Well, I figured if people want to know me, at least from a sleep standpoint, I should introduce myself and give a bit of history so here goes.
I just turned 60. Yikes, how scary is that?! I have one daughter and two grandchildren who I adore. I've been so tired lately that my time with them has been limited. Hopefully that is straightened out. I'm a school based speech pathologist and love it.
My journey with sleep apnea doesn't actually begin with me. My brother was diagnosed in the mid 90s with sleep apnea, severe, severe sleep apnea. He could no longer drive because he would fall asleep, he was having multiple health problems and he pretty much had all of us scared silly. His lips were even blue from lack of oxygen. Finally, we had a family intervention of sorts and he went to the ER, found out he was in congestive heart failure and that the doctor suspected sleep apnea was part of the cause. They started him on bipap before he was even officially diagnosed. He died two years ago but I'm convinced that had he been diagnosed and treated much earlier, he might still be alive. Years of no sleep and oxygen deprivation just did too much damage. But because he was diagnosed, I think he lived a lot longer than he would have and those years were definitely a gift from God.
A few years later, my sister was also diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. About that that time, I was starting to have some symptoms, tired even after sleeping a full night, groggy and muddle-headed etc. My family said, Lynn, go ahead and take care of this and I did after awhile. I'm nothing if not stubborn, wouldn't even really admit to snoring, LOL. Found out that indeed I did have sleep apnea although mild. The doctor said that I did fine the first part of the night but as the night progressed, I became more and more apnic. So I was started on CPAP and felt a lot better. Strangely though, when I thought I might have sleep apnea, I wasn't horribly bothered but when I found out I really was, I was terrified. I'm pretty sure that not breathing for periods of time is not really good for your health.
Well as the years have gone by, my weight problems have gotten a lot worse and two and 1/2 years ago, I was hit by a tornado in the middle of the night. I've always had insomnia off and on but after that, sleeping became very difficult. I guess I was afraid to sleep. After my brother died, sleeping became even more difficult and so I finally talked to my doctor. He started me on zoloft and ambien.
Still, I've felt run down and groggy, I'd sleep 8 and 9 hours and still felt groggy, y'all know the drill. So when I went for a check up, he asked me how the sleeping was going (he knows this is a big problem with me) and I told him I was feeling run down and tired. He then says, well, how long has it been since you had a sleep study (strange how people's views change, when I asked for the first study, he was like sure, it can't hurt. Don't know why they don't sell them over the counter) and I think it was in the early 2000s. My setting on the cpap was 7 so not very high.
He said, let's do another and he sent me locally for a sleep study while also doing some blood work to rule out other problems. The results were horrifying to be honest. The doctor sat down and explained in much more detail than my first study. My oxygen levels were dropping down to 80% on current settings and even when they got me up to 10, my oxygen levels would drop down to 80% again when I was on my back. Of course, there were those moments of not breathing. He said I woke up enough that if he walked in the room, he could strike up a conversation with me. And that was on CPAP. Weird that you don't remember most of that!
Well, long story short, I was given a new cpap (Respironics One) since my old one didn't have the sd card (set at 12) and a sorta new style mask (Resmed Swift FX) that I love, so much less bulky than even the Resmed Mirage nasal prong thing I had before. I've even learned more. I've been on a youtube binge and was watching some videos on sleep apnea. Actually, that's how I found this place.
One video talked about two major problems that keep people from being compliant which was mask and nasal congestion. I'm always sinusy, particularly at night. Say to increase humidity and I did last night. Didn't even have to blow my nose this morning.They are right about the mask too. When I first started using cpap, I almost gave up on it because the mask I got initially freaked me out nightly. At the end of 3 weeks, I was more tired than I had been with no cpap. The last night I used the nose thing, I threw it against the wall in utter frustration, turned and went to sleep without the durned cpap. Next day, went back to medical supply place where I got my cpap and told the respiratory therapist the problems I was having. She gave me the resmed mirage something or other but it was the nasal pillows style and it was a lifesaver. I guess I am just too claustophobic to ever use the nose or full face styles. I do have to use a chin strap now though. Maybe not for much longer though since I seem to have solved my nasal congestion problems.
Well, that's me. It will be nice getting to know y'all. Hope I can help some of the new folks just starting on the road to recovery and even learn more myself.
Lynn, thanks for posting your intro. You hae quite a family history.
I'm glad you finally got tested and on treatment.
Welcome to the forum Lynn.
I keep thinking maybe I could get off the zoloft but too chicken to try. Doc started me on 50 and then upped me to a hundred. I teared up (something I did a lot back then) and he said, Lynn it's not a big dose. Glad you got help for sleep apnea. Cpaps probably aren't what you'd call fun but really, way better than being tired, grouchy, depressed, out a sorts, unhealthy, in danger of having a stroke or heart attack etc. The list does go on. Once I got the mask straightened out, it was all good.
Terry Vella said:
Thanks for the intro Lynn, I was diagnosed with depression first and put on a large dose of Zoloft and after six months of still not getting better and still unable to sleep was diagnosed with servere sleep apnea. Your brothers story sound familar to me, I don't think I would have lasted much longer had I not been diagnosed. I am now starting to taper off the Zoloft but was on 200mg and get all the side effects so have to taper of at 12.5mg per week. Welcome.
Ah, you are on the opposite side of the world and hemisphere from me. :) I'm no stranger to those temperatures as I live in the southern US. I hate hot weather though. Grew up in northern Michigan and Wisconsin and Mississippi is like the tropics to me.
I think both were hard on me to be honest. I'm a control freak and not being able to control my emotions drove me nuts. (or would that be nuttier) I knew when I cried all day at work in front of everyone, I needed help. I'd rather die than have someone see me cry. I felt so truly out of control. But given that in the last few years I've lost a sister and a brother and almost lost a second brother, been hit by a tornado, had a nephew in a serious motor vehicle accident, depression probably wasn't an unusual reaction. Just upset me to know I couldn't "control" myself any better than that. I just never pictured myself needing that kind of help. And the sleep apnea was just plain frightening particularly after realizing how ill it had made my brother and sister.
But it's all good really. At least for my problems, there is a fix. Sure beats the alternative. Stay cool. I still can't believe people survived without air conditioning here or where you live.