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Ann Marie's Story

Ann Marie’s Story: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Born and raised in New York City, Ann Marie moved to California in 1975. She developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the 1990s, and at first, it progressed slowly, but over time, the disease began to progress rapidly to the point where it began restricting her from doing some of things she enjoyed.

Earlier this year, Ann Marie read a story in the Los Altos Town Crier about El Camino Health offering bronchoscopic lung volume reduction, so she contacted Dr. Ganesh Krishna to find out if she was eligible for the surgery and learn more about the results.

El Camino Health’s Mountain View hospital was the first in California to offer the Zephyr treatment for patients with severe COPD/emphysema. Tiny valves are placed in the airways to block off the diseased parts of the lungs where air gets trapped. Keeping air from getting trapped in the diseased parts of the lungs allows the healthier parts of the lungs to expand and take in more air thereby decreasing shortness of breath.

Dr. Krishna affirmed Ann Marie was an appropriate candidate for the procedure, and after preliminary tests, the procedure to insert small valves on the left side of her lobes, was scheduled for June. One of the risks associated with this procedure includes monitoring borderlines on each lobe for leaks. If the lobes leak, it can compromise the procedure and complications can occur.

Ann Marie’s surgery was successful, and she remained in the hospital for three days for monitoring and days post-surgery to ensure her lung didn’t collapse.

“My experience staying at the hospital was excellent,” Ann Marie said. “It was very noticeable that I was well taken care of throughout the night and during the day. I love the culture at El Camino Hospital.”

One of the main areas of her life impacted by Ann Marie’s COPD was her inability to serve communion at her local church, St. Nicholas, because her cough was so disruptive. She’s happy to report that her breathing has greatly improved, and she seldom coughs or experiences shortness of breath.

“Since the procedure, I can take deep breaths, I’m not taking half breaths anymore,” Ann Marie said. “When I went in for my three-month post-op exam, my diaphragm was even better than it was immediately following surgery.”

These days, Ann Marie regularly participates in alter servings, hosts spiritual readings at her house. Ann Marie is also mom to five sons and a grandmother to three grandkids, and she is now able to maintain a healthier, more active life with her family. Last but not least, Ann Marie has been able to return to her regular exercise routine.

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