TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Perinatal strokes occur in 1 in every 2800 births, according to the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association, or CHASA. Twenty two month old Ames Buessing of Manhattan is that one.
“It was on the left hemisphere and they said it was a major stroke and it will affect short and long term memory, coordination and speech. The MRI suggested that it was a blood clot that caused it, but we did all sorts of blood tests and he didn’t have any blood disorders to cause the clot so it was an unfortunate fluke. When you look at the scan, that’s the scariest part of the whole thing,” said Ames’s parents, Justin and Kristin Buessing.
CHASA said two main symptoms of a prenatal stroke, are showing preference to one side of the body before 18 months, and decreased movement or weakness on one side of the body.
“He would always keep his right hand in a fist and tucked down to the side instead of being stretched. And his fingers were just always tight. We couldn’t really open them. I was terrified,” said Kristin.
But Ames has age on his side, with the benefits of a young, developing brain.
“The ability of a child that is under 5 years old, the brain re-wires, reorganizes information and different parts of the brain make up for what may have been lost. So he is an open book a fresh slate. If that stroke happened when you’re in your 70s or 80s, you don’t probably see this development like you do with him,” said Justin.
Still, Ames will likely encounter some challenges in the future.
“We’re going to know that it happened. There may be little things that 90 percent of the population may have no idea or pick up on it. But we’ll pick up on It and medical professionals will pick up on It, but there’s no reason for us to believe that he won’t have a completely normal life,” said Justin.
And that’s exactly what he’s doing now. He’s happy and thriving with the help of therapists at Via Christi.
“The progress is what I would hope it would be. It’s really cool to see once It clicks things just roll,” said Eric Melander, a Physical Therapist from Via Christi.
“He is doing a great job right now imitating lots of sounds, putting sound combinations together, so I have great hopes for him,” said Peggy Weins, a Speech-Language Pathologist at Via Christi.
This year, Ames has gone from not being able to sit on his own or roll over, to getting close to walking. Ames will turn 2 on December 30th, taking steps towards a promising future, all with a big smile on his face and a will to not let his past define him.