Property Investor who loves spending time with her children and grandchildren
"Now that my severe asthma is under control, I don’t hesitate to travel anymore. I visit my grandkids and I can run around with my granddaughter. It’s the best."
My Life Prior to BT:
Severe asthma has been a constant presence in my life. As I got older it became harder and harder to keep it under control. In 1986, I was intubated for the first time, then two more times after that. Even with the advances in medications available, I was sick much of the year.
As a child, for years I was given Marax™, as well as adrenaline shots, theophylline and Advair™--even though adulthood. I depended on my rescue inhaler 4-5 times a day, even stock piling them feeling I needed to have it with me at all times. When I had bad flare ups, I would also use the nebulizer. Of course, I was often on prednisone.
My severe asthma impacted my life in so many ways. As a child I missed a LOT of school. Fall was always a tough time for me—missing the county fair every year! All my life I had to avoid outdoors because weather was a trigger. My brothers got to go on all the cool vacations. When you have severe asthma, everything other people ‘just do’, you have to think through. Are there stairs? Is it too hot? Will I be okay? It is often easier to tell others to go and just stay home.
As an adult and a mom, it was even harder and I had three scary severe attacks that required intubation. The first one was the day after my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I was in ICU, I could hear voices but I was all curled up and not able to breathe. I just kept thinking about my husband and little girl. The 2nd time, My husband physically carried me into the hospital and I was not breathing. My mother and father were also there and were sure I was dying. The 3rd time, my parents had to come back from China when I was intubated.
When my doctor first spoke to me about Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT), I was very unsure about it and just wanted to keep trying new medication combinations. The problem was we had tried them all, and my severe asthma was still not well-controlled. So I prayed about it and I talked to a woman who had BT years ago and was so glad she did. I considered it for about a year before moving forward. Once I decided to do it, I was very blessed because my insurance approved it right away.
My Life Today
The three BT procedures all went well for me, but of course there was a recovery time after each one. The coughing lasted the longest after the third and last procedure. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The first difference I noticed was my breathing. I was sitting in church and the preacher said “take a deep breath” and I was able to do it! Before BT I had always been a shallow breather and I had to retrain myself to take bigger, deeper breaths.
Now it’s been almost two years and I am confident that my severe asthma is not in control of me anymore. Since BT, I have had no asthma-related hospitalizations or emergency visits. I used to have to go all the time! My sweet son said to me recently “mom you look so young.” I may look better because I feel better than I have in a very long time.
The best part of life for me now is just doing everyday things that everybody else is doing without being held back by my severe asthma. I was out buying birthday cards and I overheard a woman talking about how bad her asthma was so I had to tell her about BT. It’s just done so much for me, for my family, for my confidence, for my joy; I want people to know about this option. I would absolutely encourage anyone who is suffering with severe asthma to consider 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
- Castro M, et al, for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:116-124.