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I was asked recently via e-mail from a parent, about my experiences with Encopresis with a different angle. Below are the questions, and after that will be my responses to them. I hope it helps you all, for those that need it, and feel free to post your thoughts to them or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. At what age did your parents decide to let you take responsibility for managing your Encopresis on your own?
As a young child and more importantly as a teenager, I was given a plastic bag with a spare change of underwear (and can use the bag to put the soiled underwear in until home). However one spare change isn’t enough when that gets soiled literally as soon as it’s on (smell always lingered). After being constantly bullied when at the school bathrooms, I wouldn’t go in them during school hours unless absolutely necessary (ask your son/daughter about this), and never felt comfortable in there. My stools are very large (thanks to having Encopresis), that they have been known to block the toilet. Blocking the toilet in a public place is very embarrassing and highly increases low self esteem and very self conscious to the point of avoiding it. As a teenager (13 years old), I was old to put my dirty underwear in a bucket of Napisan (stain remover, in the laundry) to soak, which I would do. However when the underwear had the skid-mark type hard stools (and worse), then was yelled at and made to scrub it. This constantly made me cry my heart out to empty ears and very angry & disappointed with myself (as was everyone else). Admittedly and ashamedly this also led me to throw my underwear in the bin in secret to avoid the pain of going through it all, and survive and be a “normal” person. I was later found out (obviously had less underwear in the laundry), but it didn’t stop Encopresis or the emotional pain. Having the spare underwear handy is good and discreet at the time (not so discreet when people can smell it, except me). I wasn’t ever officially diagnosed nor had any X-rays/scans that are available now. I was also given a daily stool softener, Paraffin Oil (before dinner, and water after). It tasted yummy and makes me happy to think about it (it did from time to time give me Diarrhea or leave a oily residue). Did it make a difference? Honestly and in my personal experience, I definitely say YES! My bedroom was extended at age 15, when we did home renovations, and I was given my personal ensuite (and TV in my room), this also made all the difference…and the year I noticed my Encopresis had stopped.
2. Were you able to stop withholding cold turkey or did you still withhold and have the occasional accidents?
See above about personal ensuite/TV installed. I wouldn’t say that I “stopped withholding cold turkey” because I didn’t know that this was happening. No one, not even my parents, mentioned my clean underwear for a significant period of time. No one noticed, not even me. It was an advert on TV or a story or something I heard that when I thought about it was like, “Oh I stopped soiling…cool”, and then continued living.
3. Did you have an epiphany moment when you decided to change? What was that moment and what triggered it?
As mentioned previously.
4. Do you consider yourself to be completely free of Encopresis or do you, as an adult, still catch yourself withholding and take appropriate actions to avoid getting backed up?
Yes I do consider myself Encopresis-free..I’ve referred to myself as an “Encopresis Survivor”, and proud of it to admit it. If you or someone you know is Encopresis-free, then you’re an Encopresis survivor too. Keep in mind I will never say that I am in remission, of Enco (might explain this in another post). Admittedly I can’t pee/poop “on demand”, and this also means that I have difficulties to go successfully (go and not “get the urge but can’t physically go Now”) on the toilet on long haul flights. Sometimes I will get the pain in my abdomen for a few days (after long travel), but this eventually disappears after appropriate action has been initiated. I do continue to have large stools, although go more regularly (doesn’t have to be daily…it’s normal for me to NOT do a “number 2” daily). I prefer to poop at home/hotel.
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