Approximately 30 years ago, Rose Anne was working as a physical therapy aide and shuttle bus driver at a school for children with disabilities. One afternoon at work, Rose Ann noticed a little girl losing her balance.
"I reacted immediately, without positioning myself properly to break her fall," she recounts. "I fell flat on a mat, face down. As I tried to get up, I felt a gripping pain stab me in the back, and waves of pain radiating down my legs."
After 4 months of hospitalization and long hours of physical therapy, Rose Ann was well enough to return to work. Then she re-injured herself assisting a child on the shuttle bus.
Over the next several years, Rose Ann endured multiple back surgeries. "At that point, I accepted that I would live my life with chronic pain," she says. "I decided to return to school to complete my formal education."
Four years later, Rose Ann obtained her master's degree and was offered a great job. But just 3 months after Rose Ann started her new career, she was in a terrible car accident.
"I became a prisoner in my own bed," Rose Ann says. "I required assistance with just about everything."
"The thing that troubled me most was my inability to go places with my family," Rose Ann recalls. "They would make plans to go do things in an effort to bring me out of my depression, but my body just wouldn't cooperate."
"I tried physical therapy, oral pain medications, counselling, and just about every surgical intervention known to man, but to no avail," Rose Anne continues. "When I finally had to accept the fact I could no longer work, I was devastated."
During an office visit, a nurse told Rose Ann about a drug pump (intrathecal drug delivery). After lengthy discussions with her pain management physician and family, Rose Ann decided to give it a chance.
"I will admit, I was sceptical at first," Rose Ann says. "But the relief was instantaneous! For the first time in 30-plus years, I felt almost human."
Since having the drug pump implanted, Rose Ann's life has greatly improved. "I'm able to perform most independent living skills and do simple chores around the house," she says. "I seldom miss out on an opportunity to go out to eat with my family, take in a movie, or shop. The pain is now tolerable to some degree."
Rose Ann was aware that complications were possible. Surgical complications can include spinal headache, infection or anaesthesia complications. Post-implant complications may include an inverted pump, catheter issues such as leaking, dislodgement, or kinking, or drug-related side effects.
Like other individuals with chronic pain, Rose Ann reports having both good days and bad days. The difference now is that the good days far outnumber the bad.
"I am once again able to take part in my life and feel good about myself," says Rose Ann. "Is my pain completely gone? I would be less than honest if I said it was. But at least it's now at a level I can live with."
"I enjoy a quality of life far beyond what I had, thanks to Medtronic!" she concluded.
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.