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  • Chief Cushie

They think that the adrenal glands are in the brain! "A tumor in the adrenal gland of Kyle's brain..."





Article Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 5:30:39 PM MST


Morgan boy, 11, wins battle after close brush with death


Times Staff Writer


When Kyle Hopkins, an 11-year-old Fort Morgan boy, complained to his mother, Angela, of having a headache, his symptom quickly spiraled into a violent swarm of events that would change his and his family's life forever.


The Hopkins family was spending the day together at Flatirons Mall June 4, 2005, when Kyle told his mother he was having sharp pains in his head. After a light lunch of Chinese noodle bowls and soft drinks -- an unusually light lunch for a big eater like Kyle who ate barely any of his food -- the family decided to walk around a bit more before heading back to Fort Morgan.


As the strong scent of perfume seeped out of one of the stores, it was the triggering effect that somehow skyrocketed Kyle's headache into a world none of them thought existed. As Angela rushed off the escalator to grab some Aleve for her son, Kyle began to cry. As he took two steps off the escalator, the crying turned to screaming.


A seizure in Kyle's brain caused him to collapse and instantly paralyzed the entire right side of his body. He began to throw up as the Flatirons Mall security quickly called 911 for further assistance. A North Metro Fire and Rescue ambulance arrived at the scene shortly after to pick up Kyle, and he was rushed to Avista Hospital right across the street from the mall.


Looking back, Angela knew the hospital's close location was the reason Kyle survived. The headache he felt turned out to be a hemorrhagic stroke caused by hypertension. Too much pressure on Kyle's brain from the hypertension caused several arteries to blow, which led to the stroke.


"He was a perfectly healthy boy like every other boy," Angela said. "Doctors told us he is an absolute miracle. The hospital that saw him is the only reason he is still here today."


Just 45 minutes after Kyle's stroke, neurosurgeons were performing brain surgery on him to do an emergency pressure release operation on his head. A tumor in the adrenal gland of Kyle's brain had caused the pressure overload, and the surgeons had to work quickly as he was losing blood fast.


Surgeons cut off a large piece on the left side of Kyle's skull in order to perform the surgery. Kyle was in a coma at that point and would stay that way for the next two months.


He was on life support for many days as his body became stronger, and his brain came back to having normal neurological patterns. Once the swelling in his brain subsided, the spinal chord fluid tube was removed. He was also tube fed through his mouth for two months while he remained in a coma. He was finally released from the hospital on Aug. 29.


Kyle remained in the hospital for nearly three months before he was released. While Kyle's dad, Thomas, came down to see him in the hospital every week, Angela stayed with Kyle the entire three months of his recovery. Doctors had placed a bed beside Kyle's bed for her to sleep on.


He even celebrated his 11th birthday in the hospital. One thing Kyle will not miss was the number of needles that had to be put into his body during his time in the hospital. Angela said he was never afraid to get shots or to have blood drawn before the stroke, but if Kyle so much as sees a needle now, he screams.


Because of Kyle's stroke, he not only had to learn to walk all over again, but had to re-learn to talk as well. His short-term memory was lost, and the right side of his body, specifically his right shoulder and leg, are still paralyzed. Doctors still don't know what caused the stroke, but they do know he is lucky to be alive today, Angela said.


It was extremely tough for Angela and Thomas to realize Kyle's dreams of becoming an all-star baseball player and starting football halfback icon, but Kyle is intent on getting better and maybe following through with those dreams at a later time.


From September to October of 2005, Kyle went though physical therapy treatment where he currently attends school at the Abner S Baker Central School, 300 Lake St. He stopped doing his therapy at the school shortly after that, but his mother said he is non-stop active when he does therapy at his home.


He practices walking, squatting and bending every day. Kyle still uses the aid of a cain when he walks. Angela and Kyle run through several exercises to get his body working and adrenaline running. Kyle loves walking on the treadmill and even does inclined sit-up's until his stomach burns.


The biggest challenge for Kyle's family has been rebuilding his memory. He knows the answers to many of the questions his family asks him, but sometimes the words can't come out.


"It was almost like he lost his entire vocabulary," Angela said. "We have had to re-train his brain to work and remember things again. We have to teach him everything he used to know."


Because of his stroke, Kyle is also legally blind in his right eye. The right side of his body received the most damage due to the stroke taking place on the left side of his brain. The optic nerve above his right eye was so close to his brain that the stroke impaired the vision there and peripheral vision in either eye is also gone.


While Kyle might have successfully and heroically overcome the stroke, Angela said he is also more susceptible for another stroke in the future. Even that won't keep the family from forcing a smile and living life as it presents itself every day. The Hopkinses were given someone beautiful: their son.


"Kyle still loves going to school, and he wakes up every day with a smile," Angela said. "He will never quit."


Angela described the stroke as a silent killer because by the time you figure out what is happening, many times a person will already be dead. Kyle's 8-year-old brother, Mason, thought his brother had died after the stroke.


"I think we have come to better understand how fast you can lose someone you love," Thomas said. "This was a life-changing event for all of us."


The support through many of the Hopkinses' friends helped them pull though the event a little more easily. Angela said one of Kyle's friends, a boy named Justin, came to see him in the hospital all the time.


Justin would sit with Kyle, hug him and talk to him; keep him in good company. When a doctor asked if Justin was Kyle's brother, he said with tears in his eyes, no, but he wished he could be. He would give anything to be his brother.


Kyle's situation was so rare, Angela explained, but the problem was meant to be found.


"We want everyone else to know that as healthy as children can be, things can happen in a split second," Thomas said. "If a child has a headache or a loss of vision or a stomach ache, don't take any of those situations for granted. You never know if something like this could happen to your own child."


Angela and Thomas know Kyle is supposed to be in this life for a reason, and they just have to figure out what that reason is. Through Kyle's fight, will, determination and love, he was able to pull though his struggle with death. He is a miracle child and all his dreams are still with him at the end of the day, Angela said.


"He still wants to be a normal boy," she said. "He wants to be the boy he used to be."


{SECTION}-- Contact Cameron Mathews at business@fmtimes.com .

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Oh well; we can't expect reporters to understand it all.


It is just hard that things get so highly publicized and are written VERY quickly.


My ex was a newspaper journalist, and it is amazing how quickly they write articles. Yes, it is incredibly important to get it right; they hate it too because they look incompetant, but it was an honest mistake that I am sure they will have no problems correcting as most people don't know all that much about the endocrine system and glands.


Good catch though Mary. It is important to make sure that misinformation isn't spread without being corrected. The more informed society is, the more they will be able to be recognized faster.


I agree though; it does sound like pheo.....so they got the right gland, just not the right location :wub:

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Well now see that was my whole problem right there! :excl: If the neuro surgeon would have been digging in my belly for that dumb pituitary I wouldn't have had to have the adrenal surgeon miss his mark when he should have been digging in my brain! :wub:

No wonder it didn't work! :angry2::angry::angry::excl:

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