How to Stop Fearing a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Hello, my name is Dina, and I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in January of 2020. It took me some time to come to terms with my diagnosis, because I was scared and because I didn’t fit the stigma of who gets sleep apnea. Now I want to share my story to help alleviate any fear or stigmas related with sleep apnea.

I’m 46 and come from the Bronx, but now I’ve settled in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. I work in the Mom & Baby department at Aeroflow Healthcare.

In 2019 I began struggling to get up for work in the mornings, but I ignored it at first because I was able to maintain good energy throughout the day. More alarmingly, I would frequently wake up in the middle of the night with pounding migraines.

Despite my symptoms, I didn’t think I had sleep apnea. Sleep apnea patients were typically men, old, overweight, and sluggish. That wasn’t me! I told myself it was just because I wasn’t eating healthy. But my symptoms weren’t going away, and my coworkers kept encouraging me to get tested. I went to my doctor who set me up with a prescription for a home sleep study from my company, Aeroflow.

My results showed I stopped breathing 30 times in a single hour of my sleep study! This was definitely a little scary. I was officially diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and that made me somewhat sad. I was nervous about the next steps, but Aeroflow set me up with my own personal respiratory therapist at their Beale Road location. They taught me how to use my machine and discussed different equipment options to fit my lifestyle.

"Don't give up - It's hard to deal with change and it takes time to get used to, but don't give up and keep trying to make it a daily habit. When you lay down in bed with your CPAP, it's all for your health and well-being."

My first few weeks of CPAP therapy went great. Sometimes you hear horror stories of restless nights and people giving up on their CPAP, but Aeroflow worked with me to resolve any issues I had, no matter how big or small. For instance, my machine began making noises and waking me up during the night, so I reached out to my clinician. Right away they switched me to heated machine tubing, and I was back to sleeping peacefully.

I won’t lie and say that CPAP therapy is all daisies. Sometimes I get annoyed with my mask, especially since I’m a side sleeper and it can push up against my pillow. But switching from a full face mask to a nasal mask has helped greatly, and the benefits I’ve seen from CPAP therapy far outweigh the negatives. Not waking up with my head pounding is worth it by itself. And I wake up feeling refreshed, so I don’t have to fight to get out of bed in the morning.

My insurance required a compliance period if they were going to cover it. In almost all cases your insurance will require a report showing 90 days of dedicated CPAP usage and treatment notes from your doctor in order to continue paying for your CPAP treatment. The compliance period can be difficult, but with Aeroflow Sleep’s help I got through it and I continue to see more benefits everyday.