Leon Stille has brain surgery

Crockery Township Supervisor Leon Stille has experienced the magic of more than 70 Christmases, but he may never have felt as blessed as he does right now. Stille is expected to be released from the hospital on Christmas Day or Monday, following successful brain surgery on Tuesday.
Marie Havenga
Dec 24, 2011

What he feared was a stroke turned out to be a blood clot on the brain — likely the result of recent head traumas.

Stille had been experiencing the loss of the use of his left arm and limited use of his left leg for several weeks. He was admitted to Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids on Dec. 16.

“My left hand was almost useless,” Stille said while recovering in his hospital room. “I couldn’t button my shirt or my pants, and I couldn’t put my coat on. My left leg was impaired. I was worried it was moving into a stoke.

“When I first went to the doctor last week, his first comment was, ‘You may be having a stroke,’” he added. “It scared the hell out of me.”

Stille underwent a CT scan and MRI, and the results of those tests showed a blood clot on the right side of his brain, behind the ear. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.

“The tests proved there was a leak, not a restriction of blood like in a stroke,” Stille said. “That actually made me feel better because I knew it could be repaired.”

The doctors’ attempts to dissolve the clot were unsuccessful, so surgery became necessary.

Stille said following the 90-minute surgery that he has 95-99 percent use of his left hand and leg. He and the medical staff are optimistic for a full recovery.

“I’m very, very thankful,” said Stille, 72. “I just got through taking five laps around the floor. ... They had announced at (my) church that I had had a stroke, but that turned out to be inaccurate. With a stroke, you typically kill gray matter. In this case, we were just impeding it.”

Stille’s neurosurgeon believes the blood clot formed after recent head injuries.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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