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Not MS or Bells Palsy

My wife has been dealing with some medical issues for the past 10 years or so and we need some help.  My wife is 37 now,  It started about 10 years ago when she had an episode of Bells Palsy on the right side of her face.  It lasted for about 2-3 months and went away. About a month later it returned but only lasted a week.  It came and went for the next couple of years - about 10-15 times - usually last from just a few hours to 2 days, so we had just dealt with it.  Finally, we learned Bells Palsy does not reoccur like that.  About 6 years ago her face started to droop on both sides.  Within 15 minutes her right arm and leg were incredibly weak.  We rushed to the ER fearing a stroke but was negative.  She had a CT scan and an MRI, both negative.  It took 3-4 months for her to get around without using a walker.  We saw a nuerologist who did a couple test and said it was in her head.  Of course, we got a second opinion, and a 3rd and 4th and 5th.  None of them have been able to figure this out.  She has had multiple CTs and MRIs and spinal taps - all negative.  Since the major episode, the occurances have been less dramatic, usually only affecting her face on both sides.  She usually has pressure or pain in the base of her neck/back of the head area.  Occasionally she will get the weakness in her left leg and arm as well.  In the last year or so, we have notice that the episodes have been occuring at the end of her menstrual cycle.  I have read about Myastenia Gravis being affected by the menstrual cycle but I believe that is another diagnosis that has been ruled out.  If any body has any ideas we would love to hear.  We're at a loss of what to try next.  Thanks for your help!
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See a sleep center. Recurrent "Bells Palsy," memory problems, insomnia symptoms, chronic pain, and twitchy feelings in muscles are actually very characteristic of narcolepsy with cataplexy, and it can be exacerbated by the hormone shifts that happen with menstrual cycles. In fact, often times, people don't have "Bells Palsy," but cataplexy. Viruses and some vaccines (namely the H1N1) can actually precipitate this, but it can happen seemingly in random fashion, too.

Common misdiagnoses are depression, epilepsy, and migraines.

It doesn't look the way you think it looks. I struggled for years to find an answer, and was misdiagnosed several times. I had it with just sleepiness during the day and what looked like insomnia at night for probably about 15-20 years before I ended up with more serious symptoms of narcolepsy that actually included cataplexy (random muscle weakness that can either be isolated, or widespread). Onset is typically in teenage or early adult years but it can come later, and earlier, too.

The cataplexy manifested first in my face, as what looked like episodes of Bells Palsy that came and went when I was tired, stressed, or even when I was happy and smiling.  But when I paid closer attention I realized I got weakness and twitching (not uncommon) in my other muscles sometimes too, though I chalked it up to clumsiness until I paid attention. I also had issues with my vision randomly and sleepiness.

I went undiagnosed for about 15-20 years, until I finally saw a sleep specialist and she nailed the diagnosis right away. The vast majority of doctors have absolutely no idea what it is or what it looks like, and no routine lab tests, MRI, CT scan, x-ray or anything of that nature will detect it. 75% of people with narcolepsy never get diagnosed in their lifetime.

I was tested for epilepsy, migraines, MS, all kinds of things. But nope, it turned out to be narcolepsy!!
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