The pain has been unrelenting since Tuesday night.
Not debilitating, mind you. Just inescapable. The blood is less visible today, and my urethra has never burned/stung (so I don't think it's a UTI). But there's an awful pressure. Very deja menstrual cramps. It's as though my guts are filled with iron filings and the earth is a giant magnet.
So I went to the doctor this morning. She was wonderful, giving me one of the appointments she leaves open each day for emergencies. She spent as much time with me as I needed, explaining carefully and answering questions.
Behind Door #1, we have a bladder infection.
This is the most likely culprit. She says that's the single individual ache that brings most post-menopausal women to her office. Sometimes, she says, it manifests itself as back pain. But just as often, it's bloody urine and abdominal cramps. She's so confident that it's a bladder infection, and so eager to get it cleared up, that she prescribed an antibiotic for me, starting today, even before the test results are back.
Behind Door #2, there's bladder prolapse.
Since I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, it's possible that my bladder may have dropped toward my vagina. This is not likely, but it is possible. There are many ways to treat this, not all surgical. If the urinalysis points to this, we will discuss this further.
Behind Door #3 is cancer.
She's 99% sure it's not cancer. That's why she prescribed the antibiotics. Bladder infections are terribly common in women my age, bladder cancer is not. If the test results come back, as expected, conclusively pointing to a bladder infection, we need not discuss this again.
I'm cautiously optimistic. Not hubristic -- I know too many people whose lives have been touched by cancer to think that it can't happen to me. But I'm determined not to freak myself out about this until the results come in on Monday.