Narcolepsy

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by kdoty08, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. kdoty08

    kdoty08 New Member

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    I was disqualified for narcolepsy - not many people know what it is, and if they think they do, they are probably wrong (they usually think of the popular "narcoleptic dog" YouTube video). If you look up "narcolepsy" it will give you symptoms of the severe cases of narcolepsy. There are different levels of severity. Mine is mild (when I am OFF medicaton), which generally means that I tend to get tired during the middle of the day, and if I were to lay down, I would be out in like 2 minutes or so, and into REM dream sleep in about 5 minutes. When I am on medication, I am more energetic and focused than most of my friends. I take a small white pill (Provigil) once in the morning, and half of a Provigil pill around lunch time. I never fall asleep in class, I drive on a regular basis, I have driven for more than 5 hours at a time, I play football, I run track, and I even take flying lessons. My school is a 40 minute drive for me, and I have made the trip hundreds and hundreds of times. When I say I have narcolepsy, it seems to just be a word attached to me that I can't get rid of.

    Also, narcolepsy is the #1 under diagnosed thing in the country (I read that somewhere) and I can guarantee that there are several people with narcolepsy in the academies (and they just don't know they have it, however mild it be). Since I know a lot about narcolepsy (from the sleep studies and such), I can tell that many of my friends have it. I sometimes wish that I hadn't gone in to the sleep doctor to get diagnosed. This might change everything I wanted in life.

    It has been a dream of mine to go to the Naval Academy and serve in the Navy for so many years. I think about it every day.

    Does anyone think that there is even a possibility of me getting a waiver for the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, NROTC or AFROTC? I am also being recruited to play football for Navy - I'm wondering if there is any difference with that.

    Thank you!!

    -Kevin
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I'll leave the technical aspects to the Doc, but I have to wonder why Navy would be recruiting you if this condition was disqualifying? Do they know you have this condition?

    Also, you say you were (already) disqualified. From what?

    My PERSONAL OPINION (so it's worth exactly what you're paying for it) is that the conditions you describe are no big deal IF you're not falling asleep when you shouldn't be. Heck, being able to fall right asleep is a GOOD thing in the military, where decent sleep can often be at a premium. I'm actually convinced I LEARNED to fall asleep almost on demand while in the Fleet.

    Still, my opinion is worthless to your plight. Doc will be along shortly with a far better answer. Hang in there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  3. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

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    Quick response to Zaphod's post first, the coaches don't care what status an applicant is in. They would recruit a chimpanzee if they thought they could get it past the NCAA. They leave the admissions stuff to the admissions office, and feed the applicants quite a line at times. Made the DoDMERB job a little harder when the young athletes would listen to the coach say they didn't have to do something, when either DoDMERB or the waiver authority stated they needed to. You have to remember that to the young athlete a coach's word is law, never mind what the rest of the world is saying.

    Now to kdoty08, sorry about the delay, I needed to make sure I had all my ducks in a row before replying. Narcolepsy on its own is a disqualification. From your description it does not sound bad, but the one item that really caught my attention was the fact that you are taking medication for it. That one piece of information alone tells me that you are going to have a difficult time in getting a waiver. I will never say a waiver is impossible, but if you have to take medication to control your drowsiness, I think you are going to have a huge uphill battle.

    As you state in your post, the Naval Academy is your dream, so I wouldn't give it up yet. If this is something that you want I'd defiantly continue to fight for the waiver. Follow my instructions on waivers in some of my other posts.

    Do not stop the medication without consulting your physician, and I will say it again with emphasis, DO NOT STOP THE MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR PHYSICIAN!!!. If this is a consideration make sure you speak with him/her before doing anything like that.

    If you have any other questions I'm always here to help.
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Terrific. :mad:
     
  5. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    With HIPAA, we could lose some good coaches if they got involved in the Medical clearance process.
     
  6. kdoty08

    kdoty08 New Member

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    To Zaphod -

    By saying "I was disqualified", I meant that I received a letter in the mail from DoDMERB recently stating my disqualification b/c of "history of narcolepsy." I got this letter about 2 days ago.

    Thanks a lot for your help - I'm trying to find out if I just have to sit and wait for USNA to make a decision on the waiver or if there is anything I can do (like ANYTHING) to better my chances in getting a waiver.

    Thanks again

    -Kevin
     
  7. kdoty08

    kdoty08 New Member

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    To RetNavyHM -

    Thanks a lot for your help - I'm trying to find out if I just have to sit and wait for USNA to make a decision on the waiver or if there is anything I can do (like ANYTHING) to better my chances in getting a waiver.

    If my doctor and I got together and decided I could get off the medicine, would that raise my chances, or since I have narcolepsy it doesn't matter? I feel I need to do something b/c it seems like I'm headed towards not getting a waiver...

    Thanks again

    -Kevin
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Right - Coaches are not medical professionals and they do not and should not get involved in medical issues. Often the less the coach knows the better, since they really can't judge which disqualifying conditions will/can be waived.

    Now, to help with your waiver - go back or do a search on medical waivers and heed the advice that RetNavyHM has offered in the past.
    Including writing a letter to Dodmerb and explaining how this condition affects you.
     
  9. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

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    My last note on coaches, having delt with the coaches while at USNA, their applicants are special and need to be pushed to the front of the line. Having delt with parents on the DoDMERB end, I got tired of hearing "but the coach said....". Coaches don't nessessarily get involved with the medical process, but they will "advise" the applicants on what the "best course of action" is, and more often than not it was incorrect advice.

    kdoty08, read some of my previous posts. You have a couple of options. One is to sit and wait for the waiver board to make a determination on your waiver. The other is to be proactive, start writting letters and showing the waiver board how much this means to you.

    You need to sit with your physician. Only you and he/she can decide what the appropriate medical course of action is for you. Will being off medication help your waiver process? At this point in time, probably not. If you had been of medication for at least a year with no issues, then it might help and might not.
     
  10. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I just wish somewhere in all the visits that they would tell the kids that it IS a military school and that there is an active duty requirement when they graduate. Never had any problems with the medical end.
     

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