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Why I Feel Hopeful About My Health After Using a CPAP Machine

My fibromyalgia had been getting worse and worse for the past couple of years, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

I tried different medications and simply couldn’t get any relief. My cognitive abilities were failing me to the point where I wasn’t comfortable driving anymore. I was getting dizzy all the time, and my blood pressure was doing wacky things. My depression and anxiety was worsening, and I had to take opioids for my pain, which I don’t like to do.

Cat Thurmon

A while back, I was having a bad spell of insomnia, and my doctor suggested I do a sleep study. I would have had it done immediately if I had the insurance. Once I finally got coverage, I decided to see a sleep specialist and have it done.

For those who don’t know, a sleep study can detect multiple sleep issues, including something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has three ratings: mild, moderate and severe. The ratings are based on how many times you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds or more while asleep.

During the night of my sleep study, I fell asleep around 9:30 p.m. By 11:30 p.m., they had me on a CPAP machine. Turns out I have severe sleep apnea — I stopped breathing 52 times per hour. I couldn’t imagine it was that bad, but there it was. My neurologist/sleep specialist told me not to drive until we got this taken care of so I wouldn’t fall asleep while driving.

I’ve been sleeping with my CPAP machine for around a week now. I can’t believe the difference in my health. My pain is a lot less, my mind is functioning better and I’m able to do more.

Let me tell you about my first weekend with it. On Friday, my husband took a vacation day, and we took our children on a five-hour float trip. I even helped paddle the boat here and there, and I swam in the river! I felt pain the next day, but compared to what I had been feeling every day for the past few years, I could live with it. The next day we took the kids to the zoo, and I walked around the entire place. Yes, I walked it! I could have never imagined doing these things a week before using a CPAP machine; it wouldn’t have been possible.

Do I still have pain? Yes. Do I still have fog? Yes. Do I still have fatigue? Yes. Do I still have trouble sleeping? Yes. But when you compare these things to what they had been like a week before, you wouldn’t believe the difference the CPAP machine has made. I’m back to the person I was three to four years ago. All of the things I cope with are still there, but they aren’t so extreme that I can’t take a shower and wash my hair on the same day. The severity is so much less. It’s still enough to interfere and make me watch what I do, but it’s not enough that I can’t function at all.

I’m hopeful. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time. I have hope this machine may help give me my life back — at least part of it. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to spend more quality time doing things with my family.

Do I expect it to cure me? No, of course not. I do, however, think it’s going to make a world of difference for me compared to what I have been living through lately. In fact, I already know it will.

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