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Schoolboy, ten, undergoes 40 operations to try and cure an eight-year headache
Schoolboy has to have an operation around once every two months to drain fluid from his skull
Laughlan had an operation to remove a
bone from his skull to give the brain more room in October last year,
but the surgery failed
16:01 GMT, 5 September 2012
A brave schoolboy has had 40 operations as doctors try to cure him of an eight-year headache.
Football-mad Laughlan Dougall has suffered pains in his brain since the age of two after diagnosed with a frontal lobe arachnoid cyst – a growth that swells and causes pressure to build up in his skull.
Since then he has gone under the knife on average once every two months to drain fluid and even expand his skull, having his last operation just six weeks ago at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Laughlan (left) has suffered from head pain since the age of two when he was diagnosed with a brain cyst. He has been treated several times at Glasgow's Yorkhill Royal Hospital (right)
Doctors have installed several shunts into his head which connect his brain to his stomach to allow the fluid in the cyst to drain away but the shunts continue to fail and need replacing regularly.
Due to the number of operations Laughlan has also developed complex hydrocephalus, also known as ‘water on the brain’.
Despite his condition the Celtic fan still loves to play football with his mates, though he isn’t well enough yet to join a team, and attends school three days a week.
But Laughlan said his dreams came true when he met the Scotland football squad during one of their training sessions at Cappielow in Greenock, Inverclyde, on Tuesday.
Laughlan, of Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, said: 'The have always had the headaches so I don’t really notice them anymore.
'I have had a lot of operation but I don’t mind them really. It is just something that happens.
'It was brilliant training with the team and I got a top signed by the players. I like to play in goal but haven’t been able to join a team because I wasn’t well.
'However, doctors have told me I can play football again, so I’m going to start.'
Lauchlan after his most recent operation to relieve the pressure on his brain
Laughlan’s mother Debbie, 36, first noticed something was wrong with his son when he continually fell over as a toddler.
She took him to hospital where doctors found he had a cyst in his brain.
The cyst constantly fills with fluid causing pressure to build inside Laughlan’s skull, and giving him a constant headache.
The schoolboy had an operation to remove bone from his skull to give the brain more room in October last year, but the surgery failed.
Laughlan’s most recent operation was to replace his shunt, which became blocked.
Proud Debbie has raised her son alone, along with his 17-year-old sister Amber, since his dad Barry died of skin cancer three years ago.
Lauchlan is keen to start playing football again after meeting Scotland goalie David Marshall
Debbie said: 'When he was a toddler he would get really bad headaches and hit his head against the wall. We took him to the hospital and that’s when they discovered he had the cyst.
'To this day, though, if he’s got a really bad one he’ll hit his head against walls.
'The shunts don’t seem to work for any length of time, so he needs to keep going back to the hospital. When the shunts fail he will quite often start to twitch, and you’re guaranteed he’ll be in the hospital within the next couple of days.
'He has had 40 operations but each time I have to watch him be put to sleep is painful.
'At the end of the day he is my baby and always will be. We just take each day at a time and hope this shunt won’t fail.
'I don’t know how he lives with a constant headache. I couldn’t do it. He is absolu
tely amazing and the bravest person I know.'
Lauchlan is now fronting a campaign for the Child Brain Injury Trust t
o raise money for children suffering from the same condition.
Debbie added: 'They wanted to get Lauchlan a weekend away or a new computer but he wanted it to go to charity.
'It’s a very nice gesture and hopefully he will be able to make it along to throw a few bowls himself.'