"Our soul must perform two duties. The one is that we must reverently wonder and be surprised. The other is that we must gently let go and let be." Julian of Norwich

...Cancer teaches both!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Intrathecal Pain Pump"

St. Paul's Hospital - Vancouver
As I write this post I am a patient in the Palliative Care Unit at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. I was admitted on referral from the BC Cancer Agency earlier in July to be evaluated for the "intrathecal pain pump" which delivers prescribed medication directly to the pain receptors within the spinal canal.

The beauty of this type of system is that it can vastly reduce the amount of "systemic" medication required to achieve pain relief in my case of intractable pain.  Thankfully, the results of the initial studies were positive and I am now equipped with the indwelling portable pump.  The pump lives under my ribs on my lower left abdomen.  A catheter goes from the pump into the spinal canal.  The hope is that I will realize significant gains in quality of life while continuing to live at home with wheelchair mobility.

The pump itself is about the size of a hockey puck and it carries three different medicines in suspension together in the pump reservoir.  These medications can be topped up as required with a visit to the pain clinic back here at St. Paul's Hospital.  While my own personal system is not exactly as that shown, the following illustration gives the general idea of the system and its various parts.

I am just putting this up as a short post for now to let family and friends know about this new direction in my own cancer care journey.  I hope I can post more over the weeks and months ahead as I learn to live with this new piece of hardware and as I am able to reflect further on living well with cancer.

Peace and blessings...  Rob; in Vancouver

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