Lachlan’s Story

Lachlan Minns photo

Hello, my name is Lachlan.  I am 15 years old and I have Crohn’s Disease.  How did I find out I had Crohns’ Disease, well let me take you back to the start of last year.

I was rolling around in my bed in pure agony, I could barely move, walking no –  running to the toilet took all my strength and I had to hold my stomach just to make it on time.  I felt 100 not 14, I’d only been to school the first 2 days when the teachers had handed out text books and here I was back in my Doctors surgery for the 3rd time in a week.  He thought I had gastric, as that is what I told him I had.  I wasn’t getting any better and everyday I was getting weaker and weaker, till I would rarely move from the lounge or my bed.  My parents were beside themselves with worry , and when I started to vomit late one night,  dad drove me to the hospital.

It was far worse then I expected – after x-rays and ct scans, it turned out I had a blocked bowel.  The vomiting was actually my bodys way of getting rid of the waste.  I was immediately transferred to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, after more tests and a couple of days in agony, I was taken to theatre to have my bowel “unblocked”.

Later the worry for the Doctors was whether or not I had toxic bowel syndrome or not.  Luckily for me I didn’t and I was then taken back to theatre where I had a scope and they found out I had Crohn’s.

It was all new to me and to my family, I was told I would have to live off a milk product called “Osmolite” for 12 weeks not eat any food what so-ever and the only thing I was allowed to add to my Osmolite was Nestle Quik nothing else.  After 2 weeks I couldn’t stand it any longer, I started to vomit again the thought of drinking it now made me feel sick.  I was now down to about 44 kilos and at 173cm tall I was very very underweight.

Now, I was back in hospital having a tube plunged down my nose to my stomach just so I could have the Osmolite.  I felt so depressed and different from everyone else.  I was having needle after needle and test after test.  It wasn’t until a boy came in opposite the same age as me who also had Crohns that I started to think I wasn’t alone with this.

During one of my few days out of hospital, I went back to school with mum to pick up my brother.  I was surprised that not many of my old friends came to say hello (maybe they were scared of the tube or maybe I just looked like an alien).  It wasn’t till much later, when I started to feel well again my brother told me that a rumour had circulated after that visit that I had an eating disorder, anorexia.  One parent even told mum she didn’t like to ring as she didn’t know what to say as she was told by her son I had anorexia.  Mum told me not to worry as people were scared of what they do not know.

When, I came back to school in second term (that’s right I missed the whole first term) things were very different I needed a special pass, so I could come and go to the toilet when I needed to.  I couldn’t play sport for many weeks as I was exhausted all of the time, and I was even given a lift key so I could go to my lessons on the top floor.  I only had one teacher who was on my back about not having my term 1 work up-to-date, but mum sorted him out.  The only other time I had a problem was when the principal decided to lock the toilets as a punishment for some boys misbehaving during school time.  So I just went to sick bay, rang mum and went home.

My life changed so much last year and I missed so much school to attend hospital appointments, blood tests etc. even when I started to feel well.

Fast forward to this year 2008, I was back playing cricket and during the summer break was up at my  Grandparents place going swimming everyday when oh no here we go again.  I ended back in hospital again, this time I probably made it to school a total of two weeks in the last part of first term if I was lucky.  Again, I had that tube attached to my face like an extra limb, again I had to have a milk suppliments, but this time they noticed something different when I had an ultrasound.  I have kidney stones (what else could possibly go wrong with me).  They will have to be removed by an operation later in the year when my strength is better and I’m off my steroids.   While in  hospital I counted how many tablets I had in one day 18 that was more than my diabetic Grandfather who has cancer.  Each time I left hospital, after a tube was inserted, we had to hire a pump and buy bags and mum and dad would have to get up during the night to top up my bag.

This time I was not going to let my illness get me down.  I had something to look forward to – the first ever Crohns and Colitis camp sponsered by Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.

My mum was on the committee and while I was laying in hospital she would say we are going to be doing this at camp or that at camp, I could hardly wait.  I even told the doctors if I was still attached to this drip it would be going to camp with me.  I hope CCA, sponsers many more camps as it was great seeing kids who were like me, I didn’t feel as isolated.  Some have even become really good mates. Thanks CCA!

Find out more about the #IntoTheOpen campaign & how you can help kids like Lachlan

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