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Narcolepsy Community Advocate Jenean StricklandJenean was diagnosed with Type 1 Narcolepsy when she was 37 years old. As a mother of four, she was having difficulty completing daily tasks and staying focused. Waking in the morning became problematic and falling asleep at night was even harder. She had always prided herself on her ability to be a “super-mom”, but she felt herself slipping more and more. One day she was driving, and she fell asleep at a stoplight. She knew something was very wrong and drove straight to her primary care physician. Her doctor was convinced she had sleep apnea and referred her to a sleep specialist for an overnight sleep test.

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During the test, they realized she did not have sleep apnea and it was something that needed further testing. The following day they gave her a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), and she tested off the charts for Narcolepsy. This new diagnosis was both scary and a blessing. She had gone many years wondering why life was such a struggle, so this was great that she finally had answers! However, hearing that she had this disease called Narcolepsy was a shock. The only knowledge of Narcolepsy was from a movie that depicted a narcoleptic in a comical way. She could not find any support groups locally or online. Her doctor prescribed medication but did not have much advice on daily living or how to deal with this new diagnosis emotionally.

In 2012 Jenean formed a Facebook support group, Living with Narcolepsy. She thought it would be a great place for people like her to be able to look to others for advice and to provide emotional support to those who need it. Today, this group has almost 4k members and has helped many people with day to day issues as well as the emotional turmoil associated with this disease.

Jenean currently lives in Texas with her significant other and their two dogs. She is 48 years old and no longer works out of the home. She joined Health Union to share her knowledge and to let others know they are not alone!

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