Friday, October 1, 2010

A Very Special Saturday Post

Today is LIVESTRONG DAY. The LIVESTRONG community will be coming together to raise awareness of the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide—and we want to play a part. Find out more HERE.

This October 2, LIVESTRONG is trying make sure that—on every street and every trail, that they’re letting the world know that they’re ready to beat this disease. They want to turn some heads and join the fight against cancer by wearing yellow on LIVESTRONG Day.

As many of you know, about 15 months ago we had to say good-bye to our sweet Princess Dakota.

Although in the end, it was not the cancer itself that took her life, she suffered for more than two years with Cushings Disease with a malignant tumor in one of her adrenal glands as well as the likelihood that it had spread to other major organs. After her diagnosis and the failure of medication to control her cancer, she was only expected to live a few months, possibly a year. BUT Dakota LIVED STRONG and fought hard to stay with us and give us many more days of her sweetness. She set an example for all those who suffer from this insidious disease.

Today we LIVE STRONG every day hoping that Phantom has defeated the enemy for the second and final time. In July 2009, only days after our loss of Dakota, he faced surgery to remove a nasty malignant lump from his chest. His recovery was long and difficult, but he too LIVED STRONG and survived his ordeal. Then two months ago, the ugly cancer made a reappearance on his face. Another surgery, another prolonged recovery, but once again he is moving on and LIVING STRONG.

The OP Pack now LIVES STRONG in the hope that Phantom will never have to face surgery and cancer again.

The OP Pack human family has had to deal with cancer on many levels and in many forms over the years as it has afflicted close relatives on both Mom and Dad's sides of the family. All of these situations were serious and devastating for so many. One in particular is forever etched in Mom's memory.

Flashback 36 years to August 1974: Mom had one sibling, a brother named Jack. He was a handsome, blue-eyed young man, 27 years old, a couple of years older than Mom. He had always appeared to be a very healthy person. According to our grandmother and his mother, he never had a cavity, and he was rarely ever sick with a cold or a virus or anything like that. So it was quite the shock when he fell so very sick on Saturday, August 4, 1974. His abdomen swelled overnight to the size of a very pregnant woman. He was hospitalized early Sunday morning and underwent endless tests with no explanation for his illness. Finally on Monday, the terrible news came: Jack had cancer. Inoperable cancer that had spread through all of his abdominal area. All of his major organs were diseased. His prognosis: at most 3-6 months. As you can imagine, the family was devastated. How does something like this happen? Why does it happen? Can't anyone do something to help him? Sadly there were no answers. At the time it was very difficult, but today Mom says it was truly a blessing when her brother Jack died the very next day on August 6, 1974. To this day it is the saddest and most difficult day our Mom has ever had to face. So much has changed in the medical arena for cancer victims. So much more needs to be done.

It was not our intention to make this into a sad post. Yes, cancer is sad. It affects so many. But the fight continues. So for all our furry furiends and all our wonderful human friends who are affected in any way by cancer, we say LIVE STRONG and FIGHT the evil "C". We are here to fight and be strong with AND for you.

Slideshow: LiveStrong 5 - Slideshow

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara, and Mom Kathie

Pee Ess - thanks to Ann of Zoolatry for our beautiful graphics. And extra special good wishes and prayer to her and her husband Vic and their whole family as they fight the good fight to live strong against the cancer that affects their lives.


  1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother at such a young age. For it to have happened so quickly after the diagnosis must have been such a horrible shock... I just can't imagine the pain your family must have felt. Thanks for sharing your very personal story.

    Seems so wrong that dogs get cancer too. It makes it seem like it's just everywhere...

    yeah, I know... it is.

  2. Great Post. We lost 'Leo', our first Airedale, to cancer and have had a history of human family members who have had to fight cancer in it's many forms as well.
    We are going to find our yellow gear now...Thanks!

    Wyatt's family

  3. My human grandpa has had two tumors removed and we are glad every day that he is still Living Strong!

    Very nice post and we will quietly think of Uncle Jack.

  4. Thank you, OP Mom, for a most touching post!

    Its most sad to think of your brother losing his life at such an early age. I lost my birth mother to it when I was just 18 months old. Our families must do all we can to help researchers with our dollars.

    In the meantime, we root endlessly for our buddy Phantom and hope for many more years for dear Mr. Picky!

    Stella and Jo

  5. Wonderful post. Thank you.

    Emma Rose

  6. We're sorry to hear about your brother losing his life to cancer. Cancer is so horrible because it often works so quietly. Hopefully today will raise awareness and early detection so we can beat it once and for all. We are so happy that Phantom continues to Live Strong!

  7. LiveStrong OP Pack! A very touching post. I know how devastating Dakota's illness and passing must have been. I know she is watching over your Hu-Family and pack and is no longer suffering. She truly was a beautiful princess. I am glad that handsome Phantom is doing better. He has been tackling a tough battle and is a true canine hero for his fight and recovery. I, too, am very sorry for the loss of your brother. Words can not even come close to that type of loss. He, too, is watching over you and your family & pack, I'm sure. Cancer has touched our family as well - my Mom is a @10-year breast cancer survivor, and my father-in-law is living with prostate cancer. My aunt had skin cancer, and had a section of her leg removed. My adopted Shepherd/Chow mix Sandy, who was my husband's and I first dog when we were married 29 years ago, also suffered with and eventually succumbed to chest tumors. Here's to a great cause - and may we all, human and canine, "Live Strong."

  8. Hi OP pack,
    I will pray that Phantom stays healthy! May we put the livestrong for Phantom button on our blog?

  9. w00fs, all i can say is WOW...very touching and to the point post...

    b safe,
    ~rocky and all~

  10. This post has really moved us. In so many ways. Thank you for sharing such personal and sensitive memories. They certainly provoke action to support any and all effort to rid our world of the ravages of cancer.

    Thank you, again ... and with appreciation
    MomaSally and the Wires

  11. What a great post! I've had cancer steal several very precious souls from my life and I know how hard it is to watch someone go through it.

  12. We are so sorry for the loss of your brother. Though it must have been a very difficult post to write, it is a wonderful tribute to Jack's memory, to Dakota's memory, and to the memories of all of our loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and those who continue to fight.

    In my family, we have way too many ties to this evil disease. Sadly, it is our legacy. But we truly believe in living strong, living for the moment.

    Thank you for this heartfelt post and for giving us the opportunity to reflect on something that touches every one of us.

  13. Absolutely pawesome and inkhredible post!

    So touching bekhause of how it is so personal -

    As you'll see on mine, we khommented and khommended in advice those that were opening up emotions to share on this important day -

    This is one very poignant example of what we meant -

    Thanks fur doing so -

    We also used the Evil C term - once again, GMTA -

    To the past, present, and future...


  14. What a touching post. My dad died of cancer. I also have lost a brother, so I understand how awful it is. And dogs should never have to have it either.

    We pray for a both humans and dogs!

  15. Kathie - how tragic - for you and for your Ma and Dad. I am so sorry. We have been doing a lot of paw crossing for Phantom and each time we come visiting, we think of Dakota.
    Big Hugs xoxoxoxo
    Sammie, Avalon and Mom, Miche

  16. My friends , your personal story brought tears to our eyes. Sometimes we know certain things that have affected our friends, but we do not know everything,,,,
    and I just wanted to say we are sorry that cancer has touched your lives so much. To loose your brother, is something you never get over. Such sadness.
    And I remember when I first became your friend,, and you lost Dakota.
    I was devistated right along with you.
    When we became bloggers we did not realize we would come to grips with so many lives being lost...
    Cancer is a monster, and it must go.
    We love you, and thank you for sharing your personal story

  17. Wow what a beautiful post and thank you for sharing that. Cancer is the devil, it is evil and I have had to lose some very good friends to it. I will never understand it, but it feels good somehow to all come together in one common bond and share these stories. Thank you

    Anne and Sasha

  18. What a heartfelt post! I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, I can't imagine how difficult that must have been. I didn't know Dakota, but she was beautiful. Of course, you know how we feel about dear Phantom ...we send him healing thoughts every day!

    Your pal, Pip

  19. Livestrong is a fantastic cause! I see a lot of bloggers are broadcasting it today!

  20. We LiveStrong with you and we StandStrong with you in the battle against this horrible disease and in honor of the valiant soldiers who have rode into battle to beat down this detestable foe.

    God bless all those we have lost to this miserable disease and God bless who are now fighting the good fight. You are all giants in our eyes.

  21. Good Post, so sorry to hear about your brother, back in 74 it was a new disease, the out look for people these days hopfully is better with some forms of it.
    You livestrong Phantom.
    See Yea George xxx

  22. That is a very beautiful and moving post. We are with you in sadness over those you have lost and in joy and hope over those who are fighting the good fight.

  23. Bravo! Beautiful post!


  24. We are sad to hear about your brother. We include him in our prayers as well.

    We join you in your laughter and sadness as you are one of our friends. We may not have known Princess Dakota when she was still around but we love all we have read about her here and we also love Phantom, Thunder and Ciara so we will be here for you anytime.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  25. What a moving post! Brothers are so special. We are so sorry for your loss.

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  26. We're so sorry for your loss, but you used your words in such a special way - it makes us all more aware.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  27. Yep, sadly Cancer effects our family, friends and fuzzy pets.. all too much.
    LIvE STRoNG & fight the C word!


  28. ...tears...

    Oh this evil monster of a disease MUST be stopped!

    Beautiful tribute!

    Lots of luv & kisses
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  29. Wunderful post today. Tank youz.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  30. Beautiful post on such a horrible disease. Someday it will be has to be stopped. LiveStrong! Lots of love, Holly and Mom

  31. Mayzie's mom here. Thank you for your beautiful post. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and for the loss of beautiful Dakota. My prayers continue to go out to all of you that Phantom has beaten this disease once and for all.

    My family has also been touched by cancer and my husband lost his mother to breast cancer when he was only 18. I hope and pray that one day, no one else will have to suffer with this horrible disease.

    Hugs to you all!

  32. A wonderfuld post. Thank you for sharing your personal fights with the big "C".
    Love Ruby & Penny

  33. Very nicely written.
    We are sorry you have had to deal with the issues of cancer in your family....but see that you continue to Live Strong:)

  34. Amazing post! LiveStrong! Though cancer weaves through our lives, we will always fight, and hope and live....thankful for the time we have and have shared with our special ones.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  35. Thank you from our hearts for supporting LIVESTRONG day by going yellow.

    Blessings to all those who are currrently fighting cancer, are cancer survivors, or who have lost their lives to this terrible disease. Thank you for sharing those painful memories about Jack (who was so very young when you lost him), and the beloved woofies.

    LIVESTRONG always.

    Love from Milo and Alfie, Mom-Jan and Dad xxxx

  36. What an amazing, open and heartfelt post! - you are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing yourself with us and my prayers remain with you that Phantom obliterates this disease.
    What a wonderful tribute to your dear beloved brother too.
    Keep living day at a time knowing that we love you!
    Sending lotsaluv

  37. A very moving post.

    A well deserved cause ..a disease which somehow in someway touchs us all by someone we know or love.

    Positive thoughts to everyone.

    Big nose pokes
    The Thugletsx

  38. Cancer has taken friends, relatives, and pets from us, too. We look forward to the day when "The Big C" is just a large Coke from 7-11.

  39. You have very personal knowledge of how horrible cancer is. We join with you in hoping for a cure.

  40. Kathie, I have to say it is getting hard to write, to type, as tears seem to get in the way. Though you did not choose to write a sad post, it is true... the cancer stories are sad. Among our families, our friends -- and our beloved pets. We wait, we watch, we hope, we pray. We believe in a better tomorrow... it can be, and it will be. We LIVESTRONG. Hugs and purrs and love to all of you, you are truly very special to us.

  41. Puddles mum here...
    Thank you for the beautiful tribute and letting us in on such a personal story. It broke my heart reading about your brother and then realizing I was born on that exact date...kind of eery. My heart goes out to you for such a devastating loss.
    I never knew Dakota but I wish I had. I feel like I do in a way because I have read so much about her from your previous posts and up until the end. She was a beautiful soul.
    And Phantom...I thinks about him all the time and his recovery. He is a strong and will survive.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing such a personal journey and how you came to be a part of Livestrong.

    Allison...Puddles mum

  42. You lost sweet Dakota at just about the same time as we lost sweet S to cancer. I didn't know you then but I know how it feels. The world keeps marching on but there's someone missing...

    So sorry about your uncle so many years ago. Cancer has touched so many of us so deeply.

  43. I've come across such beautiful posts today all written from the heart. This one is among them.
    x x x x

  44. We are sending healing purrs to Phantom. We love his picture, it made us smile when we saw it in the sideshow earlier.

    That was so sad about Jack, but it just goes to show the bad cancer can come for any of us at any time so we all need to stick together and LIVESTRONG everyday.

    We were very touched by this post.

  45. A very moving post.

    We have had so many instances of cancer here within the family and still find it hard to talk about them ...

    take care
    Clive & Co

  46. This is a beautiful tribute.

    Nubbin wiggles & hugs,
    Oskar & his mom person Pam

  47. I'm so sorry you had to lose your brother at such a young age. I'm also sorry you lost Princess Dakota to cancer too. I didn't know her story until today. I've lost 2 dogs to cancer.

    My father had 2 kinds of cancer and survived. Because of him, I volunteer for Relay For Life to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. 88% of all donations go towards cancer research.

  48. Live Strong - Fight Stronger!!
    Very touching post and an excellent tribute to Jack, Dakota, Phantom and all of those who have faced this before us and are currently in the fight.

  49. Thank you so much for sharing. I met you around the time you lost Dakota. I know it must be so scary to be dealing with this again but Phantom is strong and he will fight and win the battle. Just like my Mom did!
    I can't even imagine how hard that was for you to deal with Jack's passing. I think you are so right realizing now that it was a blessing but so devastating at the time. My grandpa on mom's side had colon cancer in the 70's as well. It was very hard to watch him go through all the treatments and suffer. I think that is one of the reasons my mom was so scared of her chemo.... thinking of what her dad dealt with. Thankfully there has been lots of research and advances since then and my mom was much more comfortable. Gosh! Sorry, I didn't mean to get so personal and tell you all my life history ;o)
    Give Phantom and the inseperables a hug from me.
    Hugs and love,

  50. I am hoping this comment will stay as yesterday I had several attempts. I just wanted to say that your post was so moving and so indicative of how this awful illness strikes. I amso sorry that you suffered losing one so young and know how much this can effect the whole famly. Your post brought back so many memories. I didnt post about them because my own brother is avery private person and I was not sure I should. I am though going to because I feel it should be honoured. With love Carol and GJ x

  51. I lost my mom to cancer on august 4, 1974. so strange. my beautiful princess girl, allie, crossed the bridge one year ago this month. i started following the doggie blogs around the time maxmom lost maxdog and angus lost digby (tho not to cancer). i find solice in this community though i don't have a blog of my own. and our paws continue to be crossed for handsome phantom :) thanks for the vulnerability of your post.

  52. Such a bootiful heawtfelt post. We will always wemembew bootiful Dakota and keep hew in ouw heawts and hope wif all ouw might that Phantom has defeated this dwead disease completely.
    What a moving and sad stowy of youw bwothew's twagic death auntie Kathie.
    I don't know anyone who's life has not been shaken by this howwibull disease.
    We will conquew it ..someday..I pway that it's soon
    in the meantime , we live stwong togethew
    smoochie kisses

  53. You slowed me down on a busy Sunday - this was a powerful and wonderful post. Of course I knew of the dogs, but now I really understand just how close to home this hits...

  54. thank you so very much for being so open in this post. it really touched me and asa and mama. we are so sorry that you lost your brother so suddenly to terrible cancer.
    we are lookin' forward to the day when cancer is a long distant memory. in the meantime, we will keep livin' strong in memory of your brother and princess dakota, and we will keep fightin' strong for phantom.

    the booker man

  55. wow. that was a beautiful tribute to all those you love. thanks for sharing. wish i was in the "loop" but i've been out of it.

    here's to Phantom living strong!

  56. Thanks for sharing your beautiful post.
    We all have to live strong every day.
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  57. What a beawootiful post! Thanks fur visiting our livestrong post too. As woo know, we have way too much pawsonal experience with cancer too. We're so happy Phantom is recovering, may h livestrong for many years to come!

    jack a-roo & miss moo

  58. This is a very important and personal post...thank you for sharing and caring!

  59. I'm sorry I missed this important day, but it's not too late to learn and remember. I hope Phantom will live happy and healthy for many more years. God bless you all!

    Doris and Gizzy :-)

  60. We still miss the beautiful Dakota although sense she is with you all even now.
    We just know that Phantom, like Dakota, will live strong.
    Thank you for sharing the story of Jack. We know how cancer can impact so suddenly and so very tragically.
    We have recently lost a friend in her thirties who had just given birth to her second daughter a year before.
    She too lived strong and even took part in the Race for Life event.
    She Lived Strong for her little children and how we hope to see a cure for cancer in our lifetimes.
    It has touched so many, devastated so many and yet at the same time unites us all.

  61. Jack's story exactly parallels what happened to my mom...only it was in 1976. Thank you for adding your voice in getting the word out. Everyday we pray that Phantom is safe from this evil disease and that the day will come soon when no living being suffers in the grip of this terrible monster.

  62. Each and everyday we sometimes forget other's are experiencing life altering situations as well. I THANK YOU & the pack for your kind words left. It means a lot to me.

    I too have a sister that was a breast cancer survior for 28 years. Last September, she was diangnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Out of the blue. Although shocking and devasting for us all, especially my beautiful sister (my 2nd mom), is Living Strong. She continues with her advanced treatments every other week. We are BLESSED to have her another day. My 32 year old daughter is also a cancer survivor along with her best friend.

    It just seems so unfair that this monster also attacks our beloved dog's and cat's.

    Thank you for helping to spread the word and & educate other's on this horrible monster. We too will pray for Phantom's 4ever healing.


    Hugs & smoochies! XOXO
    Hailey & Lala too


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