Haven't been here for ages but thought I would weigh in on this important topic. I have been doing daily enemas for years (4?) and have been pleased with the result. My routine evolved over many months of trial and error. Fortunately the ‘errors’ were never catastophic or even embarrassing, merely inconvenient, I do my enema in the evening, never less than an hour (preferably two) before bedtime. The entire ritual takes about 30 minutes to an hour. I use the standard 2 quart bag, about half filled with warm tap water. I do one bag, then use the can for 10 -15 minutes, and follow up with a second bag. That second bag made a big difference for me. It adds the the overall time but improves the outcome. Sometimes I can tell that I need a third bag, if there's a lot that needs to come out. When I travel, the entire kit comes with me, including a tube of lubricant. I could skip a day if necessary. For example if I return from a trip really late, I wait until the next day to do an enema.
There are two problems I still sometimes have. First, every few weeks I have a constipated episode and can't pass easily. Miserable but it eventually comes out. I take 2 doses of benefiber per day and drink plenty of water to minimize the chance of this happening but occasionally it still does. The second problem is sometimes, perhaps an hour after finishing my enema, I have to rush to the toilet to pass some more stool, or some extra liquid. These episodes happen perhaps once every few weeks, and is the most annoying lingering problem because it prevents me from finishing an enema and the heading confidently out the door, or going to bed to sleep. This is why I do my routine a couple of hours before bedtime. From a scheduling standpoint, this means I can't stay out late and then come home, do an enema, and drop right into bed. A couple of times I have passed stool in my sleep, a lousy experience and one I dread. Despite the low risk of this happening I still worry about it.
But overall I really can't complain because my LAR symptoms were ruining my life before, and now I can do pretty much everything I want. I know there some folks that say that there are long term negative consequences of doing daily enemas. But if cancer has taught me anything, it is that, even for the most fortunate among us, life is a more or less temporary proposition anyway. If I have a concern, it is that at some point I may have other health issues that prevent me from getting down on the floor and doing my routine, which does take a bit of physical ability.
Thanks to Tammy, who gave me encouraging advice years ago, and to others who have shared their daily enema experiences. Maybe this practice isn't for everyone but it works well enough for me.
I might add that none of my providers offered any useful guidance on enemas. In fact they were uselessly noncommittal when I asked for a recommendation on whether I should try them. When I mentioned that I was doing them, they basically said that I was on my own. I did not find one provider who wasn't annoyed by / impatient with my LAR complaints. They cured my cancer, and their work was done. Post surgical quality of life was my problem to deal with, apparently.
Stage IV rectal
10/12 Cancerous polyp removed
1/14 Local recurrence
6/14 LAR and resected liver met, temp ilio
12/14 finished FOLFOX / Avastin
1/15 ilio reversed, LARS
57 y/o dad