The infection.

Jake still has an infection.  He has had it for a few weeks. Other times battling his diaper area infections have turned out fine. Those other times however, we were not also battling cancer.

This infection has consumed me. It owns my mind and all my time and energy goes into battling it or worrying about it. This is one of those times when you start to understand what they mean when the cause of death is something other than the disease at hand.  Like…he died of complications from cancer. This infection, is most certainly a complication.

There have been a lot of vet visits, countless efforts to fix it, so many creams that I had to make room in the garage. There have also been some tough conversations in the case we can’t get it under control. Luckily, his pain meds seem to be protecting him from feeling much of it at all.  And his wonky spine takes care of diminishing the rest of the sensation, so for that I’m thankful. He is for the most part, still Jake.

Since returning from my trip, I have not really left Jake’s side. I lay with him so he can have the infected area uncovered and untouched. I put different medications on him. I have to use surgical gloves which makes sense but feels strange.  I do homeopathic treatments (made for us by our amazing holistic vet), making a paste out of herbs and honey and I put that on the area for 15 minutes.  Then I meticulously clean it off and start back on the medications. I have everything on a timer and the timer is almost always going off.

I’m desperate for more time with him.

But more so, he still feels joy.

I had the worst migraine of my life this past weekend and every time that alarm went off, I somehow got up. He is my purpose right now. He is my goal.

There is a part of me that knows that this infection might be the sign that it’s time. To let him go before the cancer takes him. I know that his time is coming. But there is also still this light in him that ignites a light in me and it makes me wants to solve just one of his problems before I say goodbye. I’m not sure that light ever goes out. But I have started adjusting the glow. Instead of always saying ‘you’ll be fine bud’, I have started saying ‘if it’s time to go to Melvin, I understand.  I’ll carry all the sadness bud, you need only travel with joy’.

I had a conversation with someone recently. I was working through a let down, trying to focus on forgiveness so I could move on. Forgiveness is way better than bad mojo. I learned that from Melvin.  During the conversation, came some great advice.  He said… ‘never set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm’.


And I thought a long time about that and it hit home in ways that were probably way outside of the scope of his meaning for it (although it made sense that way too).  I decided I was going to cut back on everyone else’s needs for a bit and only focus on Jake and me. I had been spreading myself too thin. I recall feeling this way last year with Melvin. When my capacity was focused on him.  And now it’s the same with Jake.

Right now, my plan is Jakey. His time is short and my time is his.

It’s funny, during this past week with Jake, I realized that the fire advice has some parameters — if setting myself on fire would help Jake, I’d be ablaze right now.

Love is so infinitely wonderful and so incredibly hard sometimes. What love looks like can change in an instant. We work so hard to make the end lovely but the reality is that it’s also impossible and messy and it always feels like yours is the very first end ever and no matter how many people surround you or call you or show up, you are still…alone. The end is lonely. So my advice is…don’t feel bad for needing ‘me/us’ time. Remember that being human has its limitations. For cripes sake, do not set yourself on fire! Most importantly, try to forgive the end (even more importantly, always try to forgive yourself).

But don’t forgive infections, they suck.


Side note:we had the infection cultured and it’s not an easy one to treat but there are medications we can try so we are going try that route, for now.

I promise you that suffering is not in Jake’s future. I’m still hopeful this infection won’t be the end.

Don’t forget to feed me woman. IMG_9625


27 thoughts on “The infection.

  1. “It’s funny, during this past week with Jake, I realized that the fire advice has some parameters — if setting myself on fire would help Jake, I’d be ablaze right now.”- What a pure, strong heart you are! Thinking of you both as always and sending big hugs!

  2. Oh no!! I’m so sorry to hear that Jake is battling such a nasty infection. Many thoughts and prayers that the meds can get it under control. I so want you to be able to solve this problem, both for Jake and for you.

  3. Your never ending energy in caring for Jake and Melvin is amazing and the world needs more Tracey’s.

    Give em hell Jake, you are still my spirit animal.

  4. Thank you always for letting us be part of your journey. Sending many snorty, snotty, and stubborn four-legged hugs to you (AKA “Treats Woman”) and the fabulous Jake from your Frenchie and human friends in California. Sir Humphs, Princess Auds (a fellow wonky diapered Frenchie rescue), & Rebecca

  5. I have faith that you and Jake will get this nasty infection under control somehow. I admire and get your endless dedication and intense love for Jake (and Melvin). What wonderful crazy gifts God has blessed us with. Kiss that beautiful face of Jakes for me. I pray that every second of your time with him is full of love. In the end that’s all any of us need. Love you my friend.

  6. He’s so lucky to have you. We’re dealing with infections here too, UTI and a bacterial overgrowth in his bowels. To top it all off he started having head tremors (maybe seizures) two weeks ago and we have no idea the cause.

    • Oh no! Do they think the two are related? The UTI stuff is so hard to battle, hopefully you can get it under control. Melvin had head tremors (and seizures) and we did a ton of testing and they decided it was likely due to tick disease, but not one of the four main ones. It’s scary when you see them shaking. Thinking about you guys!

      • We started him on a drug called Apoquel about a month ago, we’d never noticed it prior to that. A month seems like a weird time period for something like that to start. But I DO think it caused the UTI because it’s listed as a potential side effect. We ultimately took him off the apoquel, even though it was helping greatly with his itchiness. He’s on drugs for the UTI for two weeks now, he tentatively has an appointment with a neurologist on Wednesday. I think we are going to push it out a month and see if eliminating the apoquel “solves” the tremors. I’m not sure even if they continue if we will go. I’m up against a 9 year old dog that was diagnosed with IBD at less than a year old. They told me to put him down then, I didn’t, I’m stubborn :-). The weird thing is the tremors seem to happen when he’s spacing out or super focused, and I can speak to him and they stop. I had a hard time catching one on video because the minute I move to reach for my phone to record it and he snaps out of it. I got a short video of a minor one and showed our vet. She’s not sure what to think. I’m not sure what to do exactly, I don’t want to give up on him, but I also can’t afford to spend a fortune to find out it’s not treatable anyways. We don’t have (or didn’t used to, I guess now we’re getting them, yay!) ticks in Alaska, so I’m like 99.9% certain it’s not something like that.

  7. You are the brightest, shiniest example of pure love. Thank you for sharing your story and spreading peace and love and joy through your words. I admire you so much, dear Tracey. Nothing but hugs for both of you.

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