Considering being a part of a research study? Hear from our research participants!
Bruce is a retired VW/Audi dealer who likes to play golf and travel. He has a small hobby farm and is a Rotarian for 48 years. His old car collection includes 8 old VWs that he enjoys driving. Bruce also has asthma. Rewind 12 years, Bruce says, “When this all started, I thought I only had 5 years to live! At first, life was terrible – [I had] broken ribs from coughing. Then I met Sally Wenzel in Denver, and she gave me my life back.” Bruce was recommended to her by his family doctor. He says, “I joined the study because I have so much trust in Dr. Wenzel.” Bruce says that after he got on the new meds, he has been able to do most of what he did before his asthma got bad. We’re happy to have helped Bruce put more energy into his passions and less into his asthma limitations.
John is a retired attorney and has called Pittsburgh home since 2010. After moving to Pittsburgh, his allergies transformed into major respiratory difficulties, and he started allergy shots, inhaled corticosteroids, then prednisone to control his symptoms. John says, “My pulmonologist, Dr. David O. Wilson, determined that my asthma was not responding to standard treatments. He advised me to consult with Dr. Sally Wenzel at the Asthma Institute, who was conducting drug studies for new therapies, and that I might be a good candidate for such a program… The entire Asthma Institute Staff was outstanding.”
When asked about his asthma, John knowledgably says, “I have eosinophilic asthma – unknown triggers cause some of my white blood cells to overproduce leading to inflammation of my airways. Investigational drugs tailored to curtail this excessive production prevent inflammation and my airways remain open, allowing me to breathe more normally.”
Since participating in a study, John has been able to cease use of oral steroids, breathe better, and resume all his normal activities without respiratory distress. He says, “Many people are completely unaware of current research and of new available treatments for unresponsive asthma cases. Get evaluated to see if these cutting-edge treatments can improve the quality of your life… World class medicine is currently available, here in Pittsburgh. Check out the Asthma Institute, the potential positive change in your health could be miraculous!”
Jarrett’s favorite hobby is writing, and his responses are so thoughtful that we put together his story with his words:
I came from the city of Plano, Texas, located north of Dallas. Most of my life I played football and a few musical instruments like the electric guitar and piano. My life was never easy, so having asthma isn’t too hard to manage- even when my lungs say differently.
Having asthma is like you swallowed a lot of marbles and you can’t get them out of your lungs. Having asthma is like living your life with fish. Picture yourself walking underwater with millions of fish, and you are the only one without gills. However you view it, asthma makes you used to being under pressure, mentally and physically.
I found out about the Asthma Institute when I read one of the brochures I got in the mail. I didn’t call until a few months later because I was skeptical of what they were going to do. What made me join was the fact that I had time, and I needed the extra money. I am happy that I made that decision early.
I was part of a study where they have two bronchoscopy sections and monthly visits. Most times they measured my breathing and monitored my daily breathing variations on a diary. The staff was very friendly and made each visit unique in its own way. I never felt uncomfortable. If there is one thing that I learned from this study, it is how going many days without your medicine can make your lungs accumulate harmful mucus.
Personally, this asthma study helped me with medicine and extra income when I didn’t have much of either. Without this study, I wouldn’t be nearly as blessed as I am now. I am able to take the best medicine for me without having to worry if I will run out. Also, with the extra income, I was able to financially find better jobs since I didn’t have to work as many hours. I would definitely recommend the asthma study for anyone wanting to open their eyes more to their asthma. It’s educational and helpful for any situation you may be going through.
I wish Pittsburgh didn’t have such a polluted air system, however maybe if everyone considered not smoking cigarettes or not driving so much, I think it would be an amazing start. Most people don’t know how it feels to be subjected to asthma.
Thank you, Jarrett, for your thoughtful, reflective response.
Meet Terri. She’s from Latrobe, Pennsylvania and has been in the dental field for over 30 years. She’s re-married for 9 years and lives for her two girls and her new family of three more children. “I got asthma about 10 years ago,” she says. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw several doctors in my area and Pittsburgh. No one helped me feel better until I found asthma research with Dr. Wenzel.” Beyond feeling better after new medication, Terri says, “I learned how to deal with asthma better, and the staff has given me ways to improve with medications and ways to take them. The staff in all studies has been wonderful.”
As a message to non-asthmatics, Terri says she would want everyone to know that “[Asthma] feels like an elephant sitting on your chest most of the day!” And “perfumes and smell affect us – so be kind when wearing perfumes.” To fellow asthmatics, she says on participating in research, “It’s worth the time and effort to try something new – you never know. It CAN help.” She says “Yes! Yes! Yes!” she would recommend the Asthma Institute to someone else, and “I thank Dr. Wenzel and all the staff for the help and knowledge and helping me feel better.” All the best, Terri!