Proud dad who enjoys traveling and cycling.
"Having BT was one of the best decisions of my life! I feel like I have new lungs!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I had my first asthma episode when I was 6 months old. By the time I was 4 years old the doctors were telling my parents to take me back to Puerto Rico where they were from because the cold weather of New York was triggering my asthma. Well, we went back to Puerto Rico and it didn’t get any better.
Growing up I would spend a week or two in the hospital every month. I missed school, beach days, and family trips. It was hard but that was my life.Being a Hispanic, we celebrated many activities with family all the time. There’s always a Quinceañera, but I often missed out because I was hospitalized or recovering from a severe attack.
When people ask me, “How does it feel to have severe asthma?” the best description that I can give them is to take a straw, put it in your mouth, run at least 4 stories of stairs and while breathing only through that straw.
At one point in 9th grade I was in intensive care hooked up with a bunch of machines when the doctor told my mom and my dad, “Just go to the chapel and pray because I don’t know if your son’s going to make it tonight because there’s nothing else that science can do for your son.” That was the only time I ever saw my father cry.
As I grew older my asthma did not improve. I did nebulizer treatments every 3-4 hours 365 days a year. In 1995 I had 7 admissions to the hospital for asthma. I had to take a year off of work and ended up losing my job.It was very stressful physically and mentally. Here I am supposed to be the strong one and my wife is working overtime and working nights. Her income had to cover everything and we had big medical expenses with all my hospital co-pays and medications costs.
My asthma continued to grow worse.My daughter was active in sports but I had to miss so many of her activities, important moments I won’t get back.I had to quit my hobbies of biking and martial arts. Just walking a short distance from my room to the kitchen I was fatigued and completely out of breath. I couldn’t go shopping or help out much at home. I gained a lot of weight and developed diabetes, hypertension, GERD, and problem with my kidneys: all side effects of taking steroids for many years. It was a terrible quality of life.
I was out of options and as soon as the Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System was FDA approved, my doctor recommended it. He appealed the insurance for me and it was approved. I was 100% for it and didn’t hesitate to have it done.
My Life Today
For me the three procedures went pretty smoothly. I went in as an outpatient and four hours later I was home. No hospital admission. I felt discomfort in my throat, similar to what you would feel with a standard bronchoscopy. My lungs were wheezy but that was expected short term and once that passed I just kept getting better and better.
Now I am three years out and I can say BT has been a life changer for me. A miracle for my lungs! Imagine 46 ½ years of suffering and now I’m enjoying life without the worry of severe exacerbations. I feel like I’ve been reborn; no Christmas present could compare!
I’ve been able to go back to riding my bicycle. I’ve been able to do the things that I haven’t done for a long, long time. I am able to travel again. I go to my daughter’s soccer games, shop with my wife, cut the grass and work on my car. I even went back to the gym. I feel so much healthier now.
I have not needed steroids for severe attacks since BT. I’ve had no acute attacks.And we are saving so much money. No more copays because I’ve had no ER visits or hospitalizations since BT! I still have asthma but now my daily maintenance medications work just fine and it is well controlled.
Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.
Brief Statement of Relevant Indications for Use, Contraindications, Warnings, and Adverse Events: The Alair™ Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists. The Alair System is not for use in patients with an active implantable electronic device or known sensitivity to medications used in bronchoscopy. Previously treated airways of the lung should not be retreated with the Alair System. Patients should be stable and suitable to undergo bronchoscopy. The most common side effect of BT is an expected transient increase in the frequency and worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. ENDO-551804-AA
As with any procedure, there are risks, and individual results may vary. The most common adverse event of BT is a temporary worsening of respiratory-related symptoms. These events typically occur within one day of the BT procedure and usually resolve within a week with standard care. There is a small risk (3.4% per procedure) that symptoms may require hospitalization.1
- Castro M, et al, for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:116-124.