We are honoured to share the inspiring story of Willow, an 11-year-old from Bristol. Willow faced ongoing challenges with her bowel movements since early childhood, leaving her embarrassed and ashamed when accidents occurred.
Today, she bravely tells us about her experience, hoping to help other children who may be considering rectal irrigation as a treatment for chronic constipation.
Discovering rectal irrigation
About a year ago, Willow’s nurse mentioned a new treatment called rectal irrigation. At first, Willow was hesitant, “No way, not happening!” However, with time and the nurse’s guidance, Willow began considering the potential benefits. After a few challenging weeks with numerous accidents, she realised that irrigation might help reduce her bowel problems before starting secondary school.
Embracing the Journey
The nurse visited Willow’s home and introduced her to rectal irrigation (Qufora IrriSedo MiniGo Flex). Initially, Willow found it a bit odd with its cones, tubes, and little bottle. Yet, she gradually became comfortable with the process with practice and experience.
Willow recalls the support of her nurse, the joy of exploring diagrams explaining how the body works and the freedom of experimentation. The trial pack left by the nurse provided an opportunity to see if rectal irrigation could make a difference.
A Life-Changing Experience
Willow’s determination led her to try the treatment with her mum’s help. Although initially apprehensive, she found that using the cone was surprisingly easy and painless. As she began squeezing the water out, Willow felt a sense of relief, and a bowel movement accompanied the water. The experience was faster and more effective than her previous struggles. Currently, Willow uses irrigation once a day and is gradually reducing her dependence on laxatives. Sometimes she can feel when she’s going to poo without using irrigation (which hadn’t happened before).
Embracing the Future
Willow’s journey with rectal irrigation has been filled with remarkable progress. She has regained sensation, improved bowel control, and experienced fewer tummy aches. Although there have been minor challenges, Willow remains optimistic, eagerly adapting her routine to ensure the best results. She has also trying the Qufora IrriSedo Flow system to see if she needs to use a system which uses a higher volume of water, and they are working between low and high volume to see which is best for Willow.
A Message of Hope
To other children considering rectal irrigation, Willow says: “Give it a go! It’s only water, and you might not need medicine anymore. It won’t be forever.” With her infectious positivity, Willow hopes that irrigation will be the solution she has longed for, freeing her from the worries of poo accidents and enabling her to embark on her secondary school journey confidently.
Willow’s mother shares her perspective, acknowledging initial doubts and concerns about rectal irrigation. However, witnessing Willow’s progress and seeing her embrace the treatment with enthusiasm has been a remarkable experience. Irrigation has brought newfound hope and a sense of relief for the entire family.
Read more about Willow’s mum’s perspective here.