Housing Assistant Who Loves Quilting, Knitting, and Animals!
"People often comment on how well I look now and I just smile because there are no words to explain how grateful I am. While it is not a cure and I still take medications, I feel like this procedure has given me my life back. My asthma is finally under real control and I don't live in fear of it anymore."
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with adult onset allergic asthma at 30 years old. The first doctor I saw tried many medications and after a severe exacerbation I ended up on 120mg of prednisone which made me extremely manic and unable to sleep. After this, I sought a second opinion.
My new pulmonologist, Dr. Miller, treated me as a whole person and was willing to think outside the box for my asthma treatment. Dr. Miller suggested BT right away but unfortunately my insurance denied it.
It was so frustrating. I felt that if those insurance folks had to live my life for just one day, they would change their mind. We had tried many medications for me including Theophylline, Symbicort™, Pulmicort™, Advair™, Singulair™, Qvar™, Aerobid™ and Xolair™. BT was a last resort for me. I was maxed out on medications and often had to be hospitalized. I was stuck in a vicious cycle.
In 2013 I was hospitalized eight times for my asthma and suffered complications including adrenal failure and cataracts caused by the high-doses of steroids I was taking. During a couple of my hospitalizations the doctors had to do bronchial lavage along with high doses of steroids to treat severe attacks. After that I could no longer use my inhalers and had to take all of my medications by nebulizer.
My hospitalizations continued in 2014, along with a strict regimen of medications that included Ipratropium Bromide, albuterol sulfate, Mucomyst™, budesonide solution, Singulair™, prednisone, Xolair™ shots, and The Vesta™ Airway Clearance System. At that point I actually sat down and ran the numbers. My estimated yearly asthma costs, with just one hospitalization, were close to $100,000 per year!
My health and quality of life continued to deteriorate. Side effects of some of my medications caused osteoporosis and I suffered three compression fractures. My life revolved around my treatments. I couldn't do much or go anywhere because I needed to be home so often for treatments. I also missed a lot work and had to use FMLA leave.
In 2014, my employer changed to a new health insurance provider and along with my doctor, we appealed to this new company. When I was finally approved the focus became getting me well enough to undergo the treatments.
My Life Today
I look back now and realize BT was the beginning of a new life for me.
After the third BT treatment I noticed a dramatic difference. The best way I can describe it to folks is; imagine you have rubber bands around your lungs and someone cuts those bands away. The struggle to breathe was not there anymore. I could breathe without thinking about it.
I don't think I fully realized how much my asthma was impacting my quality of life. Before BT I just worked, took my asthma treatments and slept. I had no energy for anything else.
It has been over a year since my last treatment and my asthma is still well controlled. I no longer schedule my life around having to be home for asthma treatments on machines. I always take the stairs at work and I can even exercise whenever I want now!
The biggest impact of BT for me was in the day to day activities that so many people without asthma take for granted. I clean my house, I work in the yard and I don't miss work anymore because of my asthma.
I also notice a big difference in the winter months. I used to wear a mask and wrap a scarf around my face because cold air was a big trigger for me. I coughed all day at work too. Now the big joke is no one knows where I am anymore because they can't hear me coughing!
In just over a year my life has changed so much. Exercising has allowed me to lose 75lbs, I've adopted a new kitten, and I have even started planning some local travel. And best of all, I've had no hospitalizations for my asthma!
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.