Plumber who enjoys golf and spending time with his grandkids.
Age at Treatment: 64
Date of Procedure: December 2019
Life Before Zephyr® Valves:
I was diagnosed with COPD/emphysema in 2010. Before COPD/emphysema, my life was so full. I was a Mr. Mom and raised my three kids on my own. Once they were grown, I enjoyed playing golf and had an active social life.
I’ve been a plumber for over 50 years and I’ve breathed in all kinds of dust, asbestos, and who knows what else. That, coupled with smoking, did a number on my lungs. I would end up in the hospital two to three times a year. As the disease progressed, I began to have a lot more bad days than good ones. I was living alone and just taking a shower or walking from one end of the house to the other was difficult. I had to get people to help me with the basics of taking care of myself.
It is frustrating when you can’t do what you want to do. I missed out on a lot of things, like dance recitals for my grandkids, because I just couldn’t do the walking. I couldn’t eat much because it was too uncomfortable. My children were worried about me because as COPD limited my life, I became really depressed. I went from being a social person to being alone, and the feeling of hopelessness was overwhelming. Fortunately, I did go to talk to someone and that helped me get through.
About two and a half years ago, I was in the hospital being treated for a flare up and the pulmonary doctor there told me about the valves. I told my doctor at the VA in Dayton right away and we kept following the status of the valves until they were approved by the FDA. I was one of the first in Dayton to receive the valves. I didn’t worry about them being new; I was desperate to try something to help get my life back.
Life After Zephyr Valves:
The procedure went smoothly for me. After two days, I was on the regular ward. By day three I knew for sure that things were better. My grandson came to see me and we walked around the floor together and my oxygen stayed in the 90s. On my last day in the hospital, I walked around that floor six times, and my oxygen stayed in the 90s. Let me tell you, I cried tears of joy!
A few months after my procedure I did have to have one of my valves replaced because it moved. Even with having that issue, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Since I have had the valves so many things are easier. Eating is easier, so I’ve even gained some needed weight. My breathing is not labored anymore. I still use my inhalers, but not as often as I did. I don’t need my nebulizer anymore at all.
I’m back working and recently completed a plumbing job by myself. Best of all, I am able to get out socializing again. I was at a cousin’s house last weekend for a party and I was able to have a drink and enjoy myself. I am looking forward to enjoying more time with my three grandkids who all live nearby. I feel alive again!
My message to everyone suffering with COPD and emphysema is if you qualify for the valves, go for it! It’s been a miracle for me. It has made a huge difference in the quality of my life and my kids’ lives. They aren’t worrying about me constantly anymore. I am not cured, but I am living again!