Wednesday, December 13

Discovering my Sleep Disorders

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It started about five years before I finally saw a Sleep Specialist. My twice yearly headaches had become daily headaches. These were no ordinary headaches, they were severe headaches that sent me to neurologists and emergency rooms only to be told I was fine. The only answer that I could get for the headaches was New Persistant Daily Headache, which quite frankly just meant that I had monster headaches every single day but there was not a darn thing that could be done about it.

Headaches eventually combined with insomnia and not surprisingly emotional distress. I would cry if someone even looked at me funny. They told me I was probably just depressed and I was put on antidepressants. But it didn’t stop there. The headaches finally subsided after almost two years, but other ailments followed. My limbs would get tingly, I got muscle spasms and muscle twitches and when I did sleep I moved so violently that my husband could no longer sleep in the same bed with me.

After many more doctors visits and finally a sleep study I was diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder and moderate to severe Sleep Apnea. I was prescribed Mirapex for the Restless Leg Syndrome, which I highly recommend. It was like a wonder drug at first. I felt like a little kid on a sugar high simply from having gotten normal sleep. The initial dose eventually lost it’s effectiveness and I’ve had to increase it many times.

As I went through all of the tests and doctors appointments I was working as a restaurant manager. I worked at least fifty hours a week all different hours of the day. Some days I had to be at work by 5:30am and some days I didn’t get home until after 2:30am. My doctors asked me several times if I could switch professions in order to get onto a more normal sleep schedule. I really never thought I could, for that had been my career for almost twenty years. Ironically, about a year after my Sleep Disorder Diagnosis I got fired.

My sleep schedule now is much more consistant. I still get headaches, muscle twitches and occasional tingling. My husband still can’t sleep in the same bed with me. But I am sleeping with the help of medication and I no longer fear why these things are happening to me or cry for no apparent reason.

I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone that is constantly fatigued or has insomnia or movement issues to have a sleep study done and see a sleep specialist. It’s amazing how the effects of not sleeping properly can seriously intrude on your life. Even though Sleep Disorders are not curable, they are treatable and a few tests and a trip to a specialist could change your life.

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