I don’t usually write things that are all about me – I’m sure my personality comes through with what I write but mostly I don’t like to share too many of my deep, dark secrets. But today, I’ll break my silence just a little bit.
This month has really sucked. About two and a half weeks ago, my beautiful, sweet, sassy kitty stopped eating. I didn’t even notice at first but when I did I really didn’t think it was any big deal. Turns out it was – she was in the final stages of kidney failure. She was euthanized a few days after she stopped eating. Miss Kitty was my spirit animal, my fellow blue eyed sassy female. I miss her so much. Every time I look at where her food dish used to be, or where she used to lay, or any of her familiar places, I get that pang of reality that she’s not there. My sweet kitty is gone forever. And the worst part is, I could have prevented her early death – she started peeing all over the house a while ago and even though a few people told me that I should take her to the vet, I didn’t. We deal with so much sickness here, and I assumed that if she were sick she would be acting sick. Turns out peeing everywhere is an early sign of kidney disease, and if I’d taken her in we could have prolonged her death for – well, I don’t know how long, but at least a while. She may not have liked taking medicine, or getting regular blood work done, or having her food switched, or whatever, but she would have liked being alive. I am so sorry it ended this way for her. Poor kitty.
Just a few days after kitty stopped eating, I fell asleep on the couch one night and woke up with a sharp pain just under my ribs on the right side. At the time, I assumed I pulled a muscle – I’ve felt pain there before and always assumed it was muscle pain – so didn’t think much. When it got worse over the next few days, though, I started to realize it was something more. I did some Google research and decided it was probably gallstones. The day I put my cat down I also went to the doctor – stomach pain is nothing to mess around with. The doctor was very freaked out, talking about hospital admissions for crying out loud, but by that time the pain had mostly subsided so I didn’t really think it was a big deal. She wanted to get me in for a rush ultrasound, but since it was Friday afternoon she thought it could be Monday before her referral team called me to schedule the ultrasound. It was actually Wednesday, and then they didn’t schedule me for another week and a half. Guess it wasn’t that urgent after all! My ultrasound is tomorrow morning. They are going to do both a pelvic and an abdominal ultrasound, so pretty much looking at everything. The doctor explained that it’s hard to pinpoint pain in your abdomen so even though I feel like the pain is coming from under my ribs, which is where the liver and gallbladder are, it could actually be from a kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, ovary, or ectopic pregnancy. That last one is pretty much ruled out but nothing else is. Good god.
I know there’s something wrong but have no idea what. I have been paying more attention to the pain since the doctor’s appointment, and have discovered that it feels like there’s something down low on the right side that shouldn’t be there, causing pain in my hip that feels like something’s pressing on a nerve, and also that the pain under the ribs comes and goes depending on how I’m sitting or what I’ve eaten or if I’ve eaten or if I drank alcohol.
I have two fears about the ultrasound – that it will show something or that it won’t. I’m worried that it could be something super serious, but also worried that nothing will show up. Or, maybe there is more than one thing wrong – maybe the pain under the ribs is a gallstone and the pain down by my right hip is something more sinister. I am developing a plan for what to do if both ultrasounds are negative, but don’t even want to think about what if they’re positive. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Through all this, I can’t help but think how the only thing I have to go on is pain. There is nothing else wrong with me – blood work is normal, no fevers, no general malaise, maybe a little lack of energy but then again that’s easy to attribute to environmental factors. If this were Gracie, how would she ever know? If she had a gallstone perforate her gallbladder, she could die in a matter of hours with virtually no warning. Pain is the only symptom, like so many other things. It’s very scary.
I am not Gracie. I feel pain, maybe less than a lot of people but still it’s there. I react normally to tests. My body does what it’s supposed to do. Doctors can rely on my test results. Whatever happens tomorrow, it will be easier to face because I don’t have a mysterious underlying medical condition. I will gather what strength I have and forge ahead, full of fortitude. Or not. Whatever.