I have a 15-year old daughter who has always been extremely healthy. Although her diet has never been great, she was constantly eating, normally small meals throughout the day (we called her the "Grazer). Right after school ended last year, she started complaining that "nothing tasted right" and that her appetite seemed "off", although I saw no change in her eating habits and she still participated in events and things with no problems.
The end of July, we went to an anime convention that she looks forward to every year (she is an anime artist). On Friday, she got extremely overheated and then was vomiting/nauseous/bowel issues for the rest of the weekend. The following week, she complained of nausea, and when she couldn't attend band camp the next week, I made an appointment with the doc (prior to that we blamed the overheating, a virus, etc). The doc ordered blood tests and they came back "normal" although a few showed a little bit off when I read the results. Unfortunately, another doc took my copy so I can't post the "questionable" levels. Doc ordered light diet and Gatorade and she seemed to be improving.
Then, I was away one day and she spent the day eating junk food and drinking nothing but sodas (that is NOT unusual). She was extremely sick the entire weekend and could not attend school the next week (NOT like her at all). The doctor ordered a barium swallow and as an aside said "let's get an ultrasound of the gallbladder". I thought he was nuts because she really wasn't complaining of pain and I thought gallbladder problems were very painful (although my mother had NO pain WITH stones when her gallbladder was removed years ago).
That week, her pain increased and I began to worry about an intestinal blockage so we went to the ER. They could not order the barium swallow, but did an ultrasound of her gallbladder and female organs (to rule out ovarian cysts). There were NO ovarian cysts (this was Thursday) on the ultrasound, but they diagnosed her with "gallbladder sludge". Her family doctor immediately made an appointment with a pediatric surgeon at a renowned Children's Hospital near us. He instructed me that if her pain increased AT ALL to take her to the ER at the children's hospital immediately (it is an hour and a half from our home). On Friday afternoon, after a shower, she came to me and said "Mom, the pain was just so bad I had to grab my dresser to keep from falling" We loaded up and headed to the ER.
We took the ultrasound data and other paperwork, but they were not convinced it was gallbladder because she is VERY skinny (always has been...no anorexia...she is built the same as me at that age) , very young and didn't have the "pain" associated with gallbladder. They ordered a CAT Scan just to be sure of what was going on...the CAT Scan showed some constipation (which she was already complaining of), a hemorragic ovarian cyst (which did not appear on the ovary the day before) and everything else "normal". Since she had the appointment on Monday with the surgeon, the sent her home with strong laxatives to fix the constipation and suggested a follow up for the cyst (that appeared to be related to her cycle as her period started on Monday). She went through the Miralax treatment - which was TORTURE as the nausea kept her from being able to drink the mixture in the time she was supposed to.
The surgeon decided to order another test - a nuclear medicine x-ray (I guess the same as the HIDA test others on here have mentioned) - to determine if her gallbladder was working properly. We also rescheduled the barium x-ray we had cancelled when we thought it was her gallbladder. During the HIDA scan, she had no pain and no nausea, although she felt like something had "dumped out" in her tummy at one point. The barium swallow was done the next day. The HIDA test said her gallbladder was "working normally" and the barium swallow was also normal with no ulcers or acid reflux. Yet she is still miserable.
She goes back and forth between diahreah and constipation (this is a child who was as regular as clockwork from the day she was born). In the past month, she has had ONE normal bowel movement. The nausea is constant and is worse in the mornings. She eats next to nothing, and she really cannot afford to lose anymore weight (and does not want to). She is 5'6" and weighs 109 lbs as of yesterday.
Yesterday, we saw a pediatric GI doctor at the Children's Hospital. I gotta add that for a man who deals with children, he had VERY little personality. She informed him that yesterday morning she could not keep her nausea meds down (a chronic complaint) and that they are no longer working. She takes 15 mg of prescription Prevacid (even though she has no evidence of acid reflux), Zofran 4mg once a day, and 12.5 mg of promethzine every four hours as needed. She also informed him that yesterday, for the first time, her vomit was "a funny color" and when he asked her the color, she said "lime green." His comment was "That's bile" made a note in the computer and moved on to the next question. Most of his questions focused on her pain levels, which have never been terrible...most of her problem is nausea.
After all the questions, he said "Well, she has had some pretty good tests so far, but there are a few I would like to see the results of" and proceeded to order lab work that was to be done the next day, and also told her she needed to get a stool sample test. He said that he felt she needed an endoscopy and possibly a colonoscopy, but was only doing that to completely rule out IBS as he didn't feel her symptoms matched IBS. I mentioned that it was the nausea that was the worst for her and his comment was "she is already on the best meds I can give her for that, so she may just have to deal with it until the tests come back"
We go for the blood work and pick up the specimen vial for the stool sample after being told the surgical department would call about her endoscopy. They did...he wants it THREE WEEKS FROM NOW! This poor child, who is not eating, who is so nauseous she can barely move, who has already missed so much school...and he wants her to "deal with it" for three more weeks....even after she tells him she is vomiting bile. I have done research...vomiting bile is a SERIOUS symptom and should be dealt with immediately as it could mean an intestinal blockage (hello....constipation!).
After reading a lot of the information on here, I am convinced that her gallbladder IS working...it is just spitting sludge into her system causing her to be nauseous and causing the bowel issues. Although I do not want my 15 year old to have surgery, I am sick and tired of doctors who ignore the ONE test that has come up abnormal (the fact that she doesn't fit the profile for gallbladder - fat, forty, female and flatulent - should REALLY be a red flag that there should NOT be sludge in her gallbladder) and keep ordering "more tests".