Paul Muti, born and raised from “really good parents” with much love in Laie, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor when he was only 6 years old and has been going through multiple treatments to get to where he is now. Despite his medical condition, Muti has his eyes set on attending BYU-Hawaii and getting involved in school life soon.
Tia Muti, Paul Muti’s mother, recalled as soon as Paul was diagnosed with the cancerous tumor he had to undergo the surgery. She said, “For him being so young, it was a really scary challenge.”
She said after Paul came out of the hospital he had to go through chemotherapy, radiation and a lot of other treatments, which affected things like his vision and balance.
Paul said, “My dad really helped me because he was there for me all of the time when I was in the hospital. He was helping me with the things that I couldn’t do, like get some food.”
In order to walk again and control his vision to an extent, Tia Muti said he had to go through several therapy sessions to regain his strength.
Paul Muti said, “Before I had the brain tumor, I could see clearly and function everything properly. After the procedure, I had to go through [therapy] because my vision got pretty bad.” He said this prevented him from going back to school and he was given lessons at home instead.
As time passed, he said he improved and he was able to go back to school. However, not long after his return to school, the doctor told his family they found two tumors in his brain.
He had to undergo surgery again in order to treat the new diagnosis.
Tia Muti said, “They told us that he wouldn’t live pass 17, but he’s 27. He had to go through the same process again.”
After having been through a second surgery and more treatments, Paul was again informed about a year ago had he two huge tumors in his head, one in the back and one in the front.
He said he was given two options: undergo surgery and cope with the long recovery process, or forgo the surgery and deal with the repercussions. Paul Muti chose the latter.
He said, “I really feel like not going to the surgery because right now I don’t feel anything, but I know the effect of it that is going to come. So I’m aware of it. I just strive to hold on and keep surviving.”
Tia Muti said, “This time, you always take the chance of changing the person’s life, whether you change them to become vegetable or whether you lose them. So this time, we opted not to do the surgery because they told us he is doing great right now, and it might make things worse [if we decided to do surgery].”
As of right now, Paul Muti goes to the hospital when he feels pain or if his body gets swollen. Regarding his trials, he said, “I just knew I have to have faith to proceed with the pain and the things I was feeling.”
In his situation, he said, others are always reaching out to him. But he said he is always thinking about how he can return the favor and help others, which he said he has learned from relatives who have passed away. “I kind of look beyond stuff and [see] the future,” he said.
He said as he pondered the support he has received from his family, friends and community members, “It just made me realize how lucky I am actually.”
When it comes to the gospel, he said, “I feel like it changed my life because of my belief in God and how I applied it.” He said he is always looking for opportunities to give to others by fulfilling church callings and getting involved in service projects to help him “feel good” and be selfless.
Paul Muti mentioned an excerpt from the 2017 October General Conference, “Bearers of Heavenly Light,” given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf where he said he was trying to stay in the light place despite all of his health complications.
Tia Muti said her son radiates this light throughout their home. “He is our home security. He takes care of everybody and things at home. He wished he could have gone to school, but that’s why he is where he is at. He loves his home ward. He’s working at the temple. He loves whatever church assignments are given to him,” she said.
She said he takes advantage of all of the opportunities around him. “He loves choir. He loves to sing. He loves to dance. He loves to participate in things of the church and BYUH, and all the new students and friends he meets. They really make his life full,” she stated.
Paul has a desire to attend BYUH, and he hopes to “find an eternal companion and get a good education to help [him] be successful.”
Calling his parents great examples in his life, Paul said he would like to become like them by “working at the Polynesian Cultural Center and becoming a music composer.”
He said, “I completely understand. I just know that [god’s] plan will be successful in our lives as we live it.” He said he is grateful for the life he lives because he loves the Lord and the how he “made us how we are.”
He concluded with his testimony: “I know that the gospel that we are in is true. It really blessed my life to know that Heavenly Father, my family and Laie cares. It really pushes me to learn harder and try to help one another through different things and other stuff. Just simple acts of kindness help me to be more and do more.
NOTE: This story's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the Nov. 2017 print issue.