Andy’s Journey To Breathing Better: First Visit
"I don't know what my potential would have been if I could breathe like everybody else."
Andy, a U.S. Army Veteran, was an avid athlete as a teenager. He played basketball, volleyball, and participated in cross country. But because he had breathing problems since he was a kid, he never truly knew how his airway issues affected his athleticism.
“I felt like others could catch their breath better than I could.” Today as an adult, he tries to remain active. “I play a lot of volleyball, and I’m always the first one out of breath.”
The problem was, he had trouble breathing through his nose. This forced him to breathe through his mouth which led to snoring issues. Nearly every day, he battled headaches, dry mouth, and unrestful sleep.
Since he was very little, he dealt with these problems. “I was an unhealthy kid. I couldn’t hear, couldn’t breathe. In first grade, I had tubes put in my ears. And then I got tonsillitis.”
His mother even recalls his inability to sleep well from a young age. “He was never a good sleeper,” she says. “He was the kid at four or five who would come home after school and have to take a nap.”
Andy noticed he was always trying to keep up, whether he was on the job or on the volleyball court, but frequently felt a lack of energy. “When I force myself to breathe through my nose, I feel like I’m suffocating.”
However, after living this way all his life, he had resigned himself to just dealing with it. After years and years of always getting sick, struggling with the inability to stay asleep or sleep well, and fighting constant congestion, he wondered if there was a way to get some relief.
“If I could sleep better and breathe better, it’s worth it.” Andy has a lot more life to live, and he wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, no matter how many times he or his doctors had written off his chronic issues.
“I’m 36, I'm hoping I get at least twice as much life in the future. I want to be there, I have a 6 year old daughter. I want to be able to run around with her when she’s 36 and she’s got kids.”
So Andy sought out treatment and kicked off his journey with ADVENT.
Andy’s First In-Office Visit to ADVENT
At his new patient visit at the Wauwatosa, WI ENT clinic, he met with physician assistant Molly who walked him through what he could expect from his examination and treatment planning.
Because of the chronic infection and inflammation, the turbinates on both sides of Andy’s nose were severely swollen — swollen so tightly that Molly has difficulty navigating the scope in his nasal passages.
It was clear then their primary focus would be to open up Andy’s nose that was almost 85% blocked.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine only 15% of your nasal airway open enough to breathe through. This is similar to breathing through nothing more than a cocktail straw … every day, for more than 35 years.
Andy wondered if a long-time deviated septum was to blame for all his issues. While Molly assured him, anyone would benefit from a straight septum, his issues resided in the turbines that were obstructing his airway. Which meant the best course of action, where he’d get the most benefit, would be to shrink the turbinates.
Much to Andy’s relief, this meant no surgery, and a CT scan was the next step.
“Knowing there’s a path to success, with an end state in mind… We have the CT scan planned, this will tell us more.” For the first time in his life, Andy was hopeful he’d find his answers.
What’s Next for Andy and His ADVENT Journey?
At Andy’s second visit, he meets with a doctor who reviews his scan and goes over his treatment plan. While he may not be able to literally breathe better yet, figuratively, he’s feeling optimistic. “To have scientific proof that I’m not crazy... All my life I was told to just deal with it. And now for the first time ever, someone’s saying there’s an option.”
Stay tuned to find out what was revealed by Andy’s CT scan.
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