Seventeen-year-old Dylan of Regina never thought the discomfort he was feeling at age nine would be anything serious, but a diagnosis of Colitis proved otherwise.
He thought the diagnosis was the answer to his problems, but as the symptoms became worse over the next two years, he knew there had to be more to the story. Dylan spent most days in pain and he was dramatically losing weight. He was regularly sent to see specialists in Saskatoon to have his medications changed, but this playful young boy was still experiencing trouble. An MRI was able to finally determine the reason behind Dylan’s severe pain: Crohn’s Disease. Because Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease, he has also had to face many other challenges from having a compromised immune system.
“My heart sunk as this was not the news any of us had hoped for and I started to think of the quality of life my son would have,” says Dylan’s mom Natasja. “There were days that I would look at him and wish that the happy, rambunctious, giggling boy would be there, but he kept losing weight and it seemed like I would never get him back.”
At 13 years old, Dylan was only 57 pounds, losing his appetite, dropping out from sports and couldn’t even get out of bed some days. Though the diagnosis brought answers, it meant Dylan would need to start new medication, get blood work done and be careful with eating. The next step to get his health back on track was to see a new specialist in Calgary for his first surgery. As scary as it was to have surgery, Dylan knew it would help him have a better life. He had 28 centimetres of his small intestine removed as well as his ileocecal valve, appendix, and a section of his bottom colon.
“There were a few ‘hold your breath’ moments in the hospital, but we came out of this one and returned home just in time for Christmas,” says Natasja. “The song ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ brings a whole new special meaning to us.”
Despite having a compromised immune system, Dylan has been able to get back to many of the things he loves. Though he cannot take part in intense sports, he loves to ref hockey, play golf and hopes to one day become a police officer. Dylan is one of the many teens in Saskatchewan who will benefit from having the best care possible right here at home.