Tweeting My Way Through Narcolepsy: Social Media & Chronic Illness

July 29, 2014 10:13 PM

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Blood tests, urine tests, skin tests. CBC, MRI, EEG. Needle in my back, electrodes in my hair, speculum in my you-know-where. After spending the majority of the past year undergoing extensive medical testing, I wanted my doctor to find something wrong with me. As I sat in the waiting room, I browsed the WebMD app playing a twisted game of "Would You Rather." Looking at disease descriptions, I asked myself, "Would I rather be diagnosed with this or be told the symptoms are all in my head?" Every time, my conclusion was that the diseases -- some requiring pills to cure, others requiring surgeries -- were "better" than no diagnosis at all.

But ultimately, something in between happened. I was diagnosed with narcolepsy, an autoimmune disorder in which the neurons that produce hypocretin -- the hormone that keeps us awake -- are gradually depleted. The result? Overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. There is currentl...

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