Imagine you are 19 years old, you are about to enter your 3rd semester in college, you live with your best friends from high school. One day you wake up, you notice that you’re drooling, can’t speak, and you hardly recognize yourself in the mirror.
That was me.
My name is Mason Owings, and I would like to share my life changing experience.
I am a native of Dallas and graduated from Southlake Carroll high school. I took AP Calc, AP writing, and AP lit…graduating with honors in 2008. I was your typical nerdy college student majoring in New Media Art. I had attended TCCC and had transferred to the University of North Texas. I loved the ladies but not as much as I loved to play video games. World of joy Warcraft was my passion: my friends were mostly online, and I liked it that way.
In July 2009, I had a sudden increase in anxiety.
I started to worry about the little things: How was I going to get to class on time? How was I going to pay for textbooks? How was I going to find a job? I was entering my first semester at the University of North Texas.
I had a doctor's visit and was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and was put on medication. A month passes by and I start to lose my balance, and I start to drool a lot.
I was referred to get an MRI. I had an MRI which had evidence of prior strokes and new strokes which brought me to the hospital where I stayed for a few nights.
Flash forward to October 2009, I finally receive a diagnosis of Wilson's Disease after being accused of huffing paint.
What is Wilson's Disease?
Wilson's Disease is a disorder that does not allow your body to process copper.
Instead, it stores it in your brain, liver, and kidneys which cause stroke-like symptoms, cirrhosis of the liver, and other issues.
This is a very rare genetic disease. Only 1 in 30,000 people are known to acquire it.
I had over a hundred doctors come see me, that's how rare it is.
But before you get better, you get worse! Thanks to the treatment.
I underwent chelation therapy which binds the copper to the drug, allowing the copper to exit the bloodstream through the urine. In doing so, the copper causes more damage to the affected organs as it exits the body.
For the next two years, I declined cognitively, and I lost my ability to walk and talk.
I entered Pate Rehab, where I regained my ability to walk and talk. I was discharged and entered a group home.
In 2011, I had some behavioral issues while I was in the group home, I got into a fist fight, and got kicked out. Thankfully my case manager referred me to My Possibilities, and that's when things started to change for the better. My Possibilities is a continuing education for adults with cognitive disabilities.
I join My Possibilities in June 2012 as a Client, and because of the confidence, ambition, and a sense of purpose that the MP program provided, I was able to bring my cognitive skills back from a 4th-grade level to college level.
I am currently enrolled at Collin College where I am focusing on getting my associates degree. I am also a part-time Vocational assistant at My Possibilities.
I never noticed a disabled person before I became one. I never saw them in a crowd never interacted with them, one on one.
It was only after I became disabled that I started to see them. They want the same things I want: Friends, relationships, to experience life.
We want to be included, loved and to be special to others. I make every day count and assure that our hugely important people get every opportunity that I got so that they can reach their full potential.
Thank you for taking your time to read to my experience!