"I am so grateful for this procedure. It gave me my life back!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I had chronic bronchitis as a child and walking pneumonia for most years during October through March. Back then they labeled it as chronic respiratory distress. I was officially diagnosed with asthma at 25.
We tried many medications over the years including Singulair™, Qvar™, Advair™, Flonase™, Allegra™, and of course chronic prednisone. I was using my inhaler way past the prescribed amount, maybe 8 or more times a day. I was seeing urgent care weekly and twice within the year leading up to my BT, they called the ambulance from urgent care. I was hospitalized often and intubated twice in years leading up to BT.
My quality of life was pretty low. The side effects from the steroids made life miserable. Prednisone made me a little crazy and constantly hungry! I would eat small nations. I was literally eating full meals every 2 hours. I would try to work out but I had to be with a trainer for safety. Several times my trainer had to give me a breathing treatment mid-workout. Between the constant hunger and not being able to work out much, I gained a significant amount of weight. At my highest, I weighed 317lbs.
Not only was my asthma making me physically suffer, there was a big mental component to it. I became a shut-in at some points. When we had the huge fires out here in California, I was not allowed to go outside. I was like a prisoner in my own house. If I did have to leave, I had to wear masks. I lost friends because I could not go to social events. And when I did see people, the first words that always came out of their mouths were “how is your breathing.” I hated being identified by my asthma. I actually lost my cool with a friend because “there was more to me than my asthma.” I left Facebook because I was tired of posts asking about my asthma. I was bigger than this, but that is how people saw me; as a guy who couldn’t breathe.
I had to go on disability because I couldn’t work and when I went back to graduate school it was very difficult. I was missing classes and the administration was encouraging me to take a medical leave from school until I could get my asthma under control. I was in class one day and had a severe attack and they had to call 911. I called Dr. Thomas that night and I said we have to get this BT thing done.
Once we decided to move forward with Bronchial Thermoplasty we had to deal with insurance. It took a little bit, but it was not too bad. We had to run tests (spirometry, etc.) and my scores sealed the deal. It was obvious that I needed this.
My Life Today
The procedures went well. I was hypersensitive after each procedure as expected. I have severe allergies and the Santa Ana winds were acting up, so that didn’t help my recovery. I had a short hospital stay after the third procedure. But since then, my asthma control has improved immensely!
After BT my sister came to visit and we walked in a garden for a few hours catching up and this is just something I wouldn’t have been able to do. I actually cried. I felt so liberated.
It was a couple of months after BT before it really sunk in how much my life had changed. My partner and I went to Mexico for the first time about 2 months after treatment. I was boating, swimming in the ocean, walking the beach and my asthma was no problem. I had my moment of realizing that BT had worked and my life was going to be very different and so much better moving forward.
I can’t begin to explain how my life has changed since BT. I swim laps now, lift weights and lead a much healthier life. People don’t recognize me now. And I no longer make people feel uncomfortable because I am no longer coughing incessantly or having near death attacks.
How is life now? Life is grand! I was able to get off disability, finish school, and just get on with my life. I recently got engaged in Chicago. Just travelling to Chicago wouldn’t have been possible before BT. It was such a special moment. I proposed up on the observation window of the Sears Tower, the day after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality for all Americans.
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.