Pediatric Strokes: Lucas’ Story

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Most people don’t consider that kids have strokes. Although it’s relatively rare, a small percentage of children suffer strokes every year. The causes can vary but most are related to birth defects, infections, trauma or blood disorders like sickle cell disease. 

Here is one mom’s story:

“On January 22, 201, our lives were turned upside down. Early that day our son Lucas said to my husband Lee that he felt dizzy. Not really thinking much about it my husband told him to go lay down and try to take a nap.

A little while later Lucas came and found me in the kitchen. He grabbed the back of his head and starting crying about a REALLY bad headache.  He said that felt like he was on a roller coaster. Then  he suddenly lost all control of his muscles and started throwing up.

I rushed him to the bathroom. He kept throwing up.  He was really out of it. My husband and I got him into the car and rushed him down the street to the urgent care,  The nurse rushed him to the back. He looked so scary. They hooked him up to the monitors and we saw that his heart rate was so low. It was in the high 30s to 40 when it should have been about 100.  They immediately called 911 and told the dispatcher that he had been poisoned.

My husband and I just stood there in shock. We knew FOR SURE that he had not ingested anything.  We were helpless. 

The firemen and paramedics showed up. Lucas was in critical condition so they called for us to be airlifted to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I was able to go with him in the helicopter. They starting running every test they could think of on him. The first was a toxicology test, which came back negative. Then they did a spinal tap and two CAT scans. They couldn’t get a good CAT scan because he was still throwing up.

They said he needed an MRI of the neck and head.  We were then transferred to another hospital. They didn’t run any tests.

The next morning, they said he could go home  but that they still believed he had ingested something.  Lucas could not walk and could barely lift his head. We fought with the doctors knowing something was seriously wrong, but no one would listen.

A few days went by and Lucas was starting to regain his strength. He had to hold onto walls to walk. His pupils were so big we couldn’t even see his beautiful blue eyes. 

I took him back to the doctor and demanded an MRI. I went alone to imaging center alone with Lucas. My husband was in Los Angeles and my cell phone was dead. 

The doctors eventually told me they found three abnormalities in his brain and that he needed to go back to the hospital  They called again for the helicopter.  Eventually we learned that Lucas had at least two strokes and a dissection of an artery. 

He spent the next six days in intensive care and has had to return a few more times. We are so grateful our son is still here and is living the life of a normal 7-year-old boy.  He may have a little crooked

 smile and a clot in the back of his head but that’s not going to stop him.

He is our fighter, our miracle. He is such an inspiration to me and to everyone that meets him.  Our story continues as we search for answers.

I have dedicated my life to finding answers and getting him to the best doctors in the country.  My hard work has paid off and now he has an appointment with one of the country’s best pediatric stroke specialists next week at UCSF. 

So this is for my fighter, my beautiful blue eyed boy.”

To learn more about pediatric strokes, visit the National Stroke Association’s website

 

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