Why I Walk!
My survivor story is something more unconventional compared to patients who have experienced what I have been going through these last 3 years of my life. My name is Michael Mosconi, and I am a 23-year-old Digital Marketer who resides in New Jersey, making the commute to New York City daily. Every person I encounter mentions my athletic looking appearance, assuming I live a very active and healthy lifestyle. A collegiate athlete on the rise, perfect blood pressure, working out 5 times a week, I would say I am doing well for someone my age in terms of taking care of myself. Little do most people know, I have been fighting an uphill battle for the past 3 years.
It all started with an emergency room visit after my final exam, in which I learned I was diagnosed with mononucleosis. That was the most devastating illness of my life which is really saying something considering I was cleared within a month after getting it. Once I was cleared, that’s when the roller coaster began. I began to develop arrhythmia problems where I had PVC’s almost a few times a minute. I thank myself every day for taking myself to the doctor when I experienced this, as that could have been a life changing moment for me. After going through a multitude of tests, my MRI showed there was scarring on my heart and it was slightly enlarged, myocarditis. As a 20-year-old kid, I thought this was my death sentence. Football was stripped from me, I had to limit my workouts, I was walking around with wires on my chest like a scientific experiment. Life changed.
Now, at 23 years old, almost fully healed from my myocarditis I developed, I am left with ventricular tachycardia. As I was heavily monitored with a loop recorder implanted, my doctors picked up a life-threatening arrhythmia which has led to me writing this here now with anS-ICD implanted within my body to save my life, god forbid I have a serious episode. I honestly never thought I was going to get to the point of the ICD being put in me, but without me speaking up 3 years ago and without this now, I may have been just another statistic of a kid tragically losing a full life to live.
Why did I join the American Heart Association to share my story? I have always wanted to share my struggles with someone who may be experiencing the same thing. My biggest goal is to communicate with younger patients like myself as I never had someone at 20 years old who knew what I was going through. I always joked that I was the youngest in my doctor’s office by 60 years. I will be there someday, but no one expects kids like me who haven’t even tasted the world to be going through such drastic heart issues. I want to be the answer to the many who are scared and lost as I want to bring light to it. I want to create awareness and do everything in my power to bring awareness to these horrific situations of young athletes and normal younger patients who drop suddenly, with no prior history of heart issues until the autopsy shows. I want to create awareness because 3 years ago if I didn’t speak up on my health, I could be a statistic.