Waken Jenna

Once upon a time, after much trial and error, I was diagnosed with the rare sleep disorder narcolepsy with cataplexy. Narcolepsy is pretty darn terrible, even though Hollywood movies tend to make it seem amusing. Having a narcoleptic brain means that it doesn't regulate sleep and wake cycles properly. I can experience sleep attacks in the daytime and be wide awake in the nighttime. Pretty much, narcoleptic brain does whatever it wants, whenever it wants. 

Sleepiness (and nighttime wakefulness) isn't the only symptom of narcolepsy, though. I also experience sleep paralysis, which is a terrifying experience of not being able to move my body while on the verge of sleep. 

Another symptom is cataplexy, which is involuntary loss of muscle tone. Whenever you fall asleep your body releases a chemical that prevents you from acting out your dreams. This release can happen to narcoleptics at any time, even when they aren't asleep. Cataplexy makes me drop unexpectedly to the floor. This can happen anywhere, at any time, for ridiculous reasons like laughing too much or being surprised or basically feeling any emotion too strongly.

Narcolepsy causes all sorts of problems for me, and lately my symptoms have been getting worse. My Primary Care Physican, who has been treating me for my narcolepsy, has recently decided to refer me to a sleep specialist so that I can get better treatment for this wacky disorder that causes so much havoc on my body and mind.

Here's the trouble, and why I need your help - I need to go through another sleep study to prove to the insurance company that I really do have this ridiculous illness, and that they should permit the specialist to treat me for it. The deductible for the sleep study is outside of my financial means and I cannot afford it. 

Going through the process of re-studying my sleep disorder will lead to better treatmeant options for me. New treatment will assure me a better quality of life. Specific narcolepsy treatment will help me achieve my professional goals - or at least I hope it'll help me stay awake past 8:30pm sometimes. 

I will not die if I don't get the treatment that having this disorder requires me to have - but I won't be living my life either. So, I ask you, please, if you can, help this sleepy librarian get some sort of normalcy in life by contributing to the cost of the sleep study that I need to move forward with my treatment. 


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Jenna Ingham 
Parsippany, NJ
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