Taming Tummy Trouble
Sophie Creath was only four years old when her tummy aches got to be so bad that they alarmed her parents. She was hospitalized at Batson Children’s Hospital and Dr. Paul Parker, professor emeritus of pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterologist, soon diagnosed her with chronic hereditary pancreatitis.
“I can remember the first day I laid eyes on them,” said Parker. “The whole family was in the room and I was taking a history from Sophie and you get to a point where you’re asking about family history. It turns out that grandmother had exactly the same thing.”
The condition is characterized by abdominal pain and sometimes vomiting that comes in episodes. These episodes can be severe and painful, requiring hospitalization for intravenous fluid and pain medication. The recurring episodes may damage the pancreas, resulting in a decrease in pancreatic function. This, in turn, causes difficulties with digestion and absorption of nutrients requiring supplementation with enzymes the pancreas is no longer able to make on its own.
Presently, there is no cure and Sophie will have to take medication to help her digest her food. When it begins to flare up and the pain starts, the only option is to try and ease the pain and rest the pancreas by not eating and taking IV fluids.
Parker says Sophie has done extremely well with her episodes.
“One of the reasons she’s done so well is that her parents know the symptoms early and the minute that she has problems, they get treatment,” Parker said.
Katy Sanderson Creath, Sophie’s mom, said Sophie takes it all in stride.
“It’s not a big deal, just watch your diet a little bit and take your medication,” Creath said. “She’ll have episodes of pain for the rest of her life.”