Hopefully the time flies for ya and your procedure date will be here "pronto" (remember that one?)...of course keep us all informed as to how the procedure went and how it works for ya as time goes by.

    Take care and God bless -

  • Jeff, I really, REALLY hope this will do it for me. I want to be vertical again LOL. I think I can swing it dealing with the other 50% pain. BTW, do you remember ST Elsewhere? I LOVE that medical show...Howie Mandel, Mark Harmon, Denzel Washington, Ed Begley JR...if you weren't casted on it, you were nobody (celebrities, that is). There was nothing else like it then, and even now. I did like ER but I favored the 90's episodes when it was so new and FRESH and DOPE (ha ha, more 80's slang, not the real deal). Apart from the medical shows, I really like Hill Street Blues. It also had just about everybody making an appearance. Sorry, I'm in a reminiscing mood right now.. :?
  • You have been so kind and supportive through my trials and tribulations, I truly wish you loads of success. Just a word of caution, though, from my own experience. Everyone told me 50% improvement with the spinal cord stimulator was considered a success, and whereas I understood this intellectually, in my heart of hearts I was hoping to get off my meds and RUN off into the sunset, rejoin my tennis club and fit back into my size 6 clothes. In other words, I really set myself up for a let down. It was one of those situations where you tell yourself "don't get your hopes up, don't get your hopes up"--all the while you're getting your hopes up. Just be happy if your life is better. Its not typical for your life to be perfect again after you get the pump. If your life is significantly better that is wonderful.
    As for hospital shows, I'm a House fan. How can I not be....a brilliant doctor whose abrasive as hell but nevertheless attractive in some distorted sense who suffers from chronic pain but only takes Vicoden (instead of some stronger, long acting drug) and is also addicted. When deprived of his meds, he slams his hand in the door and explains the gateway theory of pain to his best friend, Wilson.
    Best of luck to you with your pump. I'm rooting for you. Susan.
  • I really appreciate your kindness, support, and candor too. You are also so right about how to approach something like this. I certainly wouldn't want to develop unrealistic expectations just to suffer a huge letdown afterwards. I learned this from what you've been going through with the SCS too and I'm sorry you've had a hard time lately. My relatives are thinking that this will get me back on my feet again, and I would like this to be true. But I did let them know that it will not fix me or take all my pain away. The way I see it is that if it takes some of the pain away, it's all good. My doctors have been upfront with me about the realities of having a pump and I am grateful for that. Til then, I will continue to mentally prepare myself for this latest endeavor.

    PS I like House too...what a loveable smart ass. Can you handle him as your doctor? I would try my best to put up with his shaningans, but I know I would throw an occasional punch :D I guess as long as he eats his vitamins- err...vicadins, he's good to go.
  • My favorite 80's expression. Good luck to you meydey! Hope the time flies by and you're recovery goes great!! Keep us posted!
  • Double posted somehow.
  • I mean... like... OMG!

    This is totally awesome news! =D>

    I am so happy to hear you gave them the thumbs up. I've been wondering how you've been doing.

    Hey, if the pump gives you 40% relief... that's A LOT of extra relief to look forward to. Or, it could go the other way... 60% relief!

    You're coming into this with loads of research, a lot of thinking time to process it all and the trial found yourself at a whopping 50% of pain relief. (That's fantastic). You have your family supporting you 100%... and you know we all are rooting for a successful outcome.

    The pump in combination with your medication, sounds like a very good choice for you. Like you said, your doctors are going to work with you on the correct dosage of your medications and they will get you at the right comfort levels. You have a lot to look forward to, once you are healed.

    I do have a question... where do they place your "chew can"? Will it be in your abdominal area? Are the total dimensions of it, the same as an actual "chew can"?

    I wish you the best and I hope the healing process isn't too painful.

    The TV show House... rocks! I love that show. For me, I would have a hard time keeping a straight face if he was a geniune doctor. I'd give his nonsense talk... right back to him. :P

    All the best and much love,

    Tammy >:D<

  • Thanks Eajoseph, ...I tell you, the days seem to be getting longer and longer as the date of the surgery approaches. I'm starting to go stir crazy :SS

    Thank you Tammy,...the pump will be placed in my abdomen on my right side and the catheter will run from it up to the spine. I don't know what the actual dimensions are going to be since I don't know what model I'm getting. As if, like..totally :D Ya'll have a pain free weekend, you hear?! <):)
  • Thank you for reminding me of Hillstreet! That was one of my alltime favs! I forgot all about it!

    What was the strange guy who acted like a dog at times and bit people?

    As for your peeps, watch them carefully and try and nicely make sure they understand these gizoms aren't cures, just a treatement! My peeps are having trouble with this peky little fact of life...
    I am trying to walk a fine line between screaming and crying over the various idiosyncrysisisis of things. They keep acting amazed when I am not feeling up to doing some things yet. To hot, to cold, Pain not controlled all the time and little dose of good old timee cornfusion thrown in!

    Anyway, I hope you get EVERYTHING good possible from the pain pump!

    My nieces husband freaked out when I showed him how I turned my SCS off and on. What a pansie! Yeah, I know they are tough flowers! Perhaps I need to figure out a more delecate flower to use? =))
  • :))( Will a venus flytrap be tough enough? Maybe a rose...it's beautiful but those spines aren't nothing to fool with ;))

    Gosh I don't remember that dude's name. I know the guy was always henpecked by his mom all the time. Maybe his name was Animal or something. If someone knows, please help us :-C

    I hated this show when I was a kid, but I started watching reruns on Bravo and fell in love. The closest show to it is NYPD Blue but it's a whole lot serious. I'll always remember Detective Sipowitz (sp?) what a character..
  • My weekend sucked. There aren't a lot of places I can go where I would feel comfortable. I want to go to the zoo with my family, but that's out of the question for now- it's too damn hot and too much walking to do. I'm afraid to get in the pool with a bunch of wild kids splashing and jumping in around me. I just stayed in bed...again. Hurts too much do try anything right now L)
  • Hey Meydey, here's hoping that your experience with the pump is awesome! <:P

  • Thank you very much. That was totally righteous of you :D
  • I wish the best for you for the morphine pump to work. That would be so great for you. I love the 80's too. St. Elsewhere with Howie Mandel and all was my reason to become an RN. TV can sure influence people and it's great if there were more good shows like that on. Starsky & Hutch, Baretta and dancehall music. I used to wear black net gloves ahh the style is coming back. I hope you have luck with the pump I sure wish I had something like that. Are you affected at all by the drug? Keep us posted on your OR for the pump. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • OMG I remember Barretta and his Cacatoo (sp?) and the other show he did, playing a priest in a bad neighborhood. Don't that take you back B)

    Oh, and I remember when Madonna struck. I had the fish net gloves, arm full of bangles, and the huge hoop earrings. My mom wouldn't go for me wearing my bra outside my shirt :))( I was only 11 and my training bra would have looked rather silly =)) But I did wear those cute lacy socks with my jelly shoes. WE started wearing the layered tank tops that is back in style again and the leggings. But you won't catch me in acid wash jeans or in a huge, oversized blouse with should pads.

    Okay, I'm done with that now. From what I understand you do get side effects from the morphine pump because the medicine circulates within the CFS fluid and it goes to the brain.

    But wait...who can forget Kojack? He was cool back in the day?

    Take care and don't be illin' =)) Remember that?(Sorry, I had to throw 80's slang again) O:)
  • There are soooo many things I want to do with my kids and can't. We live north of DC and west of Baltimore. The National Zoo, Baltimore Aquarium, Inner Harbor, Museums, and the list goes on and on. I would be taking them every where but my damn back, hips, legs, and feet hurt too much to do it. One day, I will find a way to start enjoying life again and so will you! >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<

    One of my favorite things from the 80's. Top Gun. Beach Volleyball scene. 'nuff said!!! 8> :X Looking back, there were some things that fall into the "gag me with a spoon" list but some pretty "rad" and "gnarly" ones too. =)) <:P
  • LOL, this thread has been hijacked (kinda)! I didn't notice it earlier. It's hilarious, because I've been doing a lot of nostalgic stuff related to the 80's lately: Reconnecting with high school buddies via Facebook and Classmates, looking through old pics, visiting (?) lists from my past such as "you know you grew up in phoenix in the 80's if...", and finally, watching all my favorite 80's movies. Just got done watching Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. I never stopped listening to my old favorite bands, Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, etc. What fun!
  • I wish you the best! And I hope that you soon find youself sitting on the couch again. After my fusion I was able to graduate from the bed to the couch. It felt so good to rejoin family life! I truly pray that all goes well and you get the relief you're looking for. I hope you feel totally tubular after your pump is installed!
    Faith M
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    is no picnic. It is so physically and emotionally draining, but I dont have to tell you that. You have been living it first hand.
    I sure hope that the surgery for the morphine implant will help reduce some of the pain and discomfort you have been having.
    Being able to return to some of the activities you love has got to be one of the best emotional uplift you can think off.
    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you guys :H You all have made my day <:P

    Beth, I hope you and the kiddos will go everywhere together and have loads of fun, and that you won't be bothered by pain at all. My family would absolutely LOVE to go to the Baltimore Aquarium. We love the sea and everything that has to do with the beach, sand, sun, and fish. There is a 75 gallon saltwater aquarium in our livingroom- you know we mean business ;)

    Hey Kat, I loved Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire...anything with the brat pack. Hey remember Risky Business, Weird Science, Wall St, Wildcats, Officer & a Gentleman, Stand By Me, Young Guns...the list goes on and on.

    Faith, I sure do know what you mean about rejoining your family after being in bed all the time. Even though we're under the same roof, I feel isolated because my couch is older and it's uncomfortable for me and that's why I spend most my time in the bedroom. I'm glad the fusion made you feel better. "Tubular"...that's a good one :)

    Hey PapaRon, thanks very much. I really hope this makes a difference and that it frees me up from being "trapped" at home. Have you ever thought about doing something like this, or maybe a neurostimulator? Watch out- I heard either can cost $20,000 and it does not include hospital and separate charges. Boy, this BETTER work :SS

  • Oh boy am I excited! I've read every possible info on morphine pumps and life after surgery, and I know that I am ready to embark this new journey. I don't know how the future will be, but anything is better than my current situation.

    Like SpongeBob says: I'm ready, I'm ready! :O)

    There's a few of you having surgery very soon and I want to wish you all the very best and I pray that things work out for you all. :H
  • You sound absolutely glowing! I'm glad you are in the right, positive, frame of mind, because you know what they say about positive thinking! I will definitely be thinking of you and sending you some warm fuzzy's on Thursday!

  • You had me worried for a second there...the last time I was glowing was when I was pregnant :D My husband is looking at my belly right now :))( I'm kidding...the nursery's been gone for a long time.

    Thanks again for your reassurances. I always enjoy reading your posts, so don't worry about writing too much because we all like reading them. Keep up the good work =D>
  • is.... GOOD LUCK!!!

    You deserve some relief from your pain. I hope and pray that this is the answer for you and that you get the most possible effects from it. I'll be pulling for you.

  • hi meydey
    so exciting...to be able to get out of bed and get around....i am wishing you the best of luck,
  • To see you're going into this with a positive mindset.

    At the risk of being censored,
    "Give'it hell" or something, something, similar!
  • I am so excited for you!!! I hope that the surgery goes smoothly, recovery is quick, and that you get relief from your pain! I will be thinking about you and praying for you. >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<

    Your post sounds like you are so ready to do this!!
  • I couldn't do this without the support of my super Spiney friends O:)

    Wrambler, hell yeah I'm gonna kick some butt :))) Like, totally dude! I hope your SCS continues to zap your pain away.

    Pete, Griff, and Beth...I appreciate your kindness and support and I wish something will come along to bring you relief as well.

    Seriously, I wouldn't have the courage to navigate these uncharted waters if it weren't for all the love and support of my fellow spineys. >:D<
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