Mission Viejo, CA
At 82 years young, Dyan is enjoying her active lifestyle again!
Age at Treatment: 82
Hospital: Hoag Hospital
Date of Procedure: October 2022
Life Before Zephyr® Valves:
I was first diagnosed with COPD in 2005. Eventually, I retired from my job as the office manager at my husband’s law firm, but I was still doing some volunteer work. I played tennis, took yoga classes, and walked three miles a day with a group of friends. I was enjoying a very active life.
As time went on and my symptoms got progressively worse, it really changed my life completely. I had to give up most of my activities. I couldn’t walk with my friends any longer because I couldn’t keep up with them. Nor could I do much around the house. If I prepared dinner, I’d be too exhausted to eat it. We live in a senior community and there are lots of activities. I loved dancing, but when I couldn’t dance anymore, I didn’t want to attend anything.
I was only hospitalized one time in 2011 due to a major exacerbation. I came home and Dr. Tran, my internist, was not happy with my bloodwork. At her urging, I went back in for a CT scan and was hospitalized for 3 more days and came home on Christmas Eve with a pic line because of a lung abscess. I was on intravenous antibiotics for three weeks. I think being in good physical condition helped me through that ordeal.
I began using oxygen but only at night. My shortness of breath became so bad that I was losing control of my bladder and bowels. If not for my husband Sheldon, who is 86, I’d be in assisted living. I needed anti-anxiety pills because leaving the house was such a challenge. I worried about where the bathrooms were, how far I would have to walk, and I was carrying portable oxygen around.
I had done research on the valves and watched all the videos online. I asked my pulmonologist about them, but he did not recommend me for them at the time. He said that I wouldn’t qualify. In the summer of 2022, he suggested I look into them. He said “things change” and we started the process. Dr. Javier Longoria evaluated me and said “I think I can help you!!!” I was gung-ho and ready to get it done that day!
Life After Zephyr Valves:
I was the first patient that Dr. Longoria placed valves in at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Orange County, California. For me, the bulk of the damage is in my lower left lobe. When I looked at the scan, that lobe was all black so I got 5 valves in that area. My procedure went very well and when I woke up from the anesthesia, I honestly felt the difference right away.
Doctor Longoria said I was the classic candidate to benefit from the valves. I am lucky not to have any other major health issues aside from the emphysema.
Since the procedure I’ve resumed living life again. I don’t need the oxygen anymore, although my doctor told me that most people still need to use their oxygen. I walk up hill, walk up steps; it’s incredible the difference it’s made. I haven’t needed anxiety pills anymore. I’m not playing tennis yet, but I participate in exercise class three times a week. I am back to walking, not with the group yet, but I’m building myself back up.
Our daughter lives in a very remote area of Costa Rica, way down in the southern end near Panama. I helped her build a home there that I’ve never seen. Through calls, texting, and Facetime, we could help her make decisions on her house but it’s not the same as being there. Although I would love to go see her home, my doctor is very leery about me traveling to a country that may not have the facilities or knowledge to treat me. My doctor cautioned us that if I were to have any medical emergency, help would be too far away.
So, there are still limitations, but having the valves has truly given me my life back. I’m really enjoying living again. My advice to others who are thinking about getting valves is “go get evaluated.” I have been very active on Facebook being an advocate for Zephyr Valves. If someone is afraid, I tell them “You have nothing to lose.” Better to try than regret not at least checking it out.
“One side effect I’ve had is a cough, but that is minor compared to what I was like before the procedure. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is. I think the valves are the most wonderful thing since sliced bread!”
Results may vary.
Complications of the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment can include but are not limited to pneumothorax, worsening of COPD symptoms, hemoptysis, pneumonia, dyspnea and, in rare cases, death.