Jaci grew up requiring a little more sleep than her sisters. It seemed normal because she was a growing child who played hard. When Jaci begged to be picked up early from her much adored sports camp so she could sleep, Jaci’s mom, Charissa, knew something was wrong.
Jaci went from being one of the faster players on her competitive soccer team to sitting on the bench and her school work suffered as she struggled to concentrate.
She was sleeping 14 to 16 hours per day. Jaci lost her self-esteem and her frustration grew by the day as the activities she loved became difficult and any free second was spent napping.
Jaci’s pediatrician treated her for thyroid failure, but the real cause of her fatigue remained undiagnosed. In 2011, the Children’s Hospital Colorado Sleep Center revealed that Jaci has a serious sleep disorder called hypersomnia.
After much trial and error, Jaci was put on a treatment plan for narcolepsy. Charissa says Jaci is happier, outgoing and more engaged with life.
“We are so grateful for the entire sleep disorder team,” said Charissa. “Without their support, diagnosis and treatment, Jaci would likely be struggling in remedial classes at school.”
Jaci continues to make lifestyle adjustments to suit her hypersomnia, including maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. She is active but has a modified school schedule and will likely not return to competitive sports. Medication will most likely be a part of her treatment for the rest of her life.
“Jaci’s doctor has done more than just identify and treat Jaci’s sleep issues – she sees the whole child,” said Charissa. “The people at Children’s Colorado, from the cafeteria cashiers to the doctors, they have all been very child-friendly, and even more important, teenager-friendly.”
Today, Jaci is enrolled in challenging college prep classes and leads a normal life without exhaustion holding her back from the activities she loves.