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Group Trip Leads Arizona Woman to Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Brenda Fitzgerald may never have gone to the doctor to discover she had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if it wasn’t for a group trip.
Brenda Fitzgerald volunteers with her dog Cali at a Pawsitive Friendships’ event, an organization that provides therapy animals to help individuals with special needs.
By Megan Hoffman
Published on June 5, 2024

Friends raised alarm bells when they witnessed her stop breathing multiple times throughout the night.

This made Fitzgerald get a sleep study and led to her OSA diagnosis, but the problems didn’t end.

Brenda Fitzgerald poses with Daffy Duck on a vacation trip.

She received a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and struggled to use it, eventually giving up. It wasn’t until she found a brochure about Inspire® therapy at a doctor’s visit that everything changed.

Fitzgerald received the Inspire implant on Sept. 1, 2020, and she said she felt immediate relief when it was turned on a month later.

“It was life-changing,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald powered through exhaustion for years before she knew she had OSA, working in an elementary school and trying to keep up with her students.

Other teachers told her she looked tired, but when Fitzgerald went home exhausted, she still had difficulty falling asleep.

She eventually went to a doctor and was prescribed a CPAP, which she used for a month before stopping.

The exhaustion continued for several more years before Fitzgerald decided to go back to the doctor and try CPAP again.

Brenda Fitzgerald and her husband Archie relax with their dogs Cali (right) and Surf after a hike in Arizona.

Nothing changed. She tried multiple devices but had a challenging time finding one that fit her.

Finding the Inspire brochure piqued her interest, though, and she began researching more. Fitzgerald eventually started the process to get Inspire, and she later qualified.

Fitzgerald was activated in October 2020, and it made her realize how the lack of restful sleep was impacting her health in multiple ways.

She’s now able to work out five days a week and wakes up feeling refreshed. Her friends and colleagues also notice a newfound energy, and they celebrate the change with her.

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