My Christmas Drug-Induced Miracle

I’m writing this for anyone else who has asthma and thinks maybe they have to settle for strained breathing every single day. And how it can gradually take over a big chunk of your life.

I got asthma when I was 16…always coughing, drinking cough medicine like a mad woman because we thought it was a cold that wouldn’t go away. And snorting Dristan like some sort of junkie.

Until I had my kid it was always VERY manageable. I’d go to ER maybe once a year, but the rest of the time no problems, meds always worked, it never affected my life whatsoever.

The past 2+ years have sucked healthwise. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun. I switched doctors, cried, and got seriously pissy with them, because NOTHING they were doing was helping. Beyond frustrating. $350 to get the air tested in our house. Nope. Every type of inhaler. Nope. Yoga. Nope. Oils. Nope. Allergy tests. Nope. Biopsies. Nope. Natural medicines. Nope. Work out like crazy, build your lung capacity. Nope. Eat 14 cupcakes a day. Nope. (ok…I made that one up…but it didn’t work either)

About 8 months ago, my Lung Specialist (who I have a mad crush on now) suggested Xolair. An injection at a mere $25,000/year.

Um…no. We’re self employed with no benefits. So just no.

Last month I went to see him and was worse again. My husband said enough. Do the shots, if after a few months nothing, we quit, but at least you’ll know.

So…..Monday last week I went for my Xolair application appointment. Cindy was awesome. AWESOME.

NEVER in my 23 years of asthma doctors has anyone REALLY REALLY explained the disease to me. Because it is that, it IS a disease.

With asthma, you look fine, no visible ailments but you can really feel like hell. It can make you stop participating in certain things because you are worried you’ll have to quit because you can’t breathe and you feel like a puss because of it. I’ve kind of always considered it a minor thing that I needed an inhaler for, and I always kind of felt it was my fault it was getting worse. Cindy was very direct with me. You have a disease. Stress didn’t do this, stress can’t create these numbers, it’s a disease and we need to aggressively treat it because it is getting worse.

Ya…I cried. Like any unstable mother would do, filled out the Blue Cross applications, and cried.

And Cindy…awesome, caring, smart Cindy said “You know what? I’m going to give you a compassion shot right now, no charge”.

And then I cried more because, well that’s a $650 please stop crying moment worthy of some tears of gratitude 🙂

She told me not to expect overnight success like I know some have had.

First 2 nights I had my attacks early evening…usually they are late at night which is why I never get to sleep until morning, after I’m pooped from fighting to get my breathing in check. And…I slept! I slept hard…lol…I felt like I haven’t slept in 2 years, which I kind of haven’t had a deep, uninterrupted sleep in that long. And I’ve slept every night since. AND I’m 5 days with no asthma symptoms. FIVE DAYS! I haven’t had a stretch like that in a looong time 😀

Freakin miracle…I can’t even tell you.

If your health is going to shit, it really is up to you to keep at it, search out specialists, research, research, research, try everything. Eventually something has to click. And don’t quit until it does. Keep asking questions. It’s up to you to get better.

I was told this drug can change your life. The first week has me feeling rested, relieved, and I could not be more grateful.

7 replies
  1. Brandie
    Brandie says:

    I am very happy for you. I know how it feels to not know wtf and to spend what feels like a lifetime not breathing, wondering why and what the heck you have done to diserve this hell. I see great days in your future and I am very happy for you!

  2. Teri
    Teri says:

    Hi , I’m an older woman in my 60’s and was told xolair was my only choice, since nothing else has worked for me. I’m tired of all the steroids for a good portion of my life. They weaken my immune system and I have low bone mass. I have an appt to get the shot but I am petrified for the side effects are heart attack, cancer and anifolactic thinking , do I want to take this chance or
    Live in misery forever with my asrhma. I don’t sleep at night, worrying about if I should take this shot, any suggestions, I would be most greatful!

    • Brenda Sargeant
      Brenda Sargeant says:

      Hi Teri!

      I’m 43 years old and almost 5 years in and honestly think it was the best decision. It truly changed my life. It’s EXHAUSTING living like that, especially when you have the added stress of why isn’t anything working for me?

      I guess it’s always scary to read the side-effects…I tend to ignore and just hope I’m not one of the exceptions. The alternative to me NOT choosing to take the risks and use this drug would have been severe depression, I’m sure of it. It was affecting my life far too much. I’ve seen many other benefits from it other than not having asthma attacks anymore (still none since the couple days after my first shot!) , my nasal polyps have cleared up and I haven’t had surgery since I’ve started Xolair. I used to have to have it every 5 years like clockwork. My sinuses were hell.

      I understand the stress of the decision, but if you have the same experience as me, you’ll wonder why you ever considered not doing it! I wish I had started it earlier, as I will never regain the lung capacity I lost when it was out of control, that’s gone forever now.

      To be honest, I always…5 years later…can’t sleep the night before my injection (my shot is tomorrow and I’m up now at 12:20am lol!) but I think it’s less nerves now, and more excitement of another month of feeling good.

      After your first shot don’t be alarmed if you can not stay awake. I slept for over 2 hours in the nurse’s chair! That goes away after a few months and you just get the shot and go.

      That’s all I can think of right now, if you do go ahead with it, I’d love to hear back from you! I’m always curious how it works out for others.

      Here’s my one other post on Xolair if you want to take a read.

  3. Matthew
    Matthew says:

    I have been on Xolair for 4-5 months now. For the last 18 years, a touch of chili (casaicin) or pepper/paprika would send me rushing for an epipen. Chili would drop me in 30 seconds. A few days after the first injections, I ate Ethiopian food. And then Indian and Thai. The drug has changed my life. I am again able to eat foods that have been on my no-fly list for almost two decades. My antihistamines are sitting unused, although I still always have an epi within reach before putting anything in my mouth.

    I have seen no side effects. Oh, and I am total needlephobe that becomes a 6 year old that wants to hide in the cabinet when I see a needle. Crazy expensive, however. For what it costs to get, you could buy a decent new car every year and abandon the car in an airport lot.

    • Brenda Sargeant
      Brenda Sargeant says:

      That made me laugh – abandon a new car every year for the cost, haha! It is CRAZY expensive, and we had no benefits – both self employed. I’m in Alberta Canada and the lung people here hooked me up with Alberta Blue Cross non-group. It helps A LOT.

      I wonder if you’ll ever break the habit of having your epi-pen nearby…I still carry my inhaler everywhere and panic if I don’t have it..even though I rarely ever use it anymore!


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  1. […] coming up on a year since my Drug Induced Christmas Miracle…C R A Z Y! What a difference a year makes. I feel really grateful right now. Grateful for […]

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