I'm A 15 Year Old Girl

I started to experience symptoms of narcolepsy when i was in 5th grade. I started out just have daytime sleepiness. Ever since then my symptoms progressively got worse. By the time I reached 6th grade I started experiencing cataplexy, it was triggered when I laughed. It remained unnoticed by my friends and family because I would look away whenever I laughed. By the time 7th and 8th grade came around my grades started suffering, they weren't horrible, but they were not what I wanted. I went from almost all As to only about 2 As, a C and acouple Bs. When freshman year came around my sleepiness became so bad that i quite softball because I would start falling asleep in the dugout during games. My grades continued to go down due to me falling asleep EVERY period. I tried telling my mom there was something wrong with my but she just said you're a growing teenager you just need a lot of sleep. I am now in my sophomore year of high school and my grades are no where near where I would like them to be. I am a quadruplet and all of my other sisters have above a 4.0. All the time people ask me why I'm not as smart as my sisters and why Im not in NHS with them. It kills me when people ask me that because they don't understand how hard I try in school. Even if I know the material I still do poor on test because I fall asleep during them. Also Lang arts is extremely hard because we read books but I can't read more than 2 pages without falling asleep and those 2 pages I read I have no memory of. Just this past year my cataplexy worsen greatly to where my head drops forward, i get paralyzed, and i am unable to speak for a couple of minutes. After seeing this happen to me my mom finally took me to the doctor, i explained my symptoms and got sent to a sleep doctor who then sent me to a place to get a sleep test which confermed my narcolespy. Currently i am 15 years old, turning 16 next month. I was diagnosed about 2 months ago. My life has seemed to improve slighty since I started taking my medication. Right now I am on nuvigil and Prozac, however, even though my medication has helped me stay awake more than I used to, I still tend to fall asleep during my 1st and 6th periods. Along with the medication my doctor instructed me to schedule two daily naps, one around 11:00 and another around 3:00 as well as a strict regular sleep schedule. A typical school day for me is I go to 1st period, fall asleep, go to 2nd and I'm fine, go to break, then 3rd and stare at the clock until it finally reaches 10:55 which is when my nap is scheduled (i leave 3rd early). I go up to the nurses office and sleep until 11:25-11:30 which is about 10-15 minutes late to 4th period. I've had several people tell me I'm lucky that I get to go take a nap everyday and that they wish they could take one, this bugs me greatly cuz they don't understand what it's like to HAVE to take a nap everyday. When they tell me that I can't help but think you want to go take a nap everyday? Here take my narcolepsy, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. After 4th is lunch, then comes 5th and towards the middle of the period I get tired again. Finally comes 6th and I pretty much fall asleep wake up, fall asleep wake up throughout the whole period. I tried talking to my teachers to see if they can do anything about my grades and as I expected they said they can't do anything. They told me to forget about the past (as in the past work we've done) and focus on now and try to build on the grade I have now. There is only one quarter left of school and I have 2 Fs, 1 C, 1 B, and 2 As, I and determined to devote everything I have into raising my grades, I just know it's going to be some hard work. My plans for the future are since my grades in high school are no where near high enough to get into a good college straight out of high school, I plan of going to community college for 2 years then transfer over to a university and become an engineer.
Thisisme73 Thisisme73
2 Responses Apr 10, 2012

I am a 16-year old in HS also. i was diagnosed about 6 months ago and it was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. While the symptoms had only started a year and a half before and we're gradual they did become very apparent and had an effect on my grades. My doctor sent a letter to the school about my situation and i got a 504 plan. Which states that i have permission to have extra time on tests, quizzes, and projects (and of course a nap time). At first they wouldn't let me fix my grades from the 1st quarter but after some persuasion from my mother and an employee corroborating her statements they let me make up some of the work and said that it would not count as much in my final grade for the year. While narcolepsy does not have a direct affect on mental function, sleep does. With out rest you don't have the mental ability to preform in academics. I would go back and talk to your counselor. There is NO REASON why you should be blamed for something you have NO CONTROL over.<br />
sincerely, a fellow narc-ie

I totally understand and feel your pain. I couldn't finish the college education that I started. I believe that if I didn't have narcolepsy my life would be so much different and better in so many ways. During college I worked full-time too so I was a walking zombie and felt horrible every day. Thinking back I don't know how I did it...only thing that allowed me was my work ethic and determination. I also have sleep apnea as well so I thought that was the issue all along and I suffered for over 10 years before I was diagnosed with narcolepsy.