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.