Merja suffered for years with hereditary angioedema (HAE), but with the help of self-administered FIRAZYR, she's now able to live life to the fullest.
Home treatment and a life transformed
Merja, 47, is a typical, busy mother of two. She works at her local hospital in Finland as a phlebotomist, and is studying carpentry in her spare time.
Life hasn't always been this straightforward for Merja, however. For as long as she can remember, she has lived with the symptoms of hereditary angioedema (HAE), a debilitating and potentially life-threatening condition characterised by spontaneous and recurring attacks of swelling (edema) in various parts of the body.
Physical and emotional stress
"I've had various stomach pains ever since I was small," says Merja, "but the first attacks I experienced were swellings of my hands. But then the very severe attacks started when I started taking oral contraceptives around 18 years old, and that's when the hospitalizations started."
Merja would often find herself confined to bed with crippling stomach pains, vomiting, and dehydration. In one year alone, she was hospitalised 25 times, and underwent unnecessary abdominal surgery three times in an attempt to find a diagnosis. The illness affected the whole family and caused untold distress to Merja's youngest daughter.
Merja's diagnosis finally came when she was studying in Tampere, and she was immediately referred to her local university hospital for further investigations. "The relief was overwhelming," she remembers.
While her diagnosis was a major breakthrough, Merja attributes her newfound zest for life to the prescription of self-administered FIRAZYR just 18 months ago. As a phlebotomist, she has no issues injecting herself, and is able to administer treatment as soon as her symptoms start to flare up-at the hair salon, at school or the coffee room at work.
"The treatment starts to work within 30 minutes," says Merja, "and then I can do just about anything!"
Merja adds: "Life is different now — I wouldn't have considered studying without this latest treatment, I just didn't have the energy. And now we can go wherever we like on holiday without having to check out the local hospitals first!"
" The treatment starts to work within
30 minutes and then I can do just about anything!