Concord, North Carolina
Paramedic who is back to enjoying his favorite hobby — fishing!
Age at Treatment: 61
Date of Procedure: June 2020
Insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Life Before Zephyr® Valves:
I was diagnosed with COPD when I was about 50 years old. I have a busy job as a paramedic, and I am part of the opioid epidemic response team. I help patients by finding rehab facilities, passing out Narcan kits, and just letting them know our team is here for support. In my free time, I love to hunt and fish.
At first, my main COPD symptom was shortness of breath with exertion. I used three inhalers, but over the years I made some trips to the hospital due to some exacerbations and pneumonia. In the year before my valve procedure, I needed oxygen every night and had to keep it close by during the day.
Eventually, I had to give up my favorite hobbies including fishing. It was very difficult, and depressing. I got to the point where I was almost disabled. My wife became my caretaker and had to do so much for me. It was exhausting for her. This disease took a toll on both of us physically and mentally. I was desperate to find something to improve my condition, and our lives.
My pulmonologist had heard Dr. Zgoda speak at a seminar and thought I might be a candidate for the Zephyr Valves. I qualified in October 2019, but my insurance denied it. Marci, from the Pulmonx reimbursement team, was a godsend during the whole appeal process, and in June 2020 I got my Zephyr Valves!
Life After Zephyr Valves:
The procedure went great. When I woke up, I could feel the improvement right off the bat. I stayed in the hospital the required three days and then 30 minutes before being discharged, an x-ray showed signs of a pneumothorax so I ended up having a longer stay. Even though the collapse was small, it was stubborn. They put an additional valve in to alleviate it. I didn’t have any extreme pain though. I feel the team handled my care well.
I went back to work the day I got discharged! For the first four to five months after the procedure, I felt continued improvement. Now, that progress has leveled out, I feel great. I’ve had one flare up since my treatment, but I recouped faster, and I believe that is because of the valves.
I still take my regular medications, but rarely need the Ventolin®. I’m back to doing regular daily activities and my wife doesn’t need to be my caretaker anymore. I’ve been doing some yardwork and am very happy to be enjoying my favorite hobby again…fishing.
My wife is so much happier now. Life is looking up for us and I plan to retire next April. Another joy to look forward to — we are expecting our first grandchild in May 2021.
I had immediate relief and felt like I was a 40-year-old again. I’m enjoying things I haven’t been able to enjoy in a while. I would recommend the procedure for anyone who qualifies!