I will answer as honest as I can. The surgery is like any other. Considering how many back surgeries you have had, the pump inplant should be a piece of cake after what you have been thru. With your history you probably are a very good candidate. Most folks say they are pretty close to being healed at 6-8 weeks. You have an incision in your back, mine about 5 inches where they fed the catheter thru to around the front to connect to the pump. You have an incision about that size depending on the unit on the side of your stomach, up high, not at waist level.
When my pump is filled I have no pain. The first 6 months my stomach was numb after the surgery. Then the feeling came back, I promise, its pain free procedure on a pump fill. I have had a dr plus 2 nurses fill my pump before and none of them ever hurt me at all. Matter of fact, my nurse that fills my pump now is so fast at pulling the old meds out and putting the new in, we are done before I realize she is finished, she is awesome.
I am on oxygen 24/7 and I have no respiratory distress from my medications. Matter of fact, my new pain dr was telling me recently they are talking now that not all pain meds cause that problem. If you get woozy with a pump then your medication is too high. So, then you call your dr and go in for an adjustment that is done by a computer, thats it. When you need your meds increased its the same way, done by computer, how easy is that. But, no you should never be woozy with a pump. I drive a car whenever I want, I have a 3 yr old grandson that is my life, I drive with him in the car. If I thought for one single moment I was jeopardizing his life he would not be in a vehicle with me.
When you first start with a pump you are always on the lowest dose to start with. Then they start titrating the dose up. Insist that your increases in the beginning be done every 2 weeks, thats totally acceptable. Do not let a dr leave you hanging for a month at a time for increase in the beginning. Not all drs give oral meds for BT pain. Some have the attitude the pump takes care of it all and thats not true. You miust have meds for BT pain. If your dr says no to BT meds get another dr ASAP. Both of my pain drs believe that a patient must have meds for BT pain. As you get the doseage in the area you need it to be you don't take hardly any BT meds. The pump will not make you pain free. You will have pain the rest of your life. What the pump does is control your pain in a much better fashion than oral meds. Your pumps drips meds out 24/7 so you have a steady flow of medication. You have no high or no lows and best of all no clock watching.The way the pump is designed the catheter is located in the area of the spine where the pain receptors are located that send the signal to the brain pain. The medication is released on these receptors and stops sending the pain message to the brain. I imagine your quality of life stinks, mine did, I spent one yr in bed. The pump is to help you get a life back that is quality life, not the old life you knew, but a hell of alot better than where you are at now.
You will have some limitations with the pump. They say to avoid all high frequency areas because it can affect your pump. I don't really know what you are wanting to do activity wise with a pump so its a little hard for me to answer your question some what. Like I said, I drive a car, I go to the grocery store, if I want to shop I do, I plant flowers, I put in 3 flower beds last summer, I have mowed my small back yard my former PM dr had a fit said no more. I will ask my new one that question. You can get on an airplane but the altitude may stop the pump from working for a bit. No bullriding, no stock car racing, no wrestling, I don't think I would do jumping jacks, water sking is out & snow sking. I am giving you a hard time, can you tell,lol. You don't want any sudden jolts or direct hits to the pump. I feel right now you are limited because of those fusions so really this pump will not have an adverse affect on you. You have to be very careful having any future MRI's because of the magnetics on the machine will make your pump possibly get warm and stop it from pumping.
The first 6 weeks after surgery are really critical cause you want that scar tissue to heal good in there to keep that pump in place as well as the catheter staying in place. My pump was put in June of 05 and its an older model. They have newer models out, I have a Medtronic, new ones can be programmed to give yourself a bolus which is like giving yourself a pain shot only no needles involved. You need to keep a journal of your pain in the beginning and once they get your dose right. Lets say you notice every evening by 8:00pm, you are really having some pain and that pump can be programmed to give you a bolus every evening at 8:00pm. How cool is that. Maybe my next pump I will have that luxury, but quite frankly, once I got my pump, my goal was to get off of oral meds. I did just that and I did suffer, I am bull headed to say the least and I also push myself. I am my own worst enemy sometimes. Now, my new dr gives me 4mg of Dilaudid that I can take for BT meds and I can take 2 of them at one time.
When you first get your pump you are very conscience of it, I was. I was afraid I would hit it on something and break it. Well, I have bumped my kitchen counter and also bumped it reaching down in my deep washing machine. Let me tell ya it smarts when you bump it directly. After time goes on you forget about even having the thing. I wear loose tshirts always have, so no one can even tell I have one. I truly forget its even there. You do need to avoid things like alot of bending and reaching but you are already there.
There are many different types of medications that can be used in a pump. Different combinations. I have Dilaudid, Bupivicanine, Sufentanyl & Clonodine in mine and now that my new dr knows all about pumps I am doing great. My former pm dr was not educated enough in pumps or medications. He was a good dr but he had no business taking care of pump patients. He had me on such a low dose that I was not functioning too well. If I did something one day, I spent 3 days in bed recovering and thats not how its suppose to be with a pump. When I complained of pain he said well you are on the strongest drug there is!!! Yes, I was on the strongest drug but he had me at a very, very, very, low dose. My current pump dr is a retired neurosurgeon, she also has inplanted pumps but now just handles nothing but pump patients. She was tired of surgery. She is the number one pump dr in the state of Texas, has more pump patients than any other dr, she is the top writing narcotic dr in the state of Texas and she is not afraid of the DEA, she has over a decade of experience, she understands compounding drugs and does her own mixing. The woman is a wizard when it comes to pumps and the drugs that can be used in them. Not all drugs can be used in a pump. When she filled my pump for the first time, she doubled my concentration level of Dilaudid, what a difference it made in my pain. Since then I have had a 20% increase and that really helped. But, I am still at a very low dose and have a very long, long way to go before ever maxing out on it. By the way, you actually do use less pain meds with a pump than what you do with oral meds.
All I can tell you is this, these cats that open up pain clinics most use to be anesthesiologist. There is a big difference of putting someone to sleep for surgery over handling a pain patient. Four years of pain mgt experience is not enough time to be educated in handling pumps.
I apologize for the length of this post but there is so much more to tell you. I will stop here. If you think of something else post it. I have a 90 day pump, but my new dr changes the meds every six weeks. She says the meds lose their effectiveness sitting there in that little pump. My pump is about the size of a hockey puck, maybe a little smaller.If I can answer it I will. Susie