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Question from a lowly premed...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by schooltill30, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula

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    I'm a Chronically Fatigued Narcoleptic (That's Chronic Faigue Syndrome and Narcolepsy, not necessarily related). I'm being treated with adderal, which is working, thank g-d, and I can handle a full load of college (18 cred), and some part-time work. Does anyone else have this kind of thing (no jokes about "I sleep all day too, I do fine." I will impale the next person who says this...on a plastic spoon...it hurts a lot)? If so, how will you (or how do you) go through the stress, the call, the all-nighters, etc. Is it even possible?

    I have a lot of motivation. I've worked very hard to even get to this point (two yeas ago, I couldn't do more than watch TV and play video games), and I don't plan on giving up. Can anyone share their experiences?
     
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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    This is a Pre-med issue. Allopathic medical students read and respond to posts in Pre-Allo and therefore, I am moving this post to pre-Allo. Allopathic medical students can respond there.
     
  4. Soggun

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    I don't have your condition or anything close to it but I did know someone with it (though he wasn't premed). In any case, I think what most people will tell you is that this is obviously going to make it harder for you to get the grades necessary to get in and to get the work done once you get in. That being said, if you have enough determination you can offset that disadvantage and make it. Plenty of people who have some sort of disability or another get in and do well in med school, so you shouldnt be any different. It might just take a bit more drive than your average joe.
     
  5. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
    Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I don't know that you'll find anyone that has your exact condition, but I'll offer my advice based on my own situations and you can decide whether it applies or not...

    I get migraine headaches. I've had them since I was 12. They used to be horrible. I tired all kinds of medications (including Depakote, hence the username)...

    In the end it was a combination of lifestyle modification (totally gave up caffeine) and working with my neurologist to find a medication that works that finally got them under control. Now, when I do get migraines, they're not nearly as bad as they used to be and they're a lot less frequent.

    So, what I recommend to you. Keep working with the doc's treating you. Take their advice. I can't tell you how long my doc told me to give up caffeine before I actually did it, and it worked. Be patient, finding the right medication combo takes time, it took me 10 years to find the one that really did the job right.

    As for being a student... just be persistant. Other people don't have to put up with this sh!t, but it's not going away anytime soon. Learn your own cues so you know when you need to rest and when is the best time to study.

    Hope some of this helped. Good luck.
     
  6. spart39

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    My brother and I found out that we had something similar to what you described about a year ago. I had always had trouble staying awake in class, and pretty much slept through any lecture longer than 30min. We actually found out because our sister was diagnosed with mild narcolepsy and we found that we all had the same symptoms. After that, my brother discovered a prescription drug called Provigil, that is pretty much super-caffeine. My brother is graduating from med school this year and I am getting ready to apply, and we have both found that Provigil is a godsend for my classwork and his hospital shifts. I would recommend asking your doctor about it, the side effects are minimal and probably less severe than alderol. In short, it can be done without treatment, but it is a lot easier and probably safer for future patients to have medications that keep us types awake.
     
  7. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula

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    Ya, I hear that provigil works for a lot of people. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. My narcolepsy is without cataplexy (the part where people collapse and fall asleep when agitated). I do got tired during the day, but not so much more than the average college guy. My problem is sleep paralysis in the morning. My muscles are still riddled with melatonin once I'm up, making any physical movement very difficult, if not impossible. So this what I'm doing now: I wake up 1-1/2 hours before I need to get up, get some good ole' speed in the blood (which is about all I can do, and its difficult to do even that), and when it's time to get up, I'm just rearing to go. I take a smaller dose at noon to offset the mild daytime sleepiness. Provigil wouldn't give that kick in the morning.

    Secondly, I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (no way to know if they're related, but possibly). I sense that those symptoms (muscle fatigue, lethargy, different than sleepiness) are exacerbated when I have narcoleptic issues. Once again, Provigil isn't strong enough to combat the CFS.

    But I'm glad you've found your drug. How far along in school are you, and how are you do you plan on getting no sleep in med school? This is my real question.
     
  8. Tired

    Tired Fading away

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    Hmm . . . what? Wait, did you just say that?
     
  9. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula

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    And by speed I mean a solid dose of adderal. Adderal = Amphetamines = Speeeeeeed = can sell it on certain street corners.
     
  10. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this

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    Heh, as long as you know it's speed it's all good lol.
    Sorry that provigil doesn't work for your narcolepsy though, it's a lot less speed-freakish/jittery (although, I guess if you like the kick that's a different story).

    Anyways, I think if you're managing your problem decently you may very well be able to handle med school. Plus they're working on new drugs that may be able to help your condition, so maybe there'll be something less speed-like that does work for you by the time you're out of med school.
     
  11. spart39

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    Yah, it sounds like my case is definitely less severe than yours. I only have trouble most of the time in class or while driving. Right now I'm finishing up Junior year, and I don't get any sleep as it is (around 10 hours for the last 3 days), so I'm already well prepped for med school.

    Haha Speed, yah try telling someone you take drugs to stay awake in class. The reactions are pretty funny.
     
  12. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula

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    Actually, I was watching an interview with the members of Phish, and Jon Fishman mentioned that he used the same strategy as me (medicine 2 hours before you get up), only he dropped acid. He said his grades were never better than those of that semester.

    Go Figure...
     

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