Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pediatric Gastroenterologist.

Truman has been complaining of his "tummy" hurting for several months.  I first remember him complaining around mid October when we got back from San Diego.  The "tummy ache" has gotten progressively worse over the past three months to the point that Truman is up most of the night in horrific pain and tears.  Gregg and I tried to do as much research on our own as we could about what could be causing the pain.  We talked with friends and family and tried to eliminate as many probabilities as we could over the last several weeks.

I helped in his kindergarten class on a few different occasions to see if I could see anything happening at school. Often times kids feel pain in their stomach even though the 'pain' has nothing to do with their stomach at all.  After lots of formal and informal conversations with Truman and a meeting with his teacher we didn't feel like the pain had anything to do with something happening at school or on the bus.
This picture above makes me so sad  - it's Truman snuggled up in a blanket under the fireplace one day after school in pain.

At the beginning of December we decided to take him to the doctors to see what we could find.  I knew the pain was really real {not that I didn't believe Truman} when I told him we were going to see doctor Haderlie about his tummy pain and he was okay with that.
His urine and blood work looked great.
We decided to do an x-ray to see what was going on inside.
Truman's first x-ray.
He wore his PJ's to the doctors - and rightfully so!!!
 We waited around the doctors office after the x-ray to have the radiologist read the x-ray and write up a report.  The report showed that everything looked healthy but noted that there was a lot of "poop" in him!!!  Doctor Haderlie suggested that we clean out his colon like you would in preparation for a colonoscopy.  
Truman had to drink 2.5 ounces of magnesium citrate four times a day over a weekend to clean him out.  Poor kid - it was such a nasty drink but he took it like a champ and faithfully.
I took 'a shot' one night at 2 AM with him to be supportive.
It cleaned him out!

He slept great and didn't complain for one day - but then the pain was back.  As a parent you feel awful and helpless.  We let another week go by and decided to go back to see doctor Haderlie for our follow up appointment.  I went into this appointment with a long list of concerns about what could possible be wrong.

Doctor Haderlie had his own list of worries and concerns.  One by one we went down the list and crossed off possibilities based on the x-rays and test that had already been done.  Once we had our 'short' list he determined that in order to "X" out our other items of concern we needed to do a CT scan.  A CT scan is not to be taken lightly, especially with such a young child.  I had an idea that he might suggest one but when he actually did I started to cry.  I just felt so overwhelmed by the entire previous three months.  We were immediately sent over to the hospital and what I thought would be an hour long 'there-and-back' visit to the doctors turned into 5+ hours at the hospital.  
 Gregg rushed over from work to be with us because I was emotionally to exhausted to be there by myself.  We sat in the lobby for two and a half hours while very 20 minutes Truman drank 1 cup of gastrografin.  He said it tasted like strong lemonade.
 I taught him how to do sudoku.
He is really good at it.
We also did lots of reading.
The drink makes it easier to see your insides during the CT scan - it was described to us as making them "glow".  It was kind of a tender mercy that a lady from our ward happened to be working the patient information desk right outside where we were sitting for 2+ hours - she kept checking on us and giving us special attention.  It felt nice to be 'loved' when inside I was really feeling worried {I am sure it showed on my face}.
 The CT scan itself was really quick - it was just all the preparation that took so long.
 I think at this point Truman was a little worried but mostly really tired. 
Even though he is up every night at least several times during the night he still insists on going to school everyday.  I have suggested he stay home and just rest or sleep some days but he insists on going everyday.
He had to get an IV and a quick shot of some medicine that made his entire body feel really warm right before the CT.  The tech warned him he was going to feel like he peed himself but that he hadn't.  Poor guy.
This picture is the worst.
Total raw emotion.
It's how we all felt.
 And with that he was off.
 They asked me to step out of the room incase I was pregnant - HA - pregnant?! I have a baby and I am nursing, but I obeyed.
 Here are a few screen shots from the CD they sent home of the CT scan.  When I pull this picture up on my computer and roll my mouse over the picture it moves, so you can see all sides of his organs and muscles.  Modern technology is pretty amazing.
Again after the CT scan we waited in the doctors office at his request until the results came back.
They found nothing out of the ordinary on the CT scan which was great news.  We were able to cross off all "possibilities" on our lists.  But the bad news was then WHAT??

I couldn't even talk when doctor Haderlie was explaining all this to us.  I just looked at him and started to bawl - the ugly cry.  I was so relieved it wasn't anything 'bad' or 'scary' but what was it?!
I was emotionally and mentally exhausted {under statement of the year} when we finally left the doctors office after 6 PM.  I couldn't even say good-bye to the nurse or receptionist who we know very well because I was crying.

We left with nothing.  Doctor Haderlie said he would write Truman an RX for a strong pain killer and suggested we try Zantac 75 twice a day.   We didn't take him up on his offer for the pain killer and we didn't get any Zantac.  Neither felt right to Gregg and I.

We went home and slept on it for a few days/nights.  We kept talking/thinking/questioning/praying and finally decided to see an allergist to see if there were any allergies.

Neither Gregg nor I felt like it was an allergy issue but we decided we needed to find out for sure.  I had no recommendations to go off so I googled an allergist, read some reviews and made appointments for everyone in the family {more on everyone else's allergies in my next post}.  It has been our year for medical expenses - we could have bought ourselves a farm with the money we have paid in medical bills!
Cute little guy with such a good attitude about all these doctors appointments.
We lucked out and found a great allergist who was so caring and concerned with Truman.
 Here goes the testing.
The nurse is pricking his back with different possible allergins in this picture.
 The red spot on the top left is the histamine which everyone gets to make sure the allergins are working.
He wasn't allergic to anything, not even a teeny tiny bit!
Again, good new that he does not have any allergies {to food or mold or anything outdoors} but the tummy issues persist.
 Our next game plan was to see a pediatric gastroenterologist at Primary Children's.  When I originally called for an appointment they told me that they have 8 full-time pediatric gastroenterologist across the Wasatch front but that an appointment was at least 30 days out.  Yikes!  There was no way we could wait 30 days - all I could think about was those sleepless nights.  When I explained to the receptionist what was going on and asked if I could just go down to the emergency room to be seen she told me about a cancelation happening the next day and said I could have the appointment if I was willing to go to their Riverton office {protocol was to call everyone on the wait list first, again, another tender mercy that she just gave us the opening}.

Done. and. done.

We canceled everything on the schedule and my parents were more then willing to take Bodie and Pete for the day for us.
In his PJ's again and I don't blame him!  He liked this appointment from the beginning because they offered him a box of legos to play with while we talked to the doctor.

Again we didn't have time for a recommendation for a specific pediatric gastroenterologist to see.  We really just wanted to get in and be seen as soon as possible.  The doctor we saw was young,  I read up on him on-line before we went to our appointment - we trusted that if he was working for Primary Children's he must be good.

It was Doctor Patel and he was great.  He had requested that doctor Haderlie send his notes along with the x-ray and CT scan so he could review them.  When he came into the room to meet with us he already knew what was wrong.  He talked with Truman and then talked with us.  He walked us threw what he saw on the x-ray and CT scan - we were both really glad to have a second set of eye's looking at them.  

Truman's colon has been cramping and spasming and causing him "tummy pain" because he was very backed up - not constipated but just lots 'going on in there' and his colon was working in over time trying to keep everything moving smoothly.  He was still having regular bowel movements daily they had just gotten backed up somehow and his colon was over compensating for that.

Apparently this is more common in boys than girls and most common in first graders.  Boys because they stand to use the bathroom so they do their business and they are off - sometimes missing the cue to poop.  Once you miss the cue it doesn't come back until the next bowel is ready.  Girls sit to use the toilet so often times they will sit there long enough to realize they need to also poop {or "go two-zer" as we call it in our house}.

It is common in first graders because they are suddenly so sedentary for so many hours in the day.  Truman did start kindergarten this year and is sitting in the mornings and that might have been a little bit of a culprit.  Compared to how active he is in the summer {riding his bike, the play ground, swimming, sports} even missing one or two bowel movements starts the process of things being 'off'

After talking with the doctor for an hour he left the room to make some notes and bring us some information on remedies.  As soon as he left the room and turned to Gregg and asked what he thought - we both agreed that it felt "right".  So much of what you do as a parent is 'an instinct' or 'feeling' or following 'the spirit'.  There is no handbook for raising kids or healing them but we both finally felt like we had found the answer and we both really liked the doctor.

When Dr. Patel came back in the room he asked what our thoughts were on using essential oils.  I told him I was a fan and that I certainly thought there was a place and a time for them.  He explained to us the peppermint oil would help easy the pain and re-hydrate the digestive system.  There is enough peppermint oil in two peppermint patties to do the trick {taken everyday}.

Truman thought that was the best news ever - he really liked the doctor after that!  He was now given doctors orders to have two peppermint patties a day {any peppermint candy will do the trick it just has to be made with real peppermint oil}.

So when you go to a restaurant and they offer you a peppermint with your final bill it is not just for your breath it is to help sooth your digestive track.  Peppermint gives your digestive track a bit of a numbing sensation so if you have over eaten you don't feel it as bad and it also helps your digestive track stay hydrated so that 'things' move along smoothly and you don't feel bloated.

There you go.
Now you know!
And so do we.
We left the hospital all smiles.
Truman wanted our picture taken by this cute Lorax tree that was in the lobby.
He also insisted that I get my picture with the Lorax tree!!!
When we got back to Midway my mom had this huge bucket of mints at her house for Truman.
Best doctors orders ever.
Eat two peppermint patties a day.
 He was so dang happy and so dang cute!
I noticed that doTerra sells their peppermint oil in the little beadlets so we ordered some of those to also have on hand.

It feels so good to have finally figured things out and hopefully be on the road to no more stomach pain!