Healthy Lifestyle

Sleep Apnea No Longer Holds Her Back

Joyce Buethe has an infectious laugh, and a personality that matches her beautiful smile. These days, Joyce is smiling even brighter because a weight loss journey has had a remarkable effect on her health.  

A decision for better health

A little over a year and a half ago, Joyce made a decision for her health. She and her husband wanted to drop some weight. They had just moved from Colorado to Nebraska to be closer to their grandkids and were quickly realizing the energy they needed to keep up. 

“I’ve been heavy all my life,” said Joyce, a medical technologist at Methodist Physicians Clinic Risen Son. At 59 years-old, Joyce weighed in at more than 300 pounds. 

“I couldn’t go home at the end of the day and not feel like I needed to take a nap.”

Struggling for sleep

Part of Joyce’s sluggishness was due to sleep apnea. Joyce was diagnosed with the sleeping disorder in 2002. She slept with a c-pap machine every night to help with her breathing. 

“I never slept without my sleep unit,” said Joyce, whose apnea was brought on from being overweight and out of shape. “If I needed an afternoon nap, it was in bed using my c-pap.”

Not getting that proper sleep really effected how Joyce coped every single day.

“When we don't get enough sleep it's not only being tired, it effects how we function, how our brain functions and thinks. You can’t do your job or enjoy just doing things because your brain is so clouded.”

Joyce Bueth
Improved health through weight loss

It takes a team

Shortly after Joyce and her husband started exercising on their own, Joyce also joined the Methodist Better Living Program for employees. Being surrounded by others who were on a similar weight loss journey gave her the boost she needed to keep going. 

“My head was finally in the right place,” said Joyce. “We all know what we need to do to lose weight and be in better shape. It’s not a surprise or a secret. But having both a partner and a support group to hold me accountable was a big part of my success.”

Finding what works

“Between working out and eating right, I've lost 65 pounds,” said Joyce proudly. “I’m halfway to where I want to be, but I am in way better shape than I have been for a long, long time.”

And besides just feeling better Joyce is seeing the physical effects of her weight loss on her sleep.

“I asked my doctor to do another sleep study,” said Joyce, who underwent the study at the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital Sleep Center. “They found that I didn’t stop breathing and my oxygen levels were just fine. I don’t use my c-pap anymore and I sleep fine.”

Feeling good again

Joyce and her medical providers say while her weight loss has helped, it’s not just dropping the weight that has had the biggest impact on Joyce’s ability to kick sleep apnea.

“It’s being in better shape physically,” said Joyce. “We go to the gym three times a week. I do weight lifting and cardio on the elliptical. It makes a difference.”

It also makes a difference on how Joyce feels, day in and day out.

“It's so wonderful to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed,” said Joyce. “Just to wake up in the morning and feel like I really can go this whole day and not take a nap – unless I want it, not because I have to – yeah, that's incredible.”

Having quality sleep and a healthy lifestyle has had a massive impact on Joyce’s overall quality of life.

“I feel better physically,” said Joyce. “I sleep better. I have more energy. I have way more self-confidence.”