Gunnar Gunnar Esiason

All articles by Gunnar

 

Your Cystic Fibrosis Experience Will be Enormously Valuable in the Post-Pandemic World

We are infection control experts. Don’t miss your opportunity to take a leadership position in your community as people start to adjust to the new normal. Yesterday I listened to Dr. Antony Fauci – the man who is proving to be our national hero when we need one – in an interview on the Wall...
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One Month in Self-Isolation: Stress, Calm and One Big Question, Productivity?

Today is my one-month anniversary for being in self-isolation. Some days I wake up feeling like that time has flown by. Other days it feels like this past month has been the longest decade of my life. At the heart of the month I have been in isolation is my routine, the daily cystic fibrosis...
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Patient Privacy and the Pandemic: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Medical security is one of the most fundamental rights offered to patients and the medical system. Patient privacy is why I often omit or generalize different medical details about my own life within these blogs. I don’t write about PFT scores, test results and things like that. It’s also why I never tried to track...
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It Took a Global Crisis to Allow Remote Learning in Extreme Situations

When I graduated from college my dad asked me how much time I had missed over my four years at BC. A lot. I have since gone back and looked it over. The amount of time probably came out to several months worth of missed days – not just school, but all the other great...
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Reverting to My Pre-Trikafta Norms Feels… Weird

Trikafta has given me freedom, it has unlocked my future and has given me health that I haven’t experienced since I was a college freshman. In the days after dosing, I was out of the house, able to work, able to travel, and able to go back to school. But you know all that. If...
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is Pushing People with Cystic Fibrosis to Feel a Range of Emotions, From Worried to Business as Usual

You can definitely put me into the worried and stressed categories when we’re talking about COVID-19. Things are happening crazy fast. At times it feels like the global medical infrastructure to fight this thing is buckling beneath the pressure, but then a moment later a new paper is published citing the efficacy of some repurposed...
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How Can We Support Health Systems Through the COVID-19 Crisis? Telehealth for Starters

Yesterday I got an email from my CF center in New York City saying telehealth services are beginning to role out for patients who don’t want to come to the clinic. The clinic hadn’t yet recommended against coming in for visits, but it certainly felt that may one day be a possibility in the very...
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Yes, The Coronavirus Spread is Making Me Anxious

Last week I naively asked, “Will we fall victim to healthcare rationing?” This week it seems like that’s the question global experts are asking, too. The thing that scares me most about the coronavirus outbreak is the potential for an indefinite period of time where every day health services could be out of reach. Yes,...
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A Doctor is Responsible for Bringing Coronavirus (COVID19) Too Close to Home for Me

Coronavirus came to an off campus party at the Tuck School of Business. Yup – I thought rural New Hampshire would be a safe bet during this pandemic, but it turns out I was wrong. Some of the ethical questions I blogged about a few days are feeling far more real today. Long story short,...
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Some of the Ethical Questions Facing the Cystic Fibrosis Community

Novel coronavirus, the virus responsible for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is on the verge of becoming a global pandemic if it isn’t already. As we stand on the precipice of what could be one of the largest global public health sagas of our lifetimes, I think it’s worth talking about COVID-19 from the “at risk...
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Guest Column: The Canadian Quest for Comprehensive Access to CFTR Modulators

It has been a difficult few months for the Canadian cystic fibrosis community. While our country is widely known for being a world leader when it comes to publicly funded cystic fibrosis care and healthcare in general, the same cannot be said for its position on pharmacare. Many Americans will be surprised to learn that...
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What is a Rare Disease?

It’s Rare Disease Week 2020, which ultimately culminates with Rare Disease Day on February 29th (the rarest of days!). In the United States, a rare disease is exactly what it sounds like, a disease that is…well… rare. Specifically, a rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people. The reason we care so much...
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How Do You Value Your Life With Cystic Fibrosis?

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is back at it again. Just last week, the not-so-independent watchdog for all things drug coverage in the United States released its draft report for “Modulator Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis: Effectiveness and Value.” As a refresher, ICER uses a mathematical model called Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY) to...
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I Was Told I Would Only Need My Feeding Tube for a Few Years. It’s Been 9. What Happened?

I wasn’t exactly happy when I had my feeding tube placed in 2011, but it was necessary. I was drastically underweight and I couldn’t put any pounds on the old fashioned way. In fact, I was so distraught over the thought of putting a tube in that it took a bout with pancreatitis to convince...
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My (Almost) Liberation from Recurrent Cystic Fibrosis Clinic Visits

Last week I had started writing a blog post…. One of the unforeseen affects of taking Trikafta has been my liberation from my cystic fibrosis clinic(s). I was at a point in my life where I was going to the clinic every other month to tackle some new challenge. Sometimes I was there as frequently...
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That Time a Healthcare Provider Accused Me of Being a Drug User

One of the strangest hospital stays I have ever been through was a time when a care provider accused me of being a drug user. Let the record show that I am NOT a drug user. Let the record show that what follows ended up being an important life lesson for everyone involved. I was...
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5 Ways My Quality of Life Has Improved on Trikafta

So much of how we evaluate success of various medications is based on objective efficacy. Has the patient’s FEV1 improved? What about BMI or sweat chloride? It goes without saying that efficacy is critical when looking at treatment routines and options, but I think one of the major things that’s often lost in evaluating different...
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A Few (Realistic) Expectations for the Next Decade of Cystic Fibrosis Care

The 2010’s saw the dawn of the modulators. In a remarkable feat of drug development, four cystic fibrosis-specific medications came to market from the test tube: Kalydeco, Orkambi, Symdeko and Trikafta. (If you want to blow your mind, look at the generic names of the drugs included in the modulators – Ivacaftor, Lumacaftor, Tezacaftor, Elexacaftor...
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A Reflection on the Past Six Months

I have spent about six months in Hanover, and one of the things I was encouraged to do upon setting off on this new life journey is periodically reflect on the experience. My transition into full-time student mode has been both a challenge and fantastically liberating. The biggest hurdle of them all has been losing...
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I’ll Never Forget You, Lea

In October I gave a community wide talk about cystic fibrosis at Tuck where I mentioned Lea and her impact on not only my life, but also the cystic fibrosis community. I had been at school a mere two and a half months at that point, and I can tell you that I don’t think...
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Darcy’s Blog: A Mysterious Health Issue

I never had asthma until a year and a half ago. One night, Gunnar and I were getting ready to go to bed in his bedroom back home in Long Island, like we had for years. Out of nowhere, my throat and chest started to feel very tight. “Oh no…” I thought, “I’m coming down...
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Breathe In Ep. #98 – The Legal Marriage Question

This week on Breathe In, Tiffany is on her own again while Gunnar battles his way through final exams. Tiffany is joined by a new voice on the podcast, Holly Seay, 24, from Georgia, a newlywed with CF. Holly takes us through her life with CF and how she met her now husband. Prior to...
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Breathe In Ep. #97 – Misdiagnosed

On this episode of Breathe In, Gunnar takes the day off and Tiffany takes over with a returning guest, Audrey Kostelec, 23 from Washington State. You may remember Audrey from the emergency podcast we had on FaceBook Live in March. This time we talk about Audrey and her CF journey. Audrey explains how she was...
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Adults with Cystic Fibrosis Cannot Be Forgotten Amidst Trikafta’s Success

Trikafta’s amazing power is…well… amazing, and even more so for children living with cystic fibrosis. Our hope is that when children can start dosing Trikafta, they will be putting off disease progression for decades. That goal is seemingly becoming a reality before our eyes. The cystic fibrosis that I, along with much our adult community,...
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Learning How to Live

I have been trying to figure out how to write this blog ever since Trikafta was approved by the FDA, really ever since I started feeling better on the drug, and have admittedly struggled to do so. But when I opened up my email this morning, I saw a blog inquiry from a reader asking...
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Breathe In Ep. #96 – The Triple Combo

A mere few days following the FDA’s approval of Trikafta, cystic fibrosis patients across the United States began dosing. This week’s podcast looks back at Gunnar’s time in the triple combo study. Think of this podcast as a follow to Gunnar’s blog. Gunnar talks about both the immediate and long term affects of having been...
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Trikafta is Shipping!

This is mostly a PSA for anyone who may need to hear it, or being told anything else… Trikafta is shipping!  I have spent most of my morning watching videos across my social media timelines of people with CF taking their first doses and it’s giving me goosebumps. What a time to be alive! Feel...
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My Time in the Triple Combo Study

In no small way has the triple combo completely changed my life. The first few weeks of the study were some of the most powerful of my life. My lung function seemingly skyrocketed over night, I suddenly felt like I had more energy than an Olympic athlete in the prime of his career, and the...
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Reducing the Risk of Medical Error: Don’t Shy Away From Making Your Voice Heard Inside the Hospital

We’re going to start off today’s blog with an unfortunate truth… Medical centers are often just as dangerous as they are helpful. In fact, in a 2016 article, the British Medical Journal claimed that Medical Error is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. I am witness to errors all the time,...
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Fall A Term: A Lot of Work, A Cold and More Fun

After three months of living in the woods I am back home for Fall break! I have officially survived the first term of my MBA program. Small victories, right? Living in Hanover has been equal parts fun, exhausting, challenging, exciting and stimulating. To say that I was nervous before starting a residential graduate program back...
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Breathe In Ep. #95 – Breathe In Fall

Gunnar and Tiffany welcome back the podcast after a brief (unplanned!) hiatus. Tiffany announces that she started working a new job and has begun living out her goal of working full time. Gunnar talks about fighting through a round a midterms in the first quarter MBA term. The duo chat about getting their flu shots,...
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Why You Should Get Your Flu Shot (as told by a handful of .GIFs)

It’s flu shot szn! Time to get out there and do your civic duty (read: don’t be a public health menace). The flu is much more than some sneezing and coughing. It could mean time in the hospital, time away from work and time away from your friends. via GIPHY The flu shot reaches maximum...
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Knowing When You’ve Reached Your Limit (Then How to Effectively Communicate It and Reset).

Last week was my first round of midterms and it took a lot out of me. Beyond the midterms I had two group projects, a lot of late nights with my study group, quite a few early mornings prepping and keeping up with treatments, and a visit from some college buddies (pictured above). The hellish...
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Breathe In Ep. #94 – Self Care

After a few weeks off, Gunnar and Tiffany return to the podcast with Gunnar’s girlfriend, Darcy. This time, though, Darcy puts on her social worker hat and takes the podcast through a clinical lens into the world of self care. It’s established early on in the podcast that self care is a bit of a...
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My New Roommate

Yesterday Darcy gave her perspective about living together on the blog. Today, it’s my turn! Business school isn’t the only new thing in my life. My new roommate has certainly been the biggest change around here. No, Darcy isn’t exactly a new part of my life, but living together certainly is! In a way, the...
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Darcy’s Blog: New Roomies

Darcy and I are writing complimentary blogs this week. We’re posting hers today and mine tomorrow! Gunnar and I have officially lived together for about a month, and I am here to report that it has felt very….. ordinary. My Mom says that if a relationship is right, living together should feel like home. Thus...
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Headline About Vertex Drug is Causing a Panic Without Context, I Think We’re Going to Be Okay.

Earlier this week STAT News published a brief article entitled, “Vertex sinks on reports of deaths of patients taking cystic fibrosis drug” without providing too much context. Given the first line of the article was, “Thirty patients have died after taking a Vertex (VRTX) Pharmaceuticals treatment for cystic fibrosis, according to a government database” I...
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Breathe In Ep. #93 – Pregnancy With Low Lung Function

Tiffany is joined by Ashlee Terwilliger, 35, with cystic fibrosis and a double lung transplant survivor. The two talk about Ashlee’s life growing up and how becoming a teacher affected her health and how she handled all the germs. As her health declined, she became pregnant and Ashlee takes us through being pregnant and labor with...
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Adapting the Routine

Hello from Hanover! I have finally found the time to do some blogging. Believe it or not, there is a lot going on in a typical grad school day. One of my big stressors ahead of the move was adapting my care routine to the changing demands of business school in a new place. Now...
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Breathe In Ep. #92 – Moving to a New Place

Olivia Duesterberg, 26 with cystic fibrosis, joins the podcast from Denver, Colorado. Olivia, like Gunnar, is fresh off a move to a new place, so this week on Breathe In, the team tackles what it takes to transition care, a routine, and everything in between when someone with CF needs to move to a brand...
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Breathe In Ep. #91 – Jack Goodwin, “Salt in My Soul”

With Tiffany off for the week, Gunnar is joined by his girlfriend, Darcy, and Jack Goodwin, who dated the late Mallory Smith. Jack talks about his relationship with Mallory and her posthumously published memoir, “Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life”. Gunnar, Darcy and Jack talk about the dynamics of what goes into a relationship...
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Breathe In Ep. #90 – Three Double Lung Transplants

Amanda Varnes, 24 with cystic fibrosis, joins Gunnar and Tiffany on the podcast for a second time. Amanda last appeared on Breathe In Podcast in November of 2018. Since then, she has been re-transplanted again, making Amanda one of the very few people in the entire world who has received three double lung transplants. Amanda...
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Breathe In Ep. #89 – Going Through Medical Procedures

Fresh off Gunnar’s colonoscopy last week, the Breathe In duo talks about their experiences going through various medical procedures, and how they are able to cope with the physical and emotional hurdles that come with them. Gunnar details a brief panic attack he had on the table in the endoscopy suite, which leads Tiffany to...
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Risk

I am on the precipice of taking the biggest risk I have ever taken in my entire life. The fact of the matter, though, is that I am a pretty risk averse person, and there’s no hiding it. I didn’t grow up that way. I played the most violent sports I could throughout my childhood...
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Vertex Submits Triple Combo to the FDA for Approval, What Happens Next?

We’re getting closer to the finish line! It was announced early this morning that Vertex submitted a New Drug Application to the FDA! Vertex also submitted for a priority review, which, if accepted, “would shorten the FDA’s review of the NDA to eight months from the time of submission, versus a standard review timeline of...
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Breathe In Ep. #88 – More Than Sick

Carly Klassen, 22 with cystic fibrosis from Boise, Idaho, joins the podcast to talk about her digital art platform More Than Sick. Carly’s Insagram account @MoreThanSick has been charging through the cystic fibrosis virtual community and features digital sketches of different women fight back against CF! Carly talks about her motivation to start More Than Sick,...
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My Colonoscopy Wasn’t so Crappy!

Full disclosure, I had a healthy dose of Propofol about 3 hours ago, so what follows is, well… the best I can do. If you visited my page yesterday, you know that I had my first ever colonoscopy today. To recap, people with CF need to get colonoscopies younger than the general population because there...
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So… I Am Getting a Colonoscopy Tomorrow

Did you know that when you have CF, you’re due for a colonoscopy much earlier than the general population? Kind of shitty, right? The reason that’s the case is because there’s an increased risk for colorectal cancer in the CF population. I know… I know… it sort of feels like we keep losing the lottery...
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Breathe In Ep. #87 – Late Diagnosis

Cat Kurban, 22, joins Tiff on this episode of Breathe In. Cat was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 18 years old. Cat explains to Tiff how she was diagnosed after a shoulder surgery that had been an issue for quite some time. The two talk about Cat’s life changing and how her...
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A Resource Guide For When the Crippling Stress of CF is About to Take Over

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged! My move to grad school is coming (14 days, but who is counting?), so my mind has been elsewhere, but today, I’m back! Darcy sent me a link this morning to a blog post written by Tiffany Jenkins. She is the author of a popular new book that she...
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