Little Madison Duffy has been under the knife six times in less than two years to correct a dangerous bowel problem – a tough start to life for this giggly girl and her parents Aimee and Damian.
Aimee says she didn’t have time to reflect on the reality of being a first-time mum when she was given the bad news. “Madison was 25 hours old when we were told she had imperforate anus – she was born with no anal opening.” The bowel is supposed to direct liquid waste to the urethral opening and faecal waste to the anus, but Madison has a fistula – which means the tube that should have gone to her anus joined with her urethra. To allow her to poo, Madison was fitted with a colostomy bag through her abdomen when she was just a week old. Finally, after five long days in the neonatal unit, Aimee was allowed to take her daughter back to her Invercargill home. The plan was to have corrective surgery in three months’ time. That was the Friday. By Sunday, Madison’s health became critically endangered. “Things changed quickly and Madison got very sick,” says Aimee. “She projectile vomited all over me, so I phoned neonatal, and they told me to get down there urgently as she was essentially throwing up her own poo.” Madison was airlifted to Christchurch hospital and since then has had six operations – including three surgeries and four general anesthetics in a terrifying 15-day period when she was just nine months old. Two of those surgeries were emergencies. Madison has since had her colostomy bag removed but struggles to control her bowel movements. “We average about 10 nappy changes a day,” says Aimee. Aimee believes that every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, she says Madison’s trials and tribulations molded a brilliant kid. “She’s a very witty, clever little girl and without all the things that have gone on she might not be. She can count really well, she tells jokes, she giggles all the time, she’s very active and incredibly resilient.” Aimee told Satan’s Little Helper that her daughter loves to sing, so we thought a portable karaoke machine would be a good way to put a smile on her face. “OMG she loves it,” says Aimee. “The machine has brought her so much joy! She’ll sit there for an hour just using the voice changer, making different sounds into the mic. Her and her dad have had some good singalongs – she’s such a diva. “She takes it everywhere with her, she even brought it to her grandmother’s house and they both started playing on it. “It means the world that HELL did something like that for us, it honestly does. To see her face light up when she knew what it was and what it did was incredible. Just to know other people see she’s special meant a lot to us as a family.”