It seems like neurological disorders abound with my loved ones. My aunty Alice developed cerebral palsy after contracting an infection during infancy. My uncle Katsutoshi fell into a persistent vegetative state after an unlocked construction crane fell on his head and back. My uncle Harumi experienced several strokes, as did my aunty Carol and my dad. My mother sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage (aneurysm rupture) along with senile dementia. My dear friend and meditation teacher Rob was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, a glioblastoma multiforme, which took his life within five months.
My favorite aunt Jean was diagnosed with the sporadic form of amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in early 2016, adding yet another neurological illness to an already large list. The disease was so aggressive that by October, she was unable to speak, so my calls consisted of me making awkward small talk while she grunted in response.
Considering the fact that I had a keen interest in neuroscience since childhood and believed that I would become a neurologist even in my final year of medical school, I find it ironic that so many people who have been near and dear to me have fallen victim to so many neurological maladies, ranging from cerebrovascular events, to neuromuscular disorders, to traumatic brain injury, to neoplasm. Despite this, my fascination for the neurosensory system has not abated. I just hope my favorite people don’t keep getting struck by ailments which afflict this system.