Update on Jake.

At Jake’s Oncology appointment, the oncologist was deciding how our future visits should go. She suggested that we be seen every three weeks, but alternate between oncology and neurology. Every three weeks took me by surprise, to see either of them. I was extra confused about why we would go to see neurology (at all). They had pretty much said ‘good luck’ (in the best possible way), as there are no treatment options for Jake’s spinal condition. We do laser therapy and electroacupuncture to help his good parts, but from a neuro standpoint, their work is done. So I asked: ‘I was told there was nothing they can do, why would we see them’. Her reason for suggesting we switch off between oncology and neurology is that they (the medical team) might not know for sure what is the cancer spreading and what is his spine when in comes to decline. So I challenged: “his spinal condition is not painful, in fact it helps some with pain since he has limited feeling in some parts. But his cancer is known to be painful, often very painful. So won’t pain be an indication”. She said, it should be.

I then did what I often do when it comes to making hard decisions for the boys, I took the lead: ‘I’m not going to be looking to you or neurology for guidance on when it is the right time to let Jake go. I will know.’ I said it so matter-of-factly, it caused her pause. And then I think it caused (her) relief.

Our regular vet and I have a system. She tells me when we have done all we can medically, and I take that knowledge and add it to what I know. For me, once we have done all that we can, the question is no longer medical. The decision is based on the science of love and joy. From the day I took all three dogs in I made them a promise to do right with the power to make decisions for them. We do this daily for our dogs, but when it comes to this last decision, well nothing feels so insurmountable.

So pain will be an indicator.  Also, Jake’s cancer is at the bottom of his spine and extends down his left hind leg.  So deterioration in that leg only will be a sign.  Also, since it’s a soft tissue cancer, it may invade his bladder or colon so if he stops being able to go potty, that will be a sign.

No one wants to think about these things but for us, in order to not dwell on it 24/7, we have to outline the medical parameters so we can get on with the joyful task of living. It’s definitely a challenge to not mourn them while they are still alive, but with Jake, I’m trying to save all that for later (or at least until the middle of the night once he’s asleep).

The only thing we dwell on right now is how much peanut butter we have left.

Woman, put peanut butter in my belly right now! IMG_8221

18 thoughts on “Update on Jake.

  1. Your attitude toward all of this is amazing and such an inspiration. Your dedication to being the best mother and advocate for your babies is a testament to true love and gives me hope. My Girls are still fairly young and healthy. But that will not always be the case and I hope when the time comes I can pull from what I’ve learned following your journey to help give me the strength I will need to be the best mom and advocate for my babies. Thank you for sharing your story; I’m sure you have been a beacon of light for many who going through similar painful journeys.

    • Aw, thanks Jenna. While it doesn’t get easier, I can def say that I was not this ‘focused’ when I had Max. But eventually you realize that one day it’s coming and you have to love them enough to make impossible choices.

  2. Should all animals be so lucky to have someone like you in their life. I tend to panic and look to every bad day being The Day. I really do not want my dogs to suffer. At All. Luckily I have a vet that calms me and says lets just wait a minute. As usual he is so right. Every Time I’ve had to do this, my dog has left me know emphatically.

  3. I’m at a loss for words! I don’t want to think of losing Jake and have tried to put it the back of my mind, I can not believe how well you are dealing with this! You are such an amazing women and I hope that when the time comes I am as strong as you! Until then he is in the best possible hands and I know deep down you will do the right thing for him. What a wonderful momma you are! My thoughts and prayers are with you and Jake everyday. God bless you Tracey! Kiss Jakes cute little nose for me! And Thank you for the update!

  4. While it’s never easy to think or talk about we know our dogs best and know when it’s their time. And, I couldn’t agree with you more about knowing what the signs will be so you can in the mean time share as much fun and love as possible.

  5. Hugs to you and Jake. He is blessed to have you for a Mama, and he knows that you’ll do right by him. Thank you again for taking us along for the ride and allowing us to share your joy.

    • I think it has something to do with having Jake’s cancer being back-to-back with Melvin’s cancer. I was still grieving when we got Jake’s diagnosis so I was in survive mode maybe. Either way, I try to take the lead from the dogs and they don’t know their time is short so we choose to live!

      • “they don’t know their time is short so we choose to live!” Good advice for all of us as well! It really is a choice. Live, and love (and eat!). Our thoughts are with you as you and Jake love on!

  6. Is the plan now to wait and see when you will have future appointments? Or will there be no appointments to get in the way of you two living it up?

    Either way, we love your philosophy. Dogs know, and they always know how to communicate it to us.

  7. “we have to outline the medical parameters so we can get on with the joyful task of living.” So perfectly said. Jake is lucky to have you for his advocate, mom, and BFF.

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