How many of you out there know what a CPAP is? If you've struggled with obesity like me, you're probably familiar. For those of you who aren't, allow me to explain.
I have a medical condition called sleep apnea. Essentially, it means I snore. Now I'm not talking mild snoring. I'm talking sawing some serious logs. If you were in the next room over, you would say, "who's the lumberjack in the other room?" That lumberjack is me. And what's worse, all of that snoring is impacting the way I sleep. I had a sleep study done five years ago where they told me I was waking myself up hundreds of times a minute. That's right, over once per second! What happens is when I snore, my airway gets blocked by my soft pallet and I can't breathe. I have to wake up in order to keep from suffocating.
So in order to address this problem, I have to wear this monstrosity.
This is my CPAP mask. It's connected to a machine that forces air up my nose. It keeps my soft pallet from blocking my airway. I often call it my snoring machine when I'm on trips with friends, who often call it my Darth Vader Mask.
I seriously hate this thing. I don't hate wearing it, I just hate that I have to wear it. I can't sleep without it now at all and I hate being tied to an electrical outlet in order to sleep. I hate that if I'm going to crash somewhere, I have to pack it up and take it with. I hate that whenever I fly anywhere, airport security tests it to make sure it's not a bomb. I hate that I can't go camping. I really hate that one.
I also hate what it does to my face.
I took this picture after being up for over an hour. The straps leave awful marks on my face that sometimes stick around all day. All Day! Sometimes my students will notice them and ask me why I have red marks on my face.
I don't want to need my CPAP. A lot of times sleep apnea is weight-related. Once I meet my goal, hopefully I'll be able to get rid of my Darth Vader mask for good.