A Surprise Diagnosis

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So health and wellness has been really my life's mission. I mean, I went to school to study about wellness and exercise. And being outdoors and being with animals was something that improved my well-being. And so I was hopeful to create a sacred space to share that with my patients, which is something that I am doing.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 6 and 1/2 years ago. I was having some chronic pain in my ears, so I went to a ear, nose, and throat doctor. My doctor decided it would be important for me to get a sleep apnea test. So I went to a sleep center. And actually, they woke me up after about an hour and a half, because they were so concerned that I had a pattern that I would not breathe sometimes up to 80 times an hour.

When I received the diagnosis of sleep apnea, it shocked me, because I had prided myself on being a healthy person. However, it began to make some sense to me because I had shown some other health issues. And I feel like the sleep apnea probably aggravated my health. And I just didn't know that there was this connection. So I actually was encouraged to hear that maybe something else was causing that.

I was happy to know there was treatment. Then I understand that you had to wear this sleep CPAP machine. And so I began to study the illness, and realized this was a life-threatening illness. And they called it the silent killer.

So sometimes with sleep apnea, there is a genetic predisposition. My brother did not know he had sleep apnea as well until he had a heart attack. Once he was hospitalized, a sleep study was recommended. And then it was discovered that he had sleep apnea as well. He is using his CPAP machine. And the first time that he used it, within that first week, he couldn't believe how much better he felt.

So I had some challenges getting used to that CPAP machine. In the very beginning, I could sleep with it for an hour or two. Then I'd get frustrated. There was a lot of frustration. So I shared my frustration and my challenge with my doctor, and he worked with me to give me different types of mask. It was worth it to me because I want to live a long time. I love to live. I love life. There's so much more I want to do with my life, that I was willing to do everything I needed to do to improve my health and to protect my health.

So in the past, I would get one or two pretty bad colds a year. And I would have some sinus infections. I'm a pretty good healer, because I use holistic practice as well. But what I found is as the years have gone, it's very rare that I get sick. I just know that my health overall is better. I'm well rested, and that increases the immunity system, increases the white blood cell. And plus I do a meditation practice that helps to oxygenate the cells and also improves the energy system and the immunity system. So I do a lot of things activity-wise, health-wise, in addition to the CPAP machine.

Because sleep apnea is called the silent killer, many people are walking around with symptoms and having no idea that it could be caused by this disease where there's treatment. And they're risking these other very serious illnesses that can be prevented. Just like any life-threatening illness, it's hard to admit that I have sleep apnea. But being able to talk about it openly, even today, I think it helps to face shame that people might have various diseases or various illnesses.

The good news is I can live a healthy lifestyle. And despite having sleep apnea, it doesn't make me who I am. It's just an additional thing that I'm having to learn to live with. And I can continue all the things that I did before. And so I want to give the message that if you're able to get treated, it's only going to make your life healthier.