Achieving the Impossible With Epilepsy

Calista is sharing her epilepsy story about how she achieved what she once thought was impossible

By Calista Bell

Person with Epilepsy

My name is Calista, and I have epilepsy. I was diagnosed at eight months old after two months of constant seizures and hospital visits. I had secondary-generalized seizures, starting as partial seizures and progressing to tonic-clonic ones.  

I do not remember much, but my parents told me I was catatonic and non-responsive for a long time. I've had it for as long as I can remember and had various struggles. Throughout school, I remember educators ostracized me because they didn't understand epilepsy or know what it was. At one point, they wanted to put me in the class for the intellectually disabled, although I was not.  

Going from school to school to school, I got used to being the new kid around. I struggled with school until I was 10 years old. They could not find a seizure medication that worked for me, and all the various effects of different medications influenced my schoolwork.  

Despite the struggles, I went to college and graduated with a bachelor's and master's degree in science. I earned 4.0 in all my school courses for four years. I completed two years in one my first year of college, graduated with my undergrad two years later, and then my masters the following year. Since then, I got a job where I've dreamed of working since I was little.  

I would not change my experiences for anything. I have surpassed expectations and done things I never thought were possible. I have been passionate about raising awareness ever since middle school. I am thankful to my neurologist and my family for supporting me and always fighting for me. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today. 

Reviewed By: Sara Wyen

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