Take it easy—take TAI

January 28 2016

S**t happens! It’s an expression many of us use when life presents unexpected and unwanted situations.
But for some of us ”s**t happens” literally is a dream come true... If you can control it.

In my previous blog  post, Searching for a bowel therapyI shared my story of how desperately I needed a bowel regime that would make me feel safe.
My Spinal Cord Injury had caused loss of control of my bowel and that had a huge impact on my social and business life. 

But now I have found my bowel therapy... Continue to read and I will tell you all about it!

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I was desperate to find a way to make life endurable. At home my family started to get sick and tired of my obsession with my bowel and frequent visits to the bathroom. My situation affected so many more than just myself.

My first contact with TAI

At a camp about 6 months after my injury I shared a room with a guy with a similar injury. During that week he told me he used a system to help him empty his bowel, something I later came to understand was a Transanal irrigation (TAI) system. After a few weeks of investigation I came to the conclusion it was worth trying. I talked to my urotherapist, she demonstrated the method, and sent me home with a system and a DVD to start learning and trying.

My first try

I tried and it felt really awkward to put up a catheter in my rectum and fill the bowel with water. It just felt wrong. But it did work. I emptied my bowel. Two days later I successfully did it again, and I had no accidents in between. After these three days I had a short conversation with my urotherapist who asked me if it worked out and I answered that it did.

So I continued to use the system every other day and I had no accidents. Not for a week, not for two weeks, not for a month. It just kept going and gradually I felt more and more secure. I could travel and work with the confidence that the bowel would be ok. I started to go out with friends and felt I didn't have to worry about my bowel or accidents. After a few months I even stopped packing extra clothes when I was going out.

How does TAI work?

TAI is a technique for evacuating feces from the bowel by infusing water via a catheter or cone into the rectum. Once the catheter is inserted, you expand a balloon for the catheter to remain in place, and to prevent water leakage. Then you infuse the water. You should discuss with your urotherapist and test different amounts of water to see what works for you.

Relief

I don´t think there are words to describe my feelings when I realized I had found a working solution. You just can't imagine the difference if you haven’t experienced this kind of bowel problems. Every time you felt an odor, you thought it was you, and you had to check if there was a surprise in your pants.

Still today, after many years without accidents, I get scared that it’s comes from me whenever I sense some odor.
It’s scary to realize how much impact that short period in my life had on me.

And now?

So is everything simple now? No problem at all? I wish I could say yes, but that´s not totally true. I have had accidents. Two, to be specific. One time when I had a food poisoning. The other one when I caught the flu. It goes without saying that the regime is great, but it’s not a miracle cure.

Over the years it has been a learning curve. Each body functions differently so the best tip I can give you is to start listening to your own body. I found a regime that gave me my life back. I hope you do not hesitate to try it if you think it could help you. Remember that ”shit can happen” - when you want it to happen, not when your bowel wants to.

linkedin-icon.png Kent Revedal

Watch video

Watch the second part of Kent Revedal lecturing about TAI!

Topics: Bowel management, Transanal irrigation (TAI)