Our Ambassadors

The decision to undergo treatment with an implantable therapy is deeply personal and very complex. If you suffer from chronic pain or Parkinson's disease, your doctor will be the main source of information about these therapies. However, many people suggest that it can help to talk to someone who has undergone a similar experience.

Our Ambassadors have agreed to share their personal stories with you - including their reasons for choosing an implantable therapy and how it has affected their lives. Our ambassadors are also happy for you to contact them with any questions you have about their experiences.

We hope their contribution will help you to make a confident, informed decision about which treatment option is best for you.

The following articles recount the experiences of people who are using Medtronic therapies to suppress chronic pain and some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Medtronic invited these people to share their stories candidly. As you read them, please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to these particular people. As with all medical treatment not every response is the same - results vary.



A picture of Tess Ambassador 1 - Tess
Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain
Diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain, Tess, a young energetic cross-country runner and a travel enthusiast was forced to put her successful career in global hospitality on hold. Spinal cord stimulation helped Tess regain her life. She has reduced her medication intake by half and is feeling optimistic about the future. Says Tess, "I am able to set goals like planning a holiday and starting to grow our family. It may be the smallest thing to others, but it is big to me."

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A picture of Claire Ambassador 2 - Claire
Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain
As a hairstylist, netballer and lover of the outdoors, Claire spent a lot of time on her feet, as well as in pain. Claire first experienced lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease in 2002, while in her early 20s but it was not until 2011 that she started having nerve pain in both legs. Claire underwent spinal cord stimulation, and says "I feel good, look forward to getting up and making most out of my days. I'm also looking forward to travelling with my partner."

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A picture of Neil Ambassador 3 - Neil
Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease
Neil's Parkinson's disease was controlled in the early years following his diagnosis, by medication. Over time however, the medications became less effective and the side-effects were intolerable; to the point where Neil couldn't do anything with his family and grandchildren. Neil underwent deep brain stimulation in November 2005, and the improvement was immediate. Says Neil, "I have 95 percent of my life back."

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A picture of Wendy Ambassador 4 - Wendy
Neurostimulation for chronic pain
Wendy's experience with chronic pain began five years ago, when what should have been a simple operation to fix a hiatus hernia and reflux went drastically wrong. Chronic pain sent Wendy's life on a downward spiral, leading to the loss of custody of her son. Since having neurostimulation in 2005, Wendy has regained custody of her son, taken on many new activities, and has a whole new outlook on life. Says Wendy, "The neurostimulator gave me back my life."

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A picture of Ian Ambassador 5 - Ian
Intrathecal drug delivery for chronic pain
Ian led an active life until two vehicle accidents left him with chronic pain. Ian tried a number of options before being implanted with an intrathecal drug delivery pump. Now, Ian is back to leading a normal life. "I can't live without it. It's as simple as that."

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A picture of Shona Ambassador 6 - Shona
Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain
Shona was 26 years of age when her chronic pain began as the result of a work injury. Shona lived in a fog for the next 12 months, from the side effects of her medication, before trying surgery which helped her back problems but didn't help the pain. Shona was then implanted with a spinal cord stimulator, and says "I wouldn't be without it. I can't believe what a difference it has made; it's given me control back of my life."

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A picture of Helen Ambassador 7 - Helen
Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain
Helen suffered from chronic pain as a result of bowel dysmotility, and oral medications were not an option because they aggravated her condition. Eventually, Helen underwent spinal cord stimulation, allowing her to "keep off medication completely."

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