Michelle Williams never set out to become an EEG tech with a specialty in long-term monitoring. But life has a way of steering us in ways we don’t expect.
For Williams, life gave her a smart and beautiful baby girl, Michaela, who developed a brain tumor as a teenager. In the years since her daughter’s tumor was removed, Williams has shifted to a teaching and training role, specifically for pediatric EEG.
“If it was my kid, I’d want hawk eyes on that patient,” she said.
Just a Job
Even before the tumor showed up, the juggle of motherhood, work, and school nudged Williams toward neurodiagnostics.
“Honestly, I really needed a job,” she told us in a recent interview. “It wasn’t a career. I wasn’t thinking I was going to stay in it. I was thinking, when the economy gets better, I’ll march on over and transfer to corporate.”
Williams had a degree in business administration but had taken a part-time job as a patient care assistant on a neurology unit at Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to help make ends meet when the recession hit in 2008. That was where she took the opportunity to be trained in EEG.
A month after Williams got her R. EEG T registry, her daughter (then 13) had her first seizure. It was the morning after Thanksgiving in 2012 when she got the terrifying call from Michaela’s father.
“He called me at 5 a.m. and said that she had a seizure in her sleep,” Williams said. “Blood was coming out of her mouth, and he couldn’t wake her up.”
There had been no signs that anything was wrong before this. Michaela had learned to read by age 3 and was always an excellent student.
Williams drove an hour and a half to find her daughter fully recovered. The blood had come from a bitten tongue. Doctors told her the seizure was likely a “fluke” but Williams wasn’t so sure. She pressed for a MRI.
A month later, Michaela went in for brain surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to remove a “huge” tumor on her brain. Removing the tumor, located in Wernickke’s Area, would require cortical mapping with an awake segment to test language.
“I was terrified,” said Williams. “Michaela thought it was cool.”
Hours later, Michaela woke up in the ICU, asking for apple juice. The tumor turned out to be benign and, except for a lifelong regimen of epilepsy medications, Michaela made a full recovery.
Now 21, she has her own place, she drives and will be graduating from college this summer.
To say this experience changed how Williams viewed her job would be an understatement.
“After my daughter, my perspective changed, and I totally looked at EEG differently,” she said. “Literally EEG was one of the first things that she had done.”
Williams went on to get a job where her daughter had surgery and in 2014 Williams got her certification in long-term monitoring (CLTM). In 2018 Williams started moonlighting for a remote monitoring company.
Today, Williams does remote neuromonitoring full time. She provides technologist training and teaches a pediatric EEG course at a local college. She misses seeing patients but loves working behind the scenes and takes a lot of pride in her work, especially in pediatric cases.
Special thanks to Michelle Williams, R. EEG T., CLTM, Scanning Technologist at RSC Diagnostic Services and her daughter M