CPAP Update - Life with the Mask

September 24, 2009 · 15 comments

Sleep Study

It’s not the best picture since I took it with my cell phone looking into a mirror, but that’s me after getting hooked up for my sleep study a couple of months ago. Shortly after I took this picture I got into bed and they put more monitors on my face and plugged that wiring harness into the wall to monitor every last thing about what was going on as I slept. What you can’t see in the picture is that those wires extend down my legs too - I was a regular robot freak.

But the sleep study was well worth it because it showed that I had severe sleep apnea and it resulted in hooking me up with a CPAP machine, which I am beginning to really feel the effects of. My CPAP machine has some basic usage statistics that I can see and what it is telling me this morning is that i have used it 66/75 days for a total of 315 hours. Most of those 9 days that I missed came in the first month - I had a follow-up checkup a month ago were they made some minor adjustments to the pressure (they increased it) and since then I don’t think I have missed a day, and that includes 4 or 5 nights in a hotel.

For you math geniuses out there I’m sure you noticed that I am averaging less than 5 hours a night with it. For the first month I was averaging about 3 hours a night, since I have had the pressure adjusted I would say I am probably averaging more like 6 now. Many nights I do sleep through the night with it, other times I find that once I wake up in the middle of the night I have a hard time getting back to sleep fussing with it and so I won’t. This is part of the “getting used to it” process that I am still going through.

So does it make a difference? Hell, yes! I have to admit it’s not super obvious at first glance, but it is making a difference. First of all, the results of my sleep study showed empirically that it was making a huge difference in terms of my blood oxygen levels and my ability to get to REM sleep. The scientists looking at my charts would say it is making a huge difference in my health. But of course I never really knew about those problems - when you have sleep apnea you think you are sleeping just fine but you really aren’t. The symptoms of sleep apnea like being dog tired all day, stifling huge yawns not just after a filling meal but literally any time during the day from the first thing in the morning to late in the afternoon - those are all gone. I feel much more alert throughout the day, not to mention the odd hours of the morning and night that I sometimes find myself driving long distances - I feel safer on the road.

Life with the mask is a definite pain but I am not snoring at night, I feel rested during the day and my doctors are happy. Sounds like good news to me!

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Dr. Kal September 24, 2009 at 6:04 am

Sleeping with the CPAP machine takes some getting used to, but the key is that you are sleeping. Your improved sleep will help you to lose weight. And losing weight may cure your sleep apnea.

Keep it up!

Fat Daddy September 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

Dude a friend of mine has been on the CPAP for a couple years now, and he loves it. Says it has changed his life.

Hope it works for you too.

Rooster September 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

Most people are not able to achieve an optimal CPAP therapy unless they have a CPAP machine with software which lets them monitor pressure, apneas, hypopneas, snores, flow limitations and mask leak. The machines and software that do this are only slightly more expensive than the basic models.

I always recommend that patients who want to get good therapy should acquire this equipment and software.

David Stillwagon September 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

It is good to see that you are able to adjust to the cpap machine. I have tried in the past with no luck but I am going to give it another try.

AndrewE September 25, 2009 at 3:01 am


Hanlie September 25, 2009 at 10:22 am

It does sound like a lot of trouble, but if it’s helping you, why not?

Darren @ September 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Now that you are getting enough sleep each night, you may see an increase in your weight loss. It’s been proven that a good night’s rest can help you lose more weight! Best wishes on your weight loss journey.

Petra@Healthy Diet Weight Loss October 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

John, I think as long as your CPAP machine doesn’t look like the robo-wires in your picture, I think you are fine! ;) The husband of a friend of mine has severe sleep apnea as well and has to wear this mask at night, and they both got used to it over time and he is a lot happier now that he gets more restful sleep.

MamaBearJune October 7, 2009 at 12:57 am

Glad it is helping you feel better!

Cynthia October 13, 2009 at 1:41 am

My hubby has a CPAP and I noticed a difference right after he got it. Aside from the fact that I slept better not having to worry about him stopping breathing, he seemed more rested in the morning and quicker to get out of bed.

Glad you are seeing the benefits too!

Brian12566 October 13, 2009 at 10:32 am

I too have sever sleep apnea. After my sleep study, I was informed that I was waking up 60 times an hour! Since I sleep on my side, I chose the mask that goes into your nostrils only. You can decide which end of the mask the hose goes into. My wife now sleeps in the bed all night and has gotten to the point where she can not fall asleep without the dull hum of my machine.
Check out this website:

You are an inspiration-maybe I will start a weight loss program too. Perhaps even write about it on my blog? I dunno… I could stand to loose 50- 100 pounds.

Twice the Man October 16, 2009 at 9:19 am

I got one about 20 months ago, but never could adjust. I would go nights unable to fall asleep with it on and after days when I finally fell asleep the mask would end up on the floor. Fear of dying in my sleep did encourage me to lose 125 pounds though. I have not offically been told I don’t need any longer, but my doctor based on my results I should not use it.

Rooster October 17, 2009 at 7:42 am

Congratulations TTM for remaking yourself! However, let me caution you that medical science is finding that few people eliminate obstructive sleep apnea by losing weight to a normal BMI. Many doctors are still operating on the old and invalid paradigm that “obesity causes sleep apnea and sufficient weight loss will eliminate sleep apnea”. Use Google and you can find recent medical studies that this is typically not the case.

I hope you have eliminated your sleep apnea, but you need to be tested to confirm this. It is a deadly condition to be taken very seriously.

I know you are a strong-willed person to lose that much weight and keep it off. You want to live a long and healthy live, so get the sleep apnea tested.

Twice the Man October 17, 2009 at 11:16 am

Rooster I don’t use my CPAP because I lost weight and think I am cured, I don’t use it because the CPAP is not usefully to me since it either prevents me from sleeping or in sleep I tear it off. I wish other options where available that would help.

Rooster October 17, 2009 at 11:48 am

“Thinking” you are cured can kill you.

There are other options besides CPAP. Get involved in a good forum such as cpaptalk dot com or sleepguide dot com. If you are willing to invest some time there, you can get a pretty good education and make some good decisions about what you should do.

You will find some militant CPAPers (including me) on those forums. But just deal with it, use the forum to get educated, and then consider the options to CPAP.

I almost died in my bed during the early morning hours of May 31, 2004 due to undiagnosed/misdiagnosed sleep apnea. After you have made that great accomplishment of weight loss, I am sure you want to live a long, healthy life.

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