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Missing Rectum?

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's not every day that a mom has a conversation in which she learns her child no longer has a rectum.

I kept wondering what the heck the Pediatric Surgeon was talking about during our Post-Op follow up appointment today. She kept saying things like, "he doesn't have a rectum now" and "a missing rectum."   I mean, he has all the correct plumbing down there, hole and all.  How could he be missing his rectum?

So, obviously, I turned to the most reliable source at my fingertips: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rectum

How in the world did I get through life without realizing the rectum is actually the name of the lowest part of one's intestines??

If Cystic Fibrosis does nothing else, it is giving me a crash course on the human bowel system.

Apparently, Bennett's pre-Christmas surgery took out his rectum, the bottom end of his intestines.  Thankfully, however, his sphincter muscle and continence are in tact...meaning he can and will always be able to go to the bathroom normally.

The only disadvantage of his missing his rectum (the lower part of his bowel) is that it may make his stools more loose and more frequent for the rest of his life.  The rectum is a sort of reservoir for our poop which usually absorbs water from our stools.  Without that, stools tend to be more loose.

This is most important to me right now because potty training is on the horizon.  Potty training is already hard, how much harder will it be with a child who has loose frequent stools?

The Pediatric Surgeon explained that Bennett will have to learn that when his body tells him he needs to "go", he will probably need to go sooner than most of us.  And, she said, we will probably have to be more patient for the potty training process with him.

I asked her if I need to delay potty training with him but she said no.  She seemed to feel very good about my personal philosophy regarding potty training: let the child do it on their own over time. 

I am so glad we have just finished potty training with Oliver.  It was a fairly easy (although lengthy) process that gives me the confidence that it does happen, even with boys, if we're patient enough.  So, we will work towards that with Bennett as well.  He may be the last out of diapers but he will get out of them at some point. 

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