After a head trauma when I was on second grade, I was having symtoms of Narcolepsy with Cataplexy, but I wasn’t properly diagnosed until I was 39 years old. All I knew about Narcolepsy was what is seen in comedy movies like Deuce Bigalow, but had no idea how much this would change my life.
I no longer had much energy left, depression was part of my life, but along with other symptoms I wasn’t aware of the magnitud of my condition. All I wanted was to sleep. Guess it was a family trait, when I decided that giving up was not an option, since I lived alone. After only 4 months I went back to work, I could drive just a couple of miles aways from home to the basics, but best of all I could cook without burning down the house. Explaining others about a chronic illness that cannot be seen, only when you fall asleep it was hard to understand and to accept to many including family.
Still my determination to live, to be functional, to be able to be productive and independant took me to a path where being stronger than ever, was waiting for me.
I had to fight for reasonable accommodations, use a handicapped permit, and even ask for help to be advised in legal affairs in order to fight for my right to be the same person I was before the diagnose, but with different working hours.
What I learned? I’m stronger than I ever thought. I can do a lot of things better, than many who are supposed to be better, ’cause they are healthier. Only at your worst you can find the best in you. People are not always what they seem, and true friends only are known when you are at your worst.
I lost my home, my car got repoed, only my father (rip) cared, but my will to live, and my faith to keep the fight, to be my best for him, kept me alive.
I wanted to give up so many times, but both my parents died of cancer, so with their struggle, I learned that what I had could manange Narcolepsy.
All my specialist told me after 6 months and second, and third opinions was that I was way too stubborn not overcome this. He said that other patients with lesser degree of Narcolepsy were already incapacitated. All I replied was that I wasn’t ready to quit being the person I was then.
Seven years later, all I can say is that I have a better life. A steady job, a home, pets, and a partner. Now I dare to live more and my quality of life is bigger concern than the competitive path in which I had to be the best for myself. Now I live in peace, besides only life is important.
Blanca lives with narcolepsy. The symptoms of this incurable disorder include: falling asleep unexpectedly, extreme sleepiness throughout the day, disrupted sleep during the night, sudden loss of muscle control and even hallucinations.
But the impact of narcolepsy in daily life reaches far beyond these symptoms.