PhD, Program Director, proud father and grandfather
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
BT Doctor: Dr. James L. Knepler
BT Procedure Date: Spring 2012
I was diagnosed with severe asthma when I was just one year old. There was some improvement during my teenage years, but I have lived with severe asthma for all of my adulthood. Over the years we tried so many medications to try and get my asthma to a place where it was controlled. We tried Xolair™, Singulair™, Qvar™, Advair 550™, Flonase™, Allegra™, Prolair™, albuterol, and of course Prednisone. I used my rescue inhalers 8-12 times a day and required nebulizer treatments about every 3 weeks. I tried really hard to stay ahead of my attacks to avoid the ER but still needed a trip there every 10 months or so. I was hospitalized a few times as well. One of the worst parts of asthma is dealing with all of the medication side effects. I took a lot of Prednisone and really suffered for it. My side effects included adrenal failure which caused terrible pain and fatigue, and of course weight gain.
Once I decided to move forward with Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT), it took a while to get the insurance coverage for it. I went through several rounds of appeals with my health insurance company, including rounds where my doctors sent letters on my behalf. The final option was to take it to medical arbitration. I had nothing to lose, though my expectations weren’t high after being denied so many times already. I felt lucky when the arbitrator ruled on my behalf in October of 2012! I started my BT procedures just a few weeks later.
The impact BT had for me is quite dramatic. I have overall better asthma control. Having struggled my whole life, almost daily, with asthma, so to finally be living a life that is not centered on my asthma control is amazing. Traveling is so much easier now. Last year alone I visited Islamabad, Bangkok, Seoul, and Riyadh. There was smog, heat, and dust to deal with in those places but I had no issues with my asthma. I also enjoy hiking, fishing, and hunting. And I am spending much less on my asthma control for sure. I would encourage insurance companies to look at the numbers because I know I am definitely costing them less now!