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posted on: 3/19/2021 3:30:30 PM
Narcolepsy may not look how you think it looks. You might think of someone dropping their face onto the dinner table, or falling to the ground out of nowhere, but for 25-year-old Hayley Martin from Indian Lake, Ohio, narcolepsy presented itself as falling asleep multiple times a day, vivid hallucinations and feeling extremely exhausted, no matter how well she rested at night. Not knowing her diagnosis, she would find herself crying in frustration when asked why she was so tired if she slept all the time. She had no answer. Because of the exhaustion, Hayley was unable to drive, stay awake for her job or even complete daily house-hold tasks. Going back to school would have to be put on hold, too.
Experiencing two years of this destructive daytime exhaustion quickly led Hayley to feel anxious, depressed and less than herself and the mother she wanted to be to her four-year-old daughter, Lylah. After an ENT specialist suspected sleep apnea, and recommended Hayley for an invasive, difficult-to-recover-from tonsil and adenoid removal, something urged Hayley to reach out to her aunt Sharon Steele, CNP at Lima Memorial Sleep Center, for guidance.
To be sure that Hayley was experiencing sleep apnea and needed invasive surgery to correct it, Sharon suggested that Hayley schedule herself to be a part of a sleep apnea study at Lima Memorial’s Sleep Center. Hayley took charge and got herself scheduled.
“I arrived at 9 p.m. at night, got prepped and the nurse was really awesome. She told me exactly what to expect,” explained Hayley. “I was hoping it would be sleep apnea. I know that’s not a good diagnosis either, but with a machine, weight loss and diet changes, I thought it could be easy to reverse.”
After staying the night for her study, Hayley’s results indicated no signs of sleep apnea whatsoever. Instead, an MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test) performed during the day revealed that Hayley was, in fact, dealing with narcolepsy. With a prescription of a central nervous system stimulant, Hayley has had few issues since her sleep study last summer.
“I am thankful for being led to the sleep test. I was able to get a diagnosis and get medication. Now, very seldom, do I get that exhausted feeling, unless I have a long night or day before,” expresses Hayley. “The facility was amazing, the doctors and nurses were amazing. Every one really cared and really understood because they see this a lot.”
With answers and tools to manage her sleep health, Hayley is now going back to school to become a nurse and back to doing things she loves, such as boating with her daughter and boyfriend, Austin. If there is one thing Hayley wants those dealing with narcolepsy or other sleep issues to know, it is to “listen to your body. If you feel like there is something wrong, listen to yourself and advocate for yourself. Go to your family doctor, research and find a specialist in your area. Don’t stop until you have an answer.”
If you are concerned about your sleep health or potential narcolepsy, contact Lima Memorial’s Sleep Center at 419-998-4478 and schedule an appointment.