Raised: $0,00 Goal: $5.000,00
September 4, 2018 by

Dawn Needs Surgery to Treat Sleep Apnea

I am a never married 56-year-old lady who, as a teenager, had a moderate traumatic brain injury when a drunk driver hit my parent’s car, killing them.

I have had short term memory issues and coordination problems basically my entire adult life. Back in 2016, I was in a stressful work environment and my symptoms were more noticeable. I went and saw a neurologist for the first time in over 10 years. That doctor sent me for neuropsychological testing and some cognitive therapy to improve my processing speed was recommended. However, since that doctor also sends all of his patients to be checked at the sleep center, the cognitive therapy was never started…

I have had several sleep studies since 2016 and was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I have been placed on a CPAP machine and now a BIPAP machine, because I was still having significant oxygen drops when I am in REM sleep. Also, there are times when my breathing stops for 60-80 seconds per hour for periods during the night. My sleep quality with the machine is poor to very poor. I need to sleep 10 hours or more to be semi functional. I wake up feeling what I imagine it feels like to be drunk. I could consider a much more expensive machine which would require oxygen and a back-up generator for the house, but with no guarantee that it would work any better.

In May of 2017, it was recommended by my doctor that I consider jaw surgery to wide my airway to fix the issue. I saw two UT doctors who made this recommendation. I spent most of 2017 trying to get my insurance company to cover the service according to their terms of conditions, which they finally agreed to do in November 2017, but it took me until February 2018 to find a qualifying surgeon who was willing to work with my insurance.

The surgeon wants braces put on my teeth prior to surgery and I again spent the better part of 2018 trying to get my insurance company to cover the services. They have finally agreed to pay the majority of the services related to the braces, but I will still owe $3,600 for the surgery for the year the surgery is performed (this is my deductible) and 10% of the braces cost. I will have some other costs that insurance won’t cover, like the 3-D modeling the doctor requires and needing a support person around for the first few days after the surgery to assist with my safety, owing to my neurological issues from my car accident. I need to have someone I can trust to make sure my house and dogs are safe. I work full-time for a state agency and even with my full-time salary and insurance benefits, these costs are nearly impossible for me to afford.

I would like to get back to where I can sleep at night and breath. I am working on losing weight, but the surgeon advised that my throat constriction is due to a small airway and lots of lingual tonsil tissue, not due to my weight. I would still have sleep apnea unless the structural issues are fixed.

The lack of sleep is making the cognitive difficulties and the mixed connective tissue disease (an auto immune issue) worse, since stress makes my immune system even more reactive.

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