Local musician with rare disease recovers from high-risk surgery

Keahi Lau smiles as if he’s won the lottery. But it’s better than the lottery — it’s a second chance in life.

“Everything they needed to do and wanted to do, they did. And here I am today, smiling, enjoying life,” Lau said.

Last October, the bass player from Koa’uka shared how his life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease. Moyamoya means “puff of smoke” in Japanese, describing the tiny vessels formed to compensate for blocked arteries that supply blood to the brain.

Lau was suffering from lingering headaches, strokes, and his brain was bleeding. The only treatment is a high-risk surgery. In November, he underwent an eight-hour surgery at Stanford University.

“The surgeons came back into the room. They said, ‘Mr. Lau, after the surgery, now you getting four times the amount of blood to your brain than you were getting before,’” Lau said.

Lau returned home in December and continues to endure pain.

“Now that I get feeling in my face, now I can feel the pain, everything they did. It’s basically when I yawn, when I chew, cough, or sneeze, laugh too hard,” Lau said.

But his recovery has been remarkable. Last week, he returned to the stage to play at a fundraiser for someone else who is fighting for their life.

“I felt really connected and understood what they were going through. So I said this is my chance to give back to the people who gave back to me,” Lau said.

It’s a journey the father of five is grateful he was called on to take.

“I thank the good Lord for this blessing that he has placed upon me in having this disease. Making me more aware of what life has to offer,” Lau said.

Lessons learned from an unlikely source.

“Made me felt even more blessed than what I was to see my kids smiling, embracing me. ‘Dad, you going be ok, you going be alright.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, because that’s what the good Lord said,’” Lau said.

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