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A Sleep Struggle Story

“I felt like I was waking up underwater.”

This is how Erik described his restless and interrupted sleep, after struggling for more than six years with sleep apnea.

Through his video journal, you can watch as Erik recalls his experiences with disruptive snoring, waking up gasping for air and the insecurities he felt before finally finding a minimally invasive solution that improved not only his quality of rest, but his quality of life.

While his partner spent many nights trying to fall asleep, tossing and turning amidst Erik’s deep, thunderous snoring, she grew less concerned with her own well-being and increasingly concerned with his. Many nights she lay beside him just waiting for him to take another breath. Seconds would tick by, often turning into full minutes, before Erik would choke and desperately gasp for air while he slept.

After consulting his primary care physician, Erik was referred to a sleep center where he was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. The manner this diagnosis was delivered to him left a dreadful impression on Erik and he struggled to remain hopeful.

To treat his disorder, Erik was given a BiPAP; a similar machine to the more commonly known CPAP. Erik tried night after night to embrace this new device as part of his nightly routine, but would only manage a couple hours of sleep before waking up due to the pain, discomfort and dry mouth it caused. He would inevitably wake up each morning without it, having unknowingly ripped it off his face while sleeping.

He had finally reached his breaking point. “I felt like I was failing, and that it was my fault like I wasn’t trying hard enough,” he humbly recalls. Knowing there had to be another way and a better solution, Erik then discovered ADVENT. He set up a virtual consultation with a sleep and sinus expert, but still wasn’t sure if ADVENT would be the right fit.

Upon his assessment with an ADVENT Advanced Practice Provider (APP), Erik finally had some more answers about his airways and sleep issues. However, the real questions still remained: what was his official diagnosis and what else could be done about it? That day, the APP sent out a take-at-home sleep study to be delivered to Erik in the mail. All he would have to do is wear it one night and then send it back to receive his results.

He found the take-home test was remarkably comfortable and easy to use and assemble. Much different than what he’d experienced in the lab. After reviewing his sleep study results, it was determined that Erik did in fact have severe sleep apnea.

His AHI — apnea hypopnea index — was more than 13x that of a mild case of sleep apnea. Meaning, Erik paused breathing on average 66.4 times per hour. An unsettling reality for Erik, however he was finally on his way to relief.

The next steps for Erik were a follow up visit and CT Scan with an ADVENT doctor at our Wauwatosa office. Erik was given a visual walk-through of his very own nose, sinuses and airways. He was able to see for himself the deviated septum, enlarged turbinates and chronic sinusitis that were at the root of his diagnosis.

With this scan, Dr. Kandula was able to build out a treatment plan. Erik would undergo a Balloon Sinuplasty and turbinate reduction in office.

This treatment is so minimally invasive, Erik was able to return back to work the very next day. And experienced little to no pain, issues or inconveniences.

After only three weeks, Erik was feeling the benefits and is now able to enjoy more fulfilling days because of healthier, more restful nights.

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