Read Sofies Story
SOPHIE RECEIVED AN INTRATHECAL DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEM TWO YEARS AGO
When did you discover your cancer?
Six years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei. It is an aggressive cancer that causes abdominal and pelvic pain.
I have been through several rounds of chemotherapy to control the disease’s progression. My medical oncologist prescribed oral and patch morphine to control my pain.
In a sense, I was lucky as I didn’t have many of the side effects that others have had with those medications, but, two years ago, my pain couldn’t be controlled with medication anymore even though I had a high dose.
How was the intrathecal drug delivery programme brought to your attention?
My medical oncologist referred me to a pain specialist. The specialist proposed a programmable drug infusion system to reduce my pain.
What was your first impression?
I was impressed by the size of the pump and the fact that a catheter would be inserted directly into my spine. Thinking about it, I’ve already been through several surgeries to remove part of my intestine and to implant a port catheter for the chemotherapy. So, if I got through those interventions, I could certainly support the implantation of a drug infusion system to relieve the refractory pain I was suffering.
The medical team explained the whole implantation process step by step. After talking it through, I was reassured about the intervention and receiving a programmable drug infusion system.
Was your family involved in this choice?
I discussed it with my husband and kids, and decided that it was for the best. Anyway, my quality of life was seriously impacted by the pain, so I had nothing to lose!
How were your first days after receiving the pump?
I had to stay in the hospital for a few days for the doctor to adjust my medication dosage. Unfortunately, I had some side effects due to leakage of fluids around the spine that caused headaches. It was temporary and disappeared after a couple of days.
How do you feel now with the pump?
It took me a few days to adjust to the pump and feeling comfortable with it. But what a change! I could barely enjoy being out of the house before the infusion system placement. Now the pain is very well controlled and I can walk again, drive my car and go to places I like with my family and friends – it’s like living again. I can even go on holiday.
I have been trained to use my remote control to get additional bolus when needed. Now, I can better anticipate when pain is coming and use the remote control right away when I feel pain resurging. I don’t take any additional painkillers – my infusion system has it under control.
Now the infusion system is a part of my life. Every month, I have to go back to the hospital so it can be refilled. I’ve even taken my family with me so they can understand what I am going through.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Sophie for sharing her story and life experience with the SynchroMedTM II pump.
Bhatia G, Lau ME, Koury KM, Gulur P.Intrathecal Drug Delivery (ITDD) systems for cancer pain. F1000Res. 2013;2:96. doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-96.v4.
Smith TJ, Staats PS, Deer T, Stearns LJ, et al. Randomized clinical trial of an implantable drug delivery (IDDS) system compared with comprehensive medical management (CMM) for refractory cancer pain: impact on pain, drug-related toxicity, and survival. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20(19):4040-4049.
Smith TJ, Coyne PJ. Implantable drug delivery systems (IDDS) after failure of comprehensive medical management (CMM) can palliate symptoms in the most refractory cancer pain patients. J Pall Med. 2005;8(4):736-742.
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