When cold-related symptoms would not relent, Leslie thought she had chronic bronchitis or an upper respiratory infection.
“I felt like I caught a cold all the time, and every time I turned around, I was calling my family doctor,” recalls Leslie. She frequently had to visit her family doctor. And once, Leslie had to visit the emergency room when her breathing issues became very severe. At that point, she began to suspect emphysema.
Leslie’s husband John had to watch his wife’s health decline and at times he felt helpless. The couple has been married 33 years.
“It was heart-breaking,” shares John. “I saw her struggling to breathe, whether she was trying to ride a bike, or just going up a flight of stairs. On some days, even walking to the car was a challenge.”
Coming to Temple for emphysema care
Following a hospitalization, Leslie was diagnosed with emphysema, a type of COPD.
Leslie knew she needed to find a pulmonologist. Leslie and John live at the Jersey Shore but they decided to seek advanced treatment in Philadelphia.
Leslie had seen commercials for the Temple Lung Center and had taken notice of Gerard J. Criner, MD, Director of the Temple Lung Center. From her first appointment with Dr. Criner, Leslie says he and his staff were sympathetic and reassuring.
Leslie was recommended for a clinical trial called EMPROVE. It involves a procedure to place a small valve in the airways of the lungs using a tool called a bronchoscope. The procedure is called bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR), and has since been approved by the FDA.
Since enrolling in the clinical trial in October 2016, Leslie says her quality of life has greatly improved. “I am able to go to the mall, do my shopping at the supermarket and even walk the treadmill during my pulmonary therapy sessions,” she adds.