Tomorrow’s appointment at the Cleveland Clinic is an appointment that is a full seventeen years in the making.
In 2002, I was, most unexpectedly, diagnosed with asthma. I spent more than four years attempting to manage my chronic symptoms. Nevertheless, I required increasingly higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids.
Even with ongoing appointments with my pulmonologist, my symptoms became progressively worse. I felt as though I were breathing through a progressively clogged straw. I was still working full-time, as a clinical health psychologist.
In 2006, an ENT in Illinois finally determined that I had an exceptionally rare condition, a subglottic stenosis. I had, in fact, been previously misdiagnosed with having asthma.
At long last, I thought. Now that I know what I truly have, I can treat it.
I anxiously awaited my very first dilatation surgery. I simply couldn’t wait to breathe easily again. The surgery was a success. I felt as though I finally had my life back.
Fast forward seven months, to December 2006. My symptoms associated with subglottic stenosis had returned. The familiar shortness of breath, with minimal exertion, came back. Most disappointingly, I prepared to have another dilatation surgery. I was so very frustrated that my symptoms had resurfaced.
Actually, it would have been incomprehensible if someone had told me about where I would find myself on this very day: May 15, 2019. To date, I’ve had nineteen throat dilatation surgeries. The most recent surgery was just three weeks ago.
My entire life has been turned upside down and inside out. I’m no longer able to work full-time.
Tomorrow afternoon, I have a consultation with Dr. Lorenz at the Cleveland Clinic, regarding a second opinion for a tracheal re-section.
I’m incredibly scared about pursuing this option, as well as very intrigued by the possibility of a long-term solution to my maddening airway narrowing.