A lump of intestinal fortitude

Kiddo jumped out of bed this morning almost as if his body was as connected to the light switch as was the lamp. As I lifted him up to give him a hug I was hit once again by how long his legs have grown. With his eyes level with mine, his feet dangled only a foot or so above the floor. He grinned and hugged me back.

Kiddo came to my book launch with a flower in hand. He has seen my name on the cover and my picture in the back. Kiddo loves that mommy wrote a book. He wants to one day write one too. He knew that mom had been celebrating, but this morning wasn’t about mom. Today is Kiddo’s 7th birthday.

volcano birthday cake

I lava birthday cake

Even though this week we are celebrating big time in the Potts household, I am reminded of another birthday when things weren’t going quite our way.

I wasn’t sure I was ever going to post this, but here goes – sorry in advance mom.


It was the day of my nephew’s birthday party. Both of my boys were eager to join their cousin and several of his friends at a nearby indoor playground. Within seconds, my eldest was running in between the various bounce houses and jungle gyms, having adventures with kids. His brother, LT, on other hand, made no effort to join their games.

Instead, LT walked over to me with his arms outstretched, a wordless request to be picked up. Once in my arms he rested his head on my shoulder while the rest of the world partied around us. There are so many people out there who want their children to be special, but special isn’t always all it is cracked up to be.

It started back when the hubby and I noticed a large lump in LT’s lower left abdomen. We had detected a similar lump the year before and had rushed to radiology only to learn that the lump’s source was nothing more than a hardened brick of fecal matter. We were told how to treat it and after a few long days it eventually passed. It wasn’t the last time. He has a chronic condition, so when this new lump formed, we thought we knew how to make it better, only what worked before didn’t seem to completely do the trick.

His doctor told me in no uncertain terms that we weren’t working hard enough. Triple his dose (like a colon blow for kids). Eliminate potential food sources like dairy and bread (the only food he enjoys – natch). Increase his fluids and his level of activity. Don’t give him a choice in the matter (oh – that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time). “You have to brace yourself to go to war.”

He wasn’t kidding (perhaps he has met my son after all). It is a wonder we haven’t had a knock at our door from a concerned neighbor considering the frequent sounds of pain coming from the bathroom. Finally, just as I was beginning to wonder if we needed to schedule surgery, it happened – a major crack in the dam (just in time for the party). We were exhausted. LT, from the process, the rest of us from watching the tears stream down his face as he begged for it to stop all the while pretending it was anything other than completely heart-wrenching (you’re doing great honey!).

He cried when we returned to the restroom later that day. I fought back my own tears. But we got through it because we had to. Eventually, his cry tapered off and he looked at me and said, “I a brave boy?” I nodded and told him how proud I was of him. The next day was easier, as was the day after that.

I apologize to my mom who I know reads this blog, but I cannot think of any better way to say the following:

Shit happens. Shit hurts. Shit doesn’t always make sense.

It doesn’t matter if it is in the form of an earthquake, a riot, or the very literal variety. Shit makes us scared. Shit makes us angry. Shit makes us question everything, including our beliefs or our resolve.

And yet if we try to avoid it or ignore it, we grow weaker and when it hits (which it will) it is ten hundred times worse. There is a reason we refer to a courageous person as one who has intestinal fortitude. Adversity may make us cry, but we have to find a way to push through, to seek answers, make adjustments, or offer comfort where we can.  So that the next time it hits, we are braver, stronger, and faster to respond. That is the only way to ensure that next time, it too will pass.

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14 thoughts on “A lump of intestinal fortitude

  1. I suffer from chronic intestinal issues myself and my heart goes out to him. It’s embarrassing and depressing. He must be a very brave, strong little man to deal with this so young.

    I hope the future holds some relief for him. And a Happy Birthday/Bookday to your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is very, very brave. His doctors think it will lessen in severity as he grows up, so there is hope, but for now we just have to manage the best we can. Thankfully even though there have been other bad days, nothing has been as quite as bad as that period of time.

      Like

  2. If it were the boys in carpool and words were said, I would pull over and tell them not to use rude words. In this case though, no other way to say it, well done!

    Like

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