Irma Chavez has been treated for sleep apnea for about 10 years, most recently at the Franciscan Health Munster Sleep Disorders Center at Hammond Clinic.
There, last summer, after receiving a physician referral, she was set up to undergo a home sleep testing process and was able to get the needed results.
Prior to that, in 2014, she received two studies at Franciscan Health Hammond, whose services since have been combined with the Munster facility.
Chavez found the home test to be a bit easier for the most part, “because I was in my own room and bed.”
“I was a little worried it wouldn’t capture the information needed, but it did. I came back the next morning, they read the results, and all was just fine,” the Burnham, Ill., resident said.
Every night, she wears a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure system mask, which regulates her breathing during sleep and helps her feel better rested in the morning.
Without it, she could stop breathing and possibly die.
Chavez’s plan is to lose enough weight to hopefully allow her to no longer need the mask, although pulmonary issues also play a role in her condition.
“I also have had asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia and have had infections, which have contributed to the sleep apnea. But the mask has helped tremendously. I am able to sleep on my side (as experts recommend) and it doesn’t bother me and I’m not exhausted in the morning,” she related.
Chavez also praised the center’s staff and services.
“They are extraordinary people,” she said, pointing to center supervisor Pam Keister as an example.
“They explained everything to me, hooked me up for the home study and were really sweet. They get back to you with answers right away. I really recommend this place.”
Chavez says Franciscan Hammond Clinic also is the place she comes when her children need health care.
“They take care of all our medical needs,” she said.
Keister called Chavez, “a wonderful patient who is taking a proactive stand for her health,” citing her positive attitude as a reason for her successes.
Added Chavez, “I have to have a happy attitude to be positive and also help people at my job. You have to keep going.”