Jennifer

 

Age: 57

Hometown: Ewa Beach, HI

BT Doctor: Dr. Warren Tamamoto, Pulmonologist

Referring Doctor: N/A

Insurance: Kaiser

BT Procedure Date: Fall 2013

Jennifer

Mom and Grandmother to 3 busy grandsons

"Life gets darker and darker and smaller and smaller when you suffer with severe asthma. Now I am back to having a big full life! My heart is so full. I never thought I could be doing as well as I am today. I am so grateful to Dr. Warren Tamamoto and for the chance to have BT."

My Life Prior to BT:

I was born with asthma and then outgrew it. Just over ten years ago I began working in a moped repair shop and being around the fumes triggered my asthma again. I was about 45 when it returned and it just grew worse as the years went by.

I was constantly sick with my asthma. We tried every inhaler and lots of pills. I would go through an inhaler in less than a month. I was using nebulizers and oxygen all day at home. Sometimes I was so bad that a family member would have to prepare my nebulizer treatments for me. I even went to an allergist and tried the allergy shots, but they did not work. It was to the point where my pulmonologist Dr. Warren Tamamoto put his hands up and said “we are doing all we can” but I was still struggling.

My life became so limited. I rarely left the couch. If I took a shower, I would need my inhaler right therein the bathroom. I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox. Everyone had to do everything for me because even the smallest activity would set off my asthma. I couldn’t work, travel or socialize. I ended up in a wheelchair because I couldn’t get from place to place. People stopped inviting me places because I couldn’t leave the house. Day in and day out, my life revolved around my struggle to breathe.

The side effects from the medications took their toll on me as well. I couldn’t take a tapering dose of the steroids. I had to take 5mg a day for over 2 years straight. I was constantly jittery and suffered with weight gain. My face looked like it was inflated with helium. My bones suffered as well. I have had two hip replacements and still have joint pains. My orthopedic surgeon told me with the amount of prednisone I took over the years that he would surely be seeing me again.

I was visiting my doctor’s office monthly and there were frequent ER trips. As my asthma grew more severe I became a regular at the hospital. When I was admitted, at least a few times a year, I stayed anywhere from 7 to 21 days. All the nurses knew me. It got to the point where they expected to see me.

I was lucky that I had a good support system because I needed a lot of help. Eric, my partner of 24 years,my daughter Jessica, my son-in-law Eddie and of course my three handsome grandsons, were always there for me.

When my grandsons were young I was so sick with my asthma and it was very hard. They came home from school and would always see me on the couch sick. They were my biggest motivation to try and get better. I knew I wanted to leave a different legacy for them. One where they remembered a grandmother who played with them, took them places, and spent quality time with them creating positive memories.

My daughter made posters when I first started going to the hospital. The first one was full of photos of the boys and warm wishes. Then it became so frequent that the last one she made said “just get better already.”  After a while I didn’t want her and the boys to come to the hospital. I didn’t want the little ones to see me sick.

I first heard about Bronchial Thermoplasty on the TV. I immediately knew this was what I needed. I talked to the doctor right away. It took a couple of years to get it all worked out, but I did not hesitate to be his first case. I thought of this as a blessing!

My Life Today:

I did get a touch of pneumonia after each procedure, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again in a heartbeat. It has made a dramatic difference to my quality of life.

About 3 weeks after the last procedure I was trying to fall asleep but I couldn’t. Something wasn’t right. I realized it was too quiet. I wasn’t wheezing. That’s when I realized I was getting better and it just improved from there. I’ve had no ER visits or hospitalizations since my BT. 

I am a new woman now. I can travel, meet friends for lunch, and best of all, I can keep up with my three busy grandsons. They are so excited to see me now because we can go do things together. I can cook for them.They ask me to make their favorite foods and I can do it. I have more purpose to my life now.

I joke that now I am a domestic goddess now. I can do the laundry,shop, and keep my house in order. I weed the yard every day, just because I can! And, there is so much less pressure on my family. They don’t have to constantly worry about me being alone.

I had a two week trip to Japan and Korea in August 2015. I didn't miss a beat there.  I was able to enjoy every single step. We walked at least 8 miles a day and no asthma problems for me!

I have a whole new lease on life. I’m not just surviving anymore, I am LIVING. I will always have asthma,but now when I have an attack my inhaler works versus the pharmacy of medications that I had before that never really did the job.

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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