In 2007 when Andrea Snyder was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, she knew she was in for a lengthy ordeal. What she had not expected, however, was for her health issues to continue even after the cancer had been successfully treated. She experienced intense, intractable pain in her leg, where the cancer had been removed. After trying various treatments, she wound up with a prescription for long-term narcotic medication. But even that didn’t stop the pain.
“[It was] seven years of misery,” Andrea remembers. “You can’t really perform the daily activities of your life, you know? You can’t work any more, you know, you’ve got kids, you’re not sleeping well, you don’t even want to get off the couch.” Slowly, Andrea came to realize that her pain wasn’t just physical — she was missing out on life.
After finding Dr. Kamson and the Spine Institute Northwest, Andrea — herself a physician — opted for a new course of treatment with a spinal pain pump. A pain pump is surgically implanted beneath the skin, and with a catheter running to the pain’s precise location, medication can be pumped directly into the spinal fluid. For many patients, this drastically cuts down the dose of medication that is needed, and the medication often provides even better pain relief with fewer side effects.
Though she was not sure whether a pain pump was the right path to try, Andrea went ahead with it and now says she has “no regrets at all.” She no longer requires any oral medication for her pain, and is back to working and spending time with her family. Her advice for those with chronic pain? “Take that leap, and [don’t] be afraid of making that decision.”
Hear more of Andrea’s story in her own words: