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Episode 80 - Craig Baker - Successful Tonsillectomy, Turbinate Reduction & Septoplasty


Hey there, it’s Emma Cooksey here and I'm your host.

So we'll get on to the episode in a minute.

But to begin with, I just wanted to talk a little bit about surgical success with sleep apnea and what that looks like.


So I've linked a video in the show notes by dr. Vik Veer, who is an ENT surgeon in London and the UK.

And I actually requested that he do this video because I hear from people so much who go into Two surgeries with a very different expectation of what a successful surgical outcome would be then their surgeon, right?


So what dr.

Veers talking about, in that video is really the questions.

You can ask to get onto the same page with your surgeon.

So if you're going into a surgery, whether it's a tonsillectomy or, you know, people have turbine introductions and septoplasty these and there's just so So many different procedures that could potentially help with sleep apnea.


So if you're going into that procedure expecting to come out with no sleep apnea, you know, 0h I and you find that you come out of the surgery and you still need to use a CPAP and your hii has reduced from you know really severe like 80 down to 40.


Well the surgeon might Saying to themselves.

Wow, what a successful surgery, I, you know, like cut that a giant half, that's an amazing result.

But from the patient's point of view, if they're going in with the expectation, that they're no longer going to need CPAP or, you know, whatever their expectation might be, sometimes that can lead to a lot of disappointment, right?


So, I think that it's whether I mean, I know in the video and Veers, talking about people having double jaw surgery.

That's the, the example he gives as a surgery, but I think a lot of what he's saying really applies to any of these procedures.


So, if you watch that video, you'll get some really good questions to ask your surgeon ahead of the procedures.

So, you know, going into it what, you know, like success really looks like to the surgeon, the best that you can possibly hope for is for you.


Go to be on the same page so that when you come out of surgery, you know, you're hoping for the same things.

And so anyway, I just kind of wanted to say that because I think I hear from a lot of people who say that, you know, a surgeon has told them, this would be really helpful for you and haven't really explained down to the granular level.


Like, what, that what the helpful would look?

Like right.

So oftentimes was nasal surgeries, particularly it could be absolutely worth doing and nasal surgery for somebody even if they you know still are going to need to be on CPAP but if you have a working nose then CPAP is so much more easy to tolerate and you may need like a different pressure or just might help.


So it's not that any surgery necessarily has to Resolve your sleep apnea or make it so that you don't have any sleep apnea at all.

The that would be nice and but, just knowing ahead of time exactly what your surgeon is thinking is possible and marrying the up with what you think and can really help people with that process.


So, that's my two cents.

So, on to my conversation with Craig Baker, is currently a personal trainer.


And he's in Sydney Australia and I always just say like go and look at his Instagram and then you'll get a Vibe like he's one of those ultra-fit people.


He does some work as a sports model as well and like one of the reasons he went undiagnosed for so long is that he doesn't fit.

The Stereotype of an older overweight, man.

So sometimes it's difficult to feel, sorry for people that are really good looking, and in great shape, but I do, I think that Craig story really highlights the, you know, the number of people out there who are athletes and are going on diagnosed with sleep apnea, because doctors don't think that it can apply to them.


I put a link in the show notes to my last episode with Craig and so we talked more than a year ago and at that point he was considering doing a tonsillectomy.

And so we talked and the episode about how that went and what the results were.


So, I hope you guys are going to find it helpful and encouraging.

So it was really nice to talk to Craig again.

And here's my conversation with Craig Baker.

So thank you so much for joining me again.

Craig, thanks for the invite.

So we wanted our probably put a link in the show notes to our original interview that we did.


So people can go back and hear your whole story join.

Just give us a little quick and idea of like where we got to Like you want to just kind of say roughly where you're from and like a little bit about your story and then get past chapter.


So I'm not sure how do I go was our last interview of the year and a half?

I shouldn't.


Like I should have but it was like more than a year ago, that's the Thun.

See some originally from the UK being living a Sydney, approaching 10 years now suffered from unexplained kind of fatigue and other symptoms for what the best part.


Out of ten years, wondered once or twice, we will sleep apnea but got dismissed by doctors that it probably wouldn't because I don't fit the typical person that has it but then it got to like a crunch Point.


What about two years ago?

I was like, right?

I need to do like a sleep study because nothing else really explains, why I was feeling and also your friends notified you of your snoring.

That's right.

I went on a holiday with some So they're like, Craig you making some weird noises in his sleep like what the hell's going on there?


Like they may be sleep in a separate room which I never really be familiar that.

I was making.

Like, it wasn't just snoring.

It was like, like distressed kind of a lot throughout the night.

So that's what really made me go and see a doctor that put me certainly to an ENT first.


Who said, yeah, your tonsils seem like unusually large and it could be obstructing your Airways.

Did a sleep study and that confirmed, it had 21 disturbances an hour and quite severe oxygen desaturation that same time.

So it was put on the waiting list to have surgery that waiting list just went on forever because of Cove is to the point where I just was like to hell with this.


I'm just going to shut out that my 10 grand and ever done privately, which I did in January and here we are now January 20. 22, right.

Just going yet.

Yeah, so okay so tell us about so.


So I think you said that you were trying to use CPAP but how did that go?


Yeah so when I got diagnosed I wasn't a CPAP.

I found it didn't give me that much relief from from the tiredness.


I think any benefit the CPAP gave me was kind of offset by The fact that I had a mask on my face blowing air right during the night and if it became sliding dislodge for my nostrils, I just spend the night having weird dreams about being in a hurricane and wake up in the air blowing my face.


And I think, I just didn't like, was it a nasal pillow that you would use a nasal?

Pillow found was the best.

Yeah, I think I do nasal breathing actually, which is good.

Yeah, you know, it's just a nasal pillow mask.


Yeah, I did.

Really get an amazing me like 10 15 percent better but yeah not not.

It wasn't the the Silver Bullet that I was hoping it'd be.


And so then when you finally we're going in to get your surgery, tell people like what so it wasn't just the tonsillectomy you did some cider nose at the same time.


Yes, he said - he said, my septum was quite severely deviated, which I wasn't aware of.

So that They, he straighten her, septum gave me a turbinate reduction and tonsillectomy all the same time.



And he kept saying he's a really good surgeon quite well known around here and he kept saying to me, are you sure you want to do book?

Same time because it's going to hurt.

Like, somebody really like hellish.


And I was like, well, it's just paying like, how bad can it be like pretty bad.

Pretty pretty bad.




So he kept warning me and I went ahead and did both of the same time and I don't regret that decision but it was Absolute hell for about ten days.

Yeah, like unfathomable pain.



I was quite worried about.


I was just kind of like oh like I was kind of wondering like if you had someone to look after you because it's only a, he's at me like I'm not gonna do this surgery unless you have someone that can like potentially care Around the Clock.



And and he wouldn't do the surgery until I bought a full face CPAP mask as well.

And I was like, this guy's coming in there.

Devastating the severity of this but he was completely right.

You need help.

It was horrible.


Because I I had had my tonsils taken out at the age of 19 and like yeah, I mean that was just a tonsils by itself without the know stuff that you have.

So I was kind of a bit late and you're going to do some other stuff too.


That's quite a bit.

I yeah, I don't think I had any idea what it was going to be like and not to put people off.

Because I feel like it really helped me but the actual recovery was really rough.


Like, I mean, I was basically saying when my parents that was when I was at University, but I was staying with my parents afterwards, and thank goodness because it was like, literally my mom bringing me like little, you know, ice lollies on a tray and fight kid.


You know, I stayed in bed for like a few days and yeah, it was yeah, it was people think people compare it to childhood.

Tonsillectomy and think it was quite minor surgery.

But it's adults on selecting is totally different from.

Yeah, child controls makes me.


And yeah, like one, my five-year-old had her tonsillectomy done.


I was kind of preparing for the level of recovery.

I had as a 19 year old, and it was not the same at all.

Like, shit was pretty much like I don't think I need painkillers, and I was like, what?

So she's also hard as nails.

So there's ha ha boy.



And I'm not So you so you woke up tell me about like this Seto Plassey and stuff and did they pack stuff up your nose or what?

What happens at.



So that's of the, the whole nose thing wasn't particularly painful like maybe because the tonsils took everything but nose was fine so they straighten.

The septum put two huge split ends up where most tools but I wasn't really know what they've done.


I just knew that was some stitches at sort of the bottom, which I managed to pick apart and one of the one of these splints of started coming out a bit and then I pushed it back into far.

And well, after a week they take the Springs out.

And the surgeon said, like, in his 30 years of doing this under the only person that managed to under suture, the splint, just get comfortable and you were like, yeah, it was just annoying me.


Kind of in my half-asleep, half-awake junked up State, I was pulling it apart.

And so then when he didn't get a full face mask salute, you can carry on using CPAP while you were, because the noise was totally blocked like a week until you remove the spending money removed, the splints, it was like, wow.


Like I didn't realize that my nose didn't actually work properly until he took.

He spent enough and it was so clear.

And yeah, it's amazing.


And you He took the splints out.

I was gobsmacked.

He just kept pulling and pulling and I like banana basically got pulled out of my nostrils.


Like the splint is huge.

It's about 8 cm long I've seen pictures of.

Yeah yeah yeah I was amazed.



And so then and there so high want to you were fully recovered from He made me stay on the CPAP for another four weeks post-surgery.


I feel like it was five or six weeks until I was feeling normal or getting a benefit from the surgery.




It wasn't an easier and then did you start gradually noticing an improvement in your sleet?

Or did you get your sleep study?


Like they did a follow-up sleep study at some point in there?

Yeah, I didn't I didn't do the follow-up.

Also went after the six weeks and I was off the seat up and feeling good, and happy.

I went to Mexico for like a month without the CPAP.

I know, I saw all of your pictures and was like, Hey, which was great.


And yeah, I found like ice was sleeping really.

Well, like, solidly through the night was waking up in the morning with energy to just get up at 7:00 8:00 a.m. and just do things differently.

Yeah, which was it's just a bit unusual for me.


So that was great.

And then when I came back from Mexico, this way about Philippines like right?

Yeah yeah that yeah.

But in between I didn't have a sleep study right?

And for what is so concluded that gone from 28, disturbances an hour and 78 percent oxygen at worst 27 disturbances now it's like a third of what it was before.


Yeah, and the oxygen desaturation.

I think the lowest recorded was about 88 or 89.


I like a good ten percent better than.

Yeah, so the doctor said, with those numbers, there's no like they they Associated health.


Risks greatness is think that's one thing that it just depends on the doctor.

But I think that oftentimes if the numbers are mild like that, they there aren't the long-term like For moderate and severe sleep apnea, they worry more about stroke and cardiovascular stuff and high blood pressure.


But for Mi about me, they don't worry about those was not much so This episode is sponsored by Viva Therapeutics.


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That's Viva patience.


So you were just like, okay, great quite happy to, you know, just go home and yeah basically, yeah I think I said before I found the sleep, doctor not particularly gray like it's quite dismissive and I feel like he just wants to get me in and out every time.


Yeah, so he was happy.

Just to say, hey look, you're good.

If if, if you start snoring again or strong gets louder come back and you know, see me but often a just See you later.

It is huh?

And so, how are you?


Are you continuing to sleep better and you feel better and tell us all about that.

Yeah, so not gonna lie.

I still, I still get quite tired a lot and I think sometimes people think of like, you know, miles sleep apnea, you know, when doctors talk about people having it like five, six, seven, eight, disturbances an hour there.


Like, well that's so miles but it's still Disturbed sleep, right?

So yeah, it's not 0.

Yeah, yeah, right.

So I guess that explains why I do still get a bit tired and also think But I think after having at me after so long your brain always almost becomes like habituated to the feeling of time as you wake up and the first thing you bring things while I must be tired because it's all nicely.


So I think it looks like sort of breaking the cycle of just feeling tired, perhaps for no particular reason and I found as you'd like been trying to channel as much as I can initiate because the last two years, nothing else, you I think breaking the the the everyday habits of Life by going Holiday actually makes me feel a lot more energetic.


So particularly in the Philippines was waking up every morning, just if it's new and different, I was raring to go.

I felt like I just had a different approach to life.

So I think part of it is just have it the tiredness but yes like and it's not as bad as it was for sure.


That's yeah.

So definitely like.

Yeah senior certainly so training.

Like yeah crazy.

Yeah I think.

Chain a little bit better than I was before, as well, I can push through and not feeling well by pushing myself too hard to just feel so fine.


And what about, because we talked a lot about how anxiety herd effects of Jus like earlier on.

So is that a little bit better now?

Or were you at with that?


So since surgery, I haven't experienced any particular anxiety, but move follows.


Yeah, yeah, like it's been a pretty Pretty good day, right?

Success story cream.

Hopefully like like it's still early days.

It's only been like 7 months.


Like Yeah, I seem to seem to feel pretty good like I'm not still have to be mindful of taking care of my like, health or well-being, perhaps, more than the average person but but feel pretty good.



Going to say, yeah, well, thanks so much for sharing all that with us, my work.

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