Finally, after 4 years, we have some answers as to what has been making this kid so sick!
We were told just to watch what he ate and if anything bothered him we should cut that out of his diet.
Dairy seemed to be the biggest culprit so he has to be careful how much of that he consumes. He can't drink milk, for example. But he can eat cheese, ice cream, yogurt etc. After a while, the pain went away and we thought perhaps he had outgrown the sensitivity.
Then the pain returned. I tried harder to control what he ate. Nothing seemed to help. He did take a lot of antacids, which seemed to help a little. The pain was bothersome but tolerable. Occasionally would be debilitating and sometimes was non-existent. He kind of just learned to live with it and went about his life the best he could.
Until recently. The pain in his stomach increased significantly over the past few months. Again, we made a trip to the doctor. (Different doctor this time). Because of the location of the pain, up high right below the rib cage and in the center of his stomach, he did not think it was food related. He thought most likely that it was because of stomach acid. But, because antacids didn't seem to be helping with the pain, he decided to treat for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and put Spencer on smooth muscle relaxants. The first one he had a horrible reaction to, so they switched to a different med. Unfortunately, it didn't help and the pain continued to get worse. By this point, he's missing school, missing church, missing extra-curricular/fun activities.
We went back to the doctor, who referred us to a Pediatric GI specialist...who couldn't get us in until the end of June!!! 3 whole months away!!! Meanwhile, his pain is getting worse and worse and worse...waking him up in the middle of the night, more missed school...
Finally, on May 24th, we decided to take him to the ER to see if we could get to the bottom of what was making him so sick. They ran a bunch of tests, including an ultrasound of his gall bladder, they also did a test for h pylori, a bacteria which is a common cause of stomach ailments. All the tests came back normal. So, the ER doc did a consult with our family doc and a GI specialist. The GI specialist said he would see Spencer, and could treat him unless he needed surgery, in which case he would have to see the Pediatric GI doc.
The first thing they did was schedule Spencer for an endoscopy...Yeehaw!!! Not top of the list of fun activities for anyone, let alone a 15 year old kid! As worried as he was about the endoscopy, he was even more freaked out about having to have another IV!!! He had his first one in the ER and it hurt like the dickens! Poor kid. All day Tuesday, he refused to go in the for procedure, said he'd run away, told me multiple times what a terrible mother I was for forcing him to have this done...:) But on Wednesday morning he went to the hospital without a fuss.
The IV did hurt! She had to dig around to get the vein. His leg was just shaking! Finally she got it in!!! Then he was nervous and scared about the endoscopy. They had me walk down with them to the room where the procedure would be performed. (That was fun, 'cause I still had quite a bit of vertigo at that point, making it extremely difficult for me to appear normal!).
Ten minutes later, he was back! He almost beat me back to the room! They did the procedure under light anesthesia, and a fun- filled hour later we took him home. I say fun-filled because he was hilarious on the "happy juice" (that's what the nurses call the anesthesia). He wished everyone "Happy Birthday" numerous times. And what is it with 15 year old boys and flatulence? Which is even more funny when you are on anesthesia! At least we have lots of things to tease him about now! I could write a whole post just about Spencer on anesthesia. Once we got him home, he slept most of the day, and by the evening he was pretty much back to his normal self.
And the verdict? This kid has a really large, duodenal ulcer! The biopsy the doctor took also came back negative for h pylori, so they have no idea why he has the ulcer, or how long he's had it. He'll be on prescription strength antacids for 3 months & then he'll stop taking those and see how he does. Hopefully, the ulcer will be all healed by then. So that's the good news, and the even better new is...the antacids are working and he has been mostly pain free for two weeks now!
So, after 4 years of pain and discomfort, this kid is finally feeling better!!!