We received this wonderful story from Edward Wandasiewicz, a cystic fibrosis patient who started using the Shaker Plus by POWERbreathe 10 days ago and is already experiencing some very encouraging results. Here's his story...
"I purchased about 10 days ago a Shaker Plus for physiotherapy for my cystic fibrosis. I also purchased a POWERbreathe Plus for IMT. I thought I’d use one for mucus clearance (the Shaker Plus) and the other (Powerbreathe) for taking 5-10 breaths after my inhalers to suck the already resting particles even further down. Repeating this action I should get clear airways at level 22-23 of my airways and inhaler particles down there too. That’s the theory anyway.... I’ve been using the Shaker Plus for 30-40 mins twice daily. I actually enjoy doing physio now.
I purchased a medical grade spirometer from Carevision, the Micro 1. My cystic fibrosis clinic at Royal Brompton Hospital use Microloop. Here are my numbers - from a slow blow PEF 50% (Peak Expiratory Flow), and a fast blow 99%. The numbers today for a slow blow FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume) and FVC (Forced Vital Capacity) are higher than a fast blow FEV1 and FVC when I was 24-25, my peak best. When I was about 25, the fast blow numbers were FEV1 about 2.2 and FVC about 4.7. Today fast blow is about 2.06 / 4.36. I also had an instantaneous pneumothorax at 29 repaired with talc surgery at 29 and I'm 39 now. No known problems post-surgery since. Here's a photo of my results for slow blow and fast blow.
I’ve been using the Shaker Plus at level 2 and the results are nothing short of jaw dropping. I sent pictures of my results to my cystic fibrosis team. They can't believe it either. Think I've been inhaling fairy dust or got some kalydeco trial drugs from somewhere. Rest assured I have not.
I actually feel clear and strong like I was when I was 25.
How I came to use Shaker Plus and POWERbreathe
About 15 years ago, in 1995 or so, physio therapist Jennifer Pryor did a trial using the cornet / pep mask / acapella / flutter at the Royal Brompton. She also wrote a few books including Physiotherapy for Respiratory and Cardiac Problems but she has retired now. I ended up choosing the cornet as my favourite device and still do to this day. Unfortunately they don't make the device or the rubber tubing anymore and it's become fragile due to hot water cleaning.
I was an inpatient at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and gave autogenic drainage (AD) a go. I found it ok: about 50/50, maybe 60/40 in favour of AD. The cornet is like blowing air underwater in a swimming pool; it really reaches deep down.
On the day of discharge, I picked up a common cold and had to stay in for an extra week. If ever there was a time to continue doing physio, this was it. I had a read of Respiratory Muscle Training: Theory and Practice and hence came across the Powerbreathe website. I gave the Powerbreathe Plus beginner model and Shaker Plus a go.
The Shaker Plus is an awesome device. It's like the Flutter but a little stronger and much more effective. I compared how much I cleared using the two devices i.e. between my favourite cornet and the Shaker Plus, and the Shaker Plus cleared twice the amount in half the time.
I have developed my own modifications when using the device, such as covering one or two of the holes on the cap to increase resistance or stop air being blown out, being blown back into my eyes.
It's a great device to use lying on your side too, as you can change the mouthpiece angle. It's really easy to clean too with no awkward parts like the cornet.
After my purchase of the Shaker Plus 10 days ago, I had a go at spirometry. My results for a slow blow (SEF) measuring FEV1 and FVC equivalents are now greater than a fast blow (FEV) measuring FEV1 and FVC from my early/mid 20s. I have an asthmatic component to my Cystic Fibrosis which makes a fast blow more spurious on results.It's my favourite physio device now, by a few litres...
I’m possibly going to put the Powerbreathe Plus to one side for the time being. I’ve had one physio say it should be ok to use on a light resistance, given my collapsed lung 10 years ago, but I’m awaiting confirmation from my consultant as it was repaired with talc surgery. I've been using a few breaths here and there, but not continuous or too strong. But even from minimal use, I do notice a significant stronger inhalation with my puffers.
I actually feel clear and strong like I was when I was 25. Many thanks for all your hard work and research."
Message from POWERbreathe: We’d like to thank Edward for getting in touch with us and sharing his amazing story and experience, and we hope that his story inspires others with Cystic Fibrosis to ask their physiotherapist about using this expectoration device that helps mobilise pulmonary secretions without the use of drugs.
We'd also like to offer Edward our best wishes for continued good health and improvement.
If you too have an inspirational story that you’d like to share with others then please leave a comment here or share it on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you. Why not also read our blog written by Evan Scully who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and has written about his first experience of using POWERbreathe.