Back in the fall of 2020 I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. I’d been having all the symptoms for years. I was “only” 39 and in decent shape. They immediately wanted to throw a CPAP at it and call it good. Something didn’t seem right to me and I hated trying to sleep with the machine on as I have a hard enough time falling asleep anyways.
I did some research on procedures that could help resolve the issue rather than just slapping an annoying band aid on the problem. I ended up seeing an ENT doctor in Joliet (Dr. Gartlan) who specializes in sleep apnea procedures, specifically “AirLift” hyoid suspensions.
He did an examination and felt I was a good candidate for doing this, along with a UP3 and tonsillectomy. He warned me that it’s a very painful recovery but after a couple of weeks I’d feel better than I had in years and if I could stay in shape and use alcohol in moderation (easier said than done) I would probably be good to go for decades to come. He recommended doing intermittent fasting (which I’ve done ever since) afterwards which has definitely helped my body composition and weight. I’ve also been exercising a lot more.
This was still during Covid and they were booked out a couple months. Went in to Silver Cross Hospital on January 13, 2021 and had all this done. He wasn’t kidding, it was incredibly painful for the first 11-12 days.
After the swelling went down and the pain had subsided somewhere around day 13-14 I slept a solid 7 hours one night and woke up the next morning feeling like a kid again. A month after the surgery I flew to Denver for a company steering committee meeting. I’d had issues for YEARS falling asleep during all day meetings like these, especially because I don’t sleep well in hotels the first night. Only this time I was wide awake and alert each day even through the dreaded early afternoon segments.
Coincidentally, the airline misplaced one of my coworkers’ CPAP machine on his inbound flight, and he didn’t get it until the next day. He was an absolute wreck that first day having not had it to sleep with the night before. It really kind of drove home the fact that despite a rough couple of weeks recovery, I’d made the right decision for me to deal with it in a more permanent fashion. A year and a half in and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I understand it won’t be for everyone, but it was absolutely life changing for me. I was on antidepressants for years and needed frequent doses of caffeine to function more often than not. Turns out the symptoms of the sleep apnea itself was apparently causing a great deal of the depression, and I didn’t need any meds after the procedure. I’m now 41 and haven’t taken any prescriptions in over a year, feel great, have great blood work and cardiovascular health, and bounce out of bed (most mornings) like I hadn’t done in ages.
Just passing along for those out there that might not be aware of such alternative treatments for apnea. Happy to answer any questions anyone has whether here or via DM.