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Controlled Medications and Life Expectancy

I’m almost 44 and living my entire life with Severe Narcolepsy with Cataplexy has brought me to this question. What as a person with narcolepsy value more? Quality of life or quantity of life? I ask this. To others because I get a very staunch reaction from people across the board.
I personally am a huge proponent to Quality over Quantity and here’s why. For the last 24 years, every month is a crap shoot trying to obtain my narcolepsy medications. I have had multiple sleep and daytime studies. Without my controlled medications (Vyvanse, Adderall XR and Nuvigil) I will sleep 20 out of 24 hours and it takes only 2.4 seconds to fall into deep REM sleep. With the Opioid Epidemic, this made everyone else in the United States, who must take controlled medications at risk. The risk to me now, is finding and keeping a doctor that will prescribe monthly maintenance controlled prescription medications. I have doctors who drop me as a patient because they feel that my condition is too severe or they don’t want to be on the hook for writing all my prescriptions. Then I have doctors who want to recreate the wheel, make me go through all the tests over again to justify medications. Mind you I have a 6” binder with 24 years of medical documentation. I’ve also been approved by Social Security Disability, for full disability since 2015. (First time applying, I was approved).
Then finding a pharmacy. First hurdle at the pharmacy is do the have stock of these medications? Second hurdle at the pharmacy is will my insurance cover the medications? Third hurdle would be, am I within the time frame to fill the medications and or hopefully there are no errors on the electronically transmitted prescription. Fourth hurdle, but most importantly, will the pharmacist actually fill the prescribed medications. I can not tell you how many pharmacists have left me in tears because they don’t want the liability of filling my medications.
After all that, going home empty handed and wondering how am I going to take care of my family and my personal needs with no medications is daunting and down right depressing. I didn’t ask for this condition nor do I love taking multiple medications everyday to be able to function in the most basic ways. So when I think about quality of life at that point, it feels and is nonexistent. I ask myself what happens when I get older and fearing about how I can imagine this if I’m absolutely alone.
So I choose quality over quantity. I would rather have 25 quality years with medications, living a full life, the 40 more years sleeping in a nursing home.

  1. Hope you get the medicine you need . Like Lori said, I agree with your statements to take meds and dealing with the side effects since it will improve your life. Somehow your story inspires me, it is really okay to take meds! Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Hi . I have a feeling many here will agree with you. I wish you did not have to make a choice. It is so unfair that it takes this much effort just to get the medications you need. It shouldn't be this hard. Have you ever considered participating in clinical trials? If there is something in the pipeline that can provide more permanent relief, you would be the first to get it. Please know we are here for you whenever you need support or a safe place to vent. Thinking of you and sending lots of gentle hugs your way. - Lori (Team Member)

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