Juan can’t remember the last time he slept through the night. Other members of his family told him they sometimes had trouble sleeping, but Juan’s insomnia is extreme:
“ I can only sleep an average of three hours per night, and this makes me very tired during the day. In the night, I walk around my house, and during the day I also have to walk to reduce the symptoms. I sit a bit and then need to get up again and move, otherwise the symptoms start. The other thing I can do is try to do something to distract me from RLS. Most of the time, I am very sleepy and often depressed. I try to fight the disease, stay positive and not to give up – but it is an everyday battle.”
Juan has cut back on caffeine and reduced the stress in his life, and finally found a medicine that helps him, although he still has trouble sleeping:
“ My night-time involuntary movements and other symptoms are a bit better, and I am coping a little better with this disease. My life is still more or less the same because although this medication ‘suits’ me, it does not offer a complete cure.”
Juan has discovered that establishing a good working relationship with his doctor was crucial to finding the best way to treat his RLS.
“ I found a neurologist whose tenacity helped me find out what treatments were available.
After testing different drugs, we found the one that has allowed a partial improvement in my condition.
Finding the right doctor to identify what was wrong with me was an important step. The mystery symptoms had been taking an emotional toll on me. It was also helpful to know that there were some treatment options once we knew what the disease was.
My current doctor is always concerned about how I am doing and making adjustments or offering suggestions when she can, and I really appreciate that.”
Juan has discovered the value of RLS support groups to be able to discuss their symptoms and learn from each other. Juan explains:
“ At the group, we encourage each other to fight against the inconveniences we have with RLS and remind each other not to give up. We talk about our treatments and how they are working for us individually.”
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