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!