I saw my internal medicine doctor yesterday to go over my sleep study results. I was really hoping that I was OK now since getting the hernia repair. I have felt better, slept better, and my kids say I am not snoring very much at all now. So, when I went to the doctor I was hopeful that I would be able to get another sleep study to prove that I am better, but no...
For the last 2 years I have had trouble swallowing food. It would get stuck right at the base of my sternum and it felt like the food was growing and stretching my esophagus. It would be so painful at times that I would have to go make myself throw up. I was also getting very nauseous every day, especially at night. I would also vomit nightly, sometimes several times a night. I had terrible heart burn and acid reflux as well. Acid reducers worked most of the time for the heart burn but I still had reflux/vomiting nightly and nothing would help that. I started feeling very fatigued and weak about a year ago. I couldn't seem to function beyond work and had to force myself to go to EMT school and go to EMT clinicals. On my days off I'd stay in my pajamas and stay in bed all day sleeping off and on or reading. Just walking to the bathroom exhausted me. Lifting my arm to turn on a light wore me out. Having a conversation made me tired. When I would go to work, I took caffeine pills to keep me awake and give me some energy. I was neglecting my kids needs. I felt bad about that, but it was just too miserable to get up and do things. I was in a constant state of depression and had a lot of guilt. I am sure my family thought I was lazy. Hell, I felt lazy! I didn't go out with my friends anymore because I just didn't have it in me to do so. If I did go out with a friend, it was not for very long. I got to where I'd have to call into work because I had not slept at all and I just couldn't function. My whole entire body would ache and burn, also. I couldn't even touch my legs. They felt like they were one big bruise. My neck and lower back hurt so bad at times that the only relief I had was when I was in bed being a still as possible. I had stiff joints and my bones cracked and popped all the time. I suffered from headaches several times a week.
One day about 4 months ago I posted on Facebook that I was having all these issues. A friend/co worker of mine saw it and told me I should see her doctor. She said she had some of the same problems and that her doctor made a huge difference in her quality of life. So, I made an appt.
When I went to this new doctor, she made an impression on me right away. She spent 2 hours with me going over my entire life worth of medical history before deciding what tests to run. She questioned me about everything, even things I didn't think of as significant...she wanted to know about them all. She finally decided to do some blood work and a home oxygen level test. She also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I take cymbalta for that.
My blood work showed I was deficient in vitamin D and I was anemic (low iron). That explains some of the weakness and tiredness. She started me on vitamin D therapy, 5,000 IU a day. I started on vitamins with extra iron, also. My home oxygen test showed that when I was asleep my O2 levels fell down to the low 80's. I was at work when my doctor called and told me I had to do a sleep study that night. After work I went up stairs and got hooked up to a million different wires and they put me to bed. Trying to sleep during a sleep test is hard but I did manage to get 400 minutes of sleep. Enough for the study to be conducted.
As you know, July 17th my surgeon went in and placed a lap band and while in there she found and fixed a major hernia. Since the surgery I have not had any more nausea or vomiting/acid reflux.
Back to present day:
So, yesterday I saw my doctor for the sleep study results. The results were very very bad. Basically, I have profound sleep apnea. I have obstructive and central sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing while sleeping. My sleep apnea is so serious I will have to see a specialist on Aug 13, 2012. No wonder I was tired and weak...I wasn't sleeping!!
Although obstructive and central sleep apnea are both serious, central apnea happens when the brain stem doesn't send messages to the muscles that help you breathe. Sometimes, the cause is an infection in the brain stem, a tumor or a spinal cord injury (I did have spinal surgery C5-6 in December 2010). As you can imagine, I am a bit scared and worried. My doctor literally looked me in the eyes and said I could die without treatment. That was terrifying, to say the least...
Please see this website for more information on sleep apnea.