Wellness Wednesday – 6/29/16

I’ve felt recently there has been a lightening of my soul!  Something I didn’t even realize was heavy until now.  I have to tell you this series started as a reality check for me, a small way to express frustration without spiraling into a pit of darkness and bile.  I have been so tired, and sick and apathetic for so long that I really thought this was just the way things were going to be. And no as you read this I’m not going to try to sell you on a miracle drug, or new found herb that brings vitality back to your life.  

I went back to the sleep clinic last week to pick up my CPAP machine and get my final test results from the sleep study taken earlier in the month.  As I sat in this little room the nurse came in and asked me how I felt “tired” I laughed and so did she, I’m sure I made another joke as she got a few things ready and she laughed she looked at me funny and said “I’m surprised your so happy with how little sleep you’re getting, most people are really grouchy”. I thought that was a little strange since as far as I was concerned I just had a small case of Apnea – I don’t snore heavily or loudly – for the most part I’m tired but I don’t fall asleep without purposely doing so (I’m not narcoleptic) although recently I’ve started taking a few naps a week in my car at lunch and….when I get home from work. Then she started telling me about severity levels for Sleep Apnea and how little breath you get over an amount of time at night. 

Then she told me my number – Severe is 60 – 90 points based on Kaisers tests – I was 89.6!  My jaw hit the floor.  Apparently I stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer ever 2 minutes on average all night long.  She asked me if I got headaches when I woke up in the morning, and I had trouble concentrating all the while working on getting a mask out and adjusting it to my face and head.   All I kept thinking is Steve’s right, I really am dying each night when I go to sleep. As we finish the session, she looks at me with that stern nurse/Doctor face and says – “you need to wear your mask every night – for some people it’s not as big of a deal but for you (she pokes me in the chest lightly) for you it will be the difference between if you have a stroke or not”

First night on the machine was pretty bad, I took it off, felt guilty, put it back on and continued to toss and turn most of the night. But, when I woke up the next morning I checked my Fitbit sleep data – again my jaw dropped, I had a solid 3 hours of sleep with no interruptions at all (my longest time before that on average is about an hour) and my restless numbers went from 40-50 times a night to 18.  I was practically giddy.

I’m about a week into using the machine now and I’m still trying to adjust to it, but I can already see the benefits, I’m much less tired, and my focus is better, I’m not constantly struggling to keep up with a difficult conversation, or concept. It’s truly amazing! Last Friday morning I got a call from someone that needed some in depth HR help.  I flew through the process with ease, explaining everthing along the way and feeling confident in the work I had done.  At the end of the call, I stared at my screen for a little bit, and sadly yes I started to cry.  I knew in that moment that this machine was going to be life changing for me. I know there will be a struggle for a bit longer getting used to the machine and sleep positioning but I know the rewards will be incredible!

And in that moment, my soul lifted!

XoXo – Sarah

P.S. – if you struggle with Sleep Apnea or think you might have Sleep Apnea I strongly suggest you see your doctor and get tested!  The likely hood of stroke or heart attack greatly increases in someone with untreated Sleep apnea, and those are just a few of the side effects.

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