Yesterday afternoon, I had an appointment with Dr. Curtis Dickman, the Neurosurgeon that did my back surgery. This was a general follow up to the surgery to see how things were progressing.
The stitches I had were taken out from the chest tube and we had a discussion about the newer pain that I have been feeling in my upper back area. Originally, he thought it would be a good idea to do the vertebrowplasty similar to what I had done in the middle back area. He said that there could be possible collapse of the vertebrabral body and if this happens there is no forewarning and that the outcome is again paralysis! We re-looked at the CT scan from April 22, and then he seemed to change his mind and said that he didn’t think that the core of the vertebrae was as bad as he thought and that I should speak with my Oncologist to see what his thoughts were.
By the time I met with Dr. Kukinoor, my Oncologist today I was full of questions. My friend Lara and I had just left Dr. Lisa Stearns office, the lady who dealt with my pain management at Scottsdale Healthcare. The difference between her team and the group at St. Joes is that her team is able to administer and perform surgical options as well in addition to opiates to alleviate the pain.
My appointment with her was another follow up to my stay at SHC. Stearns mentioned the option of having a permanent pain pump inserted near my spine. The pros include: less medication (1 mg of medication vs 300mg, automatic pain relief, ability to change amount of drugs, option to do a “test run”, etc. The big pro that stood out to me was reducing the pain medication significantly. I was thinking, “sign me up! let’s do this!”. Then she brought me the literature and photos of the pain pump. HALT! This thing was HUGE! It literally looks like a Skool can or hockey puck and was heavy for it’s size. The pump is implanted in the abdominal area, just above or below the belt line. A thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, connects to the pump and is tunneled under the skin to the site where medication is to be delivered.