Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 Years Without Sleep

I have been waiting for this night for 10 years. The night when I sleep at a hotel, all expenses paid, courtesy of my medical insurance. Sounds great, right? Not quite. The reason for this all-inclusive stay-cation is because I've been tired for 10 years.

At first, the doctors said it was sinuses so they gave me a magical spray to spritz up my nose with the hope that my nasal passages would shrink and I'd be able to breathe. That obviously didn't work. Flash forward a couple years and I begin having sever fatigue. So severe that I'd nearly fall asleep in the middle of a conversation with friends at school. "Wow, you really are tired," they'd say as my eyes tried to close and my head jerked back up as if someone yanked me by the ponytail. The fatigue only worsened as my senior year of high school progressed. Where I went to high school, the cool kids got good grades and "overachieved." And there I was falling asleep every chance I got. I almost felt like a narcoleptic but I knew that wasn't the case as there are some different symptoms. It's hard enough to be in high school. It was as if I were falling in with the wrong crowd and partying all night long only to come to school without my homework done and snooze in 7 different rooms a day. That's how I learned the word haggard.

My english teacher called my mom and the questions any concerned teacher would. I wasn't meeting my potential, are there problems at home, is she getting in with a bad crowd? Nope, none of the above. When my mom told me he said I looked haggard, I was SO insulted but only because for some reason this 12 grader taking College Prep English didn't know what the word meant. I was a cheerleader (not the rah-rah type, but a competitive, trophy winning type) and every day I'd come home from school, sleep, go to practice or a game, sleep, go to school the next day and repeat the vicious cycle.

Eventually the falling asleep mid-sentence faded and I just became used to being very tired. I'd sleep for 10-11 hours and have to force myself out of bed. My next shot at getting a diagnosis was a few years ago. I was married, working full time and a full time college student. Even though the problem had been going on for quite some time, they said "you're stressed" and that was that. I was to wait until I graduated from college and had less on my plate to ever feel rested again. This would be understandable if my sleeping pattern had suddenly changed after I took on all these challenges in my life but it didn't. This had been going on far too long to attribute it to stress. Then came the baby... "wait till he's older, then you'll feel better." Again, this would be true if my baby didn't sleep through the night like a little angel since 4 weeks of age.

Now I've graduated from college, make sure I get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, don't have any major stressors in my life to cause me to be so tired. I finally get a sleep study. My mother was diagnosed with sleep apnea a few years ago. I'm convinced that I too suffer from something similar. My family used to tell me that I snore like a freight train.. that was a real confidence booster. Snoring is one of the many symptoms among other things like waking up thinking "why am I holding my breath right now? That's weird..."

Is it bad for me to secretly hope that when my results come back there's something actually wrong with me? I will be so upset if I come back and they say "everything's normal, you're just tired." I'm hoping there's a reason behind my years and years of fatigue so I can get treatment and wake up one day feeling refreshed. A refreshed feeling in the morning is something so rare to me that I can remember the exact date it last happened: December 9, 2007. That was a year and a half ago. Before then, I couldn't even tell you...

Wish me luck tonight. Hopefully in the next 10-15 business days I'll be linking back to this post talking about how I'm so happy to finally have answers!

Good night~