Jarie’s story is like so many other people who have all the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea but haven’t been diagnosed with it. Usually, it’s a partner who tells them that they snore. In some cases, several of the telltale signs are ignored because of other life events or lifestyle issues. For Jarie, it was a catastrophic life event that led to being diagnosed and wanting his freedom back that brought him to eXciteOSA.
A Life Disrupted
Jarie’s journey to being diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea has a tragic start. His beloved wife Jane had died of leukemia, and the stress, strain, and sorrow of that life event led to all sorts of lifestyle and sleep challenges. This caused daytime sleepiness and general tiredness throughout the day but at the time, he had no idea he had obstructive sleep apnea.
Jarie explained: “I thought that my tiredness and general sluggishness was because of my sorrow. I had no idea that my sleep could be the cause of all this as well. It was not until I met someone new that I realized the extent of my problem.”
It Sounds Like You’re Choking
Snoring is one indicator of obstructive sleep apnea that is easily heard by a partner. What’s not so easily heard is the sometimes choking sound that can go along with it as well. This choking sound is the airway being blocked. You can imagine how weird that would sound to a partner. In Jarie’s words:
“My girlfriend, now fiancée, would wake up and nudge me because she was worried that I was choking. I did snore, but the choking and then gasping was the turning point for me and led me to get tested.”
Jarie’s first diagnosis was moderate obstructive sleep Apnea with an AHI score of 28. A CPAP treatment program was prescribed, which is common for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers.
All the Gadgets. All the Troubles.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are used at night to keep your airway open while you sleep. They take some getting used to since you have to figure out the type of mask, how it fits, sleep position, and get used to the air blowing down your mouth (or nose).
“I had a heck of a time adjusting to sleeping with the CPAP. I had to try all sorts of masks, wear earplugs, and find a comfortable chin strap since my mouth would open at night. The air temperature and moisture were also hard to dial in. I will say it did help but it took some getting used to.”
Within a month of being on the CPAP machine, Jarie felt a lot better. He slept through the night and felt refreshed during the day. But was the effectiveness of CPAP worth the nighttime hassle?
It’s Effective, but at the Cost of Freedom?
As he got used to CPAP, he realized that he was tied down to the machine since he always had to have it with him. This was practically problematic while traveling and camping — something that he did often. He explains:
“I pride myself on traveling light. I only like to take the bare minimum with me in the smallest number of bags. Once I got the [CPAP] machine I had to worry about how to pack it, where to get distilled water and if I could plug it in. This was especially problematic when I went camping or shared a place with friends.”
Jarie was open about this obstructive sleep apnea with friends and family but still sometimes felt awkward to have to ask to sleep next to an outlet or get a private room to not bug everyone.
There Must be A Better Way
As Jarie’s sleep improved, he also made some critical lifestyle changes that led to him losing weight. Weight is a major factor in sleep apnea severity and complications. After losing the weight, Jarie decided to get retested.
“I was pretty happy about losing the weight and really wanted to see if that could get me off the machine. Not because it did not work but because it was a major hassle for me to move around with it. There must be a better way.”
His retest showed an AHI score of 8, which is mild obstructive sleep apnea. This was a major achievement considering his initial score was 28, and it also unlocked a new array of therapy options including eXciteOSA.
It’s Weird at First but You Get Used to It
What excited Jarie about eXciteOSA was that it is a daytime treatment. All of the other treatments he had tried including chin straps, nose openers, mouthguards, pillows, etc. all had to be used at night. As an athlete, Jarie wanted to be able to proactively do something about his obstructive sleep apnea instead of just relieving the symptoms.
“I’m a big believer in learning and training. If you can train your body to run a marathon or do sports, you should be able to train your body to reduce your obstructive sleep apnea. That’s why I was excited to give the eXciteOSA therapy a try. It was a bit weird at first, but you get used to it.”
That weirdness that Jarie mentioned is because the eXciteOSA device uses electrostimulation to strengthen the tongue muscles. This can sometimes lead to excessive saliva buildup, but it goes away in a few days. Like any new activity, it will feel foreign at first, but after a few therapy sessions, it will likely feel like second nature.
You Can’t Put a Price on Freedom
After Jarie’s 6 weeks of therapy, he could feel the difference. He no longer has to use his CPAP machine, which is an incredible indicator of the progress he’s made.
“I’m feeling just as good now as when I use the machine. I’m so glad I found eXciteOSA. I love the fact that I can put in the dedication to fix my obstructive sleep apnea at the root cause. For me, it’s just like working out for sports and life. I really love freedom as well. You can’t put a price on that.”
While results may vary, Jarie’s story of freedom from nighttime gadgets is something we hear a lot from patients. Suffering from mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring can be an emotional rollercoaster that is made worse by the lack of freedom to live the life you want to live. That’s why eXciteOSA is honored to be able to provide a daytime therapy that targets the root cause instead of relieving the symptoms.