Hello, my name is Rebecca Holechek and I would like to introduce myself as your AlphaNet Patient Services Coordinator.
I am originally from Michigan but live in Florida with my husband. We have two adults sons. I love traveling with friends and family, especially to areas where we can hike and experience nature first hand.
In February of 2003, two months after my mother passed away (from emphysema) I got sick with the first of many lung infections. Our family doctor did a chest x-ray and told me it was abnormal. He sent me to a pulmonologist. Blood work and a cat scan followed two days later. Bronchoscopies, x-rays, and cat scans were performed in the years that followed, each time determining that I had another unusual lung infection. For the next three years, I had many courses of IV treatments having a PICC line inserted and removed after each infection. Eventually, in August 2006, my pulmonologist suggested I go to The National Jewish Hospital in Denver. Five months later we traveled to Denver. After a simple blood test I received a life changing diagnosis. I had Alpha-1 and was a ZZ. I remember feeling sad, scared and concerned that I could have passed this on to my children, but I also felt hope. Now we could plan a strategy to get well. And they had a plan. Another round of IV antibiotics followed with vibrating vest and nebulizer added to my routine. Augmentation therapy began in April of 2007 and the PICC line was removed. At that time I received my first call from my coordinator, Bob Campbell. In addition to the knowledge he shared with me, he gave me comfort and hope. He helped me through the entire process including connecting me with the local Alpha-1 support group.
I will never forget the first day that I went to see a pulmonologist and I told him how ironic it was that I had been the care giver for my mother who had recently died after years of suffering from emphysema. I had been taking her to a pulmonologist and now I was going myself. His reply will remain etched in my memory forever, “That has nothing to do with this”. How wrong he was, it had everything to do with it. She and her father both died from emphysema without ever being tested. I have over 50 first cousins on my mother’s side. It has been my goal to educate all my relatives, friends and anyone else I possibly can. I was the first in my family to be tested. So far, of those tested we have one other ZZ and several carriers. I have shared my story many times in hopes of spreading awareness. I am so honored to be a coordinator so that I can be of help to other Alphas.
Coordinator: Rebecca Holechek
Phone: (888) 883-2991
State/Province/Territories: Ohio (for zip codes below only)
Zip Code (first 3 digits only): OH 430-438 and 441-459