The Biggest Loser Contestant Sherry Johnston on CPAP Therapy: Page 2 of 3
four or five. Sherry told her doctor that Ashley would snore in her sleep and stop breathing. "The doctor said, 'When she gets to where she can't breathe a minute at a time, we'll think about doing something.'" "So, I sat up with a stopwatch with this child and watching her chest rise and fall and rise and fall and then gasp for air." Sherry said in those days, she could not go to a specialist without a referral from her primary care doctor. Finally, after a bout with strep throat, Sherry brought Ashley into the primary care practice, and a different doctor saw her that day. "He said, 'I cannot believe you have not had this child's tonsils and adenoids removed. They are the biggest I have ever seen.'" "I told him I have been trying to get them to take her tonsils out, and he replied, 'Well we will take them out immediately.'"
With the tonsils gone, Ashley's sleep apnea went away for awhile, but when she got older, it came back. Sherry says, "I would be up at night. If I woke up and heard her snoring or gasping, I knew she was breathing. If I did not hear anything, I would get up, and go and open her door, just to make sure she was alive. It was that severe." Ashley did not have health insurance, but Sherry connected her with a local sleep center that offers one free sleep study a month. They gave Ashley a used CPAP machine, but she felt like it "blew her head off." She had lots of excuses not to use it. Sherry worried about her constantly.
One of the best parts of being a contestant on The Biggest Loser , for Sherry, was receiving free, brand new CPAPs for her and Ashley. "[It] was one of the greatest gifts I or Ashley have been given... For me, it was such a peace of mind knowing that we both had CPAP ...it was the first really good night's sleep I'd had in a long time." "I didn't realize how important