The current levels of medications no longer effectively manage the pain. Lantz has worked full-time for the state of Washington for 31 years. His attendance record has been near perfect, until the events of 2017.
A trial for a Spinal Cord Stimulator "SCS" proved to successfully manage the many areas of pain. The success of the trial determined the need to move forward with a permanent SCS implant.
The need for funds is to help with the cost of the sugery, which the insurance does not cover. Lantz has provided us with further details to his story.
Chronic Pain History
I’ve been in chronic pain since a 12/24/1999 auto accident. While in my Dodge Neon, I was “rear-ended” in a pile-up by an SUV going 50mph. I was sitting still after nearly hitting the car in front of me, when the impact took place. My arms and legs were stretched out tense on the steering wheel and brake.
After 2 years of dealing with most of the “accident pain” I was left with chronic pain in my lower back and left side of my body. I sought out chiropractors, massage therapy, physical therapy, orthopaedic surgeons, prolotherapy, and acupuncture.
Eventually I found Dr. Ross Vogelgesang with St. Peters Hospital’s Pain Center in Olympia, WA (now at Alliance Pain Clinic) who helped me get to a manageable, daily average level 5 pain. (Level 5 - “Patient is able to attend to activities of daily living as well as activities of shopping, appointments without or with minimal assistance.”)
My regular monthly visits at Alliance are now handled by Erin Henderson ARNP. She is very understanding and caring as you can see from this video.
A Washington state executive order was passed, forcing the reduction of pain medication for all patients statewide. This order did not fully address those individuals, like myself, who for many years strictly managed their medication under doctor’s guidance (Seattle Times and Spokesman articles). It did not offer any alternatives to the pain management I had been receiving.
Prior to 2017
My pain management medication has allowed me to live with level 5 pain daily, with spikes taking me to level 8 if overexerting myself on the weekend. Even with level 8 pain I could recoup within a day. Lyrica (started August 2016) was helping me to sleep at nights.
The mandated medication reduction (10% monthly) process started. The Alliance Pain Clinic chose to follow the CDC’s MED (morphine equivalency dosage) Guidelines.
Since then my condition progressively worsened with each month’s reduction. Existing pain worsened at the same time more and more new areas of pain and/or issues appeared. Medication became less and less effective. Lyrica no longer helps me sleep because the pain is too overpowering.
By December, my medication no longer effectively managed the pain, nor did any other recent medical procedures, such as spinal injections.
Erin Henderson suggested a spinal cord stimulator “SCS” trial.
SCS has been around for years, but a completely new high-frequency version “HF10” has been available in Europe and Australia since 2011, and received FDA approval in the United States in 2015 having great results.
Video and Article – published September 2016
Early article on the case study, published July 2015
High-frequency spinal cord stimulation 'more effective for chronic pain'
Monday, 12-25-2017 to Monday, 01-01-2018
With the latest required reduction of medicine I could not get my back pain, nor sciatica under control during this time. Worst week of my life! Scheduled SCS Trial for 01-23-2018.
I tried returning to work and spent two days barely containing the pain. The third day I went to the floor due to sciatica and back pain. I spent nearly an hour trying to stand. My supervisor was with me. I had to leave early. The 25-mile drive home was dangerous due to crippling pain. I parked the car in my driveway and spent 20 minutes hunched over in the passenger seat until I could gain enough strength to go inside.
I continued to experience level 7-8 pain during the following days. Debilitating sciatica in my leg, along with back pain has made it nearly impossible to stand or even think straight. I used to be able to get it under control, but now it goes on for hours and days.
Level 7 - Patient is able to only minimally function to attend appointment. Patient does not dress beyond their bedroom attire or more than minimal attention to hygiene. Cannot work, shop or safely drive a vehicle.
Level 8 - Patient is rocking and moaning. Inability to write, concentrate on conversation as all efforts are focused on containing pain reactions, sometimes unsuccessfully.
After 14 straight days of excruciating pain I called the clinic and begged them to get me in sooner for SCS trial. They rescheduled me for Wednesday, 01-10-2018.
7-Day Trial of Nevro HF10 Spinal Cord Stimulator
My SCS 7-day trial was handled at the pain clinic. Each program level (21 total) takes several hours for your body to acclimate to and affects different parts of the spinal cord/body.
By the 5th day of the trial the results were very, very promising! Because I have been through so many failed procedures over 17 years, I wondered if it was a fluke, that is until the device was turned off two days later. Then I knew it had been working.
The day after the SCS device was turned off, the clinic removed it and I had my regular monthly visit with Erin Henderson. After we discussed the results of the trial and upon seeing my returning conditions, I told her I was moving forward with the permanent SCS implant.
Permanent Implant of Nevro HF10 SCS
Insurance will not cover an SCS implant for WA state employees. I paid out of pocket for the trial because something had to be done. Had my insurance covered this, I would have been able to go straight from trial to permanent implant surgery and be back to work in a fairly reasonable time. I am currently working with Olympia Orthopaedic Associates on the cost of surgery.
Olympia Orthopaedic Associates has informed me the surgery will cost $31,000.”