In 2015, Jessica started nursing school. "I underestimated what it would take from me. Going to school, working full time and raising a little boy was tough!" she says. After a while, complications such as blurred vision, increased seizures and other issues became serious problems.
After a roller coaster of possibilities, insurance denials and other obstacles, she was still determined to find another answer. "I knew there had to be a better solution," Jessica says.
That's when a friend recommended she go to The University of Kansas Health System, where she saw epileptologist Patrick Landazuri, MD.
"Jessica has been one of my most motivated patients since the first time I saw her," he says.
After extensive testing, Dr. Landazuri confirmed the diagnosis Jessica already knew – that her seizures were isolated in her brain's frontal lobe. But Dr. Landazuri also discovered something she didn't know – she had a small cortical dysplasia. This congenital abnormality causes a form of epilepsy that is especially difficult to control.
After more tests, including invasive video EEG monitoring, Dr. Landazuri determined that Jessica was a candidate for surgery. Neurosurgeon Paul Camarata, MD, agreed that removing a 4.5 x 3 cm area of the frontal lobe of her brain may solve her seizure problems.
"Jessica knew immediately that surgery would give her a chance of being seizure-free," says Dr. Landazuri. "And she never looked back."
The 2 physicians completed the surgery on October 22, 2015, and Jessica has not had a single seizure since.
"I can't thank them enough," Jessica says. "They removed the problem! It's amazing to know what it feels like to live seizure-free. I wish I had come to The University of Kansas Health System from the beginning and especially before I had my baby. They would have helped me manage my symptoms, avoid complications while I was pregnant and answered all my questions post-delivery."
Today Jessica is enjoying life with her husband, Brent, and kindergartner, Braxton. She also has specific career plans. After graduating from nursing school, she hopes to work in neurology. "I'd love to be in the neurosurgery operating rooms," she says.
Jessica also has a passion to help others learn more about epilepsy. "Epilepsy patients are an underserved population and they need a voice!" she says. "Everyone should receive the kind of care I did at The University of Kansas Health System. They were on the team with me. I felt like they were as invested in this as I was."
Update: Jessica shares how her life has changed 18 months after her epilepsy surgery.