Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sleep Apnea

So, the results are in for my sleep test.  As suspected, I have sleep apnea.  I rated in the severe category because I stopped breathing more than 30 times per hour.  When you think that it means that I stopped breathing about once every 2 minutes, it is pretty scary! 

The great news is that it is totally treatable.  I am currently using a loaner CPAP machine, but I'll be getting my own soon.  It was a little intimidating at first, but it's really easy to use and for the most part, it doesn't bother me at all.

I went to see a respairologist and we talked about my condition and she set me up with the machine.  I got to sit back in her Lazy Boy and try it out.  At first, having air pumped directly at me was really weird.  She told me that it would feel overwhelming at first, but all I needed to do was relax and breathe through my nose.  Wow!  So easy! 

I am using a nasal mask, so it goes over my nose and there is a piece that goes up to the bridge of my nose and is anchored around my forehead with velcro straps.  It's got a knob so you can adjust as well.  Then there are straps that snap into the bottom of the mask to hold it over my face.  Everything is adjustable, so it's easy to tweak for comfort. 

Everything packs up into a carrying case and I took it home that day.  There is a readable card that plugs into the machine at the back.  I take it back before I go for tests so the card can be read and the information is sent to my doctor.  It reports on compliance to be sure I am using it and gives my average times for use. 

There were a few times that I woke up to find that I had pulled my mask off during the night, but it's gotten better.  I had a little trouble with skin irritation as well.  I did some research online and found some suggestions that helped.  So far, so good!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Aviva Community Fund Competition

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aviva Community Fund for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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This year marks the fifth year of the Aviva Community Fund's competition.  I'm glad to have the opportunity to share about this competition once again.  What I like about it is that the competition is all about regular people submitting ideas to make their communities better.  Positive change can start from a small change that will make a huge impact on the community.  Who knows what their community needs better than the people that live in it?  There is $1,000,000 of funding to be shared for the ideas that get the most votes.

To submit an idea, you just need to enter it on the Aviva Community Fund site, then get everyone you know to vote for your idea.  Finalists are chosen based on the number of votes.  And getting an Aviva Insurance Broker to support your idea increases the chances of winning.  Ideas can be submitted until November 25, 2013, so get your ideas in!  Remember, any idea that creates positive change in your community can be entered.

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You can find more information about the contest if you Like Aviva Community Fund on Facebook or Follow @avivacf on Twitter.  You'l be able to keep up with the latest information, see new ideas and find out how to vote.  Get involved so that you can help to create positive change in your neighbourhood.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Best Friend Saved My Life

It's frustrating when you have so many posts you want to write, but you just don't have the energy to do them or just about anything else.  That's where I've been for the last while and I think I finally know why.

I went on an amazing vacation with my best friend this spring.  We live in different provinces, so we don't get to spend a lot of time together, but this time, we went away and had 6 days to be together.  It was an amazing trip!  Here's how my friend saved my life:  she told me that I snored.  No, really.  I didn't know that I snored at all, but it turns out that I do and it's pretty bad.  I thought that maybe it was allergies or something, so while I noted it, I didn't think much of it until I got home and my husband confirmed it.  Then I was flabbergasted.  Why hadn't anyone mentioned it before?

My father has sleep apnea, so I knew that I needed to get things checked out.  I made my husband come with me to see my doctor so that he could talk to how I snore because I really don't know.  The doctor asked him if I ever gasp for breath and hubby realized how serious it was then.  It turns out that I do gasp for breath frequently.  With other information on my sleep patterns, my doctor arranged for me to have a sleep test done.

While I was waiting for the sleep test a number of other things began to make sense.  I'm always tired because I'm not having a sound sleep.  I put weight on easily because I'm not sleeping.  I'm forgetful, headachy, foggy-brained, and sleepy.  Sometimes I have to have a nap just a few hours after I've woken up because I can't function.  Lights started going off all over the place.

I read more about sleep apnea and found out that sleep apnea can cause heart problems and other health concerns.  If my friend hadn't mentioned it, I never would have known that something was wrong and to start looking for answers.

I've gone for the sleep test and that was an experience in itself.  I felt like a part of the Borg Collective with all the wires attached to me.  My technician was great and made lots of little jokes to help to put me at ease.  He explained what the wires were for and what they would be monitoring.  When he came in to unhook me to go to the bathroom, he let me know how I was doing and that he was getting good results.  This helped me to stay relaxed and go back to sleep when I was plugged back in.

I haven't had the results yet as the doctor was called in to the hospital.  Four of this found this information after waiting for the doctor to arrive to the clinic for about 45 minutes.  Oh well.  I go back for my results in 3 weeks (yes, another 3 weeks of waiting!).  I hope to have some answers about whether it is indeed sleep apnea, or if I have another type of sleep disorder.  At this point, I just want to know so that I can begin treatment.

In the meantime, I've started to do some exercising.  I kept stalling out before because I didn't know what to do or how to do it, but I found Jonathan Roche's through the FlyLady's team.  I'm using the free program right now and it's something I can actually do.  I haven't lost weight yet, but I was able to get a pair of jeans on easily that was too tight a few weeks before I started, so I'm getting somewhere :)

Hopefully once I know for sure what is going on, I'll be able to start a treatment that will get me feeling better and posting more.

NKOTB cruise 2013
Until then, I say "Cheers" to my bestie. You are the best and I love you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back on Medication, but That's OK!

So, it's been a long time since I've updated.  At first, I was looking at it thinking it was only a few weeks, then suddenly I realized that it's April!  I've been quiet for a very long time.  It's been a little stressful and busy in real life and I haven't felt like updating.  But here I am now.

Part of what kept me from posting for such a long time is that after being off antidepressants for 8 months, I started to recognize symptoms again.  I was having anxiety attacks, couldn't sleep, and saw a lot of the old symptoms come back.  After a visit to my doctor, he wanted me to go back on the Effexor again.  I didn't want to and expressed some concern, but he said it had worked before, so I should stick with it.  I took it for 3 days and felt sick, jittery, and just plain awful.  During that time, I talked with someone close to me who asked me why I agreed to go back on that medication.  She kind of reminded me that I needed to self advocate.  I do so much advocating for my daughter that I forget to advocate for myself.  I took myself off the medication (luckily 3 days wasn't long enough for discontinuation syndrome) and went back to the doctor.  He wanted to half the dosage of the Effexor, but I stood my ground and started a new medication.  It took a few months to get the dosage right, but I feel much better. 

Roller Coaster at Circus Circus
I've often said that having depression is like being on a roller coaster.
I feel like I am finally in a good place, so I'm going to enjoy the ride!
My anxiety has dropped considerably, although I do have occasional moments of panic, they generally don't last as long. 

After going through so much effort to get off of the Effexor XR, I felt like a bit of a failure to have to go back on medication.  But, I realized that I was off the medication for quite awhile and I can do it again.  I would have been a failure if I hadn't recognized the symptoms and admitted that I needed help.  I'm hoping that this will be short term usage, but we'll see.  I am very glad that I didn't end up back on the Effexor XR again.  Even in 3 short days, I started to feel the old feelings coming back.  I was fidgety and felt foggy brained.  I am glad that my doctor agreed to let me try a newer medication, even though it wasn't his first choice.  It was nice to have some input into my own health care.

Starting a new medication was no picnic either.  Thankfully, my pharmacist recognized that it was a new medication for me, so she recommended that I start on a half dose for a few days before taking the full dose.  That helped a lot in the transition.  I researched the new medication so that I would know what kind of side effects to expect.  It felt like I got them all!  I kept note of side effects so that I would be able to notice any trends and be able to report back to my doctor. 

It took about a month and a half for the side effects to stop being a problem and at my current dosage, I feel pretty good about life in general.  I don't feel all sunshine and roses, but I also don't feel all doom and gloom.  I'm pretty much at an even keel these days, and the nice thing about this medication is that I actually have feelings and I'm not numbed into oblivion.  I'm a work in progress, and I'm getting to where I am meant to be, slowly, but moving forward all the time.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Insurance Hunter

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Insurance Hunter for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'll be honest, I go out of my way to avoid having to do anything with my Auto Insurance.  It always feels like a huge chore and I never know if I'm really getting the best deal or all the features that I need.  I was asked to write for Insurance Hunter, so I checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised.  Getting a quote was really, really easy.  I filled in the online questionnaire and I had 2 different options that I could compare right away in the comfort of my home.  I didn't have to make a series of endless phone calls to different companies.  It was all there, at my fingertips.  It was really easy to make changes to the type of coverage and features that I wanted so that I could compare what different companies were willing to offer me.  It was quick, easy, and painless!

I like that there is a telephone number that you can call if you have questions, so you can be sure that you are getting the policy that works best for you.  

When I used the quote tool, I received 2 different quotes from 2 different companies.  The difference in price was $124 per month between them for the same amount of coverage.  Insurance Hunter says that they can save you money and it's easy to see that they mean it.  

Next time you need to shop for Car Insurance, give Insurance Hunter a try.  There's no obligation, and it's so easy that you really have nothing to lose!

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