Epilepsy doesn’t just run Sydney Rogers’ life; it often runs the lives of her family, too.
She can’t take a swim or take a bath without supervision. She often has to lie down if she suspects a seizure or episode is coming on. Although most times, she has no idea when she will have a seizure. With a 2-year-old, she has a lot to worry about.
“Epilepsy is always on my mind,” Sydney said. “I have to constantly evaluate how I’m feeling and try to distinguish what is an episode and what is a precursor to a seizure, which makes it hard to concentrate or get anything done.”
Sydney was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 19 with generalized epilepsy, a seizure disorder characterized by disturbances in the brain’s electrical activity. But she can recall having muscle jerks as early as 13 years old.
One of Sydney’s biggest problems is the Tonic Clonic seizures (formerly known as grand mal).
“I stiffen, lose conscious and my muscles spasm and jerk. Besides not knowing when or where I will have one, they make me feel like I’ve been hit by a car for almost a week,” she said.
Sydney also has episodes where she either sees colors or light bursts.
“I see things move that I know are not moving, like walls. I feel like the floor is moving or I have tingling sensations in my limbs and nano-second little blackouts.”
Sydney said her epilepsy is a central focus in many aspects of her life. She even has to teach her co-workers how to react in the event that she has an episode in the office.
“I can't do the things I want to because either the episodes or the medicine makes me too tired or nervous to actually get up and go do these things,” she said.
What Sydney wants most is to get control of her epilepsy. That’s exactly what the staff at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Abrazo Central Campus is helping her do. Sydney’s medical team monitored her 24 hours a day for five straight days in order to perform tests and map the seizure activity in her brain.
“The care I received was amazing,” Sydney said. “The staff was so caring and supportive. They made a scary situation as comfortable as can be.”
Since leaving the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Sydney has been prescribed a new medication that she hopes will help manage her epilepsy.
“I’m glad I went,” she said. “I got the answers I was looking for and now have more information to give the doctor in order to get this under control.”