PATIENT TESTIMONY

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.

Photography: RouleMarcel.

1

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. 

2

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.

3

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.

Brief Statement

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