But I can’t ask her about it…

What I normally do when I have a question about medicine, or health, or organic chemistry for that matter, is call my younger sister.  She’s a veterinarian and a maniac for knowing anything medical, the more obscure and subtle, the better.  She’ll stay up long hours on the phone with me, answering all my questions, teaching me whatever I want to know.  She’s got a gift for teaching the complicated subtle stuff, and for seeing the connections between an odd constellation of symptoms and the cause.

I’m sure what’s going on with me is a crisis, despite the fact that the doctors are mostly unimpressed.  You know the docs, I mentioned them… the “You’re not dying. Go home” docs.

What I should do is just pick up the phone and call my veterinary sis. I should tell her about my symptoms and ask her what she thinks the problem is.  Especially since she’s had many of the same symptoms herself. She’ll know, and we can talk about what’s broken and I can make a plan.

But I can’t ask her about it because she’s already dead.

In my family the women habitually live to be a hundred. Heck, my mom is in her 80’s and just last year she took half a dozen of her tween and teen grandkids on a 4-week bust tour of the US… without their parents. So you KNOW the women in my family have got some staying power.  They run strong right up until they exit at their centennial year. Except my younger sister.  Three years ago a friend found her dead in her living room, of apparent respiratory or cardiac failure.  She was 50 when she died.

She was smart and funny and charming and a brilliant writer.  She was two years younger than me. She’s been gone for 3.  I feel like I’m five years on borrowed time.

I have her symptoms. The weight gain.  The loss of energy.  The weird heart rhythms and blood pressure. The general pain and being out of breath all the time. The sense of being definitely not ok.  What was wrong with her, what killed her, that’s what’s wrong with me. Or at least I think it is. That’s why I’m scared.

She knew she wasn’t well. Her co-workers knew. Her friends knew.  They tried to take her to the doctor, make her go, but she fought them off.  She refused to change her life, and she refused to get help.  I don’t know if she understood what was wrong, but she refused to admit to anything.  And I can’t ask her about it because, well you know why.  She’s dead.

And I’m not.  But I’m afraid I’m going to be.

I don’t know why the docs I talked to can’t hear that, why it doesn’t alarm them that my *younger* sister is dead and I am not ok.  I’m sure if I were dying in front of their eyes they’d notice, but since I’m not… Move More Eat Less. Go Home. Come back when you’re dying.

I need an education on what is going wrong, and I can’t ask the one person I know would help me find it. I’m on my own.

Alrighty then, I’m diving in.  First stop – Bacon. And why it matters. Google is my friend.

My husband’s right… I’m on a mission.

I’ll let you know what I learn as I’m learning it. Come along…

~ Zee

My sister’s blog Vet on the Edge – Life As A Vet In The 49th State [Or: Alaska: It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart, Or Anyone Lacking A Sense Of Humor And A Good Winter Coat.]

About me and her, and how we lost her.

you can read about my journey here: