Joesph Alley
December 3, 2019
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Tara Jaworski

My sleep apnea journey was very challenging and at times I felt defeated until I started seeing Dr. Le.  Dr. Le changed my life, my views on Sleep Apnea, and got me back to a healthier, rested version of myself!   I am writing my story because I am sure there are patients out there that may be having a similar journey.
My story began almost 5 years ago, I began to feel weak/tired and could not tolerate stress in my job as a nurse.  I would wake up with my heart racing and struggle with anxiety day after day. I went to my PCP not sure what was wrong and she thought I had chronic fatigue syndrome and she sent me for my first sleep study.  I received no results for 6 months until I went back to her feeling worse.  My PCP looked at the results and told me I had mild sleep apnea and to call the sleep study provider for a CPAP machine.  I did and went for a titration appointment.  I was so excited I could treat this that once I received the setting recommendations I bought a CPAP machine with cash out of excitement and impatience.  The CPAP blew air into my stomach and I would wake up bloated and in pain and then suffer with horrible gas.  By the time this passed around noon I was exhausted.  I had the setting adjusted to auto and still had the problem.
I chose not to treat it.  I found a dentist who makes oral appliances and that office told me insurance wouldn’t pay for it.  This was at a time when my husband was sick and out of work, so I felt it just wasn’t meant to be at this time.  Three almost four years passed and I left a job I truly loved and a population of patients I worked with for 6 years because I  got to a point where I did not feel I could handle the demand of that type of work, so I took a call center job.  This was a true low for me personally, because I love being with patients.  My day to day had become nearly unbearable I would wake up feeling like I had the flu without the fever, I would quietly dread any outing, and just would force myself through the day.  I would cry for no reason and thought I was losing my mind.  I had no reason to be depressed so it didn’t make sense to me.  My husband asked my to see a sleep doctor and in my search I found Dr. Le.
I knew getting another CPAP was out of the question so what’s a sleep dentist?  Dr. Le is a dentist educated in Sleep disorders and understands how serious this condition is left untreated.  She was exactly what I needed.  She motivated me to want to treat it and get my life back.  I did need another sleep study and the sleep doctor I went to took one look at me, not the stereotypical textbook patient (male or obese) and decided I needed a psychiatrist.  He said to me, I am telling you, you don’t have sleep apnea” while he held my first sleep study in his hand.  Then he asked, what do you want from me? I said I want a sleep study.  He ordered it and I have severe sleep apnea on my back and moderate on my side.  Dr. Le made my oral appliance almost a year ago now.  In the past year, I have felt better than I could ever had expected and I have a life I look forward to living from something as simple as an oral appliance and a knowledgeable supportive doctor.

C’est la vie