Fifteen-year old Louisa Ball is just like most teens - She loves to shop, hang with her friends, watch movies and sleep in, except in her case, it could mean for as long as . . . two weeks at a time!
If that sounds a little extreme, it is - But Louisa is helpless. That's because this beautiful teenager suffers from an unusual and rare ailment known as Klein-Levin Syndrome or Sleeping Beauty Sickness!
The disease, which seems to strike during teenage years, comes suddenly often following a bout of flu. Doctors are still not sure what causes it, but believe that it may have something to do with a malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls the appetite and sleep functions.
Oddly enough, the disease disappears when the teens become adults - with no lasting effects. In fact, teens suffering from it, lead completely normal lives, when awake.
Louisa's ailments started in October of 2008, right after she came down with the flu. When she just couldn't get her energy up and kept falling asleep during school, her parents decided to consult some experts. Fortunately for Louisa, one of the experts had heard about the Sleeping Beauty Sickness and was able to diagnose her correctly.
Now, whenever Louisa starts to appear listless and grumpy, her family and friends know she is getting ready to hibernate and let her sleep, as long as she needs to, waking her up only to eat and go the bathroom.
While it may appear to be fun, Louisa is missing out on so many things in her life thanks to this strange ailment. She is behind in her school work and will probably not graduate with the rest of her friends. She has slept through two entire family vacations, missed several dance competitions - not to mention all the day to day happenings at school and home.
While there is no known cure yet, there are some new medications that seem to help reduce the long bouts of slumber. Louisa is currently trying out a new one, which she hopes will help her lead a slightly more normal life!