Condition: Idiopathic subglottic stenosis (ISS)

Procedure: Resection surgery

Age: 47

Hometown: Redding, Connecticut

In May 2017, Colleen traveled from her home in Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts, to receive treatment for idiopathic subglottic tracheal stenosis. This condition, characterized by symptomatic narrowing at the voice box and trachea, and inflammation in the affected area, can cause patients to experience shortness of breath, drowsiness, wheezing and cough.

After five years of living with the condition, as well as enduring complications from a previous surgery, Colleen found Mass General thoracic surgeon Dr. Mathisen, who recommended she receive tracheal resection to restore normal breathing function.

Below is a letter from Colleen describing her experience with Dr. Mathisen and Mass General.

"My five-year journey with idiopathic subglottic tracheal stenosis before I found Dr. Mathisen was fraught with complications. I didn't think I would ever breathe normally again, until I met Dr. Mathisen. Making the decision to have a tracheal resection was a daunting proposition but Dr. Mathisen and his team were nothing but reassuring and extraordinary. The attention, compassionate care and expertise that I received in my seven-day stay after my surgery was unparalleled compared to my prior medical treatment.

It has now been almost 14 months since my surgery and it is the first time in five years that I have had consistent, open and beautiful breathing. I am so grateful for it. Dr. Mathisen is a rock star in my book and every May 3rd I will take a moment and thank this man for giving me my life back." - With deep gratitude and appreciation, Colleen

Learn more about the Airway/Tracheal Program in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Mass General.