Monday, May 23, 2016

From a Child's View

"Is there any part of your body that hurts that would keep you from playing tag?" my niece asked, peering up at me with her big brown eyes full of hope that this time I could play with her and her sister. "I can play" I answered as a smile spread across her face.

This time I felt well enough to chase my nieces through the outdoors. I knew I needed to accept this play invitation as I may not feel well enough to join in their fun and games later. More often than I prefer I've had to tell the children in my life that I was too sick feeling to actively play with them. Instead, I'd watch from the sidelines secretly yearning to join them just as much as they wanted me to play with them. My heart breaks each time I have to decline their invitations to play. And although I see the disappointment in their faces, they've learned to understand that sometimes I just can't play.

My nieces actually know very little about the Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) disease that my mother and I share. We are the last survivors in our particular branch of the family line to have FAP. For this reason, it isn't overly necessary for the children of our branch to know a lot about FAP as their parents, siblings, and themselves are negative for the disease. They simply know that my mother and I are frequently ill or in pain and we're limited in our activity because of this. Occasionally they will ask questions, which we are more than happy to answer but most of the time they accept without question when we are ill.

I've been amazed watching my nieces modify their play to adapt to how I'm feeling so that I can typically still join them in one way or another. They have never acted resentful when I've been unable to play with them and instead show concern and care. They don't question or comment when I require frequent restroom breaks or rest periods. This has become normal to them as they have witnessed my health status all their lives.

I've found that allowing a child to witness how chronic illness affects a person greatly shapes how the child will react to chronic illness and its effects. Without exposure and knowledge, an individual is unable to grasp how chronic illness affects one's life. Developing empathy doesn't require medical knowledge of an illness but rather a practical understanding of the effects on everyday life. Throughout my nieces lives they've been aware when I'm ill.

We can share information about our illnesses without delving into too deep of information or scaring a child about our own well-being and safety. It's more important that the child know us and our love than the specifics of a disease, particularly when the child doesn't have the disease. We don't necessarily need to explain our disease to the children in our lives as long as we are real, loving, and ourselves with them. They will come to know us as we are and discover what is truly the most important - our relationship not our health.  





Monday, May 9, 2016

Using a Bidet for GI Disorders

This is a sponsored post

As a GI patient with Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) my doctor recommended using a bidet to improve personal hygiene and reduce skin irritation. SBS is a rare disease resulting from removal or loss of function of the small and/or large intestine. Among the complications that arise from loss of intestine it is common to have frequent severe bouts of diarrhea even numbering 20+ bowel movements a day for some individuals. This often causes moderate to severe skin irritation, pain, and even bleeding.

Due to the effects of SBS, I was encouraged and nervously excited to try out a bidet. I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
Bidets are known as an environmental friendly option to toilet paper. Toilet paper can be harsh on the skin and leave unwanted residue. A bidet reduces waste while improving skin care through thorough cleansing. 
I received a Luxe Bidet Neo 185 which attaches easily to any toilet. The Neo 185 has a dual nozzle feature with two settings for posterior and feminine cleaning. The nozzles are protected by a nozzle guard gate and are retractable with a self cleaning option. With a turning control knob, the Neo 185 allows the user to easily control the amount of water pressure preferred for comfortable use and optimal cleansing.

Luxe Bidet Neo 185 Kit
The Neo 185 comes with the equipment necessary for installation and use in a convenient small package. The installation instructions were to easy to follow and installed within minutes. I had never used a bidet previously and was nervous about my first experience with a bidet and appreciated the included brief guide for first time users.

My main goals with the Neo 185 were to reduce skin irritation and reduce or eliminate use of protectant ointment for skin irritation. I required using skin ointment quickly after my Ileorectal Anastamosis in 2001 and hadn't been able to forgo using ointment since. I began using the Neo 185 with each restroom use and discontinued using skin ointment. After one full day I noticed my skin irritation reducing and increased comfortability without my skin ointment.  Feeling comfortable to no longer use ointment on a regular basis was a personal breakthrough.

Luxe Bidet Neo 185 Installed
Flare up episodes of excessive bowel movements with SBS are common causing the skin to become severely irritated and painful from frequent bowel movements and the harshness of toilet paper on already sensitive skin. I still required skin ointment during a flare up. However, using the Neo 185 during a flare up was extremely helpful as the water simultaneously soothed and cleansed the skin allowing for reduced use of harsh toilet paper. The feminine cleaning setting is an added benefit particularly during menses to enhance sanitation and a sense of freshness and cleanliness.

The Neo 185 is a non-electric cold water bidet. I would personally prefer a warm water and a warm air dry option, however, I was pleasantly surprised that the cold water isn't uncomfortable. With the water pressure knob, the water pressure can be adjusted from a light to strong stream as slowly or quickly as preferred without rough pressure. This adjustability helps to increase comfort level particularly when adapting to using a bidet.

I highly recommend the Luxe Bidet Neo 185 especially for use by those with GI disorders to reduce skin irritation and improve hygiene. The Neo 185 can easily be purchased through Amazon at a reasonable price and is well worth the investment for a hassle free bidet.