Nurse Practitioner, Medical Mission Volunteer, and Newlywed!
"I live the life I want to live now and my asthma no longer dictates what I can do or where I can go!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I was diagnosed with severe asthma when I was just 9 months old. My asthma was very severe as a small child but improved some during adolescence. It started getting severe again around age 13, and then when I was 17 I ended up in the ICU. From that point on my asthma grew more severe each year and was very difficult to control.
I had tried many medications including Advair™, Dulera™, and Singulair™. When they no longer worked, I moved onto regular nebulizer treatments and courses of steroids. In the years leading up to BT treatment I was using Pulmicort™ (highest dose), XOPENEX HFA™ every 6 hours or more, Zyflo™, and very high doses of steroids. At some point only high doses of intravenous steroids could keep me off a ventilator. I had maxed out on oral prednisone (100mg a day) and it was not working so the doctors put in an IV port so I could have IV steroid treatments at home.
It is an understatement to say that my severe asthma impacted all aspects of my life. I gained weight and was very lethargic from the high doses of steroids. The steroids caused intracranial hypertension which required spinal taps to remove the pressure. I missed out on many important events. My family lived in a rural area and I could not risk being over an hour away from a hospital in case I had a severe attack. I missed the births of nieces and nephews and so many other special occasions.
I graduated early from high school and started nursing school at 16. But by the time I decided to go back to get my masters I could only do it online. If I was hospitalized I would bring my laptop and get my school work done online.
The year before my BT procedure, I was being hospitalized every 3-5 weeks and was intubated several times. After years of suffering, Bronchial Thermoplasty gave me hope for a better future. As a nurse, I had already known about it from clinical trials, but I was way to sick to be considered for the trials. As soon as it was approved by the FDA, I wanted it done.
My Life Today
The procedures went more smoothly than I anticipated given how severe my asthma was at that time. By the third procedure I went home that same day. I did not notice any drastic improvements right away, but within a few months the difference was noticeable.
My asthma is so much better controlled now. I haven't been to the hospital for my asthma since my last BT treatment.
I finished my masters, became a nurse practitioner and even volunteer on medical missions around the world. As a volunteer I travel with a team to countries where medical care is desperately needed. We do everything from surgery, to immunizations, to dental care. I would never have been able to do this work without the improvements in my asthma control.
I've volunteered in Africa, Honduras, Belize, Ecuador, the Philippines and many other countries but it was my first mission after BT to Romania that was extra special. I met my future husband on that mission! We are looking forward to taking more medical missions together in the future.
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.