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11yo with intermittent nausea, panic attack

(11 Posts)

Background: my now 2yo dd had cancer earlier in the year. She's thankfully now better but we've all been traumatised by the experience, especially my 11yo ds who is particularly close to dd.

Dd finished treatment in April. In May ds went away for a camp and came back very tired and having lost his appetite. He's normally a hearty eater and he found that very worrying. He was worried that it meant he had cancer (especially as loss of appetite was one of dd's few symptoms before the cancer diagnosis).

Since then he's had intermittent nausea. Every couple of days he says he feels sick just before supper. He's not actually sick, but he does look pale and he has lost a bit of weight overall (he was a little chubby before).

He felt sick again this morning so stayed home from his choir. Later he felt better so he went to his club. Then I got a call from one of the leaders saying he had a bit of Sellotape stuck in his throat. They brought him home and he was having a terrible panic attack. He wasn't choking, could breathe and talk but was convinced he was going to die, was screaming and groaning. Poor boy, it was awful.

I'm going to take him to the GP to rule out any physical cause for the nausea. I know it's paranoid and I would not tell ds this, but I do worry that it might be cancer again. It seems more likely that it's related to the completely understandable anxiety. We think he could do with some professional help but he's adamant he doesn't want to talk to anyone. Could it be PTSD (I know nothing about it)?

Any thoughts/advice? I desperately want to make him feel better.

Sparrowfarts Sat 28-Sep-13 22:53:36

I'm merely bumping this for you, but poor lad. I'm sure you're right that he needs some help talking this out. Talk to the GP about this as well as ruling out any physical issues.

I'm glad your little girl has recovered.

FriedSprout Sat 28-Sep-13 23:11:55

There's a slightly similar thread at the moment, here

Really feel for you in this situation, in is very scary to see your dc so upset.

Not surprising at all that your ds is experiencing anxiety and fear following on from the situation with your dd.

Once your ds believes that there is nothing physical causing his issues, and that there is a link between his understandable anxiety and the physical manifestations he is experiencing I suspect he will improve.

You sound like a great mum by the way.

In a vaguely similar situation, and after weeks of calls from school, visits to GP and A&E, I took dd to a private ENT specialist, who put camera up nose, down throat, you name it. He pronounced nothing to worry about. This was coupled with a visit to a therapist who specialised in helping children with anxiety issues.

Thanks both. How I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better.

minmooch Sun 29-Sep-13 23:21:21

Hi P4B. I'm glad that all is going well with your precious Beazy. I'm sorry that your DS is suffering though from anxiety. My other so. Is 16 and seems to cope very we with his brother's illness. I'm not sure how he does it really as I keep waiting for him to react. It may be possible for your GP to give your DS some antidepressants to help with his anxiety. It must be very hard for him to place the sorry and fear that he has had. When my DS was first diagnosed my 3 of my brother's children kept going to their GP wit symptoms such as my DS. They had no brain tumours but their fear manifested itself in worrying symptoms.

Cancer doesn't just effect the person with it but it has far reaching consequences. Keep reassuring your DS that he is ok but his fears are reasonable after everything you as a family have been through.

Much love as always xxx

minmooch Sun 29-Sep-13 23:22:57

Gah - too many errors in that but hope you can make sense of it. I am too tired to attempt typing!

Rooners Mon 30-Sep-13 13:32:40

It does sound a bit like PTSD, to me.

Fwiw I had similar issues when I was the same age...I kept feeling sick and panicky and refusing to go to school.

My mother took me to the Dr who prescribed some kind of placebo I think, or it might have been a tiny dose of beta blocker I suppose - I don't know. I just knew they were my pills to take when I felt panicky, and I took one when I felt like it was about to happen and it helped me to calm down.

It was a bit like CBT in a way, you know, the thing where you stop worrying about the panic and then it goes away.

Gradually with a lot of support, and being allowed to stay in a special little room at school, on my own, whenever I felt anxious, I began to get back to normal and thinking in a positive way again.

I'm afraid I haven't kept up with your threads about your little one, but it sounds as though he has been through a lot and it may take a while for him to come through this.

Thinking of you xxx

cestlavielife Mon 30-Sep-13 16:39:47

ask about help for your ds eg art therapy, maybe thru the specialist canacer charities etc.
or gp can refer to camhs to see a psychologist/therpaist.

it will be good for ds to see a profressional who can explore his fears with him . art therapy, music therpapy can be really good
(may be funded by cancer charity ?)

cestlavielife Mon 30-Sep-13 16:40:59

and with art or music therpay he wouldnt have to "talk" about it, not til he ready. but therpaist would be trained to help child express themselves thru art or music

Thanks all, lots to ponder here. He's had a good day today. Days like this make me reluctant to want to medicalise something very understandable -- but OTOH I don't want to deny him help if that's what he needs.

cestlavielife Mon 30-Sep-13 23:17:01

Have you had counselling yourself ? Had a chance to talk about it? And your husband?
You could go to see someone to ask for strategies to use with your ds.
If you think that would be better than sending him to talk to someone or to some kind of arts based therapy.
Call the cancer charity helplines and talk it thru with them for ideas.

(obviously rule out anything physical first )

Have you taken time out as a family since all this, maybe do something in half term altogether give opportunities for your ds to talk if he wants to. ?

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