Editor's Note: The following was written by Christine Lairmore of Lake Arrowhead, California.
When our daughter, Hayley, turned 14 on March 8, 2009, we took her to Disneyland to celebrate. After a day full of riding rides and eating junk food, she woke up vomiting and kept vomiting all night long and all the next day. Our previously healthy daughter never stopped vomiting after that day, sometimes vomiting up to 12 times daily. Severe abdominal pain followed about a week later. I started by taking her to her regular pediatrician, who thought it was a flu and advised minimal eating, increase fluids, etc… just wait it out. It never got any better.
Update: Read more about Hayley's story on ABCNEWS.com, and see videos of Mrs. Lairmore telling the story of their journey on the Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel.
Watching our daughter suffering and not getting better, we took her to our local ER, fearing dehydration or something more serious. They ran some tests, suspecting food allergies (mainly Celiac Disease), did some x-rays of her abdomen, and ultimately sent us home with a prescription for Zantac. Days later, the blood test came back positive for Celiac Disease. We promptly put her on a gluten free diet, but there was no improvement to her condition.
Next we sought help through a G.I. specialist at Loma Linda Medical Center. He at first thought she was just constipated and prescribed a treatment plan for that. When she continued to worsen over the next week, he then performed an endoscopy – which showed mild gastritis and duodenitis and, more importantly, it ruled out Celiac disease. However, this doctor kept saying she was fine, nothing was wrong, and there was no more testing or medicine he could do. I told him her pain was worsening, she was still vomiting 8-10 times daily, she doubles over from her abdominal pain, she complains of dizziness, begs and cries for help, and I am at my wits end. They prescribe Miralax for constipation, which gives her bowel accidents she can’t control, and at age 14 she has to wear a diaper during long car rides. I have to literally beg the doctor, against his wishes, to perform a colonoscopy because she is still in so much pain and I fear we are missing something important. The doctor still has no answers and continues to say that the pain is “all in her head.”