How To Sink a Hole In One For Narcolepsy

When you’re competing in an important golf tournament, the last thing you want to worry about is narcolepsy and cataplexy associated with narcolepsy — but those are two very big hurdles LPGA golf pro Nicole Jeray has had to deal with throughout her career.

Nicole Jeray
Nicole Jeray’s “Swinging for Sleep” campaign raises funds for Wake Up Narcolepsy and Narcolepsy Network. You can pledge a dollar amount for each birdie Nicole scores! Source:

Nicole began to fall asleep in class during her college years but explained it away by thinking everybody is tired in college. She was sleepy for about five years before being diagnosed. Her excessive daytime sleepiness got worse and worse, and at times, she would even fall asleep while driving a car; but it wasn’t until the cataplexy kicked in that she became serious about finding help.

Cataplexy is when a person loses voluntary muscle control and it’s usually triggered by emotions. When Nicole hit a great golf shot, she’d have to redirect her focus immediately or be struck down by cataplexy.

kitty in a vase
Cataplexy has nothing to do with cats, although the loss of muscle control can make you feel as boneless as this kitty in a vase seems to be!

Finally, her doctor referred her to a neurologist who, after running tests, said Nicole had a “textbook case of narcolepsy.” She was thrilled to have a name for what was wrong with her; she was so happy that she had a cataplexy attack on her way out of the neurologist’s office.

Since being on treatment, Nicole has been able to lead a normal and productive life. She continues to play professional golf, but she also speaks out about narcolepsy to help raise awareness.

If you would like to hear Nicole tell her story, click on the video below!

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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