"We're excited to work with this very unique population that hasn't really been studied in depth," said Yvonne M. Curran, MD, a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial and assistant professor in neurology at the Feinberg School. "Women's health has been an underappreciated field, but that is changing and patients who choose to come to this center will be helping to move this field forward."
For O'Shea, finding the right physician was exactly what she needed to get her epilepsy back in order. "My epilepsy has never been so severe that I needed daily attention from a doctor what I was really seeking was someone who can counsel me in the next steps of my life, like contraception and family planning," explained O'Shea, who is now 24 years old and resides in Chicago. "Since I started seeing Dr. Gerard, I haven't had another seizure. She makes me comfortable and gives me the information I need to make decisions about my health. In the past, doctors have made me feel scared or worried, but she makes me feel like I will be able to lead a completely normal life. I really feel like we're the perfect patient-doctor match."
O'Shea's story is a prime example of what the center seeks to do for women – not only managing their condition, but also providing counsel during different stages in their life and addressing how it may impact their neurological health. "When a woman is diagnosed with a neurological condition, we need to take her through issues related to contraception, hormones, pregnancy and menopause," said Gerard. "This takes extra time and experience that our center is prepared to handle. Younger women need to be educated about how their neurological condition will affect pregnancy and contraceptive choices. Mature women need to be especially cognizant of how their symptoms may change during menopause."