Diane

 

Age: 58

Hometown: Windham, ME

BT Doctor: Dr. Carla Lamb

Referring Doctor: N/A

Insurance: Medicare and United Healthcare Supplemental

BT Procedure Date: Winter 2012

Diane

Mom and Grandma of five, who loves snowmobiling and the outdoors

My Life Prior to BT:

I’ve had allergic asthma since I was a child. I am allergic to Christmas trees, latex, iodine, grass, hay, mold, mildew, flowers, nuts, and more. Severe asthma was a big part of my life. I was limited as to what I could play as a child. I had to avoid certain types of weather. The heat and humidity were the worst for me. My parents thought they were helping by filling the room with steam, but steam was the worst for me. To this day I can’t go in a sauna. 

I’ve tried so many medications. Back in the day I used Primatene Mist™ and epinephrine. I also tried Singulair™, Flovent™, Advair™, albuterol and of course prednisone. I would say I was more on than off of the steroids throughout my life. It took a toll on my bones. I have osteopenia now and have regular bone scans. I also used my nebulizer and rescue inhaler multiple times every day. When I was working, I would have to take my nebulizer into the bathroom to do breathing treatments. 

My husband and I have been married for 44 years and he will tell you, I was in the hospital up to 3 times per year. Our kids thought it was a normal thing for mom to go to the hospital. My daughter actually became an RN because of me and all she had seen me go through.

2009 was the worst year of my life. I had pneumonia three times. In October we were at our cottage in Northern Maine and I had a severe flare up. Our kids drove 7 hours to Northern Maine because they were not sure if I would make it. It’s very rural in Northern Maine and the nearest pulmonologist would not come to see me because my insurance was not in his network. I ended up being air lifted to a larger hospital in Portland and was placed in an induced coma for 14 days. That is when my pulmonologist researched BT for me and referred me to Dr. Lamb. I did not hesitate to get BT. I trusted my pulmonologist and I was just so ready to try something that might help.

My Life Today

The procedures went well and I was able to go home the same day. The third and final treatment took a bit longer to recover from. I just took it easy and slept in the spare bedroom sitting up. Looking back, it was a big commitment to drive from Maine to Burlington, MA many times for the appointments and treatments, but I can say that it was 100% worth every trip! 

It has been many years since my BT and I am still feeling fantastic! I’ve had no hospitalizations for my asthma since the treatment. Of course I have had colds and needed a few short bursts of steroids here and there, but the colds have not lasted as long and have not turned into pneumonia like they used to.

I can truly say that BT was a life changer for me. I love the outdoors but before, just going for a walk was difficult. I would be walking behind everyone with my inhaler. Now I can enjoy all outdoor activities like snowmobiling and fishing! We go up to our cottage in Northern Maine for several months a year, the same place I was air lifted from before BT, and I don’t worry at all now. I can go out in the boat without worrying about having a severe asthma attack. 

My worst fear for a long time was dying from an asthma attack. It’s an awful feeling, like drowning and being under water. My doctor had said I was a “death asthmatic”, which basically means you are someone who is most likely going to die from a severe asthma attack. I had been intubated and on life support and now I just go about my life without any worry about my severe asthma because it is finally under control. It’s almost hard to explain how freeing it has been.

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

Reference

  1. Castro M, et al, for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:116-124.
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