When I was 18 years old and in the first half of my freshman year of college, I got a concussion that changed my life. It was a minor one, but afterward, something felt wrong.
A month later, I suffered what was most likely my first tonic-clonic seizure while at my new job. A few months later in March of 2019, I experienced my first major documented tonic-clonic seizure at Disney of all places. I was in the hospital for four days and the doctors were unsure of what was wrong since I had no prior instances (excluding the instance a few months before). In a matter of moments, my entire life changed. I had to partially withdraw from my second semester of college and had no idea what I was going to do.
I was formally diagnosed with generalized epilepsy in May of 2019. New health issues began appearing soon after, including POTS, Hypermobility Spectrum disorder, GAD, endometriosis, tachycardia issues, and more that are still under investigation. From then on, it was doctor appointment after doctor appointment. With all these issues, I felt like I lost my life, but I didn’t want to leave my college career like this. I went back to school in the Fall of 2019 and continued to fight and succeed in my schooling.
I was seizure-free for two and a half years and felt like I was finally able to let my guard down. Then, I suffered seizures in August and November of 2021. Old wounds reopened. I was in my senior year of college, hiding in my house and completing classes virtually. Once again, I felt lost, and I did not want this to be the end of my story.
I recently graduated from Truman State University Cum Lade with a degree in health science and minors in biology and psychology. I walked across the stage, even though I was home for the entirety of my senior year. I walked across the stage knowing that I had accomplished something I thought I couldn’t do three years ago.
I was told by my first epilepsy doctor that my life would change and a lot of what I expected was gone. My new epileptologist told me I would never be able to live alone again. I lost a lot of my independence. What I did not lose was my drive to complete my education and fulfill my goal in life: to support and help people. I plan to become an ultrasound technician and will be applying to schools in a year. I plan to work in the medical field and put my goals into action.
Epilepsy changed my life. I struggle every day worrying about having another seizure, but having epilepsy taught me one major lesson that I am sure other people with epilepsy understand: we can persevere through the darkest places to reach the light - and we won’t stop fighting.