I'm middle aged, in menopause, and pursuing a PhD. Just one of these is enough to exhaust anyone! But I'm almost done with coursework and heading into dissertation next year... light at the end of a long tunnel, and don't want to give up now. I am single and family-less, so nobody close to help me out but for a few wonderful but busy friends.
I was diagnosed with OSA in Dec '08, bordering between moderate and severe. After trying on at least 20 different masks & nasal pillows, I found the Opus nasal pillows that create minimal pain and discomfort and holds its seal through the night. 6 months ago, during my 1st annual checkup, my oxygen level was upped one notch, from 8 to 9 (sorry, not hip to the CPAP lingo yet), had add'l sleep study in March, upped 4 more notches to 13. This increased pressure started blowing my mouth open, requiring a chin strap. Chin strap extremely uncomfortable, creating chafing and bruises, terribly hot and uncomfy, adding a new level of misery. I finally sewed myself a new one out of lightweight silk a few weeks ago, now mouth is shut, no chafing, getting some sleep.
18 months later, I'm still extremely fatigued, even when I do nothing but relax and stay calm all day and get a good night's sleep. I made sure I have minimal obligations this summer so I can get more rested and restored, but it's coming at a snail's pace, sometimes I can't tell if I'll ever be normal again, though I am a world better than I was 18 months ago, when I was crippled with chronic pain and fatigue from years of undiagnosed OSA. One poster on this forum talked about 'sleep debt,' interesting way of putting it! Am I just now able to start paying toward my sleep debt, now that I have less stress and more time to devote to healing?
I was told that my OSA was most likely caused by a drop in progesterone as I headed into menopause and that I'd have to use CPAP for the rest of my life. This still feels like a prison sentence. I've gained some weight because of this wretched brew of health problems but nowhere near obese, just at the top end of the spectrum of normal weight for my height. Has anyone on this forum gotten free of the CPAP once out of menopause? If so, how did you do it? Has anyone else taken this long to get their health restored and feel normally rested on a daily basis? I'd appreciate anyone's advice or past experience to help me through this, thanks!