In August of 2016, I opted to have a Baclofen pump implanted in my abdomen. It was my hope that the pump would help reduce the spasticity in my affected leg allowing me to run again. Of course my decision was based on more than just running. I wanted to be able to keep up with my boys, be less conscious of how I walk and gain the confidence I had lost. I understood that the pump is only a tool, and I would need to put in the work to reach my goals. And I was and am willing to put in the work. I stretched, exercised and stretched some more. I am putting in the effort to rewire my brain to recognize that my foot is actually a part of my body.
One year and two months later, I have not seen much success from the pump. I noticed small changes like my foot no longer curls up allowing me to wear sandals again (yay!), my foot now lifts completely from the ground allowing for a much easier heel to toe movement. Although it still happens once in a while, my leg no longer swings out from my hip when I walk. Otherwise, the spasticity is still high which results in my leg still feeling like it is 50 pounds heavier than the rest of my body, my knee still does not bend when i walk giving me a very awkward gait and poor balance.
One might think that running is simply putting one foot in front of the other in a faster pace than walking.HA! The biomechanics of running is complicated so I will not even try to explain, but let the experts educate you.
All my life I have been conditioned to listen to my doctor and to follow orders without question. After all, doctors know everything, right? Naah.
My email to my doctor got an auto “out of office reply” so I am waiting for him to get back so I could discuss my issue with the pump. I have been warned that the tone in my leg might be what is holding me up. Hence, the hesitation to raise the dose. I have told the doctor that I feel it is much easier to work with no tone, than too much tone. I’ve not tested this theory, but i am willing to try if I am given the chance. I am willing to take the chance. So, bring it on!
I understand doctors are cautious, I understand there are protocols to follow but I know my body. I know how far and how hard I can push myself.
The New York City Marathon is happening next weekend. NYCM is my bucket list race and it was my goal to run the 26.2 miles this year. I have not given up.
I may have overestimated the “power” of the ITB pump, but I do know that I had put in the work. And I am willing to put in more.