Julie

 

Age: 38

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

BT Doctor: Dr. Dennis Parker, M.D.

Referring Doctor: N/A

Insurance: Web TPA (private employer-owned insurance)

BT Procedure Date: Summer 2014

Julie

Works in Nuclear Medicine, Enjoys Golfing and Travel

"This has drastically changed my life. I want to talk about it and help spread the word so others can benefit too."

My Life Prior to BT:

I've had asthma since I was two years old and I was severe from early on. As a child I was hospitalized once a month and a ventilator was always close by. I was never the kid who had perfect attendance. I missed school often because of my asthma. 

Over the years we tried many medications, Xolair™, Advair™, numerous inhalers, and of course lots of prednisone. I needed 2-3 nebulizer treatments per day and I would need my inhaler 10-12 times a day. Even with all the medications I would still end up in the hospital at least once a year. My whole life revolved around managing the beast called asthma!

It impacted all aspects of my life. I couldn't play sports growing up. I had issues sleeping. I actually bought a special bed, like a hospital bed, with a back that goes up. Oklahoma City is quite windy and the wind and cold air would cause my asthma to flare up. Really any drastic temperature changes and I was off to the ER. 

As an adult I took up golfing and it's become a real passion of mine. However my asthma often decided whether I could play or not. On windy days or days when my asthma was acting up I would have to pass on golf. Even when I did play I would always use rescue medication before, during, and after and I always rode in a golf cart to each hole. The walking was just not possible.

I first heard about BT from a friend who had seen a news story about it. I asked my allergist what he thought and he referred me to Dr. Parker. We knew I needed this but getting insurance on board was challenging. 

The company I work for has its own internal health insurance plan. It took about nine months to get BT approved. I had gone to a lecture my pulmonologist did on BT and visited with him after this talk. We talked about how frustrating I was that it was still being denied. Well after that I decided to take it to the Chief Medical Officer of the company. I explained that I work for a healthcare company and the device for the procedure was at one of our hospitals and it just didn't make sense that they would not approve this for me. Well, it was worth the fight. They not only approved BT for me but approved it for all company employees moving forward. 

I had almost given up but I am so glad I kept pushing because in a way I blazed a trail for other employees who may need to have this done.

My Life Today:

The procedures went pretty smoothly for me. I was able to go home the same day. I will say though it was about 10 days of increased symptoms but then things settled down. It took a while for the results to become obvious. About six months out from treatment I started to realize "wow I'm doing pretty good here." I could walk to the mailbox without wheezing and my asthma was not reacting to the changes in weather like it had before. Before BT, October to March was the worst time for my asthma but last year, I breezed right through that time of year.

It's been over two years and I am as healthy as I've ever been. I am golfing more and better yet, I can walk the courses now! I miss less work. I have had no ER visits and I can honestly say I've only needed one burst of steroids for a severe flare up in the past two years. Before BT, I needed one per month!

There has been a big change in my energy level and ability to do the things I want to do. I have gone on numerous golf trips that wouldn't have been possible. There is a group of us girls that travel together. We recently went all the way to Cape Cod. We golfed, took the boat over to Martha's Vineyard, and then spent some days touring around Boston. I walked all around town with no issues. One day was even cold, wet, and rainy. Normally that would be a day I would stay in because of my asthma. It was no problem at all this time.

I used to have inhalers everywhere. They were in my car, purse, desk, and on my night stand. My whole life revolved around being ready for the next attack. My family worried constantly. I would always have to text my mom in the morning so she knew I was okay. Now they don't have to worry so much. It's less stress for everyone.

For about six months now I get up every morning and walk between two and three miles. I'm losing weight and just living such a healthier lifestyle. I can even mow the lawn now! Such a simple thing, but I never would have mowed the lawn before BT.

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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