Botox helps former ballerina breathe


Steve, “As a young woman Rachel Phillips would glide across the stage dancing in iconic ballets like The Nutcracker. But little did she know what was making her body so flexible on stage would make her life so miserable.”

Rachel, patient, “Whenever I hit 30 my body just started falling apart with one thing after another after another.” 

Steve, “Rachel was diagnosed with Eilers Danlos syndrome. It’s a genetic disorder that makes the body’s connective tissue weak. For Rachel it means joint pain, but it’s also cause the back wall of trachea to become very loose.” 

Dr. Paul Weinberger, Otolaryngologist at University Hospital, “So rather than being flat it would be like this a bulge into the airway and completely eluded when she coughs.” 

Steve, “Rachel was seen by doctors at some of the best hospitals in the Northeast but nothing helped she had to use a mini ventilator to keep oxygen flowing. She finally decided to go to Sweden for an experimental trachea transplant, but before she went she had to undergo an evaluation. That’s when she met Dr. Weinberger.” 

Rachel, “He said I think we got a few things we can try.”

Steve, “One of those ideas was to use botox.”

Dr. Weinberger, “And a thought was if we could paralyze the back wall of the trachea in the back wall of the bronchi which are the tubes that lead from the trachea to the lungs that maybe we can keep them from spasming and closing her airway off. 

Steve, “In late March Rachel had her first procedure at University Health Shreveport. Dr. Weinberger remove some scar tissue and gave her a low dose of Botox.”

Rachel, “For the first time the other night I was able to go to dinner without oxygen tubes and cannula. I was completely off oxygen for the first time so that has been amazing.

Steve, “Rachel has since undergone a second larger injection of Botox. Dr. Weinberger says he’s encouraged by the results but it’s too early to tell whether a drug user Ridge wrinkles will race Rachel’s battle to breathe.”

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