Retired medical professional, Mother of 3, and Grandma to 3 young grandchildren
"I am happy to share my story because I feel like I need to give back. I am so grateful for BT. It gave me my life back. I will now get to see my grandchildren grow up and travel with my husband. I will get to live my life on my terms and not my asthma's."
My Life Prior to BT:
My husband and children have suffered from mild-moderate asthma their whole lives, but I was only diagnosed with asthma myself in October 2012. I really couldn't understand why I developed such severe asthma and it really made my life feel out of control. From 2012 on, I got progressively worse.
I was constantly sick and on prednisone. I rarely went to the ER for exacerbations. I would manage it at home, usually taking 60mg prednisone tapers. I was never able to fully come off of it. As soon as I would taper down, I would have another attack and the cycle would start all over again. I had environmental triggers and others irritants. Perfumes were horrible. I had to avoid department stores' perfume areas. I had a terrible attack while flying because I was sitting next to a woman with a strong perfume. A plane is a scary place to be having a bad attack.
Before my severe asthma I used to love hanging out with friends, being social, walking the dog, gardening. I could clean my 2-story home by myself and I always took the 8 flights of stairs at work. But that way of life changed drastically as my asthma progressed. I basically became homebound. I couldn't walk without wheezing. My husband had to drive me to work and drop me at the door because I couldn't walk from parking lot to the office without having an issue. I no longer took the stairs, only the elevator. My fingernail beds started to turn blue because I wasn't getting enough oxygen.
Of course like so many others, I suffered with the side effects of the medications. I gained weight and in my husband's words "prednisone made her mean and angry." I couldn't sleep in the bedroom because I had to sleep sitting up in a recliner. The year leading up to BT I was a prisoner in my own home. It was tough on me and on my family.
I was denied coverage for the BT procedure multiple times by my insurance, but Dr. McVay and Saint Francis Medical Center fought on my behalf and presented my case to Humana and it was approved on a one off basis of medical necessity. I really encourage anyone whose been denied to appeal and have your doctors write letters on your behalf.
My Life Today
For me the procedures were very easy. I expected to feel bad after each procedure, but I had none of the side effects described to me. I don't think I realized how bad I had been before BT until I began to breathe normal again sometime after the 3rd procedure.
My life has changed so much for the better since BT. I am back to sleeping in my own bed. I can do the daily things again too. I clean the house, walk the dog, and garden. I love flower gardening and now I can be out there gardening and playing with my grandkids.
I have not needed steroids for any severe flare ups since I had BT. I still have asthma but when I feel any asthma symptoms coming on, I usually just leave the area and it resolves, or use my inhaler and it works great for me now.
Before BT, I was a prisoner in my own home, now I am planning to retire soon and my husband and I are going to travel the country. Travelling would not have been possible when my asthma was so severe.
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.