Drug Pump for Cancer Pain
One afternoon while Adolf walked on a treadmill, the speed on the machine began to accelerate rapidly and could not be turned off. Adolf fell off the treadmill onto his hip.
After the fall, Adolf experienced pain in his hip and tried walking with the aid of a cane. When his condition didn't improve, he went to see a doctor. At the appointment, the doctor found bone cancer in Adolf's hip.
A hip replacement was attempted, but was unsuccessful because the ball of Adolf's hip had to be removed due to the cancer. With the ball of his hip gone and no possibility for a hip replacement, Adolf was unable to walk, placed in a wheelchair, and prescribed medication for the pain.
"When I was in the hospital they about had to tie me down," Adolf recalls. "That's how much pain I was in. They gave me pain medications but they affected my mind. I could never think straight." The medication made Adolf feel groggy.
Unable to dress himself, go to the bathroom alone, or even write his name, Adolf slipped into a depression.
"It was pretty serious," Irene, Adolf's daughter, remembers. "For about two months we visited specialists who prescribed more and more pain medications. I did a lot of crying because it was very hard to watch."
Adolf's doctor told him about targeted drug delivery, a treatment that uses a drug pump to deliver pain medication directly to the fluid around the spinal cord. The drug pump is connected to a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. Both the pump and catheter are surgically placed under the skin.
"My dad's first reaction was 'no,'" Irene says. "But I could see this little spark in my dad. He wanted to keep going and he wanted a chance."
After three visits with the doctor, Adolf decided to proceed with the screening test. He experienced relief during the test and went on to have the pump surgically placed.
For the first few weeks after the surgery, Adolf had some discomfort at the incision site. Irene recalls that it took some time to get her father's dosage optimized with the pump, but then the cancer pain was controlled.
While this was Adolf's only complication, there are risks associated with the procedure. Surgical complications can include spinal headache, infection, or anesthesia complications. Post-implant complications may include an inverted pump, clinically significant underdose caused by catheter issues like leaking, dislodgement, or kinking, or drug-related side effects. For a complete list of adverse events that have been associated with the therapy, please refer to the Important Safety Information.
"My pain is gone," Adolf says. "I have a lot more hope for almost a regular life. It's like night and day. It's just amazing."
Today, he is able to get dressed, enjoy time outdoors, and live independently.
Before his injury, Adolf loved to travel. After having the pump placed, his son arranged for the family to go on a cruise.
"The trip was possible because his cancer pain was regulated," Irene says. "Otherwise, he never could have done it. My dad was just in too much pain. Now, we get to go about our lives."
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.