Mom, Proud Grandma, ER nurse, and Outdoors woman
"I am very grateful I had this done. It has really changed my life for the better. I still have asthma, but now I can manage it and live life on my terms."
My Life Prior to BT:
I had asthma growing up but it didn’t get severe until my late twenties. At that point it became difficult to control. We tried so many of the medications including Advair™, Symbicort™, Pulmicort™, Xopenex™, Spiriva™, and high doses of steroids. The fall and spring were the worst times of the year for me. I would have to do nebulizer treatments at home every 2-3 hours. I would drain my rescue inhalers too. I would go through an inhaler in 2 days sometimes.
At one point they put a pic line in because the steroids would only work if administered through IV. I would go back every day to the doctor’s office to get those infusions. The medications all had their side effects, but the steroids’ were the worst. I needed high doses for such long periods and that really did some damage to my bones. I’ve had hip and shoulder replacement surgeries and I am not even 50 yet.
I’m a nurse at the local ER, so I really tried hard not to go there as a patient. I would be close to my death bed before I’d go. I would even drive myself because I knew I was going to get admitted anyway. I was admitted anywhere from 5-20 times per year.
My severe asthma made just about everything more difficult. I missed work. I would go well over my 12 week FMLA leave. I had issues sleeping. I had to sleep sitting up and my wheezing would often wake me during the night.
I live out in the country and I like going out hunting and fishing but I just couldn’t do that once my asthma became so severe. I loved horseback riding. It was a real passion of mine but I had to sell my horse because of my severe asthma.
When my doctor first spoke to me about BT, I was a little leery because I wasn’t sure how much insurance would cover. The thought of the procedure itself didn’t bother me at all though.
My insurance first denied the procedure, but then a couple of years later the hospital where I worked got a helpline that employees could call with insurance process questions. Well I called right away and complained. I told them that the BT system was at the hospital that I worked at and that I needed this procedure badly and it didn’t look very good that they wouldn’t cover this for me. Within two days I got a call it was approved.
My Life Today:
I actually found the procedures very easy to go through. I went right back to work after the first two, but that wasn’t the best decision in hindsight because I work in the ER. Sure enough I caught something at work and ended up back in the hospital. So for the third and last procedure I took a few more days off to recuperate.
The results were not immediate. It took until the following spring for me to see a big difference. I’ve only been hospitalized 8 times in 3 years vs. up to 20 times per year before BT. And most of the those 8 visits were because I caught strep from working in the ER.
It’s been several years now and I still feel wonderful. I can get up and do stuff. I still don’t go out into the timber in the fall to avoid some of the weeds that I’m allergic too but I fish in the spring and summer. I catch mostly catfish and bass. I can go to our friend’s cabin at the river bottoms with no problem now.
Even everyday tasks are much easier now. I can be around when my son is cutting the grass. Before BT, I would be stuck in a room with an AC. Now I can be home with the windows open and I have no severe asthma issues.
It’s also much less stress on my family. My husband has noticed a huge difference. My family doesn’t worry as much about me and no one has to take care of the dogs while I am in the hospital for long stretches anymore.
I have three labs and my husband got me a topper for my truck so I can take them for rides through the country. I was too darn scared to do that before. I also ride the 4-wheelers more. We live on 90 acres and I can ride the four-wheelers throughout the property without having any issues with my asthma.
I am saving money too. I have fewer asthma bills, like hospital co-pays, and I am able to work more now. The extra money is great.
One of the best parts of my life after BT is that it’s easier to play with my grandson. Especially during the spring which used to be a very tough time for my severe asthma. Now when it starts to warm up, I can go out and play with him. He stays with me every other weekend. It’s such a joy.
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.