Since getting my machine a week ago, I have already had to exchange my mask for a new one because I hated the one they gave me to start out with. Why they thought I would like a nasal mask is beyond me. Talk about uncomfortable! It is a small mask that fits just over your nose area. If you are a nose only breather and never open your mouth when you breath then that mask would probably be just fine for you. If you do open your mouth at night for any reason, even to speak, the air comes down and around your nasal cavity and shoots very forcefully out of your mouth! It also makes a loud hissing sound. It reminded me of what I would think a fire breathing dragon would sound like! My kids thought it was quite hilarious that air shot out of my mouth, so much so that my daughter even tried the mask on herself and pretended to be a dragon.
Today I took the nasal mask back to the store and exchanged it for a full mask. It covers the nose and mouth area. Now when I open my mouth, I won't be the dragon lady!!
My new mask is for women. It is pink!!
Here is a photo of the mask I got today. No, it is not pretty and it is not attractive to wear it, it isn't sexy or appealing in any way, but if I don't wear it when I sleep, I cannot breath. My brain doesn't tell me to breath and I wake up 100 times an hour. Yes, an hour. I literally stop breathing. I could DIE. I probably will never date again LOL
There is continuous air being forced through the mask and into your lungs to keep you breathing and alive. At first it is like trying to breath in a hurricane. You get used to it and then you can sleep. Once you are asleep, you don't even wake up. I now am able to go into REM sleep (something I haven't done in a long time) and I am able to dream again (people dream while in REM sleep). I have had some really trippy dreams this past week. From nightmares about my kids dying, to getting married to an old boyfriend. They have been super vivid and realistic.
I have been so long (years) without true sleep that I forgot how good sleep can make you feel. I can already tell that my neck and back don't hurt as much as they previously did. I am still in some pain but, not in horrible pain. I could just be in some weird honeymoon phase of treatment where I get temporary relief from symptoms in the beginning and then the pain comes back later. I sure hope that isn't the case here. Being in constant chronic pain and having constant debilitating fatigue really diminishes a persons quality of life. I have been literally spending Monday - Wednesday in bed just laying there. Going to work required bottles of 5 hour energy drinks, caffeine pills, and coffee just to function. I hope those days are over!
Sleep apnea is actually more common than you would think. A lot of people have it and have no idea that they have it.
Approximately one in every five adults has sleep apnea!!
High blood pressure (hypertension) and decreased blood oxygen levels are common symptoms for people with sleep apnea, but these are not easily detected.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, I urge you to seek help! It could literally mean the difference between life and death.
For more information about sleep apnea please visit the Mayo Clinic website.