To be really worried there's something more sinister to this? Feel like I've failed DD

(298 Posts)
karenaanna Mon 17-Feb-14 05:12:27

This could be long, sorry. Have NCed. Not sure this is the right place to post but more traffic and want to know if I'm worrying over nothing.

A bit of background- DD is almost 18 and is yet to start her period. I took her to the GP when she was 14 as I was concerned she wasn't showing any real signs of starting to hit puberty and they put it down to she being small for her age combined with the amount of intense exercise she does- at the time she was doing 20ish hours of semi-professional dance school a week and was planning on a dance career, she's now doing 18 hours but no longer wants to dance professionally, although she's still dancing at the same intensity. To this day she's never really had typical teenage mood swings.

Over the last few weeks, since the new year maybe she's put on a lot of weight, she's always been tiny, very ballerina esque and it's almost like she's suddenly gone into the pre puberty baby fat stage but at 17. Her level of physical activity and diet haven't changed. She hasn't said anything but is clearly aware. She's meant to be at a half term dance intensive this week starting today but came and woke me up in the middle of the night- which she hasn't done since she was about 6- in tears with what she described as stomach ache 'down there' (potential sign period is about to start?) and begged me not to make her go today. I sent her back to bed with neurofen and a hot water bottle and told her she'd probably feel better in the morning, but I'm getting an overwhelming vibe from her she doesn't want to go.

She hasn't been herself for the last few weeks, she's last year of Sixth form, so applications for further education. She's had offers from all of her chosen universities back but was inconsolable last week as she's also been rejected from all of the specialist drama schools she applied for- the Ucas application was for another subject and intended as a back up as the specialist drama schools are so competitive. When she sent off the applications she was intending to take up the university place if she didn't get a drama school place, but now it's actually happened she's decided she doesn't want to go to university and wants to reapply for drama school next year. She's at an academic school and so not getting any offers for a chosen course is very unusual, I don't think it's been easy for her seeing all her friends getting excited about university and place offers knowing she's going to be reapplying next year. She's been really low and unhappy since then, again she hasn't said as much, but she clearly hasn't been happy.

Since January she's had fainting episodes/dizzy/temporary lost vision spells, and episodes of what DD describes as severe pins and needles, she's had it a few times in dance classes and had to sit out because she can't physically put weight on her leg. Her dance teacher put it down to stress, I'm starting to wonder if it's all somehow connected and I should have pushed harder for a proper examination before. Do I take her to the walk in centre or is that overreacting?

Yes, I agree - the diizzy/vision/pins and needles would indicate she needs to see a doctor. Hope she is OK.

PastaandCheese Mon 17-Feb-14 07:58:22

Sounds like she is having a hard time at the moment.

Who is the most sympathetic, listener Dr at your practice? I'd make sure you book her to see a good, female dr rather than whoever is next on the list?

Musicaltheatremum Mon 17-Feb-14 07:59:25

As a GP she needs to see a doctor re the physical side of things. As a mum of a daughter who is now at the musical theatre of her dreams tell her not to give up hope. At 17 my daughter was rejected from all the big London schools but managed to get on a foundation course for 2 years and is now in first year of her BA in London. There are thousands of applicants for these places but you can learn a great deal in 2 years.

I would second the foundation course suggestion. Students go out from those courses into all the top drama schools, with the added bonus of having loads of confidence and experience.

Aside from that, I know from my job that students audition some times for two or three years in a row and THEN get into the coveted schools...sometimes 18 year olds just aren't ready.

Medical issues are the most important of all though here and I hope you find some answers for your daughter.

She definitely needs to see a doctor.

At her school it might be usual to get accepted on your first choice/application but it is very unusual to get accepted at drama school on first application. Ds2 wants to go to drama school - I have made clear to him how very difficult it is. Whenever he's in a show we check out where all the actors went & their route to becoming an actor - so he gets an idea of the different ways into the business. There is more than one route. If she wants to reapply next year that's great - there are useful things she could do next year to improve her chances

But first she needs to get her health checked out. If she's noticed she will be worrying about it anyway & avoiding going up the doctors because you don't want to upset her won't mean she isn't worrying anyway.

BrownSauceSandwich Mon 17-Feb-14 08:23:10

She definitely needs to see a GP, and if you get fobbed off again (much less likely at 18 with no menstruation), you need to ask for a second opinion. If I were you, I'd be very much on the alert for eating disorders... Maybe she has been naturally slim (though I have to question how "natural" 20 hours a week of dancing is at any age), but if she's concluded that as the "right" way to be, and her body shape is changing, she could be at risk. At 5'1", a BMI of 18.7 indicates she weighed 99lbs... She could afford to gain 2.5 stone and still be within a healthy weight range... You really need to reassure her that she's every bit as beautiful at any size.

As for the university thing, I think her disinclination to take second best is fair enough. She is very young, and sounds young for her age. I know so many people who went to uni too young and failed to thrive, then took a year or two out, went back to it, and really blossomed. If she's not ready for an "all for the best" attitude, then there's no harm in doing something else for a year, and she might find things that help her with her primary aim: Like PP said, diversify her interests and skills; maybe try to get some relevant work experience that demonstrates her passion and commitment; or even just some unrelated life experience to leaven her artistic expression.

Jollyphonics Mon 17-Feb-14 08:24:38

She needs to see a doctor, but it doesn't have to be today. I would advise a normal GP appt rather than drop-in, because she's going to need blood tests and an outpatient referral. If you can, ask for a double appt because it sounds like there are several issues.

frumpet Mon 17-Feb-14 08:25:50

I would take her to see a Doctor as soon as possible . I also know a few people who have gone down the career route your daughter wants and it is tough , learning to cope with rejection is hard at 18 but in that industry its essential . One person took two years to get in on auditions .

Jollyphonics Mon 17-Feb-14 08:26:52

Brownsauce OP wasn't "fobbed off" last time. Her DD was 14 and small and doing masses of dance - the GP's advice was perfectly reasonable at the time. Of course things are different now.

bonkersLFDT20 Mon 17-Feb-14 08:34:03

Going from about 7 to 8 stone in a couple of months is a massive difference. She def. needs to see a doc. Surely at nearly 18 she's old enough to go by herself though.

UptheChimney Mon 17-Feb-14 08:42:28

though I have to question how "natural" 20 hours a week of dancing is at any age

Absolutely normal for a professional dancer, or for anyone who is training to become a professional (ie "Pre-pro"). Let's not question that, please. It's a very tough life to choose, and requires the kind of dedication the OP's DD has shown. I really feel for them both.

yegodsandlittlefishes Mon 17-Feb-14 08:45:32

Hand to hold through this OP, it can be very distressing when your DC undergoes sudden changes, and periods etc are affected.

We have had our own ordeal (not the same thing exactly) so I've been reading a book called 'We Are Our Brains' by a leading Dutch neuroscientist (Dick Swaab). This struck a chord when I read your posts, Op:

(From page 88) " Before puberty, the brain registers whether tgere's sufficient fatty tissue by monitoring the amount of leptin, a hormone that's produced by fat cells. If the fat reserves are insufficient - because of an eating disorder, for instanve, or intense athletic training - leptin levels decline and puberty is delayed, sometimes for good. Similarly, mutations in the leptin gene can impede puberty and also cause extreme obesity. In such cases, the brain then blocks the onset of puberty because pregnancy would be too risky while also sending out a signal to eat copiously to make up fat reserves - unaware that it's merely leptin, not fat, that's lacking."

Obviously, not a diagnosis but it goes to show there could be something like this causing your DD's difficulties. (But I also know enough that it is by no means the only possibility and your daughter would need to have tests, maybe further investigations to discover the cause and best treatment.)

pinkdelight Mon 17-Feb-14 08:46:03

Another vote for the foundation course route here. The drama schools practically insist on it, partly because it ensures more funding for them imo. It's a very tough career path, and personally I'd do a normal (or drama-based) degree and then do post-grad at drama school, but if uni's not for her then a foundation course is the best use of the next year.

Sorry not to be more help with the medical side. Definitely see a GP.

WaitMonkey Mon 17-Feb-14 08:49:24

She does need to see a doctor.

WelshMoth Mon 17-Feb-14 08:59:55

Definitely docs OP and do push it. As sensitive as she is about her weight, there's something underlying all this, so make sure you voice your concerns gently with her before taking her.

Bless her little heart, it's a hard time for her so lots of cuddles and reassurance needed. She sounds like such a dedicated little thing.

Make the appointment today and I agree with the pp about the dance instructor - one should never make health assumptions.

MrsSeanBean1 Mon 17-Feb-14 09:03:39

I don't want to cause any alarm but it really is worth a trip to the doctors. My friend had similar and it turned out to be a small tumour on the pituitary gland. It wasn't anything sinister like cancer(which is very rare), just disrupted her hormones, gave pcos symptoms and caused vision problems. I would really push for a referral with an endocrinologist. Her hormone levels do need to be checked.

karenaanna Mon 17-Feb-14 13:22:08

The pain was gone this morning but DD was complaining of a headache which I dismissed as her not wanting to go to dancing, managed to get her a GP appointment in a cancellation slot this afternoon so told her she was going this morning and I would pick her up early for the appointment which she reluctantly agreed to. She hasn't missed a dance lesson without a fight since she was about 4, let alone not wanted to go. She then fainted and came round with blurred vision about an hour ago and I was asked to go and collect her. Weight still hasn't been discussed so I'm trying to work out how to bring it up at the GP appointment later without upsetting her.

The loss of vision has only ever been for short periods so we'd dismissed it as stress, admittedly she is doing too much at the moment. But in combination with everything else it doesn't look good does it? sad

Coeliac disease is possible, she had some minor bowel issues as a baby but that went away on its own and no problems since. I'll add it to my list of things to bring up.

She assures me there's absolutely no way she can be pregnant, I believe her.

Sparkly her neck looks normal.

eurochick Mon 17-Feb-14 13:30:22

OP, a friend of mine at school did a lot of gymnastics and this seemed to delay her puberty. When she finally did hit puberty, much later than most of her peers, (around 17/18) it happened very quickly, with her becoming very broad and growing boobs practically overnight. So this could be what is happening to explain the weight gain and period type pains. The other stuff sounds well worth investigating (well it all does, I'm just saying there might be a simple explanation for some of the things you mention).

GinAndaDashOfLime Mon 17-Feb-14 13:30:59

Hi OP
so glad you are seeing the doctor today. Can I suggest that you write down all your concerns and give it to him to read, so that you won't embarrass your dd by saying it out loud. Print off your posts on this thread perhaps?
I suspect he will ask to see her by herself as she's 18 but if you've written down all you want to tell him then you'll feel like you've said everything. Good luck

karenaanna Mon 17-Feb-14 13:45:03

She's not quite 18 yet, 18 in April.

We did know what we were getting into with drama school applications, DD has had a few professional theatre roles and has always coped well with failure in the past- I think it's that on top of everything else at the moment that's making it harder for her. School weren't involved in drama school applications, they were done through her theatre group. It's definitely not a case of school pushing her down a non-academic path, she's always been academic and has some great university offers, that's just not what she wants to do. She has fringe experience and grade 7 singing, going for grade 8 this term, so she's not going into this naive. She's looking into applying for foundation courses for next year, yes.

Oh she's too dedicated Welshmoth, she's a terrible perfectionist! It's a difficult one, trying to get the balance right between encouraging her and preparing her for things not working out the way she wants them to. She's much more sensitive than she lets on, that's what's worrying me.

Good to know it may just be the dancing that's delayed things, thanks eurochick. My sister reckons the pain DD had last night sounds like period pain without the period- possibly a sign it's about to start?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 17-Feb-14 13:58:03

karenaanna, It all sounds very worrying for you and for your daughter. I have to ask - do you think there is any possibility of drug misuse here? Intense training is sometimes bolstered by mild to moderate drug use and it seem to be endemic across many sporting disciplines.

The large weight gain following or at the same time as the decision not to pursue professional dancing... that would be the time to also drop any 'supplements'.

I'm hoping that it is nothing of the sort but at least if your daughter is checked over you'll get to the problem area and that's a starting point.

Does your daughter have an appointment with her GP yet?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 17-Feb-14 13:58:55

Ignore my question about GP - I see she has an appointment today, that's great. Hope it goes well, karenaanna.

It's bloody tough for then karenaanna - getting into drama school is so difficult. Maybe just keep reminding her that most people have to apply more than once/it's more competitive than medicine etc etc

Good luck at the docs

karenaanna Mon 17-Feb-14 14:11:20

lyingwichinthewardrobe I wouldn't have thought she'd be that stupid, but I can't say absolutely not. The dance vs drama decision was made about a year ago now although DD has carried on almost all of the dance she was doing when she wanted to dance professionally, it's not a recent decision. Sorry, should have made that clearer before!

My worry with the weight gain is not so much that she's overweight, because I know she's not, it's the amount she's put on so quickly. That said, I don't think she knows that, and that worries me.

RevoltInParadise Mon 17-Feb-14 14:16:06

No advice but just saying I hope the gp appointment goes well and you can start to get to the bottom of it.

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