Hi Tom and welcome to Healing Well. I am sorry to read of all your troubles, but believe me you have come to a great place. The people on here are very compassionate and caring. We exchange as many tips as possible, but always remain with what may work for me, may not work for you. As you know with chronic pain it is a very individual disease. I found HW after having a complete blockage and abscess and an emergency bowel resection in o2, that was when I was d'x w/crohns. This place saved my life learning about crohns, I had no clue and was into denial.
I have dealt with chronic pain for over 20yrs, mostly it has been my lower back involved. I was referred to a pain mgt dr in 04 and I have been with him since. I am a successful pump patient. Mine was implanted June of 05. The 2 keys things that made me a canidate is I had pain in so many areas of my body and the dr said no could oral meds touch it, and I had a very difficult time tolerating the oral meds. If the side effects did not get me, then my body would have its own revolt and we ran out of options. The surgery was pretty major as far as I am concerned. Granted I have many health issues and due to them it affects my ability to heal quickly. My immune system is compromised due to my crohns medications.
You must have a physch consult which is required by the law, its no big deal. The trial was awesome, I was nearly pain free and thought I had died & gone to heaven. But, I assure you once you have the pump implanted in the beginning, you do feel near that great. The key is the correct medications used in the pump and getting increases until the pain is in better control. My dr gives 20% increases when titrating the doseage, but due to other health issues my increases were given at 10%. I did this for a year and became extremely frustrated because I was still in so much pain. He finally started increasing me 20% and did this over 2 week intervals to make sure I tolerated it. He then increased the Dilaudid to a 15mg concentration and finally I could say great, it was worth it. Along with the Dilaudid I have 3 other medications in my pump. My meds come from a pharmacy all packaged & sealed in one big syringe.
For some reason my surgery was done as an out patient and I do not agree with this. They do make a rather large incision in the middle of your back to feed the catheter around to the front. They make a decent size incision on your stomach, mine is on the right side of my stomach and thats where they make a flap for the pump. I have seen mine on xrays and it is really small, including the catheter, I was shocked. I sure do have big scars for such tiny equipment,lol. You are limited with the pump as far as lifting, bending, reaching over head and ect. Most of the things you are cautioned on, you can't do with a bad back anyway.
I have a Medtronic pump and its one of the older ones. Mine is currently on recall for gears not working properly. However, I am having no problems with my pump at all, and the dr & I agree if ain't broke don't fix it. This problems has occurred in some of these particular models but that is not saying all of them will fail. The other alert is masses developing at the tips of the catheter. I had my pump refilled yesterday and my dr says its uneducated drs causing this problem. He says its due to not using the correct medications in these pumps and people being on too high of doses. The dr needs to know what meds he can and what meds he cannot use in the pumps. Alot of medications will cause granulomas if given in high doses and this is not limited to people with a pump. When I read the alert from the FDA it pretty much said the same thing. My current doseage is less than 3 1/2 milligrams of meds in 24 hrs so I am not worried. You should also be given BT meds with the pump. I do better taking a muscle relaxer because its usually spasms causing the pain.
You will find some people have had great success and then those it did not work for. I love it and I am very thankful I have it. It also allows me to spend good time with my 3yr old grandson. I planted flowers this past spring, something I haven't done in awhile. I am free from clock watching waiting till its time to take the next pill. I have no highs or low, its constant relief. I am usually up every morning very early watering all my flowers and hosing off the patio and deck. I sometimes rest in between, its best to learn to pace yourself. My husband does help with the housework, he does most of the sweeping & mopping.
If there is any thing else you need to know, please post it and I will try to help you. Susie