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Evan’s Story: How I got past my fear of needles

Evan Lang with his dog
13 August 2021

Meet Evan – he’s a typical teenager who loves football, food and his PlayStation!

14-year-old Evan was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2016. This is a long-term condition which causes inflammation of the digestive system – also known as the gastrointestinal tract or gut.

To help manage his symptoms, Evan has been coming to Medical Daycare at Sheffield Children’s from Doncaster for the past three years.

At the unit, which he visits every four weeks, Evan receives medication called Infliximab through an IV drip. This requires a cannula – a tube which is inserted into a vein.

Evan had severe anxiety around needles when he first came to Sheffield Children’s – but with help from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Medical Daycare staff he is now much more relaxed.

Evan said: “The nurses at Medical Daycare are the best, they’re caring and understanding. They know that I get worried about needles so when it comes to having my cannula put in, they are amazing with me and try to keep me calm. They talk through every step with me so that I know what to expect and would never do anything without me being ready.

“Katie, Martha and Becky are the ones that I am most comfortable with because they are fantastic!”

Evan’s Mum, Carla, said: “Evan was very anxious about infusions, but he’s done a 180. It’s completely flipped and I think that it’s because of Medical Daycare – they’re so patient. There’s only certain nurses that he’ll let put the cannula in. They just know the right way to handle him.”

Crohn’s Disease is an ongoing, life-long condition and is one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Although people with Crohn’s Disease have periods of good health – called remission – there can be times when symptoms are more active. This is known as a relapse or flare-up.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, tiredness and weight loss. Medication, and sometimes surgery, can help to relieve symptoms.

Carla explained: “Evan is on a maximum dose of Infliximab but has the lowest frequency. This is scattered throughout his digestive system and helps to heal it.

“Evan has been amazing through it. He’s got a ‘this is what it is, I’ll make the most of it’ attitude.”

Carla added: “Dr Narula and Rhona Hubbard, his Gastro Nurse Specialist, have been amazing. Rhona was the first person we met and no matter what I asked her she knew the answer. I used to phone her up with questions and I would worry over everything – but she would calm me down.

“Medical Daycare – I can’t thank you enough. Thank you Martha, Becky, Katie and Wendy.”

And we would like to say a big thank you to Evan for sharing his story too!

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