There’s been several iterations of this page (and the blog itself) usually based on my ambitions at any given time, but right now I’m focusing on two constants in my life. One I couldn’t imagine my life without (ponies) and the other I don’t really have a choice in, so I better make the best of it (narcolepsy). Hence, the sleepy equestrian.

“The Horse Thing”

It started with collecting your breed and “all about horses” type books. I don’t actually remember when the fascination began, but it was sometime before first meeting the horses owned by an aunt’s friend (Cheyenne, Sierra, Legend, for the record, and a fourth whose name I don’t remember) and I was barely in school at that point.

Thanks to my obsession, a love of reading ensued and I quickly advanced to riding manuals and The Thoroughbred Series (all caps necessary). From there it was lengthy (and dry as dirt, let’s be honest) books on horse care, stable planning and management, and eventually I was bequeathed with racing periodicals from the 1940s and ’50s that are basically stacks of statistics looking about as exciting as paint drying, but actually carry some intense history if you’re willing to take the time to analyze it (still on my to-do list).

Obligatory picture of me and a horse. This is overly-enthusiastic Fay.

This “thing” gave me a best friend in third grade, which led to my first ride, which led to riding anything from ex-racers to big lick Walkers (and the gamut in between).

I discovered neglect before I really understood what that was, and saw the rise and fall of new (and old) stable owners. I worked on a farm for a few years and gained an appreciation for the mechanics and logistics behind any business – but especially stables. In volunteering with therapeutic riding programs, I’ve seen the sparkle that can come with just being near a horse. On the opposite end, I’ve witnessed the weight of equine responsibility following loss.

In typical girl-obsessed-with-horses fashion, I begged and pleaded for a horse of my own for years. In not so typical fashion, the dream became a reality sooner than I expected, and I treasure the time I had calling a pony my best friend, even if I spent most of our first year scared to ride her and even if our time was cut painfully short. I had the fortune to be the single student of a retired old jockey-turned-cowboy with a bowlegged gait and an endless string of stories. Older me discovered riding for a collegiate equestrian team to be an entirely different game, as was lessoning with a trainer who once coached an eventing team for the Asian Games.

“The Other Thing”

Unfortunately, my riding was sporadic at best after being diagnosed with narcolepsy in early 2015 (still struggle-bussing in college at this point, still many commitments) up until summer 2017. Life with a chronic illness was not something I had factored in to any of my 101 life plans, nor is it something I’ve mastered. I go too hard one day and pay the consequences tomorrow. I don’t budget my time right and set myself up failure. I avoid my emotions (yes this is a weird one), stomp them down or decide I don’t have time for them and it can really put me in a pickle. While I’ve always been a bit of a planner, that’s had to increase… a lot. Through much trial and error I’m sloooowly learning to put my body first, but it’s not something that comes easily.




2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello, I ran across your article on the Mighty, the only one that had cataplexy in the title, lol. Just one. I was a bit bummed as Narcolepsy sucks but Cataplexy sucks bigger, at least in my life. Unfortunately, I have a host of other conditions one of them makes me have paradoxical reactions to meds, so the uppers for narcolepsy make me sleepy, go figure. So I’m an un-medicated narcoleptic and cateplexic mess.

    I liked your analogy of the spring and winter of cataplexy and I’m surprised to find someone else who has it last for hours because mine surely does. All the medical descriptions say it lasts second to minutes and I wonder what the heck is going on, why do I experience it for such a long time?

    I have two other odd things that don’t match with the typical cateplexic symptoms and would love your input. One is sometimes I will fall and have no awareness of what is around me nor a recollection of how I got on the floor, yet have the classic cateplexic symptoms. Like last night i felt it coming, I fell into my counter first and then walking back to my living room ended up on the floor, it was just me and the floor, everything around me wasn’t there, I was surprised when my husband came and picked me up as I had not returned to the living room. My voice was paralyzed, my mind was mush, and my body was a sack of potatoes. It took about an hour to come back to functioning.

    The other weird experience I had was I felt the episode coming on as I was typing on my phone i got sudden blurred vision and said something to myself out loud and I was slurring badly, I fell into the back door as I was outside and my husband again dragged me to bed. But my vision didn’t improve for ten days. My neurologist hospitilzed me checking for a mini stroke or high intracranial pressure which both turned out negative. Have you heard of this? A part of narcolepsy or cataplexy lasting that long?

    I was diagnosed the beginning of this year with Narcolepsy after a MSLT sleep study. But have had symptoms early in my 20s. I’m 32 now and it’s gotten ridiculously bad, most times i can ward off cateplexic attacks if I take a nap but if not I have them everyday or even after a nap. I can’t drive right now either as I fall asleep or some stupid narcoleptic thing happens. No one understands, this complex retarded condition.

    It’s just paradise riding in a scooter at the store and feeling drunk and acting drunk wrecking into shelves and having to be carried out by my husband, lol. Thanks for any insight!


    1. Samroby84,
      Thanks for commenting, first of all. (: Second, you’re right about the low mention of cataplexy – I might mention it in one of my other articles, but if you look up narcolepsy overall it’s a bit sparse! Possibly because we aren’t sure of it ourselves (I hear people all the time say, wait, THIS weird thing that happens is cataplexy?)
      Third, I’ll try to give you some insight, but this is with zero knowledge of your situation beyond what you’ve said and also, I’m obviously no expert. If you aren’t already, I can suggest several facebook groups that have people with far more knowledge than myself! That being said, extended cataplexy attacks are known as status cataplecticus (yes there’s a name!). It’s exceptionally crappy. From what I understand, you can also go back and forth between SC and “typical” cataplexy. For me, that would explain one particular incident where I was on the ground for over 4 hours… I wasn’t absolutely paralyzed the whole time, it was more like waves where I’d get my arms back/upper body for a few minutes, and then I’d be back laying down for another 30 minutes.

      I’ve also heard of someone (on one of the Facebook groups I referenced) who had SC/cataplexy to some degree for several days, so I imagine what you experienced with your eyesight could possibly be an extreme version of that? I also have not personally experienced or heard of losing awareness when entering cataplexy… though there were multiple times while I was in college that I could tell I was going to have a cataplexy attack and still be a 20 minute walk from my dorm. In some of those cases, I actually don’t know how I got back to my room. I can vaguely recall counting my steps, and I know which way I *would* have taken, so I could argue that I *did* know what I was doing, but it was probably more repetition and muscle memory.

      I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago, but I’d had mild symptoms since 2009, so I feel you there (even though it took about half the time for me to be diagnosed). I don’t know if this is helpful at all, but keep on fighting girl! And if you want any of those Facebook groups, just let me know :)

      Take care!


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