March 15, 2021
“I knew they were the answer to my prayers,” Megan White says about the physicians who provided her care at The University of Kansas Health System Level 4 Epilepsy Center.
As a teenager who loved playing competitive soccer, Megan began having grand mal seizures 2-4 times each month. This type of seizure can cause unconsciousness and violent muscle contractions.
Her physicians at that time diagnosed Megan with epilepsy, and at 21 she transferred her adult care to another hospital in the region. She was treated with various prescribed medicines, but Megan reported no long-term relief from seizures. This is called refractory epilepsy, when a person diagnosed with epilepsy does not receive long-term seizure freedom with medications.
Megan opted to advocate for herself and continued looking for answers on her own. That’s when she found The University of Kansas Health System and made an appointment with epilepsy neurologist Carol Ulloa, MD, director of the epilepsy services program.
In the care of experts
From her first consultation with her new physician, Megan knew life was about to change. Dr. Ulloa listened to all of the details of her seizure history, including her current seizures which were described as staring with unresponsiveness for about 1 minute, followed by fatigued and slurred speech. These were happening 2-3 times per month. Dr. Ulloa also took her off some medications she deemed unnecessary.
In December 2019, she had surgery using an advanced technology called ROSA. This robotic surgical assistant allows surgeons to precisely place electrodes that detect the location in the brain where seizures are occurring. Those areas in Megan’s brain were then identified.
The procedure allowed her care team to confirm she was a great candidate for epilepsy surgery. A week later, Megan then had a second surgery – a left anterior temporal lobe resection, which removed the scarred tissue causing seizures.
Ever since that surgery, Megan has been seizure-free. She has also been able to dramatically reduce the number of medications she needs to take.
A young life changed
Today, Megan can drive and experience new things. “I get to go out with friends, go to restaurants and am working full-time,” she says. She even works at a local hospital.
Because of her own experience with epilepsy, she now has a greater appreciation of healthcare. She also identifies with the patient’s point of view and the uncertainty that can result when looking for answers to difficult questions.
What would Megan say to others in need of healthcare answers? “I would tell people of any age or race to not give up hope. There are amazing doctors out there that will take the time learn your past and diagnosis it to fix what you are going through. At The University of Kansas Health System, their goal is to help and heal.”