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Energy Recovery

For a long time, I believed I was on a downward energy spiral. For years it felt like I was slowly (or not so slowly) losing my energy and not recovering it. It was uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful. I’d given up on the idea that I’d ever be able to rest enough.

Then recently I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a condition I’m now sure I’ve had for more than a decade. I started using a CPAP machine to help with my breathing at night, which is supposed to improve the quality of my sleep. For the first month or so I didn’t notice a difference. Then as I passed the two-month mark I noticed a very strange sensation — actually waking up feeling a bit rested!

I know! What a concept?! How is it possible that I no longer dread waking up?! It used to be that I didn’t feel much more rested than when I went to bed exhausted. But the amazing concept of feeling some energy when I wake up is remarkable!

Improvement in RA fatigue

The other day I was teasing my husband and saying that he must be scared now that I have some energy in the morning! Ha! The poor soul is so used to gently coaxing me out of bed and persuading me that I have to get up that it might actually be scary that I wake up and have a smile on my face instead of the usual growling!

Fatigue is still an issue

I’m not saying that I don’t have fatigue, because I still do. And I haven’t recovered the energy I remember having in my 20s. (Then again, who does?! As the sage Shaquille O’Neal said, “39 ain’t 29.” Yes, I said 39, and I’m sticking to it!) But it’s nice that mornings are significantly less painful. I still hit an energy wall sometime in the afternoon that I have to push through to finish the workday. I’ve also noticed at night that I just fall asleep after a certain time, whether I’m in bed or not! I wonder if now that my body knows it can actually get rest, that it is demanding that I give in and lay down!

Hoping for more progress in my energy recovery

Planning what to do with more energy

I also think that my energy recovery may continue to improve. After all, I have a lot of sleep to catch up on. Maybe with a few more months of good rest, I actually may have more energy throughout the day. The potential bewilders and excites me! What can I do with more energy? Heck, what could I NOT do with more energy?! I have such a long bucket list: to read more, to write more, to garden more, to cook more, to spend more time with Richard, to spend more time with family and friends, to travel more, and so on. My to-do list never seems to get shorter and the more energy I feel in my sails, the more that I want to do.

Trying to take it easy

Richard wisely says not to do too much, not to take on too much and too soon. He is right. Frankly, this could be temporary. I am aware that it may be fleeting progress. I also know that my improvement is partially (or significantly) supported by my latest medication working well. We all know that can be temporary. Yet, I’ve got to enjoy it while I can. One of the things I’ve said a lot since my medication started working last fall was that I want to travel as much as possible while I can. I know my abilities may not last, including the strength and energy I have for traveling (which is always limited compared to most other people).

For now, I am going to call my energy recovery a success in progress! I’m going to hope that it continues and do all that I can to keep getting good quality rest to support my many ambitions. It’s dreaming big that always keeps me going!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • MaryB
    6 months ago

    Thank you all so very much for these wonderful comments, etc. I learn every time I read one of these and they help so much. I’m still learning how to pace myself, deal with the pain and uncertainty of my days. So, all of you have helped so much. Bless you. Take care and keep up the good work of helping all of us.

  • Mafalda
    6 months ago

    I’ve been using a cpap for 8-9 years for severe obstructive and central apnea (63 apneic episodes/hour) and can’t say it’s relieved my fatigue or given more energy. But my litle machine allows me to reach REM stage, forces me to breathe when sleeping and keeps my organs oxygenated; in one word, it keeps me ‘alive’, so I’m very grateful for it.

  • uu279f
    6 months ago

    I can so relate to this! I found out I had needed c-pap for years and it really has helped my energy.. however, like you, I seem to hit a wall in the evening where whether I should go to sleep or not I have to! Glad to know this is an RA trait because it seems to be out of my control

  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    6 months ago

    Thanks for commenting and sharing uu279f. Glad to hear that you’ve found relief with a cpap. You aren’t alone here in still feeling fatigue. Wishing you the best. Please reach out anytime. Best, Kelly, Team Member

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    6 months ago

    Kelly, I am so excited for you!! I think you will notice continued improvements. Keep that hope alive!
    Mary Sophia

  • trishak913
    6 months ago

    Keep dreaming & keep RA/RD hope alive, Kelly! Bless you & thank you!!!

  • kat-elton
    6 months ago

    So happy for you Kelly- I love hearing that your energy is better- you inspire me!

  • Cynthia Ventura moderator
    6 months ago

    Congratulations Kelly! What wonderful news. And hooray for you for being so optimistic about outcomes. Often that’s half the battle. It’s easy to slide into pessimism with this disease so your positivity is an inspiration. I pray your new found energy continues and increases. Best wishes!

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thanks CynthiaV! 🙂 Best wishes for you too! -Kelly

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    6 months ago

    I am glad you are expirencing some improvements. I know that there is no magic bullet in this war to get decent sleep. For me it is a daily struggle.

    If you get tired of trying let me know and we call each other sometime, but only at 4:00 AM. 🙂

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thanks Rick! Appreciate it! 🙂 -Kelly

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