J. Sabo July 2019

Highland Springs HERALD

July 2019

701 Highland Springs Avenue, Suite 12 Beaumont, CA 92223 www.tmjandsleepapnea.com babylaser.com 951.769.1616

The Vacation That Spurred My Sleep Medicine Passion Rock the Boat

I t’s safe to say that I feel as relaxed as ever! My family and I just returned from our annual trip to Lake Powell, which sits along the Arizona and Utah border. Every year, we spend an exciting week aboard a houseboat on the lake’s crystal blue waters. At Lake Powell, your days are spent swimming, playing water sports, and enjoying a cellphone-free week. During the night, you fall asleep counting shooting stars. It’s the perfect setting for family memories.

And it’s also where I got my start in sleep medicine.

Six years ago, I noticed my son, Owen, tossing and turning in his sleep. His breathing appeared irregular as well. I remember thinking, “That doesn’t seem very restful.” The crinkling of his sleeping bag certainly kept me awake!

I shared my concerns with Owen’s pediatrician shortly after our trip. She started him on a nasal steroid in an attempt to reduce his tonsil and adenoid tissues, which would, in theory, open his airway for better flow. But it didn’t have the desired effect. The next step was a sleep test to look at his condition on paper. Ultimately, Owen was diagnosed with sleep apnea. After having his tonsils and adenoid tissue removed and undergoing an orthodontic expansion of his dental arches, Owen is thriving. Today, he is 10 years old

At just 4 years old, “sleep apnea sleep” was all Owen had ever known. As a young kid, he could have never realized this was abnormal. That’s part of the reason why it can be so difficult to diagnose kids with sleep-disordered breathing conditions. Adults can even suffer from this “symptom blindness,” too, and sometimes it takes someone else recognizing the abnormality before you can find a diagnosis. This is why my team and I are so passionate about screening our family and patients for signs and symptoms they may have gone “blind” to. I’m grateful that I caught Owen’s irregular sleeping when I did. I was able to quarterback my son’s care, and this ultimately led me to a field that I am passionate about. Best of all, it gave our son a great chance at permanent developmental change. Today, he continues to be our budding jazz musician, who hasn’t let our early interventions slow him down. I could not be more proud of him.

and participates in orofacial myofunctional therapy to continue this improvement.

–Dr. Jessica Sabo



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