One of my favorite things to do is play baseball. I have done so for years, and am part of my high school’s baseball team. I love the community, excitement, and competitiveness that the sport provides, and hope to continue to play for as long as possible. Although I am not a freak athlete or a stand-out prodigy, I still value its role in my life and continue to play.
Baseball is only one of the activities that I enjoy and am fortunate enough to pursue. I run Cross Country, teach and play chess, play guitar, participate in Model Congress conferences, and more. Nearly none of my growth and experience in any of those fields would be possible without my successful surgeries. I would not be able to do much of what I now love if I continued life undiagnosed and untreated like many out there. The minor strokes that I had would have gotten worse and more frequent the longer I went without treatment, and that is unfortunately a reality for many of those with Moyamoya. The rarity and lack of awareness around Moyamoya is ultimately the deadliest factor, and one that led to several of my misdiagnosis.
Earlier this week, during one of the first games of our school’s baseball season, I dove to catch a fly ball. After making the play, I felt a rush of gratitude. I tend to take my health for granted, and not think about the very real possibility that I could have suffered a major, paralyzing stroke before I was successfully treated — or even that my operations almost a decade ago did not produce the optimal results they so far have. It is too easy to get lost in comparisons to my peers on the team, or players on the opposing team. This leads to a disregard for how far I have come since my first TIA at the age of 5.
The attempt to more consistently recognize how privileged I am to have been diagnosed and treated before any serious, lasting damage — physical and mental — has led to a more humble attitude as well. Rather than accrediting any achievement solely to myself and getting self-absorbed, I instead think about all of the kind nurses at Stanford, Dr. Steinberg and his skills/expertise, my parents, and all of my friends and family that supported me through a time of need — all of whom contributed in their own ways. It is important to keep in mind that it is a blessing to be healthy, especially if you have a disease such as Moyamoya that does not have a definitive cure and lacks awareness.