My story is, honestly, one of pure luck. My name is Daniel and in the picture you can see my wife Melissa and I. We got married in June of 2018 and we're now expecting our first daughter Lucía María. So why luck? See, I was diagnosed with Wilson's disease in 2012, when I was 22 years old, going through my second year of dental school in Puerto Rico. I had no symptoms... none whatsoever, and I had lived a life without worry, eating EVERYTHING that as a WD patient I should avoid, multiple times a day, multiple days a week. So you may ask yourself, why did I get a test for WD? Well, that other story started about a year earlier when my younger sister was rushed to the ER because she had fainted and had an itchy head. She wasn't diagnosed with WD until like about 4-5 months later. Needless to say, with all the strange symptoms she had, at some point my mother thought we were going to lose her. After the diagnosis, she took penicillamine for some time and got so much better so quickly, it was like a miracle. She is now in Zinc therapy.
Me? I went straight to Zinc, 3 times a day, had to stop eating a couple of foods and get labs every once in a while. She often reminds me that I owe her my life, and I kind of do haha. We're both pretty healthy individuals and live quite a normal life so far.
Having WD never really impacted me much, I was able to adapt quickly and easily to everything the doctors recommended. It wasn't really until 2015 when I went to the WDA Annual Conference that I realized how lucky I really was, and it was an experience that marked me. I met people that were having to deal with much much worse things than taking a pill 3 times a day. I'd lie to you if I told you that I was able to hold my tears back. It was really tough to imagine myself in their shoes. My life, as I know it, would've been upside down if I had some of the symptoms that I saw manifested in some at the meeting. For example, I've chosen a profession that requires fine motor skills and steady hands. Practising dentistry would've been impossible, and after so many years of education and sacrifice, that would've been just a little bit frustrating. Then I decided to help, however I could. With my busy schedule and ongoing education, I decided to enroll myself as a support contact for the WDA, that was the least I could do. To my surprise I have received emails and calls from people seeking help and guidance, and I have done my best to provide them, and it's been very gratifying. Since then, I haven't done much more than that. This year I'm trying the Big WOW because I believe it is
something small for me to do that could do some good for the Wilson's Disease Association and all of its members, the research they support and all of the patients that need the WDA to continue doing what it is doing for years to come.