Year 12 Interrupted

By Brydie Smith 

Throughout my VCE journey at school, I begun to have increasing indigestion pains and saw a GP mid-May of year 12 who told me it was nothing and probably diet. I used Gaviscon as a way to get by and deal with the pain, completing my end of year exams with what felt like a ball of fire in me stomach.  

After completing year 12 I decided to see a new GP about my symptoms. I was sent to do a variety of bloods. I was then called on the day of my Valedictory Dinner (a day that’s supposed to be a happy free of worries day) where I was told they had found something, and I needed to come back in urgently the following day.  

They found that I have three times the amount of lipase in my pancreas and requested an urgent ultrasound for later that day. Thankfully we determined it was not pancreatic cancer, however we still were on the search.  

My GP then referred me to my gastroenterologist the week after. I saw him on Tuesday and only three days later I was on a hospital bed having a colonoscopy. My gastroenterologist found a large polyp in my large intestine as well as inflammation in my ileum. The polyp was tested for bowel cancer and luckily came back as a juvenile polyp instead. I was then put on a FODMAP diet to determine if it was IBS. After three months of this I had another colonoscopy where the inflammation in my ileum was still present.  

I was diagnosed from Crohn’s disease as soon as I had woken. I didn’t get much to chat with my specialist about the diagnosis which made it a difficult and stressful time for me. I then saw my specialist following this diagnosis where I was put on six weeks of steroids and then azathioprine.  

Throughout this time, I struggled and suffered from shingles as well. Months after I completed another colonoscopy where fortunately the inflammation in my ileum has ceased meaning I hit remission early. I’m truly grateful for this outcome as I know many others go through much more challenging stages with Crohn’s. I guess advice I’d have for others would be to listen to your body and seek medical attention when you know something is wrong. If I didn’t seek attention my story may have had a different outcome.