Sleep study results

So on Saturday they did a blood draw. My doctor was concerned enough that she wanted to be sure I wasn’t pregnant. They didn’t get enough blood, however, and I had to go back and endure another day waiting to hear what I already knew in my head, but couldn’t get my heart to hear: I’m not pregnant.

Given the difficulties I’ve had with Yasmin, my doctor asked if I wanted to go back to Ortho Tri Cyclen (only in the generic form of Tri Nessa). Since my testosterone level is back to the slightly elevated state it normally is in, I unhesitatingly said yes. I don’t need another month of such awful PMS… and I don’t especially enjoy starting my period on Fridays!

I’m relieved to have that over with. It’s not the first time I’ve taken home pregnancy tests, but it’s the first time since I was 18 that I really thought I was pregnant… I wasn’t then, either, for the record. Which is just as well, since the guy I dated on and off for seven years, who would’ve been the father, turned out to be gay - and a loser. The loser part I knew, but never accepted. The gay part was rather a shock to my system…

Today I went for the results of my sleep study. I have sleep apnea, as suspected, but it’s overall rather mild. However, I have very, very bad sleep apnea when I am in REM sleep, which is why I always remember my dreams so clearly - I am waking up constantly. During REM sleep I was having up to 48 episodes per hour. Even on the CPAP I had some issues, but it was much improved… aside from the fact that I barely slept because of how cumbersome and odd it was. Frankly, I found it truly awful. Having two elastic bands around your head and a mask covering your mouth and nose is just a bit much to adjust to in like four hours time.

The real problem is that I barely go into Stage 3 sleep at all and I never went into Stage 4 sleep, not on or off the CPAP. Since those two stages - and frankly, REM sleep, too - are critical to feeling well rested and restored, it’s no wonder I always feel exhausted and shitty.

The good news is that even during my apnea episodes, my oxygen levels are not dropping to a point that is clinical. They stay close enough to the normal range that I do not have to worry that I’ve been suffering brain damage all these years… and when I get the treatment I need, I should go back to being “normal” - I’ll get back my good memory, won’t feel like I have adult ADD and I should be able to focus again. Basically, I should stop feeling so incredibly stupid. I’ve been feeling just plain dumb for the past year and a half, easily. It’s hard to go from feeling smart to feeling like an airhead… but that’s what happened. It’s hurt my self-esteem - and that’s never good.

So I have three treatment options: surgery, which from everything I’ve read sounds just awful… the CPAP, as I knew and which I learned will not be easy to adjust to, no matter how willing I am to use it… and a dental device, which I know very little about and which the insurance probably won’t cover. Since it can cost nearly $1,000 that makes it a less appealing choice.

The doctor said that usually insurance companies only cover the dental device when CPAP has failed (and even then they don’t always). The problem is, if I get the CPAP I need to commit to making it work. I’m not going through the process as a stop gag on my way to try to get the insurance to cover the dental thingie. If I get the machine, I’ll try very hard to make it work…

However, the problem with that is, it can take months. It often takes at least a couple of months. It’s not just getting used to sleeping with the aforementioned rubber bands wrapped around your head, either… it’s also the mask itself. Apparently, most people go through a few before they find the right one for them. Then there’s the whole being tethered to a machine by a hose thing, too. On top of that, there’s the pressure issue. Getting the pressure that’s right for you can take time and sometimes even requires a second sleep study. It’s not going to happen overnight, is the bottom line. If I am lucky, it will take less than two months. Problem is, until I’m sleeping better, I’m not supposed to drive. Which makes finding a job harder… it makes everything harder. Not only is it an inconvenience, it’s also getting closer and closer to winter… which comes a bit earlier when you live at 9500 feet above sea level than it does most places. I have so little driving experience at all, and zero winter driving experience. It’s going to be so much harder for me to handle the winter driving if I don’t get some solid driving time behind me before the snows start.

I have to make a decision very soon. The doctor seemed to want one today, but I just didn’t feel prepared to give him one. I sort of expected CPAP to be the only option I was presented with. Fortunately, my husband is behind me 100%, no matter which option I take. He agrees with me that surgery seems a bit too extreme to start with. He said if he were in my shoes, he’d start with the CPAP, since the insurance will almost certainly pay 100% for it… but he also understands my reservations and see the potential benefits in the dental device (far more portable, for starters…). So if I want to go for the dental device, even if the insurance doesn’t cover it, we’ll figure out how to pay for it… no wonder I love this man so much (it helps that when they called with the negative pregnancy test results he came out and hugged me, even though we both knew almost certainly it was negative). It’s just nice to have someone supportive in my life…

Well, that’s my update… thank you, btw, to you all who were so supportive when I posted Friday about my period starting. It meant a lot to me to know that so many of you understood how I was feeling… and just knowing that others have had similar experiences always helps, too. You guys are the best readers :) !