My name is Rashetta, and I have lived with epilepsy since I was 12 years old. My epilepsy started after I fell and hit the top of my head. Initially, I felt headaches, and then I had aura seizures. As a 12-year-old, I didn’t know what was happening, or that these were seizures, but then I had a seizure in my sleep, and we knew that I had epilepsy.
My seizures could be debilitating. I had up to 10 a week. I would have them at any time, at school, at work, in my sleep. No place was off limits. My seizures caused me pain – gashes on my body if I fell and concussions. I believe it was also the reason I lost 4 jobs over a 10-year period.
At one point, I actually was seizure free for about 6-7 years. Then I had a child, and my seizures returned. And the seizures that I now had were different. I was having new types of seizures, and it was all very challenging. Medications weren’t working. I had heard about a new program for epilepsy surgery at the UCSF Epilepsy Center where they were testing new technology. I was excited to try this and brought this up with my doctor. Amazingly, she was able to get me an appointment within three-months of my initial ask.
At UCSF they were working with new technology that could better pinpoint the origin of seizures in my brain. They put 150 electrodes in my brain, and an EEG tracked the activity over a week to determine where the seizures were coming from. The technology was really cool. The doctor there created a program that made a movie of the EEG images of my brain, and thus the doctors were able to pinpoint where my seizures were coming from. And it turned out, it was one point of origin versus their original thinking that it was coming from multiple points.
I underwent surgery in 2017 and have been seizure-free since then. I still take medications and will for the rest of my life. Thankfully, because of this new technology, I was able to have this surgery, and I am now looking at returning to work. I am very grateful to the doctors at UCSF for giving me this renewed lease on a seizure-free life.
To read more about the procedure that I underwent, please read here.