Overcoming the Challenges of Living With Seizures

Read Megan's eJourney about overcoming the challenges of living with seizures

By Megan Wilson , West Virginia

Person with Epilepsy

Friday, February 2, 2024

I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 12. My first seizure occurred during our family vacation while I was wading in the waves at the beach. My father immediately knew something was wrong with my lack of response as I stood in the water, arms by my side, staring into the abyss. Thankfully, he grabbed me from the water before the seizure took over. 

For the last 18 years, I have struggled to become seizure-free. I went through high school in a fog due to being overmedicated while still falling to the floor with seizures in the school hallway. During college, I took a different route. We lowered my medications to encourage my brain to learn and not remain in the sleepy "zombie" fog that many of us with epilepsy can understand. 

College was a hard time as I had to push through the seizures and focus on why I wanted a degree and why I wanted to succeed. I was concerned about being labeled as disabled while I was having focal impaired awareness seizures every week. Some would just impact my daily schedule, while others would have me feeling like I had broken my ribs and couldn't walk for a week. The seizures happened in the dorm, the classroom, or even on our main street through the college campus. Thankfully, friends nearby always came to my side to help. 

Following the increase and severity of these seizures, my doctors worked to develop a plan of action to confirm if I was a possible candidate for brain surgery. I underwent multiple tests while I spent a month in the hospital. Following the final WADA test, I had a temporal lobectomy on the day before my 21st birthday. Talk about that new post-op hairstyle! 

I had to drop out of school for the semester and felt many people pushing me to quit college or "take a break," which seemed odd to me because I fought for so long; why would I suddenly quit? The surgery didn't make me seizure-free but thankfully took away my worst enemy – seizures that happened during broad daylight. At this point, I was down to just having seizures during sleep, which allowed me to get my driver's license finally. I gained the courage to return to school the following semester and complete my bachelor's degree in wildlife sciences with a GPA of 3.9. 

I grew up feeling like I was disabled and would never have a career or make it in the professional world. However, I powered through and earned a Master of Science in safety engineering. I have worked to climb the ladder in multiple industries throughout my technical area, and I am now an Environmental, Health, and Safety Project Manager at a global consulting firm. I still have seizures, but the proper amount of medication, along with surgery, has made a difference and allowed me to pursue my goals. As can be common for people with epilepsy, I still run into challenges, like fertility and family planning and other medical misalignments. For me, the fight is always worth it. 

I look back and wonder where I would be if I had walked away from college or quit trying and lost my motivation to push through. People with epilepsy have seizures or other symptoms that cause them to become embarrassed, anxious, and tired, and they feel ready to give up. No one wants to be in a college classroom or on a professional work call and begin having an aura, panic attack, or seizure

 Some days are harder than others. I've learned through the past years that beating myself down never fixes the problem. I try to relax to get through the bad days. On the days when I am feeling my best, I encourage myself to grow. 

Living with seizures has its challenges, but I am also happy with my life and what I have accomplished so far. The epilepsy community has encouraged me to continue to learn, work, and grow. I am sharing my story to encourage others in a similar situation, and whether you are seizure-free or not, we can take steps to live our lives to the fullest despite the challenges that epilepsy puts in our path.

Reviewed By: Sara Wyen

Sign Up for Emails

Stay up to date with the latest epilepsy news, stories from the community, and more.