Retired railroad engineer back fishing in the Florida sunshine and spending time with his wife.
Age at Treatment: 77
Hospital: AdventHealth Tampa – Florida Medical Clinic (Tampa, FL)
Date of Procedure: August 2020
Life Before Zephyr® Valves:
I was fortunate enough to have a job I loved and looked forward to going to every day. I spent 36 years working as an engineer for CSX Railroad. I spent my days on the train seeing parts of Florida many never get to see. I enjoyed fishing, hunting, and spending time with my family and dogs. But as my breathing became worse, the activities I loved to do started decreasing.
I was diagnosed with severe COPD/emphysema at age 62. Even though I quit smoking 24 years ago, the habit still had a severe impact on my lung health. It felt like I was living on my rescue inhalers. One was always by my side. In the beginning, I used oxygen only at night, but that soon grew to be an all-day thing too. I was really scared to do anything; even simple things like walking out to my truck, because honestly, I was scared that I was going to die.
When you have COPD or emphysema, it feels like you are living in a bubble. You are strapped to your oxygen and the activities you loved so much are taken away. My breathing got down to 25% and that is when Dr. Juan Cevallos referred me to Dr. Nathan Do’s office, and we started the testing to get Zephyr Valves.
Life After Zephyr Valves:
After doing all the necessary testing, I was told I was a candidate for the Zephyr Valves. I received my very own set in August 2020. The procedure was quick and relatively painless for me. My throat was a little sore from the bronchoscope, but it was so minor, I didn’t even need to take a Tylenol®. I was in the hospital for the required three days, and every morning and night I got a chest X-ray to make sure the valves were in the right places, and they were working properly. Like clockwork, at 6:50 a.m., the doctor came into my room and listened to me breathe. The first morning he heard a small buzzing sound which just meant one of the valves hadn’t settled in yet. By the second morning though, I was in the clear. Once Dr. Do gave me the go-ahead, I was walking laps around the hospital floor.
I had follow-up checks at two weeks, four weeks, and six weeks post-procedure. He said everything was working properly. I was so excited to get the green light to get back to what I love to do! I am not able to run a marathon, not that I would want to anyway. What I want is to be back in my boat fishing and enjoying the outdoors with the dogs.
I only use my oxygen at night rather than every day. I take one puff from my rescue inhaler and two puffs of Symbicort® in the morning. After that, I am ready to take on the day!
For me, the valves are a blessing from God. I can’t imagine going through life any longer the way I was before them. I want everyone to know about the Zephyr Valves because they changed my life for the better, and I know they can help countless more.
My beautiful wife and I can’t wait for what the future holds.