It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

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BaldGuy
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It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby BaldGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Hey all.

I hope this is the right forum ... it's a little off-topic, but it's running/health related.

I haven't been participating much here lately because, frankly, I haven't been running regularly enough to justify much of anything. SInce my last marathon (Ottawa 2007), I just haven't been able to get it together. I blamed my chronic, low-grade depression, which I used to regulate by -- that's right, running. I was in a Catch-22: running helps my depression, but I couldn't seem to get myself out the door to run because I wasn't functioning well. I was getting through the day, working my multiple jobs in media, music and theatre. But I just had no energy to run consistently. And as a result, I would get more down on myself for failing to do what I need to do to feel healthy.

December 2012. About a week before Christmas I had some abdominal pain and went to Emergency, thinking it was yet another kidney stone attack. I was assured that it was more likely a gall bladder problem, and after an ultrasound and a couple more visits to the doc, it was confirmed. I was in a holding pattern, waiting to get on someone's surgical calendar.

May 2013. Met the gallbladder surgeon, schedule the surgery. Came back to the hospital for my pre-admit visit, meet with the anesthesiologist. My meeting was disconcerting. A lot of questions about alcohol, sleep habits, snoring, and family history, and the next thing I knew I was booked for an overnight sleep study at a downtown sleep clinic. The anesthesiologist was concerned that I may have Sleep Apnea. Two of my siblings were diagnosed this year and I come from a long line of afternoon nappers and loud snorers ... I've had people complain about my snoring since I was a teenager.

I went to the study, where I was hooked up to about a thousand (okay, maybe 35) electrodes that were jacked into a computer network to measure eye movement, EEG, blood oxygen, limb movement, snoring -- I looked like the Borg. I had a terrible night's sleep.

So the results: Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Apparently when I'm asleep, my oxygen saturation goes down sometimes as low as 69%. Sleep doc says it should never be less than 90. Shows me impressive and terrifying charts. Because of the symptoms, like lethargy, daytime drowsiness, irritability, brain fog, OSA can be misdiagnosed as depression. So it could be that all this time, I've really been sleep-and-oxygen deprived.

The gold standard treatment for this condition is called CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure -- a ridiculously expensive machine sits beside the bed and keeps the patient's airways open by pumping moist air through the nose via a tube only slightly smaller than a vacuum cleaner hose.

I had to go back for a second sleep study to see how this would work for me and to determine the optimum pressure setup for my own machine. 35 electrodes plus the mask and tube thingy, and an even worse night's sleep than the first one.

The sleep doctor showed me the results of my second study, the really awful night's sleep. My oxygen sats were above 90 all night. The scary charts were not as scary.

I got my machine yesterday. OHIP pays for a big chunk of it, and MrsBG's group insurance is paying 90% of the balance. When the Respiration Therapist walked me through the machine setup and maintenance instructions yesterday, I was on the verge of tears. Tears of joy. I am so grateful.

The thing that bothers me the most is that I'm learning about this now -- if I had been diagnosed 20 years ago, what would my life have looked like? Looking back, I can see so many signs and symptoms. But as they say, "You don't know what you don't know."

Last night, I had what might have been the first really good night's sleep I've had since ... I don't know when. I woke up without the alarm after nearly 7 hours of sleep. I got up right away, made coffee, read the Internet. I had a tiny nap before leaving for work, but I gotta say -- It's been a good day. It's 4:30 and I'm not dragging myself around.

And I'm going for a run when I get home.

I really hope this is the start of a new chapter. I really do.

James aka BG
BG

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Jo-Jo
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Jo-Jo » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:59 pm

Oh Mr. Tamborine Man (yes...you'll always be that to me)....your post made me tear up.

Amazing how lack of good quality sleep can affect life in so many ways.

Here's to some great sleeps ahead :D
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby purdy65 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:00 pm

Wishing you the best James!

DH was diagnosed with mild sleep ap, and was given a CPAP machine. He is what you call a 'failed' user. Simply put, but machine causes him more discomfort that relief! He has also tried a mouthpiece which seems to work better.

I hope it continues to go well for you! I know lots of people who get relief for sure!

Enjoy the run!
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby La » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:43 pm

BaldGuy wrote:And I'm going for a run when I get home.

I really hope this is the start of a new chapter. I really do.

Your runpub friends are rooting for you! :)

ETA: and you know where to find us...
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby CAW » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:45 pm

Oh, James, that must be a big load off your shoulders!

Have fun on your run!!
~Kara~

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Nicholas » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:47 pm

Wow, James, that is great news. Better late than never...all you can do is look forward and enjoy your new energy. Is there any longer term way to get off the machine or is it there for ever?
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby BaldGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:53 pm

Thanks Nick -- Barring surgery to push my jaw forward (which may or may not work), this is it -- but I'm okay with it. It's the price of freedom. I get the sense that a lot of people resist the machine, and I have to admit, I didn't want this diagnosis because of it. But once I knew it was inevitable, I adjusted to the idea pretty quickly. The sleep doc seemed to be prepared for me to push back, but I didn't.

Kara, it's like a huge weight has been lifted. I feel taller today, and stronger than I have in years.

And I just got back from an awesome 3K run/walk with my 10 year old DD. :-)
BG

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby QuickChick » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:59 pm

I'm so happy to hear this, James. My dad has one of those machines and swears by it. I'm so glad you're feeling better already!
"Don’t let negativity rent space in your brain for free. That is how you become a badass…by excavating her from inside you. You don’t have to become someone else. You need to identify the effing awesome parts of you that are your tools to work with, and maximize those." -Lauren Fleshman

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Tori » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:16 pm

Wow! That is great news. Here's to your energy picking up!

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby trixiee » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:29 pm

awesome news BG!
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby MrBond » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:54 pm

La wrote:
BaldGuy wrote:And I'm going for a run when I get home.

I really hope this is the start of a new chapter. I really do.

Your runpub friends are rooting for you! :)

ETA: and you know where to find us...


What La said - if you EVER need anyone to go out with for a wee jog or a walk, I'm yer mon....
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby jgore » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:04 pm

Fantastic news, James. Yeah, the machine may be a pain in the you-know-what, but the it sounds as though it has solved some major problems for you. Good luck and have FUN!

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Robinandamelia » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:14 pm

Good that you finally got some answers and can get some relief!!

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Habs4ever » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:15 pm

Wow, that is such great news. So very happy for you. :D
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby CAW » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:46 pm

BaldGuy wrote:
Kara, it's like a huge weight has been lifted. I feel taller today, and stronger than I have in years.

And I just got back from an awesome 3K run/walk with my 10 year old DD. :-)


I love this update!
~Kara~

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Doonst » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:48 pm

Yay James! Let's go run trails!
next up:


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It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Jwolf » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:27 pm

Glad you're finally getting some answers. :) I know how frustrating things like this can be.

Now you can move forward.
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BaldGuy
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby BaldGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:59 pm

Jwolf wrote:Now you can move forward.

I really, really hope so. It was a good day today. :-)

Oh, and I went to RunPub after. :-)
BG

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It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Jwolf » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:01 pm

BaldGuy wrote:
Jwolf wrote:Now you can move forward.

I really, really hope so. It was a good day today. :-)

Baby steps. :)
Don't expect too much, just enjoy each step.

Glad it was good tonight.
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby getfit » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:02 pm

Great news James !! I know someone that also has that machine and is finally getting a good night's sleep after many years. All the best with your running comeback too :D
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby Marg » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:21 am

Very happy to read this James! :dance:
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La
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby La » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:41 am

BaldGuy wrote:
Jwolf wrote:Now you can move forward.

I really, really hope so. It was a good day today. :-)

Oh, and I went to RunPub after. :-)

And he was positively giddy last night! :)

Great to see you. Hope this means you'll be back more regularly.
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BaldGuy
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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby BaldGuy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:55 am

La wrote:And he was positively giddy last night! :)

Great to see you. Hope this means you'll be back more regularly.


Giddy is exactly the right word. Hopefully I can at least make it to the pub -- for the foreseeable future, I'm on Daddy duty in the evenings.
BG

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It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby QuickChick » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:06 am

I will run with you anytime (ummm as long as it's not oh-dark-thirty, haha).
"Don’t let negativity rent space in your brain for free. That is how you become a badass…by excavating her from inside you. You don’t have to become someone else. You need to identify the effing awesome parts of you that are your tools to work with, and maximize those." -Lauren Fleshman

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Re: It's all starting to make (medical) sense...

Postby BaldGuy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:08 am

QuickChick wrote:I will run with you anytime (ummm as long as it's not oh-dark-thirty, haha).

Ummm ... I can't keep up with you. Not even pregnant you. ;-)
BG


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