Alan’s Story: How I Ditched My CPAP
Whether on the road with his big rig, or on the road to recovery from his sleep disorder, ADVENT patient Alan was driven to stay the course to breathing better.
For more than eight years he struggled with adapting to his CPAP face mask. But in order to keep his job, he had no other choice than to put up with it.
You see, to maintain his commercial driver’s license, he was required to undergo an annual physical and received an evaluation with the Department of Transportation. When they returned his results with the ultimatum “wear the CPAP to treat your obstructive sleep apnea, or lose your license and your job”, he knew what he had to do.
His diagnosis came as no surprise to him and his wife. “My wife used to wake me in the middle of the night when I’d stop breathing. I’d tell her, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll breathe again … eventually.’”
CPAP Struggle: Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place
So with no other choice, Alan took home the CPAP — with it’s obnoxious hoses, uncomfortable mask, and humming motor — and placed it beside his bed, introducing it into his nightly routine.
Even after using it for so many years, Alan describes his experience as nothing short of frustrating.
“It was aggravating. There’s a lot of ‘cons’ to a CPAP machine.”
Alan’s biggest complaint? Breaking the seal of the mask anytime he’d turn on his side. The consistent need to rearrange and readjust during the night frequently woke him up, pulling him from his sleep — causing the very thing the mask was intended to solve.
It never occurred to Alan, or those who were prescribing him this treatment, what was really going on beneath the surface.
Sinus Problems, Breathing Problems
“To me, I didn’t have sinus problems, I just had breathing problems.” Alan recalls with a chuckle, realizing his flawed thinking. “When you think about it, they're actually the same!”
It took eight years of struggling with the CPAP at his bedside before he discovered the alternative options he had that would treat his nose, his breathing, and his snoring.
Upon coming to ADVENT, Alan received a thorough examination of his Breathing Triangle, which gave doctors a clear answer to what was going on in his nose and sinuses and to prescribe the procedure that would be best for him.
Alan had an in-office Balloon Sinuplasty — “the procedure was quick; went boom, boom, boom and it was all done!” — where a catheter is inserted into the nasal cavities to open up the crowded and inflamed areas. The results left him happier and breathing better than he ever had before.
So Long, CPAP
Following his successful Balloon Sinuplasty procedure, Alan was relieved to finally be able to ditch the bulky CPAP machine from his bedroom and replace it with a device that’s much less invasive.
The care team from ADVENT introduced Alan to an oral appliance, a small retainer-like object that sits between the upper and lower teeth, and helps prevent the tongue from relaxing into the throat. He found the oral appliance was much easier to get used to and manage compared to the sleep mask… and much less costly!
Like many OSA-sufferers, he was surprised and elated to discover different treatment options were available— ones that didn’t require strapping a mask to his face every night!
And just like many ADVENT patients before him, Alan’s only concern is why he hadn’t acted on this sooner. “I’m very glad I did it, I wish I had done it 20 years ago!”