Laura Zain, from Livonia, Michigan shares her story, “A Journey with Kyle” about her son, age 17, who survived a blood clot to his brain. He was later found to have extremely elevated homocysteine levels. When my son, Kyle Posluszny, was 17 years old he developed a massive blood clot in his left leg. Doctors at the University of Michigan hospital had no idea what caused this and after being release on blood thinners, we were told “this was your one blood clot that your given”. Recovery took a while, but we survived and moved on When Kyle turned 18 and was preparing to go to college, he began having headaches – at the same time of the year he always does – and the usual “cure” was allergy medicine.
After about a week of “did you take your medicine” and “my head still hurts”, he agreed to go to U of M to be evaluated. As we were in route to U of M, Kyle started getting real frustrated and almost confused …I knew something wasn’t right. He tried to relax and kept asking me “where are you taking me?” He had no idea what was going on or where we were going. Neither did I. Upon arrival at U of M, they immediately took Kyle in the back. After numerous doctors came in, it was evident that Kyle was loosing some sort of “being” and they recommended a CT scan of his brain. Within 5 minutes, I saw doctors running down the hall towards me with Kyle on the gurney. I was thrown a file, told to follow them and we were rushed into the MRI unit. Kyle was having a stroke. After being in the MRI machine for an hour, it was confirmed that Kyle had a massive blood clot in his head. The tech said he “never saw anything like it”. We were admitted into the critical care intensive care unit and my world just stopped. After a few days, the bleeding in his head wasn’t stopping and Kyle was slowly slipping into a coma. He was curled up, couldn’t talk or even blink his eyes. The doctors said his stroke was equivalent to an 80 year old man. Why? When digging deeper and looking into Kyle’s massive hospital file, it was determined that his blood needed to be evaluated at the Mayo Clinic. His doctor, Dr. Steven Pipe made the arrangements and the results were astounding.
Kyle had an elevated homocysteine level to 79 (normal would have been 14 or under). The homocysteine level in your body is normally not checked=”checked” until you get into your senior years….not a need for an 18 year old for sure! We were able to trace this elevated level back into Kyle’s medical history. Kyle was born with his intestines on the outside of his body – therefore having him lack vitamin B-12 and folic acid. Having a lack of those two vitamins will increase a homocysteine level in your body…bingo….blood clot! Now we found out why, but Kyle was pretty much slipping into a deeper coma and his doctor told me to “be prepared” and “there wasn’t much more they could do”. If they opened him up, they would lose him. If they let him go, he would probably just slip away from us and die. I couldn’t accept this.
As I stood over Kyle and his curled up, unresponsive body, I began to cry. I remember watching my tears pool up on his shoulder and roll down his side. I was numb, crying and telling him to hang in there – he wasn’t going to leave me now. We were a team. I KNEW he could hear me. Just before 5:00 a.m., I heard the word “Chili” and thought that someone else had spoken. Then we heard it again, “Chili” I jumped up, ran to Kyle and asked if he was cold and needed a blanket. Out of no where, he rolled over, stretched his arms, rubbed his eyes and even shook his head and stared at me in a complete daze. In a slurred, slow, speech, he said “No! I want Wendy’s Chili”…….go figure, the kid was hungry! Doctors piled into our room, I was stunned, and Kyle was hungry! As he slowly recovered, Kyle was moved into a different room and it was determined what path we were going to take. Kyle survived again, defeated the odds and later told me that he felt something wet on his shoulder (my tears) and could hear me saying something to him…did he wake up because of this? Kyle turned 20 this past May and August 17 th marked our 2 year anniversary since his massive stroke.
He currently takes a Folic Acid vitamin daily and goes for once-a-month B-12 shots. Every 6 months he has blood work done and it includes checking the Homocystine level. At our last visit at U of M, we were told that all is good and not to come back for one full year! My thanks to NBCA for bringing Thrombosis and Thrombophilia to light. I want everyone to know that blood clots are not just for seniors and they can happen to anyone at anytime – Kyle is living proof of this. I encourage anyone that has had the unfortunate experience of a blood clot or knows of someone that does, to get involved with NBCA…there is power in numbers and together we can educate and help those who need it most….before it is too late.