My Realization About Sleep Apnea
I had to come to terms with a lot of things in regard to sleep apnea. Having other health conditions like migraines and then eventually being diagnosed with fibromyalgia – of all the diagnoses – sleep apnea is the one that has been most elusive in effectively treating it. CPAP struggles are difficult.
I felt like I was cursed from the day I got the call that I stopped breathing in my sleep at a rate they had never seen before and that they believe the migraines will likely be greatly reduced with CPAP therapy. However, that didn’t happen. Although surgery for my enlarged tonsils and adenoid helped, I still struggled using the CPAP afterward.
The first thing I had to come to grips with was no matter how I felt, the CPAP will be a part of my journey for the rest of my life (unless something new that doesn’t have weight restrictions like the Inspire). I had to realize I can’t get excited every time something new comes out because I was so hopeful when I learned about the Inspire only to realize that I would need to be 140 to be eligible for the device.
No matter how much I hate my CPAP, I had to change my perspective on using it because I want to live a long life to see my son grow up, finish college and start a family. When not using my CPAP, I can feel the effects on my entire body. While I still don’t feel great using the alternative of not using just makes me feel worse.
Realizing using CPAP improves sleep
The second thing is that I can’t get better without improving the quality of my sleep which means using my CPAP and actually sleeping. Looking back my flareups for fibromyalgia often correlated with a lack of sleep and not using my CPAP.
Changing my perspective
The third thing is I had to change the way I look at the CPAP. I used to want to throw it out the window and then light it on fire. I hated it and hated the thought of using it to the point that just putting it on gave me anxiety.
The CPAP, no matter how uncomfortable and awkward, is needed and is part of the tools to help with my overall health. It might not feel like it at times because I still feel tired during the day, still in pain and overall don’t feel good. I reflect on the time I didn’t use while I had COVID-19 and it was definitely a lot worse without it than with it. During the time I wasn’t using I noticed my migraines were worse and more frequent. Sometimes we want to see a huge change and for everyone that might not happen right away. I had to learn to embrace the CPAP, using and celebrating the small victories along the way.
My CPAP journey
My journey with CPAP has been a long one. Over almost 2 decades, I have started and stopped CPAP therapy more times than I can even count. It took a long time to come to terms with the OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) being lifelong and the CPAP being a part of my life forever. The CPAP is uncomfortable, and not the best thing to travel with, but I need it and I’m more determined than ever to become one with CPAP and use it daily.
I’ve used it continually for over a month and I’m working to make it my new normal – using my CPAP. What have you found to be your biggest realization about using your CPAP?
Do you feel stigmatized by sleep apnea?