I once had ringworm on my butt cheek.
Yup. That’s how this blog post is going to start.
I was about 8 or 9 years old and my mom took me to the doctor. I was so nervous to show someone my actual butt. Turns out, the treatment for ring worm is over the counter Lotrimin.
Every day, my mom would take me into our teeny tiny bathroom that all 7 of us shared in the farm house and spray Lotrimin cream on my butt cheek.
This was all very private. None of my siblings knew about my “issue” until one day, we were all sitting around the kitchen table and my mom said “Come on Kalissa, let’s go spray your butt!”
I. Was. Mortified.
I started just bawling and was so embarrassed that everyone now knew about my personal problem. I didn’t think I’d ever live it down.
Well I did.
Why am I telling you this story? Well first of all, I’m an over sharer. Second of all, my sweet sweet Gannon.
Gannon cries when he poops.
Gannon has to have a rectal catheter to relieve gas from his bowels.
Gannon may end up with a colostomy bag some day.
Gannon’s anus may be deformed.
Gannon’s testicles never descended.
Honestly, there are things we have to do with Gannon to help him poop that make me blush that I haven’t shared.
If Gannon has what we think he has, we are forever going to be talking about Gannon’s bowels. Does he want that? Will he be embarrassed? Would you want your mom discussing your poop with the world? Will he be mad that I’ve been so open about his medical issues? Will his classmate’s mom read my blog and tell her kid about Gannon’s issues and tease him about it?
On the other hand, the less we talk about it and the more we keep it a secret, shame festers. I don’t ever want Gannon to be embarrassed or ashamed about his body. I don’t ever want him to feel like his medical problems are a secret. I want him to feel as comfortable talking about his bowel issues with me as comfortable as he is telling me he hurt his elbow. If we are going to be talking about his bowels every day for the rest of his life, we had better start with a pretty open honest conversation.
Not only that, but the more I talk about Gannon’s issues, the more awareness is brought to his condition. Maybe someone else is struggling with similar issues. Maybe some else is bouncing around between specialists desperate for answers. How can I advocate for my son if I’m embarrassed to discuss his medical issues?
I don’t know what the answer is. I imagine this is something we will decide as a family as Gannon gets older and can speak for himself. For now, I’m choosing to share. That may change. It may be limited. It’s a tough spot to be in but the support I receive by being open and honest with our struggles has proven to be worth the risk of over sharing.
Oh my sweet sweet Gannon. If you’re reading this someday, please know my intentions are pure. I would never intentionally do anything to embarrass you. Every decision we make is our best possible option at the time with the information we have. There is no manual on how to raise a sick child. I just hope I’m being the best advocate I can for you.
Gannon is such a sweet happy child! The granddaughter of a friend has a similar problem to his. She is now a preteen and had a colostomy for a year. She is doing much better now that the problem has bee adequately addressed. I pray you are able to find a solution to his problem. No child should cry over a simple body function.
Such a sweet boy and you’re such a good mom. Oh, he’ll be embarrassed but when he gets older, he’ll understand. We moms have seen or heard just about everything. One day I will tell you about my grandson Aiden and his constipation. He’s a little embarrassed about the story but laughs at the aftermath. Gannon will too. Promise.
My friend’s husband had prostrate cancer and didn’t want her to tell anyone. She is a nurse and told him she had to share! Sharing helps in so many ways.
Gannon is a sweetie and we are all praying you find some answers and help from the doctors.
I believe that knowledge is power. Yes, you should share Gannon’s situation with others for two reasons, you just might help someone else who has a child with issues and they are frustrated and hitting their head against a wall… and, what if someone reads this and their child has been through it or they know someone who has the same issues and shares information with you that is supportive and helpful.
Your job as a parent is help Gannon deal with his medical issues… to educate his teachers, care givers and the parents of his friends. No one is perfect and so many are walking around with issues that no one talks about. Big secrets. I agree that you should not embarrass your child and you know what to share and when to share. You aren’t blurting out information that no one should know. When you had ringworm, am surprised that your siblings weren’t being checked regularly, (their entire bodies) daily to make sure they didn’t have any signs and there is no way to keep a secret within a family! I had ringworm and had to bare my body to the public health nurse twice a week and couldn’t go to school and all my stuffed animals were disposed of! So, the entire school knew I had it and no one was allowed to play with me until the public health nurse cleared me. Gannon will grow up with a mom who explains his medical things to him and to the family and to those he interacts with… the way of life, the reality of his situation. As I said, knowledge is power.
If you make it common place to talk about medical issues, the they will be common topics of conversation with Gannon, until someone tells him otherwise. Why has society decided that discussing commonplace things that all of us do every day is unacceptable?? I’ve had some interesting conversations with the parents of my SpEd students…can you imagine telling a mother that she needs to teach her son to masturbate to climax, using a lubricant, and her son is 17??!! Yeah, that was a fun one, but I was just matter of fact about it. Just because someone’s IQ is low, that doesn’t stop the hormones from raging and needing to be taken care of. Just be matter of fact when discussing Gannon’s medical problems, no lowering your voice or only talking about it behind closed doors so no one else hears, and he’ll accept it as just the way things are. If he does end up with a colostomy, he will be served by SpEd when he is in school and could benefit from Child Find (they have a ton of resources for kids from birth to kindergarten). I don’t know what resources are available in your small town – I taught in a city, so I can tell you what they have – but the programs are federally funded and at no cost to the families. Don’t be weirded out by SpEd…they serve kids from geniuses to those who’s IQ’s are below 25 (total extremes) as well as any child with a medical diagnosis that can impact their education.
There will be an initial feelifng for him of something I cant think to say other than shame unless the issue is discussed and he feels good about himself. My son is a 38 year old c6-7 quad. As you are aware through your profession, quads and Paras have to do their bowel programs every x days or there could be serious consequences. Lucas was in a car accident when he was 18. At first he didn’t want any of us to talk about it or he wanted us to pretend it didn’t exist. Soon enough, because it’s an important part of his life he became better about it with all of us and his friends. All this to say whatever his needs are honest conversation will make him stronger. And you will be stronger too because you’ll know he can handle it. We had discussions about bullies too because it’s an easy target for bullies. He came up with his own way to deal with that and oh how thankful we were because it meant he was positively coming up with solutions for things even before they happened. You and your family will be fine. I promise you will, regardless of the situation. If you need or want to talk, feel free to contact me. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who will just listen. All our prayers for you and your y.