(cough cough) Wow, it’s dusty in here. It’s been a while. But here I am! Remember me? Formerly known as Foodie McBody? I started this blog back in 2009, when I was first diagnosed with diabetes. I was freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. I felt alone and terrified. So I started this then-anonymous blog, to express all of my complex and chaotic feelings and thoughts, and to try and find community.
It was amazing to find that community, one blog at a time. My beautiful, supportive, encouraging and inspiring Fitbloggin’ friends helped me on the path to wellness. Over the next four years or so, I managed to lose weight, get my blood sugars into a good range, start running, complete my first 5k, then a 10k, then half marathons , a mud race and couple of triathlons. I filled this rack up with medals. I felt pretty freaking great, and felt like there was only one direction to go – invincible! Iron (Wo)Man!
Then I had the great, weird, freaky misfortune of jumping on a trampoline at my 25th wedding anniversary and rupturing a number of cervical discs. Months of excruciating pain, followed by spinal surgery and a long recuperation. And you know, since then, I’ve never been the same. I had little comebacks but then they were followed by disturbing counts of plantar fasciitis, hip pain, thyroid issues, weight gain, menopausal shoulder pain, YOU NAME IT. I crept away from my blog with my tail between my legs and I was on the verge of letting the domain name whither and die.
But then I remembered why I started this blog in the first place. Because I was feeling alone and afraid and embarrassed about my physical state. I felt like I sucked for “letting myself” get diabetes. I was overwhelmed and upset. And I found that the act of sharing my misery with others helped me manage it. It helped me find a way to health.
In addition to all of the lovely conditions listed above, I recently discovered, through my perceptive and wonderful doctor, that I ALSO have… ta-daa!! severe sleep apnea. Yeah.
This came, like my diabetes diagnosis, both as a shock and as a “wow, that makes some kind of bizarre sense.”
It started when my doctor was reviewing my blood test results and she noted that my hemoglobin was slightly elevated. She emailed me and said that this could sometimes indicate sleep apnea. (WHO KNEW?) And she recommended that I go to the sleep clinic for some diagnostic tests. They gave me a little device like a finger oxygen reader attached to a big watch. I was to sleep with this. They also had me fill out this questionnaire. How long did I sleep every night? 8-9 hours or more. And when was I likely to fall asleep during the day?
- when reading a book
- when watching TV
- after eating a meal that didn’t include alcohol
- when in a dark room like a theater
- when lying down to rest
- Etc etc etc.
Um, like ALL of those times. Seriously. “Doesn’t everyone? (apparently not) Anyway, I checked off all the boxes and gave back the apparatus, expecting that maybe I’d have a mild case.
They called me back pretty quickly and said, “You have SEVERE SLEEP APNEA” and you must come back to the clinic ASAP to discuss treatment options!” Well, I did what any 21st century patient would do. I Googled. I learned that SEVERE SLEEP APNEA, or having more than 30 respiratory interruptions per hour, puts one at a 3-4x higher risk of stroke, heart attack and other bad things. I thought, this must be some kind of mistake.
Today I went back to get the detailed results of my assessment and to learn all about treatment options. At first, I was excited to consider the possibility that my apnea is caused by a Stuffy Nose. After all, I don’t snore (my spouse swears to this) OR sleep on my back. I have terrible allergies which always manifest in a stuffy or runny nose. Maybe if I just use a Neti Pot and some FloNase, I’ll be good to go! YAY!
(cue: sound of deflating balloon, which is the same as the sound of deflating hope)
Sorry, the respiratory therapist informed me, the NetiPot option alone only works if you have Very Mild sleep apnea. Basically, everyone in the Severe class was destined for the Darth Vader sleep mask. I looked at the plastic model heads, with the nose mask, the full face mask, and the nose pillow mask, and I had to swallow many times to keep from crying. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Please, please, no. Even though some companies are trying to make CPAP look sexy, I’m not 100% convinced.
But yeah. The picture of all the times I stopped breathing during one night looked like a big blue hairy caterpillar. A normal night’s sleep has just a tiny few hairline spikes in that blue, no-breathing zone. Mine was… way more than half the night. I also learned that I spend the vast majority of my night in “light sleep” which is considered non-restorative. It’s stressing my body out, big time, causing spikes in blood sugar, increased high blood pressure and any number of other assaults.
I’m going to try to be cooperative. And calm. Even though my inner me is throwing a total tantrum, I’m gonna do my best to deal. And in the meantime, if there are any other sleep-apnea folks out there, please drop me a line. I’m looking for my community, again.
Love, Foodie McBody
August 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm
Oh, Suz! I was also diagnosed with Severe Sleep Apnea this year. (Turning 50 has been quite an adventure! ) Getting used to the CPAP was, um, let’s call it interesting. And then, just as soon as I was getting there, my back started spasming every time I was still. Which makes sleep challenging. It’s been a few months now of a week of good sleep interrupted by weeks of wandering the house at 2AM. Right nOw I am experimenting with time-release muscle relaxers.
August 24, 2016 at 11:14 pm
Oh Debi! I had no idea!!!! Wow! I want to hear all about your CPAP journey. I am so very sorry about the back. Your back! My hip! My shoulder! Yeah, these 50s are BIG FUN. Not. But I am heartened, somehow, to see that I am Not Alone in this. Thank you so much for responding. oxoxo
August 24, 2016 at 11:38 pm
So sorry Susan. I know you are frustrated and asking lots of questions. Remember, many have been inspired by you and we will continue to be. You helped me so, so much. You have overcome many obstacles and will overcome this as well. Miss you!
August 25, 2016 at 6:53 am
So glad to have you back! The 50’s have certainly been challenging. I wonder if it’s anything like when the warranty of a car expires and everything starts to fall apart? Let the repairs begin! My husband has sleep apnea. He did the sleep study, which had to be repeated. The first time he never reached REM sleep at all! He was so tired all the time from lack of a good night sleep. He tried to skip the CPAP for one business trip and regretted it. Now his CPAP contraption goes everywhere he goes. Here’s to some much needed zzzzzz’s!
August 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm
I’m stealing that phrase if you ever need someone to nag nudge or motivate you I will simply say:
Big blue hairy Catapillar.
August 25, 2016 at 8:39 pm
You have been in my thoughts, knowing it has been too long since we have been in touch. I’m truly sorry that you have this diagnosis. I know it is something that should not be ignored. I have a good friend who was diagnosed with this about 5 years ago and though she would rather not have this, it was a relief to know what was causing her problems. I think you know her somewhat since her daughter and your daughter went to high school together. Let’s be in touch so you two can talk. I’m quite sure her experience will help you.
August 25, 2016 at 9:23 pm
This is not making me look forward to my upcoming sleep study. Yay for getting answers though, right?! (Trying to convince myself.)
August 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm
Yes (sigh). Answers are good.
August 26, 2016 at 1:17 pm
oh honey. I’m so behind on this. I’m thinking of you and know you are going to get it under control and then feel even stronger. With love,m
August 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm
Just think of the ‘helmet’ (mask) as the symbol of a warrior and a champion! Big stretch, I know, but that’s what you are. A dear friend of mine wears one nightly and frankly, it has rescued her from what I saw as an almost suicidal state of exhaustion.