Proud dad and pediatric ER RN who loves the outdoors
"I am doing this interview while hiking with my baby in the carrier on me. Think about that. I went from being stuck on the couch with a nebulizer, to hiking with my children while talking. If that is not a success story, I don’t know what is!"
My Life Prior to BT:
I’ve had asthma most of my life and it was always severe. Growing up I was not able to participate in sports. I could never run the mile in gym class. I had to have an inhaler at all times.
As an adult, asthma continued to have a big impact on my life. I always had issues with sleeping because of my severe asthma. I had a nebulizer by my bed for 30+ years because I often woke 2-3 times a night with breathing trouble. I often had to miss work. I would guess that I missed about 20 to 30 days a year because of my asthma. I only work three days a week so that was a significant amount of calling in sick. I actually had to use FMLA leave because I would run out of sick time.
In the years leading up to BT I took Singulair™ and Symbicort™. I used an albuterol inhaler and a nebulizer several times a day and still needed 10mg of prednisone daily. If I tried to wean off the steroids, I ended up in the ER. I had several ER trips a year. They would want to admit me most of the time but as a typical stubborn RN, I would refuse.
In the years before BT my asthma-related quality of my life really plummeted. I couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t play with my children. I had to avoid all types of exercise and could not be outdoors much. Managing my severe asthma was the whole focus of my days, and that is tough when you have a career and a young family.
When my pulmonologist talked to me about BT I did do some research and talked to the respiratory therapists that I worked with at the hospital.
My Life Today:
The BT procedures went pretty smooth for me. I went home the same day and did not have any complications. The recovery from the first two procedures was not bad at all. I just rested for a day or two. I will be totally honest though, the third and final procedure was a longer recovery. I felt like complete garbage and did cough up some blood. Looking back now though, it was 100% worth it.
For the first couple of months I really did not think that BT worked for me but two months after that last treatment I started to notice small improvements. I started to feel better and definitely saw a reduction in the amount of flare ups. It was a gradual improvement and not an overnight change.
Now more than a year has passed since my treatment and I can say that not only did BT work for me but it was truly a game changer. This past year I have not missed any work because of asthma flare-ups! Finally having my severe asthma under control has made life so much easier. I play with my kids. I go outside with them. We take hikes. These simple things were not even possible for me when my severe asthma was uncontrolled.
This past year my severe asthma did not hold me back from doing two 5K races. Now this is a big deal for the kid who was not allowed to run the mile in gym class! I ran that first race with my 8 year old son by my side. I received the first medal of my life. It was an amazing moment.
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.