Joyce Reyes: Getting Back to Sleep
Marie Joyce Reyes was living a normal, happy life, focusing her energies on her family and her job at a government bank, when she began to have difficulty breathing in her sleep in 2008.
“It started with a simple allergy,” Joyce recounted. “Then, it got to the point when I’d suffer headaches and dizziness all the time, up until I couldn’t breathe properly while lying down.”
With her poor sleeping patterns affecting her temperament and daily routine, Joyce began consulting doctors of varied specializations in the hopes of pinning down the source of her problem.
“I was given pain medication, but it didn’t help. I was made to undergo X-rays and an MRI, but the tests would always come out normal,” she continues. “By then, I had become so pale and thin. I was so depressed, and I couldn’t even eat.”
Fortunately, Joyce’s dentist at The Medical City (TMC) referred her to Dr. Michael A. Sarte, Head of the hospital’s Center for Snoring and Sleep Disorders, who advised that she undergo a sleep test overnight at TMC’s state-of-the-art Sleep Laboratory. As Dr. Sarte had surmised, Joyce tested positive for sleep apnea, which is characterized by arrested breathing during sleep that occurs at least five up to more than 100 times per hour of slumber.
“Her nasal passages were very blocked,” explains Dr. Sarte. “It was a particular form of sleep apnea called bi-nasal congestion. Thus, I had Joyce undergo a radiofrequency turbinoplasty, which is a surgery that reduces the size of turbinates, or certain protrusions, in the nose. After the surgery, I told her to use nasal sprays every now and then should she need to unclog her nose.”
Throughout this experience, Joyce remained very cooperative, and showed no apprehensions or anxieties. Her honest and forthcoming relationship with Dr. Sarte is, in fact, a great example of TMC’s unique philosophy of patient partnership, where patients and their doctors work together as equals in the pursuit of effective and efficient treatment.
“The treatment was a success,” Dr. Sarte confirms. “She was finally able to sleep well again, and her disposition at home and at work improved greatly.”
“I was so happy with the results, I nearly cried,” says Joyce. “After the surgery, it was the first time in over a year that I’d been able to breathe normally, when before I had to breathe through my mouth all the time. I could feel cool air go through my nostrils again. It was like I’d gained a brand-new life.”