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.