Mom of two grown boys and admin. assistant who loves gardening, exercising, swimming, and dancing
"Severe asthma impacts the whole family. Now that my severe asthma is under control, my husband and sons don’t have to worry so much about my health. I am back to enjoying life…gardening, travelling, and spend time with my family."
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with moderate to severe allergic asthma in the 4th grade. I have allergic asthma that was made worse by being exposed to second hand smoke as a child. In high school it progressed to a point where I had to be in the hospital for severe asthma attacks. Then for many years is was better controlled, but around 48, it took a turn for the worst again. I was hospitalized five times within two years.
In early 2016 my doctors couldn’t figure out why they could not get my breathing under control. Turned out that my IGE levels were over 2000, where they should have been under 150. I had to get Xolair™ shots to break down the IGE levels in my blood. I tried eight different medications including Advair™, Singulair™, Breo™, and Spiriva™ along with nasal sprays. I was also using my albuterol nebulizer 3-4 times daily. I had to drag that machine to and from work with me. I also had to take a lot of prednisone. For me, the steroids caused other problems like high blood pressure, vision issues, back pain and heartburn.
Weight bearing activity was a big trigger along with the weather. I had to avoid humidity, and if it was below freezing I had to wear my mask. I couldn't exercise at all. I couldn't even clean my house or go out to the garden. I missed so much work that my coworkers donated some of their sick time to me to help get me through. I am lucky I live in such a nice community and work with great people.
My severe asthma affected work, play, and all other aspects of my life. Unable to travel, I would miss important family events. If I did go, it was only for a short time. My family worried so much about me. My husband is a fireman and my son is an EMT so they knew how serious my severe asthma attacks were.
When my doctor suggested Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) my husband and I went online and watched all the videos. I joined an online BT social media group and I spoke with a respiratory therapist who had had BT herself. I was convinced that I needed this, but insurance would prove to be another battle.
I was denied twice and appealed. Then my doctor’s office connected with a company that works to appeal denials. With their help we were able to get it approved and I was told that I was the “pilot” for my insurance company. I have a nurse and nutritionist following me so hopefully my story will inspire them to cover BT for others.
My Life Today
The BT procedures went well for me. I was able to go home the same day after each of the three treatments. After my second procedure I did develop thrush. I had to be put on medication to get that under control. I work in a school and am exposed to so many germs, so I took three months off from work to recover.
It was around the six-month mark that the improvements started to become evident. Now it has been a year and I can say that having BT was the best decision! Before my breathing was so labored I could barely finish a sentence and now I can’t stop talking! I am back to work and I’ve only missed two days for a small cold. I still have asthma, but I have a medication regime that works now and I just go about my life. My nebulizer is just collecting dust in the closet!
Now that my severe asthma is controlled again I am back exercising and just feeling great overall. When my husband and I go for walks it’s him who can’t keep up with me now. Now that I can fly again, I am planning some travel. I am going to visit my brothers in Myrtle Beach and then I am going to see Shania Twain in concert in Boston and I plan to dance my heart out!
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.