Other than a C-shaped line of stitches on his head, Luke Bowie appears to be back to normal.
The 8-year-old John Glenn Elementary School student had brain surgery June 12.
He recently learned he had a cluster of veins and arteries that didn’t connect properly in his brain as a result of a condition called arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. These clusters can cause bleeding in the brain.
Luke didn’t discover he had the condition until this spring, when his brain began to bleed.
The first symptoms didn’t seem too out of the ordinary.
His mother, Holly Hendricks, came in to wake him up for school and discovered he had thrown up all night and was disoriented. His pediatrician first thought he had the flu. Fluids didn’t improve his symptoms, and a few days later, his neck started to hurt.
Ms. Hendricks took him back in because she thought he had meningitis. When he tested negative for that, they thought he might just be dehydrated. He took in some fluids and waited for a little bit in the doctor’s office to see if he started to feel better. Not too long after his second appointment, Luke said his head hurt. He curled up in a ball and started screaming.
He was rushed to Heartland Regional Medical Center for a CT scan, and on the way went into a grand mal seizure.
His medical team transferred him to the University of Kansas Hospital, where his family learned that his symptoms came from bleeding in the brain, likely a result of the AVM.
Luke underwent an embolization surgery to control the bleeding. He spent 17 days at the hospital being monitored.
“He showed so much courage,” Ms. Hendricks said.
Initially, his family thought they would have to live with the AVM cluster. His medical team at the hospital said the location of the golf-ball-sized cluster made operating difficult. Luke could undergo brain radiation to shrink the cluster, but radiation to that part of the body caused severe side effects.
Ms. Hendricks said she knew they didn’t want to do radiation, so she started looking for other options.
She found a doctor at the Barrow Neurosurgical Associates in Phoenix, who agreed to operate on the cluster. She didn’t think twice about it. She wasn’t worried about cost or medical bills.
“We’d pay anything for a healthy boy,” she said.
The surgery worked. The clump was removed, and Luke has no lasting ramifications. He’ll have follow-up appointments to monitor the area for regrowth, but right now, his prognosis looks promising.
The whole experience proved to have some upsides, too.
His teacher at John Glenn, Lauren Rosier, had contacted Sporting Kansas City about Luke when he entered the hospital. Before he got sick, Luke played soccer for the St. Joseph Youth Soccer Association. His sister, Alex, 11, plays too, and his dad, Steve Bowie, coaches.
Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin paid Luke a visit.
“He just came to the hospital, and we talked,” Luke said.
Luke made a list of questions to ask Mr. Collin. He learned about Mr. Collin’s twin brother. Luke went to a Sporting Kansas City game and watched the last eight minutes of it from field level.
Luke also received a tour of the locker room and a promise that when his condition improved, Mr. Collin would give a skills clinic for the St. Joseph Youth Soccer Association.
With any luck, Luke will be back on the field by the end of the fall. He has to wait eight to 12 weeks before he does anything active.