Megan first began to complain of tummy pains when she was 4 years old. She would get these pains usually around birthdays, holidays and Christmas. We took her to our GP who said she was “highly strung” and “stressed” and that we should try to calm her down and not get her too excited! The pains became more frequent and more severe and we saw several different GPs at our local group practice who all said similar things. When Megan was around 7 years of age, the pains became much worse and were always in her side and the middle of her tummy. She started to get the pains at regular intervals – around every 4 weeks and they would be accompanied by episodes of vomiting. Each time we took her to see the doctor; we were told that they could find nothing at all wrong with her.
Eventually, one of the GPs diagnosed “abdominal migraine” and gave Megan some tablets called “Sanomigran”. She took these for 2 years and they seemed to make the pains slightly less severe. We continued to try all sorts of things ourselves – alternative remedies, changing her diet, etc. After a while, we decided to try a new GP who had started practising at our local surgery. I explained Megan’s history to the Doctor and she referred Megan to a Paediatrician at the local hospital (at last!).

At our first consultation with the Paediatrician, he explained Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome to us and said that he thought Megan may have the condition. He said that it was a more severe form of abdominal migraine. He also suggested that he refer Megan for psychotherapy, based on the GPs notes stating that she was “highly strung”.

The Paediatrician also sent Megan for an ultrasound scan and called us in for the results a few weeks later. To our amazement, he had discovered a kidney problem. The condition was called Hydronephrosis. Basically, the ureter leading to Megan’s left kidney was blocked and had probably been blocked since she was born. Urine was building up in the tube and every few weeks it forced its way through the kidney, which caused the pain. He said that the pain must have been very severe – we had been trying to tell people that for years! Megan was referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for more tests and it was found that her left kidney was hardly functioning at all.

She had minor surgery when she was 10 years old to fit a “stent” into the tube to drain the urine. For the first time in her life, Megan had 3 months completely pain free. She had another scan and it was found that the kidney function was very low and they decided to remove Megan’s left kidney in May 2001. Megan had keyhole surgery at the Children’s Hospital and was home again after only 2 days.

Today, Megan is a very healthy 12 year old who is pain-free. She has three tiny scars that she is very proud of and we are assured that she will function perfectly well with just one kidney. We just wish that the GPs had referred Megan for an ultrasound scan years ago.

Shaun and Angela Hopkins