How One Simple Sleep Test Can Save Years of Heartache

by Michelle Cochran
(Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia)

I'm an ordinary person who suffers from obstructive Sleep Apnea with an AHI of 97. In addition to this condition I have several severe injuries that compromise my abilities to do many things. The following is a summary of what has led me to today, still trying to cope with CPAP treatment.

I had always been a bit of a snorer,but the only problem it ever caused was noise that others sometimes commented about.

In 1990 I joined the Australian Army. On my first field trip I was informed that my snoring was so loud that some of the others thought the generator had been left on.

On another occasion I opened my eyes to find someone standing over me with a brick screaming at me in not so friendly words to shut-up.

In the end I was not permitted to sleep with the other diggers. Snoring is not a great attribute to have when in the Army, especially in the field.

So in 1993 after consultation with several specialist, I underwent a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). What a great decision. Snoring ceased immediately and remained that way for ten years.

In 2004, by which time I was no longer in the Army I began suffering numerous physical problems for which my GP could find no answer. The worst of which was a shocking headache that never went away.

I was finding that I was sleeping long hours during the day. My weight was slowly starting to increase. After seeing numerous Pain Specialist for the pain I endured 6 rounds of Ketamine infusions for the headache.

Early 2007 my GP diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and later he advised me I had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), which after I investigated the condition it appeared that I certainly did fill the criteria. So I accepted his diagnosis.

I moved over to the east coast in 2008 and continued life under the assumption that I was suffering ME/CFS. Slowly with time my life became only an existence and I was barely able to function.

In 2011 I started losing time, similar to black-outs, and became really concerned. My new GP sent me to see a Consultant Physician who sent me for several test. One of which was a sleep study.

I was sitting in his office late July 2011 to find out the various results. The other test were for elimination purposes as he had been pretty certain the majority of my problems would be answered by the sleep study.

He advised me that I was suffering from Obstructive, Partial obstructive and Central sleep Apnea. The test showed I had an AHI of 97.

I was immediately put on CPAP treatment, but unfortunately due to the UPPP I had under-gone in 1993, help for my condition had been immediately diminished.

I was referred to a Respiratory Specialist who did another Sleep Study 6 months on. It is 12 months since the day I began CPAP therapy and unfortunately the Specialists are still trying to find the appropriate pressure setting.

I am already on a very high pressure and my readings aren't coming down to a level they are happy with. My Respiratory Specialist is concerned because he advised me that my condition is still significantly concerning.

This is also coupled with the problems I have with the pain the mask causes. I have tried many different styles but unfortunately due to many injuries I have sustained to my face all masks to date are painful.

I am concerned and I don't mind admitting I am frightened, I live only in a new town where I basically know no-one. But I will go on in the hope that advances in treatment are just around the corner.

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Aug 28, 2012
Untreated sleep apnea
by: Remy

Thank you for writing your experience to all of us. I think many will appreciate and learn from this story, even those who think that loud snoring is normal.

Great lesson!

ps: I hope you'll find a way to improve your sleep apnea. Please keep in touch with us, Michelle.

Aug 28, 2012
Thank Goodness You Got Your Diagnosis
by: Kath Hope

This story will help many others Michelle who come across it, and I'm sure you constantly ask yourself "What If..." Hindsight's wonderful eh? Your medics are obviously trying to help you, which is good, and perhaps they may be able to try you out on Bi-PAP or VPAP (Servo-Ventilator) to see if you get better results for your centrals.

Once your treatment is successful you'll hopefully feel more energised and able to get out and about to meet people.

Good luck and hope you get good CPAP therapy soon :)

Aug 28, 2012
Supplementary Medical Tests
by: Harry

Sad to hear about all the anguish you seem to have sufferred.After such a prolonged period with OSA,its possible that you could also be sufferring from serious,multiple heart blockages.Please do check with your Cardiologist in the interim period,also.

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