probably too early to call it a success story, but how about an encouraging start story. I'm 8 days in, and have already started to enjoy the benefits of finally treating this nasty condition.
In hindsight, I most likely have been dealing with OSA for at least the last 10 years, muddling through. Blaming my lack of energy and fatigue on a wide variety of other things. About 4 months ago, I came down with a nasty sinus infection that really amped up my OSA. Sinus infections have been pretty common for me, and this one was a doozy. Took months to shake, and all the while, my OSA must have gone off the chart, and I was really struggling to muddle through. My ENT suggested a sleep study. It took a few weeks to get an appointment, another week or so to review the results. I would consider my sleep study a near disaster. It turned into a split study, with the lingering sinus infection, my OSA was off the chart (I still need to track down the results for my own records). Something like 60.
They work me up and hooked up a CPAP. I was actually excited at the prospect. I had been doing some reading (not enough, I should have been on this forum much sooner) and I strongly suspected that the CPAP was the solution to my problems. At least, until I tried it the first night. Started with a full-face mask. It was bulky, uncomfortable and made this loud fluttering noise every time I exhaled. laid in bet for 90 minutes with that thing, feeling more and more claustrophobic and struggling with the sensation of having air blown in my face. So, the switched me to a nose-only mask. That helped a lot, but I still couldn't adjust to the airflow in my face. I never did fall asleep, and left at 6:00 am the next day feeling pretty dejected.
About a week later, I get a call from my local medical supply store to set up an appointment to get fitted with a CPAP machine. At this point, I thought I'd give it one more go, in the comfort of my own home.
I came home with my new machine, and thanks to me starting to read this forum, I knew to approach this thing in phases. Tried the first night, found out I WASN'T one of those lucky ones who took to CPAP therapy right away. I lasted 1 hour of not sleeping, gave up until the next day. Over the weekend, I spent time around the house hooked up to the machine. Watched a little TV, caught up on some computer working the office, etc... At first, my goal was just to go 20 minutes with the machine on, and work my way up to 1 hour sessions. that helped. But, still unable to fall asleep. Monday morning, I call my sleep doc, Monday afternoon, I pick up my Ambien Rx, and Monday night, after about an hour's effort, I fall asleep and log about 4 hours sleep on the machine. Each night got better, too. 5.5, 7, 7.5.
Last night, I fell asleep much faster (less than 30 minutes), but after about 5 hours, I woke up and could not get back to sleep. So, rather than fight it, I got up. I figure 4 or 5 hours of CPAP-assisted sleep is still way better than the 7 or 8 of OSA sleep.
So, how do I feel? Better, much better. I'm still a bit anxious about strapping on and going to sleep, but I am doing better with the air pressure in my nose. I'm working on improving my numbers, and I'm really focusing on my evening routine. At this point, my primary goals are falling asleep on my machine, and going back to sleep on my machine if I get up too early (still need to work on that 2nd one).
So, what improvements have I seen? Well, I do see more energy. At first, it was the first half of the day, and I'd still crash in the evening. But, that's improving. Before therapy, I would get up early Saturday morning, grab a cup of coffee and sit down to read the newspaper, fall asleep for a couple of hours and struggle to get my day started before 1:00pm. Now, I get work done in the morning, and am out of the house by 10:00 to run errands. My sinuses feel much better! I used to suffer acid reflux, but hardly any symptoms in the last week. Hell, even my skin is clearing up!
Most importantly, I now feel like I have the energy and drive to keep pushing forward with CPAP. OSA is a nasty beast, and one of the worst things about it is that OSA saps you of the strength and will to take on something like CPAP. Those first couple of days were hard, and discouraging. I read this thread at night while trying to fall asleep. But, as I get more benefit of therapy, I get more motivated to keep working at it. I know there's lots of work ahead of me, and I fully expect setbacks, but 8 days later, I'm feeling a lot better and feeling much more optimistic about CPAP therapy. Oh... My wife can finally sleep in our own bed again! That was a huge sign of encouragement. My snoring is gone, and she can get a good night's sleep. When that happened, I felt a huge boost
If I was to offer one piece of advice it would be this: don't expect overnight miracles. Set small goals for yourself; goals that directly challenge the areas of therapy that stress you out the most. Can't stand a mask on your face? Practice wearing it during the day, setting increasing goals for the amount of time you can wear it. Do the same while hooked up to the machine. Be patient with yourself; just try to beat your last goal and keep improving.
now... other tips? Don't be afraid to contact your care providers on this. Make sure you have the right gear, and that it fits properly. Can't sleep? consider asking your doc for a sleeping aid prescription. Anything to advance your CPAP therapy. One last tip: I've made a pact with myself; If I'm in bed, the mask and machine are on. If I can't sleep, I get up and leave the bedroom until I am ready to sleep. If that means getting up for the day at 4:00 am, so be it. Me and my mask have a date tonight, we can make up for it then...