Seizure may have saved life of man making medical history

The black portion of the brain scan shows the size of the cyst growing inside Tyler Leggett's head. (Janet Moomy-Leggett/GoFundMe)


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) – A West Michigan man is recovering after doctors removed a massive cyst from his brain — one that may have been growing since birth.

Tyler Leggett, 27, said he’s relieved to finally have answers after battling pain and balance issues without any luck finding the root of the problem.

That was until he had a seizure several weeks ago that resulted in a startling outcome.

The black portion of the brain scan shows the size of the cyst growing inside Tyler Leggett's head. (Janet Moomy-Leggett/GoFundMe)
The black portion of the brain scan shows the size of the cyst growing inside Tyler Leggett’s head. (Janet Moomy-Leggett/GoFundMe)

As he walked outside Tuesday afternoon around his apartment complex in Wyoming, Leggett talked about his therapy and walking to recovery after the surgery to remove his cyst.

“They still think because of the balance issues this is causing that that’s really going to help me, you know, strengthen the muscles,” Leggett said. “You know, it just felt good yesterday to be able to walk around and yeah, just finally test myself a little bit.”

But it was no easy path to get there.

“It just became harder and harder to function,” he said. “They kept sending me to physical therapy, thinking that would do the job and you know, there was just no signs of improvement for a while.”

For the last three years, Leggett suffered from knee pain.

“I woke up in the morning and the first thing I thought of was, ‘Oh. I hope I don’t fall,’” he said.

Leggett said he fell roughly five times a day from balance issues and then a few weeks ago, he had a sudden seizure at work.

Janet Moomy-Leggett and Tyler Leggett. (March 8, 2016)
Janet Moomy-Leggett and her son, Tyler Leggett. (March 8, 2016)

CT scans revealed a frightening discovery: a massive cyst was covering roughly 25 percent of Leggett’s brain.

“I can’t believe I was operating at such a high level with all this going on,” he said. “Doctors think this could’ve been developing for decades.”

Justin Clark, the neurosurgeon with Great Lakes Neurological Associates who removed Leggett’s cyst, said it was the largest cyst he had seen in a functioning patient.

“Honestly, when I first saw the scan, I rushed to the hospital because I wasn’t sure if he’d even be talking,” Clark said.

Clark noted the cyst could have impacted other motor skills.

“I think just basically all of his motor skills, and when you think of who you are as a person, all of that is contained in the part of the brain that was affected,” Clark said.

Leggett’s staples were removed Monday and for Leggett’s mom, finally, some answers.

“Once Tyler had that seizure, he felt validated that there was something wrong with [him],” said Janet Leggett.

“When they did the CT scan and found this, it seemed like you know the answer to everything we were looking for,” she added.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up for Tyler to cover his medical expenses because he does not have medical insurance. As of Wednesday morning, they had raised $1,300 of their $20,000 goal.

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