This story reflects the experience of one individual who is receiving Medtronic ITB TherapySM for the treatment of severe spasticity. Medtronic, Inc. invited this person to share this story candidly. As you read it, please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to this particular individual. Results vary; not every response is the same.
In 1994, Bob was working as an executive steward at a busy Tampa Bay hotel when he began having trouble moving his right leg. His job was extremely physical, and was becoming more difficult by the day.
Bob went to a neurologist and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
As the disease progressed, Bob started experiencing spasms in his leg while sleeping. "My leg would jump right up and kick me in the chest when I was in bed or sitting on the sofa," Bob says.
In order to control his spasticity with oral medication, Bob was taking the maximum dose.
When he had foot surgery in April 1998, he experienced severe spasticity. Although his doctor recommended ITB Therapy, Bob resisted the suggestion. But after a second foot surgery in January 1999 resulted in even more severe spasticity, Bob decided that the pump was worth a try and elected to have it surgically placed.
Prior to having the pump surgically placed, a screening test helps individuals determine if they are good candidates for ITB Therapy.
ITB Therapy relieves severe spasticity by using a programmable pump placed just under the skin of the abdomen. The pump is connected to a thin, flexible catheter that delivers anti-spastic medication directly into the area where fluid flows around the spinal cord called the intrathecal space.
The day after Bob arrived home from having his pump surgically placed, he immediately felt an improvement. His leg relaxed, and eventually he was able to eliminate the oral spasticity medication that was making him so exhausted.
Although his spasticity improved right away, Bob had a severe headache for 2 weeks following his pump placement due to a spinal fluid leak. He relieved this by lying down until the leak healed.
Bob didn’t experience any additional complications with his surgery. However, some people do experience additional surgical complications, side effects of the drug, or both. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with ITB Therapy. Some of these risks include meningitis, spinal fluid leak, infection, paralysis, headache, swelling, bleeding, and bruising. Drug-related side effects may include loose muscles, drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, headache, and dizziness.
Soon after he had his pump placed, Bob went back to work at the Tampa Bay hotel as a phone coordinator and works there to this day.
In addition to helping him return to work, the Medtronic pump has allowed Bob to enjoy outdoor activities like horseback riding and scuba diving. He also travels around the country talking to others who have been diagnosed with MS, delivering a message of hope and encouragement.
"I never thought that I would be this active again," Bob says. "ITB Therapy has allowed me to do so much more than I thought possible."
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.