Gwen Colfer's Story

Patient Gwen ColferFor a few years, Gwen Colfer could feel that her breathing was worsening. A phone conversation with her daughter finally spurred her into action.

“We were talking, and she could hear that I was struggling to breathe. She said, ‘Mom, there is something wrong with your breathing.’ I knew I needed to see a doctor,” Gwen says.

She saw a primary care doctor in her hometown of Grand Junction, Colo., and he diagnosed asthma.

“The asthma meds weren’t helping and I was getting worse,” Gwen recalls.

Over the next three years, she made numerous visits to an allergist, otolaryngologist and pulmonologist. Still unable to find answers for her breathing problems, Gwen sought care at National Jewish Health, the leading respiratory hospital in the nation for 115 years.

 “The doctors at National Jewish Health were the cream of the crop, and I was so impressed by the competence of the staff, the efficiency of the system and the thoroughness of the testing.”

Doctors determined that scar tissue had formed in Gwen’s trachea. Instead of her trachea being just smaller than a golf ball, Gwen was breathing through a hole the size of a pea. She needed surgery immediately.

Gwen was referred to a physician in her hometown and underwent surgery.

“Right away, I was well,” she says.

Today, she is breathing easier and able to exercise with less stress to her respiratory system, and she is grateful to National Jewish Health.

“I fully expected that they would find out what was wrong. We are so blessed to have National Jewish Health in our state,” she says.