I was born in NYC under the shadow of the Empire State building in August of 1985. My family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio when I was a year old. As a baby and into my toddler years, my pediatrician always reassured my mom that my medical issues were normal for my age. She always knew that wasn’t 100% true, but couldn’t get any further medical advice to validate her concerns. At 17, I began to take myself to my own doctor appointments as I continually became sick again. My pediatrician’s office sent me a letter at 21 informing me I could no longer be their patient! I finally had a full time job with medical benefits, so I found doctors to work with me and get to the bottom of everything that was going on. At first, they were testing and treating me for epilepsy. For 2 years, I went to multiple specialists and tests to finally be referred to a neurologist. A former co-worker of mine was the son of a local neurologist, and told me to make an appointment. Finally, at age 24, I was sent to a sleep specialist and was given a MSLT. They diagnosed me with narcolepsy after all the years of doctor appointments and tests! 7 years and a new sleep specialist later, I was also diagnosed with cataplexy. Between my initial diagnosis and today, I have become married, had 2 kids, and held multiple jobs. Currently, I keep busy with my family and am working hard to balance my mental and physical health with being the best mother and wife possible. My best advice to others going through a medical diagnosis journey is to never give up and keep asking questions. From a young age, I had to take control of my health and navigate how to juggle appointments, diagnoses, and everyday life. Along with narcolepsy with cataplexy, I have also been diagnosed with: Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Bi-polar, Adult ADD, fibromyalgia, OCD, PTSD, PMDD, and non-allergic sinusitis. I live my life to spread positivity and show others that no matter what life throws at you, to stay successful and inspire others.
Naomi 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.