Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Day +60: Hope Gets You Through the Night

“Words are tears that have been written down. Tears are words that need to be shed. Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end. ” — Paulo Coelho, Aleph

Since reporting on Maya two weeks ago, we have shed both happy and sad tears. It has been a jumble of days and I think I can finally write some of this down.

Our reunion with Maya was a happy one. We prepared ourselves for life different and were grateful that she was once again home. We all took turns sleeping with her in the spare room and helping her readjust to life Killen style. If felt good to hear her purr. She had gone through the ringer. Hospital stays are no fun.

After being home for a few days and thinking the worst was behind us, we noticed some new changes in her. She was having even more trouble moving. She wasn’t eating that much. Then she stopped drinking and became jaundiced. That part seemed to happen very quickly.  We did some reading and really thought it was the anticonvulsant medication as some of these things could be side effects. Bolstered by friends mentioning that sometimes these sort of meds need to be adjusted, we brought her back to the animal hospital for a check-in and some help. Because she was dehydrated, Maya needed to be admitted and back on an I.V. More tests were ordered. We waited. Why is it never easy?

During one consultation last week, her condition became even more curious. Her vet was still trying to determine if there was some sort of cancer in the background that was triggering things. Ironically, the word ‘lymphoma’ was mentioned. The seizures of two weeks prior and her present situation weren’t necessarily connecting. Without a spinal tap and CT it was hard to say. Regardless, what became apparent after the new battery of tests was this: Maya’s levels were dramatically different and her immune system was under siege. Her red blood cell count was  very low — thus the anemia and the weakness in her hind quarter. Her bilirubin count was off the chart — thus the jaundice. Together, she was caught in a hemolytic process through which her red blood cells were being attacked and destroyed. She was put on prednisone to help her red blood cells stabilize and more tests were conducted on her liver. Once again, we had to wait and see.

These conversations with the vet were not easy. Too many familiar words and numbers. I started to wonder why this was happening… why was Maya carrying the brunt of all of this? What was Maya trying to take away? She come into our life at a particular time. All of this was happening at another particular time. Bookends. On one level it sounded like crazy talk in my head but on so many others, it made sense. Profound. Beautiful. But riddled with grief all the same.

Last night we spoke to the veterinarian again. The prednisone seemed to be doing something as her red blood cell count was up. However, even with appetite stimulants, Maya wasn’t eating. Because her body had gone into starvation mode, fat was being stored in her liver. Humans and dogs can go for periods of times without food as long as they have fluids to sustain them. Cats unfortunately cannot.

Brandon happened to be home and I was so grateful because he patiently translated all the medical jargon around hepatic lipidosis to us and with great care, to James and Tessa. Through many tears we decided to bring Maya home. We didn’t want her to be alone.

It’s been almost 24 hours. She’s drinking water and has taken some of the nutrition we have been offering her. I just don’t know if it is enough. So we wait. And try. And write. And cry. And hang on. We’re all feeling that awful type of hurt because reality says things don’t look great. But we’re also hanging on to that little sliver of hope because it is there. And that is what will get us through. ~Jacqui

November 8. Maya hanging out in a sunny patch: nature's bilirubin light.

November 8. Maya hanging out in a sunny patch: nature’s bilirubin light.


November 8, 2015 - Posted by | Everyday

1 Comment »

  1. […] In Jacqui’s last post, Maya the cat was in a very bad way with no real answers to be found. We were on the brink of losing her. Yet somehow, she has recovered in grand fashion. […]

    Pingback by Day +100: A Post from Dave « Nashville or Bust | December 18, 2015 | Reply

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