Five months after she first began experiencing stomach problems, Creamer remains uncertain whats causing the recurring malady as she readies herself to compete next week in the Salonpas Cup in Tokyo, the Japanese LPGA Tours first major championship of the year.
While Creamer, 22, reports feeling better and her strength returning the last couple weeks, the ailment has had an almost a cyclical nature to it, recurring when she seems to be on the road to recovery.
I just dont feel like myself, Creamer said.
Creamer has made six LPGA starts this season with her best performances back-to-back third-place finishes, but she hasnt been at full strength all year.
The origin of the malady, which causes vomiting, weight loss and weakness when it strikes, remains a mystery despite the recent work of medical specialists.
Upon Creamers return to her Windermere, Fla., home after the Kraft Nabisco Championship three weeks ago, she saw Dr. William Ruderman, a gastroenterologist recommended to the Creamer family by Arnold Palmers medical team. Ruderman put Creamer through a thorough battery of tests that included X-rays, MRIs and biopsies of organs through the digestive tract.
Everythings come up normal, her father, Paul Creamer, said Thursday night.
The medical staff has ruled out Crohns Disease, Celiac Disease, tumors and other possible causes. Creamer was concerned that with all of her international travel, she may have picked up a parasite, but tests havent uncovered such a problem. Shes being treated with antibiotics.
'Although we have no definite diagnosis, I am looking forward to my trip to Japan, Creamer said in an e-mail exchange Friday. I am getting stronger everyday and hopefully I will not have anymore setbacks. I look forward to getting back to 100%, off medication and playing my best.'
While the familys relieved certain serious possibilities are being ruled out, theres frustration not knowing the cause of the illness.
In the last (five) months, Paulas been sick more than she has her entire life, Paul Creamer said. Shes a pretty tough kid.
That Creamer has missed just one start this season speaks to her determination to play through the problem. While she leads the tour in greens in regulation, her driving distance average is down slightly and her scoring average is up almost a full stroke from last year. Strengths an issue with a loss of muscle mass occurring over the past five months. Creamers encouraged, though, that shes feeling strong enough to begin resuming some of the physical workout regimens shes had to abandon.
Creamer was first stricken at the season-ending ADT Championship in November. She was hospitalized the night before the final round and treated for peritonitis but returned to finish. She withdrew from the J Golf Phoenix event in late March with stomach problems and arrived for the Kraft Nabisco Championship reporting she had lost seven pounds while unable to keep food down in Phoenix. She played through stomach problems at the SBS Open in February and the HSBC Womens Championship in March.
We are very happy with the medical care shes getting, and we have every confidence theyll get to the bottom of this, Paul Creamer said.