I had an intrathecal pump implanted on November 4, 2009 for muscle spasticity in my legs. I used to take 80mg of Baclofen pills every day for this symptom, but they were not very effective and I was sleeping nearly 24/7 with that dose.

Lioresal is Baclofen in liquid form. The pump is programmed to provide dosage directly to my spinal cord through a tube. It’s all under the skin. Initially the idea of this totally grossed me out. I never thought I’d be able to try this, let alone succeed. But I was desperate and I made myself have the attitude that this is going to work. So far, so good.

Yesterday was the first time my pump was refilled. I was mildly apprehensive. The whole procedure took five minutes. This time the Nurse Practitioner, Susan, performed the procedure. After she sterilized the area, she must have used something topical to numb the spot. She placed a template on top of the pump to help her find the center. She also used her fingers to feel the placement of the pump to ensure she found the port. Using a very small needle, she removed the remaining medicine and using the same needle, replaced my pump with new medicine. I was pleasantly surprised that other than an initial small sting, it was quite painless. My dosage has slowly been increased and yesterday she increased it to 99.3 mcg per day.

Both of my legs have spasticity. My left leg is the weaker of the two and my right leg has the most spasticity. As the Lioresal releases the spasticity, weakness will be exposed. Spasticity (or rigidity) gives a false sense of strength because when your legs are stiff, they’re also sturdy. But when the rigidity is eased, then you must rely on your muscle and balance. My legs never feel all that weak when I get an increase, instead they feel more heavy. It’s a strange thing.

When I think of the days I instructed aerobics, played racquetball, and jogged, I recall how I enjoyed my freedom, my endurance, and my strength. I never could have imagined I’d find myself in the condition I am today, barely standing at times. But all that I gained during my fit years has probably provided me an inner strength, a determination that keeps me moving forward right now.

Oh, and the weather has turned around here. It’s been sunny and warmer. I haven’t even looked at the temperature, but I’d think in the 40’s. A light jacket is the most that is needed. While the sun is definitely encouraging to the spirit, the warmer temperature is simply easier to move around. I thought this was more in my head but Susan confirmed that cold weather is hard on people with the spasticity! I felt better in that I knew I was not being a baby. I never want to be a weakling about my partial paralysis. Why? Because there’s too many people who are much less mobile than I and they are so productive. And they smile!

I think I can get the hang of this.