Everything You Wanted to Know About Poo, but I Was Afraid to Write

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by John Connor |

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Poo is what I fear most at the moment.

I thought turning this column into a diary was cool. Following the greats, such as John Diamond, who chronicled his cancer to the end, takes me into some strange quarters. In this case, strained ones!

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects egestion, the process of discharging undigested or waste material from the body (I know this thanks to the biology exam I took at 16 for my O Levels, now called General Certificate of Secondary Education. There’s no equivalent in the U.S.).

I’m beginning to suspect MS also affects everything else. It keeps our skin from healing properly (I just experienced six months of this. I haven’t even written about that!), possibly causes lymphedema (oh yes, big time, though I finally seem to have shrunk the beast of late!), increases the risk of trigeminal neuralgia (huge, awful tick), and causes bladder problems (I self-catheterize, so I was one of the few people in comedy who really did take the piss out of themselves).

OK, if you read that column, you know I’m reusing that joke. It’s the modern way to recycle! Sex: no stand-up there!

There are a myriad more symptoms, such as mental health effects, but I suitably can’t be arsed to research them. Like anyone else, I easily remember the ones that abuse me!

In August 2019, I got an anal catheter system that worked a treat! Or, is that a swoosh?

As my right arm became increasingly painful, I decided to try veganism in December. Many nutritionists claim meat causes inflammation. The rest of my family had already gone vegan, so I went for it. My timing was terrible — just before Christmas!

Still, I knew it would be better for my microbiome. Research soon hinted that veganism may be better for MS patients. Then, I learned eggs were bad. I love eggs; it was a wrench.

I’m not sure how much good veganism has done me. That December, I was also pulled off my disease-modifying therapy (DMT), Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). Combined with my previous therapy, Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), the DMTs caused my leukocytes to take a pounding they may never recover from!

My MS was breaking through, anyway. I’ve documented my woes in depth in the columns “Short and Sharp” and “Relapse, Relapse, Relapse, Profanity, Relapse.” Ooh, is this a clever way of drumming up new readers for my previous work? Over three years, I’ve easily written a book’s worth!

Veganism eventually freed me from needing to use anal catheters. I went back to pooing the old-fashioned way. In “Star Trek” terms, I’d been promoted from issuing the captain’s log to that of a rear admiral. Yes, I went there!

Timing was an issue: I often didn’t have any! As I could no longer transfer to my commode on my own, someone had to constantly be on hand to help me. For a while, when I was quite incapacitated, this involved the use of a sling. I felt like a crane about to drop its load!

Over the last few weeks, this has all changed. Perhaps the diet could no longer override the MS! Because using anal catheters in my commode in the bathroom would be somewhat complex, I cheated by using suppositories.

All was well until last Friday. At 6 p.m., the urge was strong (leaping to the “Star Wars” universe!).

Nothing. No matter. I popped in a suppository. Still, nothing! So, in went another. There was no movement. A third? I can’t remember …

At 11:30 p.m., when everyone, rightly, wanted to go to bed, there was some action! But it was going to be a slow movie.

I wasn’t ready to give in to the idea of pooing in bed, so I decided to tough it out on the commode all night. I think I finished at about 5 a.m.!

By 8 a.m., I had also finished Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney+.

Luckily, YouTube is infinite!


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Oliver Sinclair avatar

Oliver Sinclair

:Hi John, thanks for posting this. This was my life for the last 7 years. Numerous suppositories and a minimum of 2 hours per day on the loo...that soon adds up to weeks/months lost. This year I got an End Colostomy Bag and now I don't have to worry about pooh anymore. Literally the day after I had the op, my daily nightmares and anxieties came to an end. Less than 2 minutes to change a bag...no mess...happy days!!!

Caroline Borduin avatar

Caroline Borduin

Hi John -

Thank you for writing your columns. I have nearly all of the symptoms you list, although not as severe as yours: TN, lymphedema, pooing & peeing disfunction, poor skin healing and a painful left arm! (I wrote the list just to vent.)

It's a weird comfort to know I'm not alone and (sorry) to get a look at what might be my future. Thanks for your efforts. They really do make a difference.

Sailor Dean Campbell avatar

Sailor Dean Campbell

My sister has MS. Has had since the 80's. She is going though the thing as you are now.I'm going to try and get you book. I'm hoping to be able find your book at a store. I don't buy on a computer. Wish me luck. Take care of yourself. Sailor

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Hi Sailor thanks mate I don't have an MS book! Merely these 3 years worth of essays about my journey with MS. I'm honest as I hope it helps others who hit the same probs. I also throw in jokes 'cos however bad it is 'always look on the bright side of life!' Cheers John.


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