I am going to try my best to keep it unemotional and fact based.
I am a 22 year old from an Asian country with educated parents. Blessed with good academic capacities during initial school grades, I had trouble coping with the nosediving academic failures of my engineering degree. My loud snoring has always been talked about to me, but with shrugged shoulders thinking it was common and in the family. When I was young, I had read about narcolepsy. Back then, the symptoms matched, and I even noticed that I probably have sleep apnea. (grandpa suffered cardiac problems, loud snoring, difficulty breathing, and even passed away in his sleep) Almost a decade later, I now have 30kg+ weight gains, sugar cravings, inability to play sports, physical activities, unprecedented failures in academics, craving for some bad habits like smoking and drinking, even inability to fall asleep on many occasions, finding myself awake at 5:00 am at dawn watching some random youtube for mindless content consumption. Falling asleep during lectures, being thrown out of them for sleeping, falling asleep during examinations even when I have prepared for weeks, and being laughed at for dozing off, was the norm. Fatshaming came free. It was an emotional rollercoaster with ups and downs, mostly downs for academics. I have managed to complete my graduation this month, and decided to pursue a career in sound engineering.
I went to the nearest big city and got an appointment with a pulmonologist. I described all my symptoms including daytime sleepiness, people describing that my snoring is loud and changes randomly, and sometimes i’d be gasping for air during sleep and i’d feel breathless, move my hands and legs because I seem like choking, etc. Got my sleep test done, got 98.9 AHI. O2sat levels dropped to 22% at lowest, and heart rate even dropped to 5 bpm, even though bradychardia number of events are displayed zero. Then I got my CPAP titration done, on which I got 10.4 AHI, and was prescribed to buy an autoCPAP device by the same. My relatives and wellwishers witnessed those sleep tests, and heard what the doctor said, but to my dismay, they chose to believe that my sleep test data is faulty.
So they took me to a better hospital with expensive resources and got my sleep test REDONE at a medical facility. On that night I used a Resmed mask of medium size and even though I felt like I had a great night sleep, I had gotten my 2nd molar extracted on the day before my sleep test, so there was bleeding due to firm/tightening of mask. That bleeding was probably not a big deal, but due to mask not being of the right size, nor was it a full face mask, just over my nose only. The mask was small so it hurt the skin near my nose, and temple (portion between two eyebrows) and there have been bruises caused by the mask. I will probably be prescribed a CPAP after the results come in this week, but my parents have truly been skeptical of the mask, and the fact that im going to be requiring it every night I go to sleep. They have been told by their friends/elders that my issue is clearly caused by obesity. My BMI is 35.5, weight 105kg, height 1.70 metres. while I believe that my obesity has been caused by sleep apnea, as I’ve been facing this problem since I was underweight, and even normal weight. I remember being of 26-27BMI, being skinny as heck, and still waking up 5-6 times a night to pee, and I’ll be sleepwalking my way to the bathroom only to find myself sweating profusely and not having a full bladder.. (I sweat heavily, mostly all the time coz I’m always anxious, and even when i’m in Air Conditioned room/car, I have legit sweating problem too). I’d always think of that peeing wakeup calls as just something that was like a false alarm in my body but I’ve noticed that it’s one of the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Redditors, fellow readers, anyone who knows anything about such severe levels of AHI, or even if theirs is lesser AHI, I wanna hear if my problems are legit, or if this is all in my lifestyle changes, because believe me, I’ve tried gym, I’ve tried heavy exercising, I got checked for exercise induced asthama (negative) and still I haven’t been able to lose weight. I am not ready for starvation diets, and even walking 10km a day hasn’t helped me lose my weight. Is machine really my only effective form of treatment at my level of apnea? will I require a Bipap device? If anyone needs to look at my sleep test reports for specific data, I can send them via email, in case someone is an expert. Are academic problems at my level of 100AHI natural, or am I just lazy and those two are not connected? Do let me know. Is smoking 1 cigarette/week causing this (as feared by my innocent parents)? Is my occasional junk food killing me? Am I a victim of “Just lose some kilos/pounds and everything will be alright?” Let me know. Because I’ve tried so hard to lose my weight and it always seems like no amount of efforts would show promising results. Not to forget people coming up to me and telling me that my sleep apnea isn’t serious and I should just take a chill pill, and me asking myself if this facing this was worth hiding for a decade, and now that I took efforts to counter it, and it has backfired from all angles, with my wellwishers thinking that I will be addicted to the machine, or will it have side effects, or will it make me lazy like WALL-E guys, now that I will have non-choked breathing despite my weight, thus helping me not work on reducing my weight? Am I too deep in the rabbit hole?