I was told to say goodbye to my son, 14, after a stroke left him fighting for his life | The Sun

A 14-year-old boy is having to learn to walk again after what started as a severe headache turned into a stroke.

Stephen Gaskin had been at home with his grandmother while his mum, Katie Gaskin was at work.

The 34-year-old said her mum called her to say Stephen was complaining of headaches and had vomited several times.

Katie, from Herne Bay, Kent, rushed home in September to find her son unconscious and hardly breathing.

The mum-of-four had been six months pregnant at the time and said it had been a 'huge shock' to find her teenage son in such a dire condition.

Sadly, Stephen had suffered a stroke which left him fighting for his life.

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He was placed in a medically induced coma and flown to King's College Hospital, where it was revealed that he had a 'massive blood clot' on his brain.

Katie said: "It was the worst day of my life.

“It was all very overwhelming – at one point we were being told to say our goodbyes to Stephen," the mum told KentOnline.

Medics said the stroke had been bought on by arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

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The rare neurological condition means that sufferers have veins and arteries that have become knotted in the brain.

It's rare and occurs in less than one per cent of the population, the NHS states.

Now, Stephen has had surgery to stop another stroke happening, but his mum says that the effects of AVM will stay with him forever.

Stephen has had to see both specialists in London and Surrey, with his mum often making 140 mile round trips to visits medical centres with her son.

The symptoms of AVM you need to know

In about 15 per cent of cases, AVM’s don’t cause symptoms and are found incidentally, the NHS states.

However, there are some signs that are common in those who are diagnosed with the condition:

  1. Seizures: around 20 per cent of cases are detected because the patient has a seizure
  2. Haemorrhage: more than 50 per cent of AVM's are found after a haemorrhage. Signs of this include a sudden onset of severe headache often with nausea, vomiting, neurological problems or a decreasing level of consciousness
  3. Headaches: Headaches may be caused by the high blood flow through the AVM
  4. Strokes: Brain AVMs may cause stroke-like symptoms by depriving the nearby brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients

At present, the right side of Stephen's body doesn't work and he's having to learn to walk and talk again.

“He also has palsy of the right side of his face – his right eye doesn’t close properly and he has double vision. Mentally, he can’t keep things in his head and he needs to have things explained to him."

Katie praised her son and said he has done 'amazingly'.

Because of the nature of Stephen's illness, Katie has had to step away from her job as a carer.

She's launched a GoFundMe page to pay for car journeys and parking at the hospital.

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