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Your Life, Your Health: Defying the odds
A Colonie High School student is using his amazing recovery from a brain tumor operation to educate others.
Lewie Perkinson was just 16 years old when he began to suffer from unexplained headaches and sudden vomiting. When it got severe, his mother took him to the doctor.
We thought it was a sinus infection. Christine Perkinson says. They gave him antibiotics and sent him home.
But it wasnt a sinus infection. when Lewie collapsed in his living room a few days later, he was rushed to Albany Medical Centers emergency room where a CT scan revealed devastating news.
They found he had a tumor the size of a lemon at the base of his skull.
The tumor was a medulloblastoma, a highly malignant childhood tumor and his was anaplastic, meaning even very cancerous. The surgery to remove the tumor itself went smoothly. But Lewie suffered some major complications in post-op a pulmonary embolism and brain stem stroke. He was in a coma for 5 weeks.
All of these secondary side effects created a different prognosis, a different life threat. Says Dr. Joanne Porter, Lewies physician. Dr. Porter is a physician and the Melodies Center for Childhood Brain Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Centers Childrens Hospital.
She remembers Lewies condition when coming out of his coma. He wasnt able to move, he wasnt alert. He wasnt able to swallow on his own.
Two years later, Lewie is defying the odds and making unbelievable strides. Not only is his speech coming back and his balance improving hes graduating Colonie High School this Spring.
Hes a miracle considering where he was. And the doctors, they just couldnt figure out what happened, even to this day. Christine Perkinson says. It has definitely changed our life. Changed the lives of everyone who knows him.
As Lewie recovers, he has been working to educate others about brain injuries. He also works to raise money for the Brain Injury Association, even serving as Captain of 4 bowling teams that compete for donations.
This week Make-A-Wish has sent him and his family to Miami, FL where Lewie says hes excited to explore the Everglades, hit up the beach and see his favorite basketball team the Heat.
If youd like to learn more about brain injuries, here is a link to the Brain Injury Association of America: http://www.biausa.org/