Departments: Photo Essay
Denise L. Pease on managing epilepsy and raising public awareness of her condition.
To read the speech she delivered at the National Institutes of Health, go to neurologynow.com and search “Denise Pease.” To see more of Annie Levy's photography, go to annielevy.com.
Denise L. Pease, age 57.
When were you diagnosed with epilepsy? I suffered what I thought was a minor head injury during a car accident in 1995. In the following months, I lost my ability to read, write, and speak effectively. After two years, I was finally diagnosed with epilepsy. Before the accident, I was one of New York State's Deputy Superintendents of Banks. I quickly became a candidate for an adult-care facility.
Speaking to you now, I would never know that. How do you manage your condition? I found a great epileptologist—Dr. Martha Morrell—and together we found the right anti-seizure medication for me. Dr. Morrell encouraged me to join the Epilepsy Foundation (epilepsyfoundation.org), which has been an important part of my recovery. They connected me with support groups and helped me get involved in raising awareness and money for research. Today I sit on their national board, and I am back in the workforce.