I woke up to a new life
There’s no cure, but I turned my health around
Discovering I had narcolepsy was life-changing.
I live in Texas, USA, but in 2017, I joined Narcolepsy Support Group on Facebook.
The more I researched, the more I understood my condition.
Lack of energy, weight gain, vivid dreams, hallucinationsÉ
And, finally, I could lose the ‘lazy’ tag that had followed me around for years.
‘I’m afraid there’s no cure for narcolepsy,’ my doctor explained to me.
But there were ways of managing my symptoms, turning my health around. Maybe even losing weight. Still, at 22st and a size 30, I had a long way to go.
‘It’s time to tackle this head on,’ I vowed in September 2017.
I’d realised that sugary, caffeinated drinks made me slump even more once the effects wore off.
So in October, I stopped buying fizzy pop.
Then, weeks later, I cut out energy drinks, too.
I drank fruitinfused water instead.
Feeling more hydrated, I turned my attention to food.
While I’d already cut my portion sizes years earlier, I’d still give in to temptation.
I’d find myself dialling for pizzas, burgers…
So, that month, I swapped junk food for grilled fish, turkey, rice and veggies.
Bread was banned and I filled up on fruit.
Amazingly, I never felt hungry and had bags more energy, too!
I started doing light exercise – stretches at home, walks along nature trails, even swimming.
My clothes started to feel baggy and, every month, I’d step on the scales and cheer.
I vowed to keep going, went as far as going vegan for a few months.
After two years of dieting, this year I hit 15st 1lb.
It was a total loss of 15st and 10 dress sizes.
‘I feel like a new woman,’ I beamed, buying new clothes in size 16.
‘You look amazing, Mum!’ the kids told me proudly.
And I look younger, too. Have clearer skin, shiny hair, and my under-eye shadows have gone.
Although I have loose skin on my legs, arms, tum and back, I’m saving up £17,000 for surgery to have it removed.
I’m just grateful to be able to move around more – and touch my toes!
I’ve learnt to cope with the waves of exhaustion the narcolepsy causes.
Now I don’t fight it,
I just take time off to recover and then get back to my routine.
I’m managing my condition, and I can look after my kids.
I do my best at work and go out with friends. I enjoy life.
I’ve even met a lovely man online – Demetrius, 31.
He’s been on his own weight-loss journey – losing over 7st – so we understand each other.
I want people to realise that there’s often more to ‘laziness’ and depression. There may be underlying issues.
So, if you’re depressed and struggling to stay awake, go and get help.
No one’s life should be a never-ending nightmare. Narcolepsy is a rare, long-term brain condition which causes sufferers to fall asleep unexpectedly. It can be caused by a lack of hypocretin – a brain chemical that regulates wakefulness – and can be triggered by a number of reasons, such as hormonal changes and inherited genetic faults.
Symptoms include sleep attacks, excessive daytime sleeping, hallucinations and depression. There’s no cure, but it can be managed. If you think
Now I’m a you may have symptoms, bombshell! see your GP, and take part in a sleep study.
I bought some great clothes, too!
Now: looking so much younger