It amazes me that some people go to sleep at night, sleep for 6-8 hours, and wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to start the day. I don’t think I’ve felt like that more than a few times in my entire life. But I’d like to try feeling that way more often.
Fatigue is a tricky symptoms. It can be caused by so many things. I’m pretty sure that mine is caused at least in part by my thyroid issues and adrenal problems, because as I fixed my adrenals, I felt better, and when I started dessicated thyroid they fatigue improved even more. I no longer fall asleep while reading (except in bed at night), I don’t nap during the afternoon, I can leave the house three days in a row without feeling like I’m going to collapse. Then again, I still have a ways to go. I can’t leave the house every day for a week, even if it’s only for small things. I can’t do laundry in the afternoon and then go out with friends for dinner. Spending an afternoon chatting with a friend is completely exhausting. I’m so grateful for all of my improvements, but I want to improve even more.
I’m trying new medications for my thyroid problems, and I’m hoping that will help, but I’m not going to assume that’s the solution. What’s if there’s another contributing factor? That’s why I saw a sleep doctor. This guy is one of the best around here, and I really liked him when I saw him many years ago. At that time, I did a sleep study that showed some apnea, but not enough for a cpap machine. That’s the machine where a mask over the face at night helps the person breathe. The doctor found that my circadian rhythm was off, like I was in permanent jet lag. He told me to take a very small dose of melatonin and use a blue light (sometimes called a sun lamp) in the mornings. That made a huge difference, and for a while I felt much better.
With the fatigue over the last couple of years, it seemed worth checking out my sleep again. Besides, I felt like I wasn’t sleeping well. I was waking up just as tired and sleepy as I’d felt when I’d gone to bed. In the last year, I’ve been having dreams that make me feel like my sleep isn’t as restful. In the last few months, I’ve been waking up a lot during the night. I knew something was wrong.
The downside of seeing such a top doctor is that he has very long waiting lists. I made an appointment in June and finally saw him in December. He suggested a few changes to the melatonin and blue light, and ordered some tests. One of those tests was a sleep study and his report on it popped up on my online hospital account today. (I’ll find out more when I meet with the doctor next week, but I can see notes as soon as he enters them into my records, which is awesome. I wish all of my doctors’ systems did this!) According to the doctor’s notes, I have sleep apnea and need to use a cpap machine. Ah hah! I knew it! Ok, I’m not happy about having to use the machine, especially as a single person who hopes to one day share my bed with someone else. On the other hand, what if this helps?! I can’t imagine anyone would feel energetic without ever getting proper sleep, so maybe this is one of the keys.
I don’t think this sleep issue is my entire problem. But maybe, just maybe, the sleep, thyroid, and adrenal issues combined are what’s causing the fatigue. I’m already addressing the thyroid and adrenal issues so maybe, just maybe, fixing the sleep problems will make me feel well enough to slowly, eventually, get my life back. Maybe I’ll be able to socialize more, get a job, and just feel better! Ok, I’m probably getting ahead of myself. It could take time. But what if…..?