Tuesday, January 05, 2010

When one door shuts, another one opens...

We're working hard to try to get the new website set up.  Hopefully this is the final step.

To find us:  go to ~   www.imaginenocancer.blogspot.com

I hope to keep this journey going for a long time to come.  Don't forget to save this address under your favorites. :)
Dreaming Big, Doreen

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

I, like you, have checked the blog on a daily basis to see if my mom has written. After a day or two she usually logs on to tell us about her week, but this time I have noticed that we are almost to a week and I know that many of you are wondering if something is wrong. I wanted to take a few minutes to fill everyone in on the last week.

Since mom last wrote, there haven't been any medical updates. No news can sometimes mean good news, so we are fine with that. My mom hasn't had much of an appetite lately and that has been a little bit of a problem. She isn't nauseous, she just has difficult eating because she is always coughing. When she coughs as much as she does it's impossible to eat without vomiting. We've had some family discussions about staying on top of the food issue because her lack of food and/or water is affecting her ability to absorb her medicine properly. For those of you who have spoken with Dor on the phone the past week or so, you probably know what I'm talking about. She often sounds like she is heavily drugged up and has a difficult time holding a conversation for very long without falling asleep. It can be scary at times to hear her that way. With that being said, I know she is careful not to take too much medicine. She is very much aware of what she is doing, she just has a difficult time getting enough food into her system... but we are working on that.

My dad seems to be feeling alright this week, or at least he hasn't said anything that would make us believe otherwise. He took mom out for New Year's Eve so she could get out of the house and enjoy time with friends. She hadn't left the house since Christmas and with the weather being so dark and gloomy these days, I think he realizes how important it is to keep both of their spirits up. Jake & Megan spent the past week in San Diego and Dave and Val were in Eastern Washington so it was a quiet house for the most part. Sometimes quiet can be good, but this week, I think quiet was a little too quiet for everyone. I firmly believe that everyone, especially my parents right now, benefits from good company and smiling faces on a regular basis. I probably don't tell Jake and Megan thanks nearly as often as I should. I know they do a lot around my parents house and it certainly doesn't go un-noticed.

So, that is what you've missed from the past week. Mom has had better weeks, but she seemed upbeat on the phone today so maybe we are heading in the right direction. Dad is feeling pretty good, but some of that might have to do with the numerous college football bowl games that seem to be on every channel. As for the rest of us, we are hanging in there and remind each other daily how lucky and grateful we are.

After watching Farrah Fawcett's documentary back in May I had been wanting to read the book that just came out about her journey with cancer. I finally bought the book a few days ago and found that I couldn't put it down. I don't know much about Farrah Fawcett, but I will tell you, she sounds like a courageous woman who endured more than any of us could imagine, while doing her best to keep it out of the tabloids. She had dozens and dozens of surgeries and still continued to live life to the fullest. Reading the daily journal entries from the last three years of her life, I learned a lot. So many times I would read something and smile because I have literally said the same thing or felt the same exact way. As I was nearing the end of the book, there was a wonderful quote that put everything into perspective for me. It said, "Fear doesn't stop you from dying; it stops you from living". So that my friends is how I will leave you this evening. I encourage you to fear less and live more.

Sending our best from the Schmitt family to your family-
Happy New Year-

Monday, December 28, 2009

Special Gift today from Shannon's Brother Kevin

This morning I got a phone call from Angie and Shannon who were out celebrating Shannon's birthday. They called with some really special news from Shannon's brother in Oregon. Kevin works for a company who was looking for an organization to invest their yearly charity money on. Kevin immediately spoke up and said I know of one. One that is close to the hearts of people I love. With that being said, he gave a brief description of the Bonnie J. Addario association and the company agreed to give their generous donation to Bonnie and company in the amount of 12 thousand dollars. I can't begin to tell them how thankful and grateful we are as a family and an organization for their generosity. Mostly, I'm so proud of Kevin for speaking up and believing in a cause that is so close to his sister and her "other family".

Now that I've shared the great news, I must share my dilemma....I have 3 blogs left with this name attached. I really need the help of all my followers. Amy and I have been working on names tonight (problem is, most of them require a swear word and that's not a good thing). Some ideas: I pee my pants every time I cough.com, somebody make that cough go away.com, cancer sucks (already taken), continue to follow the journey.com. We would love to hear your ideas so enter them under the comment section....that way, everyone can give us their input.

If I haven't said it lately, thank you EVERYONE for your continued support. We are BLESSED and not a day goes by that we take that for granted.

Dreaming Bigger than ever,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT

Spending Christmas eve with my parents and all the kids was a great time. Mom and Dad were having a houseful at 6:00pm so we started our evening around 4:00pm so they could get home in time for their guests. After dinner and laughter we opened gifts and felt guilty about how lucky we really are.

The kids all left the house by 9:30 this morning (or last night) and we headed over to Jeff and Dawns for Christmas breakfast. The food was wonderful and the the little kids had so much fun waiting for their gifts left by Santa.

When Rick and I got home today my mom and dad came by and spent the afternoon with us. When they left, we both took a nap and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the day.

Nothing scheduled for tomorrow, but we'll have something worked out by the time we get up.

We're both feeling well tonight, hope you are too!

Dreaming Big,
Rick and Doreen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pre-Holiday excitement

The past few days have been filled with Christmas shopping, birthday parties, Lights of Christmas, scans and doctors appointments.

I'm attaching some photos from the my nephews birthday bowling party and a little bit of silliness from the lights of Christmas.

I think I'm just about done shopping. Ok, I AM done. If I've forgotten anything, it's too late and I'm sorry.....I'll remember to put you on the top of next years list. :)

Yesterday, Rick had a CT scan and today we got the results. As nervous and antsy as we were to hear what they had to say today, it ended up not too bad after all. Some of the tumors have grown but there are no new tumors (which is fabulous news). The plan is to keep Rick on the routine he's been on for at least one more month. If things are still growing and his numbers keep rising, they have a new game plan with the drug they injected into his liver in September. They will add a few extra toxins and see how that plan works. In the meantime, they will watch for some clinical trials that might fit his needs. The best part of the day is that we still have options and that is a GOOD THING. :)

I'm exhausted after a day of shopping and doctor's visits so I think I'm going to call it a night. Sleep well and don't be naughty.....

Love you more,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best Christmas Present Ever!

I woke up early on Thursday morning with the intent to help Megan make cookies...so as I sat around with my hair in a fuzz ball (literally), my jammies still on, wearing my chef Doreen jacket...the door bell rang. Much to my GREAT SURPRISE, standing on the front porch was "my Bonnie " Addario and her daughters Andrea and Danielle wearing Santa hats and smiles, carrying Starbucks mochas and presents. They chartered a plane to come to Stanwood for the DAY so we could spend some quality time together. Amy helped instigate the whole thing because she stood behind them at the door wearing her pearly white grin asking "are you surprised?"

In the short while we spent together, we visited, shopped around Stanwood and Camano, ate lunch at the Chatterbox, came home and talked, rested, then finished our evening out with Rick and I, all the kids and Bonnie's clan at Anthony's Homeport in Everett where laughter was our appetizer, main dish and dessert. I can't stop smiling as I write this because the day couldn't have been more perfect.

It's amazing to receive a gift that wasn't on your list, but you later learn you couldn't have lived without it.

A BIG thank you to everyone who was in on the surprise. My day could not have been more perfect~except for the tears as we had to say our good byes tonight :(

Dreaming Big and VERY ,VERY, HAPPY,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Day to Reflect

Today isn't just another day. Today is December 15th, 2009... the 18th Anniversary of my Grandma Darlene passing away from her battle with cancer. I never knew cancer until she was diagnosed. Every year, December 15th makes me stop and reflect. When I hear her name, I immediately think of her last few years battling the disease. Although I was only 14 when she died, I still have plenty of positive memories of her from my childhood... yet I think about the difficult days filled with chemotherapy and her uncomfortable wigs. It bothers me that I don't automatically think of the good times. It makes me sad to think that I could someday hear someone speak of my parents and my mind would take me back to cancer, yet again.

This week I found myself day-dreaming about my Grandma and comparing her battle to that of my parents. I think about her external port that hung outside of her chest and how difficult it was for her to keep it clean. She often needed the help of others to ensure it was functioning properly and kept clean so she wouldn't get an infection. Medicine has come a long way in the past 18 years. Both of my parents have internal ports that don't require cleaning, and certainly don't hang out of their chest as yet another reminder of their daily battle with cancer.

My Grandma experienced extreme nausea from her chemotherapy and from what I remember, very few drugs were available to help keep her sickness under control. In 3 1/2 years, I have never seen either of my parents vomit from their nausea. They experience discomfort, but medicine has advanced and there are numerous drugs that help them live a normal life.

I don't remember seeing my Grandma without a wig on once she began to lose her hair. I guess it's possible that I did, but I certainly don't remember it. Back then, nobody seemed to talk about cancer. You didn't have the pink ribbons on everything at the grocery store and you didn't hear about cancer walks or other fundraising events. Whether it was because she was self-conscious about losing her hair, or because it wasn't especially encouraged by society to walk around with a bald head, she always took the time to style a wig before leaving the house. When my mom started losing her hair, we got out the video camera, opened a bottle of wine, and had a head shaving party. My mom had professional pictures taken with her beautiful bald head exposed to the world for all to see. Although it was no doubt a shock for her to see her hair falling out, she embraced the moment and viewed it as a stepping stone to recovery. As medicine has changed, so has societies view of the disease.

My dad had chemo today and he learned that his CEA count has risen to 93. That means his cancer is active. He looked exhausted tonight and he seemed a little down. My mom was scheduled to have a procedure on Friday to help resolve her acid reflux problem and help her to control her cough, but it has been cancelled. She has decided to give her body some time to react to the new drugs before she chooses to operate. Everyone seems to agree with her choice to lay low and relax for the next few weeks so she can enjoy the holidays.

As my dad and I drove to the cemetery this evening to put roses on my Grandma's grave I thought about my dad and how he must be feeling. I quickly did the math in my head and realized that he wasn't much older than me when he lost his mom back in 1991. He watched her fight for her life with grace and strength and rarely complain about a thing. I wonder if he is scared. I wonder if he thinks of her everyday and wishes he could just pick up the phone and call her. I watch both of my parents going through this difficult time and I am so proud of them for not giving up and continuing to truly live. I have no doubt that they inspire people every day.

So, as we reflect on the past and think of the loved ones who we've lost, it's also the time to appreciate the present and be grateful for the advances in medicine and the advances in society as a whole. We have come a long way in 18 years but we still have a long way to go.

Wishing on the big bright star in the sky,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great Dr. Appointment

Sorry about the delay in the blog report but we had some sort of malfunction on bloggger.com

Here's what we learned yesterday. After an upper GI and a breathing test, they discovered that acid reflux is making it's way up my esophagus and back into my lungs. (That's not a good thing). The good thing is, we are going to approach my cough from a different angle. Instead of just treating the cough for "lung cancer", we are going to work on reducing or repairing the acid reflux problem and see if that makes a difference with the cough.

I felt a great deal of relief when I left my appointment yesterday because it's the first time in over 3 years that we weren't blaming the cough on lung cancer alone.

I need to make some serious adjustments to when I eat, not laying down flat, taking meds before meals, limit things that produce acid. It's only been one day, but so far, so good.

I'm hopefully optimistic that some great changes are coming my way. My fortune cookie said so tonight as well. :)

Dreaming Big,

Monday, December 07, 2009

990th Blog...the countdown begins

If I spread my blogging out just right, I'll be able to start the new year and a new blog at the same time. We'll see how that works out (I think it involves math...so that could be my first problem).

I'm looking forward to a day in Seattle at the Swedish Cancer Institute on Thursday (Val is going with me...we'll make a fun day of it). I hope to know some answers when I leave my final appointment. The day will be starting with some kind of test that they will perform while I'm swallowing to make sure my esophagus is working correctly, then I'll have a breathing function test to see if my windpipe and the surrounding areas are working (we already know the lungs are shot so I'm not expecting miracles when it comes to those). My final meeting of the day is with the pumnologist, Dr. Gordon who is going to explain why things haven't been working up to par for me.

Saturday night, Dave, Val, Rick and I went to a Yule fest at Tazer farm. It was a fundraiser for the Senior Center. As usual, lots of laughter took place (and not always at the most appropriate times) but we had a lot of fun. We'll have to put it on next years "to do list". After we left the Yule fest, we drove all around the neighborhood checking out the Christmas lights. The holiday is nearing...very quickly so you'd better not shout, you'd better not cry...you know why?

I spent the majority of the day wrapping gifts (it's such a relief to get the gifts stacked up out of one room and stack them into another) I say it every year, but I really am cutting back this year. None of need a thing and if we want it, we usually just go buy it. It actually feels so much better to give than to receive so we'll be doing that as well. Lot's of families need help this year I hope we can make a difference for their holiday too!

It's time for me to take a little afternoon nap (hopefully someone will wake me so I can work on dinner when Val gets back from the grocery store).

The winter freeze is upon us, so wear your hats, scarves and gloves when you go outside, drink some spiced cider and sit by the fire when you get home from work. The day doesn't get much better than that :)

Dreaming Cold and Big,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Specalist

Today I had a busy (but pleasant day with my parents by my side) at the office of a pulmonary specialist trying to figure out my problem (besides having lung cancer). First and foremost, he might have been the most attentive doctor I've ever seen. I think after reviewing my chart and looking at my CT scans he expected to see some withered, sickly woman who just seemed to cough a lot. Instead, he got me. We talked about all the ways coughing has ruined my body (through the violent coughing spells) and he said he would like to dig a little deeper into that problem instead of just covering it up with medicines to stop the cough. He also said, he wants to have all my tests run, a new pulmonary function test and the results back by next week so we can get a plan in motion so I can start feeling better for the holidays. I love that idea!

My mom has been to a few appointments with me but had never seen a CT scan result. He asked if we wanted to see my latest one and of course we said yes. As the doctor explained what it all meant, I could see my mom's eyes widen in dismay. My left lung is nearly fully of cancer so as you look at the CT scan it appears to be a white solid organ. In all actuality, the lung is suppose to show up black on the scan. My right lung shows signs of disease, but nothing like the left one. I've lived with this disease for nearly 4 years and I don't plan on letting it take over now. I'm just hoping with the help of Dr. Gordon we will find some other problem that is aggravating the cough besides the cancer.

When you know your body and something doesn't feel right, you have to keep fighting for yourself. The discomfort I've been feeling for the past few months is very different from how I felt at the time of my diagnosis. Come hell or high water....we're going to get to the bottom of the problem. Never give up....

Thanks for all your love and prayers!

Keep dreaming BIG,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Doctor's Visit

I had a check up appointment today (1/2 way point for the clinical trial). After my exam and talk with Dr. West, he is almost certain that no good is coming from the trial. He gave me the option to stop the drugs, but I only have one more week until this round is over so I said I would just keep taking it and after my next CT scan, I'll stop. We talked a lot about all the discomfort I have breathing and the pain in my windpipe, so on Wednesday I'm heading to see a pulmonologist so he can scope out my throat to see what's going on. The Doc said the problem is most likely progression of the disease rather than a windpipe problem. I didn't especially like that answer, but I needed to hear it just in case they can't find anything new when they do the scope.

Val took me to my appointment today and we brought our knitting. In between each appointment, we took out our knitting needles and yarn and gabbed like a couple of old women. Oh wait, we are a couple of old women. Tomorrow, Dave is taking Rick to his chemo. It's wonderful having friends around who help break up the monotony of our day to day routines.

I'm ready to head to bed now and sleep off the news of today. I'm hoping things are brighter for Rick tomorrow and I learn some good things on Wednesday.

Keep dreaming big,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Apple Cup Eve

For the first time in many years, I did not get up at the crack of dawn (or before) and go shopping. As a matter of fact, I didn't even get out of bed before some of the "specials" were over. Oh well, I'll never know what I missed. When Rick got home from work tonight, he and I took a quick trip to Burlington and bought a few things on our list then went out for dinner.

My daughters made me very happy on this Black Friday...they've taken over where I left off. Amy and Mel were shopping at midnight, and Angie and Shannon were out shopping by 8:00am. When they were younger, I had to DRAG them shopping on Black Friday. The past couple of years Rick and Jake went with me. Thanks girls...you've made me proud :)

Yesterday we had a wonderful day at my sister in law Vickie's for Thanksgiving. The food all looked so tasty but I was nauseous most of the day so I only had mashed potatoes and some fruit salad. Later on I was ready for a piece of cherry pie that my sister in law Dawn made especially for me (cherry is my favorite kind of fruit dessert). Still feeling nauseous today....good thing I didn't bring a bunch of leftovers home. Thanks for your hospitality Vickie and Tom. We had a great time.

I really am thankful for all the family I have near me. So many families have too many miles that separate them during the holidays and I think the farthest away that anyone lives is about an hour. It's easier to hug and snuggle when you live close.

Tomorrow is Apple Cup, Huskies vs. Cougars. Rick, Jake, Megan, Amy and Mel are all going to the game. I passed on it. A little too fatigued lately and it would be a really long day. Bob and Dy are coming over tomorrow to visit so I'll be busy visiting them. Just for the sake of it, Go Cougs!

It's time for me to head off to bed. I'm hoping to take all the girls to the Skagit Nursery to see their Christmas tree displays on Sunday. It's a beautiful sight and worthy of missing a football game or two.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Sunday Morning

Last night was the 4th annual Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Gala. Although, I did not to go because of our new treatments and the way I'd been feeling, I had them on my mind all day. As Amy was helping with the set up during the day I called her to see how things were going and before long, I was crying, wishing I was on plane on my way to San Francisco to see my "other family". I'm sure the event was beautiful, successful and insightful...I'm just sorry I wasn't there to see it. Apparently I didn't win the car or bracelet because no one called to inform me. Maybe next year.

Megan and I went to a Bazaar yesterday morning to support my friend Kim's children's home in Bali. We bought some beautiful Balinese baskets and a few other things. By the looks of it, she had a very successful day too. Before we left Snohomish, we had to stop by a few of my favorite little stores in downtown...I ended up buying a couple of Christmas presents.

When I returned home, I laid down for my afternoon nap until Rick woke me for dinner with some friends in Mt. Vernon. We had a great time but all in all it made for a long day.

I just got up to take some medicine to stop coughing, but I think I'm going to head back to the bedroom and snuggle with Rick while we watch the Seahawk game.

Have a fabulous day. Stay warm and dry!

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Newest Updates

So sorry it's taken me so long to get back on the blog, but life has been a little more hectic than usual.

Rick's appointment on Tuesday went pretty much as we had figured. The tumors are all bigger and he has some new ones as well. He is going to try 3 more cycles of a new combination and see how things are going. If his scans show stability we'll just keep doing the same thing. If not...we have a new game plan to look at. The most important thing is he's not in pain or discomfort. He doesn't feel much different than he has these past few years (except he's a little more fatigued than usual)

My clinical trial side effects are coming back, nausea, fatigue but with a little patience, I can tolerate all of that. My wide pipe problem seemed to be feeling better (last week), but I'm really struggling with it again. I wish I knew what was causing the discomfort, but again...we just need a little patience.

Angie had another successful "soup for a cure day". Our friend Larry Libby joined us and brought a batch of cod chowder (yummy). In only 2 short lunches, they collected over a thousand dollars. Pretty successful for lunch :) Today's lunch had some special guests, grandma Myrna, Grandpa Bob, Amy and Jana Shaughnessy.

Amy, Mel, and our friends Trevor and Lindsey are heading down to Bonnie's Gala this weekend. Trevor's mom passed away recently from lung cancer after her short diagnosis (2 months). I think it's important that they meet Bonnie and her family in person. There is nothing better than positive energy around a sad situation. I know my San Francisco family and my Stanwood family will take good care of them. (Thanks in advance).

Cancer can teach you so much. I've been learning about it for almost 4 years. But...days like today, I can't find any good reason to have it in my life. I've been sleeping all afternoon because a luncheon wore me out. Rick has been asleep in his chair since he got home from a hard day at work. Our friends and the kids help with clean up, bringing in firewood, general day to day chores. Those used to be our jobs but we have to start making choices to help with those kind of things or keep our energy for fun stuff. (I'm choosing the fun)

I know Angie wrote about it, but I wanted to give a special shout out to Jan Schemenauer for her fund raising efforts for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation last weekend. Thank you Jan for helping raise awareness to Lung Cancer. We all love you.

It's time for me to get to bed. (Not because I haven't been there all day, but because I'm still tired). I'm getting an extra dose of beauty sleep :)

Dreaming Big,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Short Weekday Update

As you can tell, it's been a very laid back week. Back to taking the clinical trial (which keeps me sort of groggy), today I started getting a little nauseous today (nothing bad....yet). Besides a trip or two to the grocery store, a little knitting and a few visits from friends the week flew by.

We don't have much planned for the weekend except a little game of Bunco with some friends tomorrow night. I haven't played Bunco in forever so I'm looking forward to it.

Next week we'll get the test results from Rick's CT scan and I'll be sure to share what we learn.

Have a safe and happy weekend,
Big Dreamer Dor

Monday, November 09, 2009

Where we go from here

It turned out to be another long day in Seattle. First to Seattle Cancer Care for Rick's CT, then over to Swedish for my bloodwork, CT then follow-up appointment. We left around 6:45am and got home at 5:00pm ugh!

My CT scan shows only minimal growth so I can remain on this clinical trial as long as I chose to do so. Until something new comes along..I say, .keep me signed up. The CT scan didn't indicate why I'm having trouble with my windpipe, but Dr. West gave me 2 new kinds of medicine that will hopefully start working on my cough and breathing problems. I'll try anything once (ok, maybe twice). I know the appointment went fine, I wasn't told they couldn't do anything else for me, but I left the doctor's office feeling a little defeated. My breathing/coughing/shortness of breath is beginning to make me go a little crazy and I was hoping for a quick solution to the problem.

We won't know anything about Rick until next Tuesday at his chemo appointment. We do know, that what they're doing right now isn't working as planned so we need to mix his chemo cocktail a little stronger :) I've got a few ideas that involve a marachino cherry and a paper umbrella.

Thanks to Amy who went with us today. She helped keep me sane and snuggled with me at the end of our appointment when we had to wait about an hour for the clinical trial coordinator. Rick did his fair share of taking cat naps throughout the day. He's much more fatigued than usual so it only takes a comfortable chair and a little peace and quiet...and he can fall asleep in a minute.

Thanks for all your love and prayers today. They lift us up more than you'll ever know :)

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Weekend of Goodness

A team of "Doreen Supporters" showed up at Seward Park in Seattle this morning at 8:30 AM to participate in the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer walk. Nine of us planned to walk the 3 miles as a group and Jake decided to run. We bundled up with hand-warmers, scarves and hooded sweatshirts to prepare for what was sure to take us a little while. The landscape was beautiful with leaves on the ground and the lake at our side. That is, until we noticed that there was a HILL on the course just before the 2 mile marker. Who in their right mind designs a lung cancer walk/run with a HILL? It was hard enough for Mom to walk that distance on flat ground with her compromised lungs!! With her determination and spirit, she wanted to try it anyway. With about a half mile to go, we were greeted by Jake and another group of Stanwood friends that were there walking in memory of Pam Smith and in honor of Mom. They walked the rest of the way with us and supported Mom as she crossed the finish line at 1 hour and 7 minutes. We have great friends and we appreciate their support very much. Jake, our solo runner, ended up finishing in third place (21 minutes) and won a medal. Way to go Jake! Mom struggled breathing today and kept telling us that she did "so much better" at Bonnie's walk in San Francisco at the end of the summer. Let's blame it on the cold, moist weather and nothing else.

Jan Schemenaur hosted a weekend of Southern Living at Home parties with the proceeds benefiting the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the local Food Bank. Thank you Jan for all that you do to support these important causes.

Tomorrow both of my parents have appointments in Seattle. They will each get a CT Scan but only Mom is scheduled to find out the results. They will review the results and decide on her next treatment plan. It may remain the same, it may change. We will let you know tomorrow night. As for Dad, his results and future plan of action will be decided on at his appointment next week.

Dream Big my friends...


Free to Breathe

I'm suppose to be asleep right now because I'm waking up at 5:30 to get ready for the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer walk in Seattle on Sunday morning. As usual, I took a nap this afternoon and didn't wake up until 6:00pm. oops..... Now, I'm having problems falling back to sleep.

I hope to have stories and photos to share after our big adventure tomorrow (actually today). I'll share them in my next blog.

Love to you all,

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Good news...and not so good news....

With all your votes, the Stanwood Spartans will be the featured "Game of the Week" on King 5 this week. Thanks again for helping make a dream come true. I'm sure the staff and players on the football team are thrilled knowing that they will be featured this week on TV.

Angie wants to give a special shout out to all the people who made her Soup for a Cure debut such a hit. They raised nearly $900 dollars...for the fight against Lung Cancer. She has another Soup day scheduled in 2 weeks. If you're in the Marysville area on Thursday the 19th and would like to join us, stop by Shoultes Elementary School between 11:30 and 1:00 for some soup, bread and dessert. Amy came by on her her lunch break today and helped out. It was a special day raising awareness with my daughters.

We got some "not so good news" yesterday from Rick's oncologist. He is concerned about Rick's counts so they are scheduling a new CT scan for Monday to see what kind of changes are happening inside his body. The doctor already mentioned adding a new drug to his chemo cocktail to strengthen it up. We'll find out the results of his scan during his next chemo appointment. I'm already scheduled to have a CT scan on Monday, so we'll just get it all taken care of during one trip. We'll stay in Seattle a couple of hours longer so my doc can meet with me and give me some test results. If the clinical trial didn't work, we've gotta move on to something new. I also need to find out why my windpipe is feeling so plugged.

Let's pray for a little sunshine on Sunday for our Free to Breathe Lung Cancer Walk at Seward Park in Seattle. We're all from the Great Northwest, so a little rain won't hurt us...I just don't want it to mess up my hair. Oh wait, I don't have enough hair to mess up. I think I'll just wear a cap and we should be good to go.

Keep Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Vote for the Spartans :)

Although, I've retired as the athletic secretary for Stanwood High School, my heart can't forget about all the kids and coaches I've worked with. So, I have a favor....

In the past, my blog followers have helped me achieve all kinds of goals so I'm asking for your help again. Our high school football team made it to the playoffs and if we get enough votes, the game will be covered by King 5 sports (see the attached information below). So, if you have an extra minute, please follow the link listed below and vote for the STANWOOD vs. BOTHELL game to be the featured game of the week. The voting closes at 1:00pm tomorrow.

*At King-5 TV we are committed to covering High School sports and try our
best each week to cover our region, but we have also started up something
called "The King-5 Big Game of the Week", where we give extra time to this
game with live reports from the game during the 5, 6:30, 10 and 11 news on

To vote log on to king5.com and click on sports or go to the link below:


Thanks for your vote.

Go Spartans,

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Chemo day for Rick

Rick's doctors appointment went well today...the CEA count continues to rise but he still feels good. I think it was the fastest chemo treatment we've ever been to (we were in an out of SCCA by noon). They have a new system at Seattle Cancer Care...I think it's working :)

With November being Lung Cancer Awareness month, I have a few things lined up (just in case I forget I have lung cancer). Thursday is soup day at Angie's school (I'll bring a soup, my appetite and money), Friday through Sunday is Jan Schemenauer's annual fundraiser for the food bank and The Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (I'll bring food, my appetite and money), then on Sunday morning a group of us are participating in the Seattle Free to Breathe Walk at Seward Park (I'll just be bringing my lungs...let's hope they have some extra air in them). If you're interested in learning more about it, go to www.FreetoBreathe.org

This is the week when I'm suppose to be feeling a lot better. I'm not as nauseous, but I am VERY fatigued (when we got home from Rick's appointment today around 1:00 I laid down and woke up around 6:15pm - oops, there goes all my sleep for tonight). On Monday I have a CT scan and the test results to see how this drug is working.

Time to get my jammies on and settle in for the night. Sleep well :)

Love you more than all the leaves blowing around in our yard.

Dream Big,

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween

Not much excitement went down this Halloween. I went to the grocery store and the only thing that scared me was the amount of money I spent. I only went to the store for 4 items and spent ninety dollars, oops!

We had a total of 7 trick or treaters (6 of them had special bags with extra prizes and toys in them) and one poor little kid I didn't know was coming got half the basket of candy instead. We had 2 ninjas, 2 fairies, the bride of zombie, a monkey and a lion. We all just took showers and went as clean versions of ourselves (no need in scaring the kids).

Yesterday, Shannon's office dressed and decorated their offices to look like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She was an upaloompa. (I'll post photos when I get some). Her office won an award for the best decorated room. Megan's office was dressed as Three's Company and she was Mrs. Roper. She looked pretty cute too...gawdy jewelry, dress and strawberry blonde curly wig. Angie went as Fred Flinstone for all her students....I'm sure they loved it...even if they didn't remember who Fred Flinstone was :)

I'm hoping the kids are all coming by for a day of football tomorrow. We haven't celebrated a football Sunday in a couple of weeks and I look forward to those days. Since the Seahawk game is at 10:00am, I think I'll make waffles....

Rick has chemo again this Tuesday and I'm hoping to have all my energy back by then. I'm finding myself asleep around 3:00 everyday from a little batch of exhaustion. That is suppose to be getting better ever day. Let's hope by Tuesday...it's gone. :)

I guess I'd better get back into bed. I woke up with a little coughing spell and figured there's no better time than now, to say hi.

Hope you had a safe Halloween...now Happy November...Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Love you more,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Final pill taken, first round DONE

That clinical trial flew right by. This morning I took my 28th pill and now I take the next 2 weeks off to recuperate. The nausea is under control but I'm still a little more fatigued than usual.

This morning my parents went with me to my doctor's appointment in Fremont. I saw a specialist regarding my "throat/windpipe problem". My problem isn't so much in swallowing, but rather breathing deeply, coughing and gasping for air. I feel like my windpipe has been crushed or injured. The gastroenterologist suggested that we wait and look at the CT scan on the 9th of November to see if the problem is my lymph nodes pressing on my trachea. If that's not the problem, he has suggested doing a new bronchoscopy to see if they can see any problem in the windpipe or entrances into my lungs. If that doesn't give us any solutions, we'll switch to plan B. I don't know what plan B is, but I'm sure they're drawing up the plans as I type this.

When we were done at my appointment, I took Mom and Dad out for Mom's birthday lunch. I asked her where she wanted to go, then I hinted we could eat at her favorite casino so she could play a little. She assured me they had good prime rib dips so going to the casino would be "JUST FINE". We all played the slot machines for a few minutes before we ate, then again after lunch. I ended up going home with 15 dollars more than I started with....Yahoo, that's what I call a winner.

Now that we've been gone most of the day, I'm ready for a nap. Luckily, Megan started dinner before she left for work today (she doesn't start until 1:00pm on Wednesdays) so I don't have to worry about that tonight. I haven't been sleeping well lately, so by 4:00pm I'm usually wiped out.

Rick has been feeling pretty good lately too. So far, they are sticking with the same plan he has been on since December 30th of last year. As long as the cancer stays relatively stable, he will most likely just continue with the same plan.

Heading off for a little afternoon nap,
Dreaming Big~

Monday, October 26, 2009

Soup for a Cure

As we come to the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month let me remind you that another important month is right around the corner. November is National Lung Cancer Awareness month. You wont find special yogurt lids to send in or see the NFL players/coaches/ officials wearing uniquely colored gear to celebrate this upcoming month. However, that shouldn't stop us from bringing awareness to this disease that plagues someone new every three minutes!

I have decided to start a new tradition this November and I am looking for volunteers to join me in this quest. Beginning next week I will be holding the first annual "Soup for a Cure" at my school in Marysville. Throughout the month I will be providing soup lunches (with bread and dessert) for my staff at lunch time with all donations benefiting the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. This will be a great opportunity to supply my co-workers with a fresh, warm lunch and fund a cause that is dear to my heart. I have created a flier that I would be happy to send to anyone interested in hosting "Soup for a Cure" at their place of employment or church. You may choose to host this event on a weekly basis throughout the month or simply pick a single day to host your "Soup for a Cure."

In addition to hosting the "Soup for a Cure" events in November I would also like to see how many businesses we can convince to displaying "November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month" on their reader-boards. I would like photographs of all such reader-boards to post on the blog.

If you are interested in hosting a "Soup for a Cure" event, would like to donate to our November fundraising goals or would like to donate your culinary skills by making a pot of soup for our events, please email me at schmitt_12@hotmail.com

Thanks again for your continued support!

Dreaming Big-


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fatigue is a dirty word

Be watching for a new blog site. With less than 20 entries left until I've filled my quota, I need to start thinking of a new name....I could use your help. Who would have known that "cancersurvivor2006.blogspot.com" would have lasted almost 4 years? I need something catchy, easy to remember and pass on.

As you can tell it's 6:30am and I'm up. I've been awake for about an hour (hoping it was just a dream that I was already awake) but no such luck. The only things bothering me right now are my constant state of being nauseous (I have meds to control that) and the overwhelming state of fatigue. I want to read but my eyes won't stay open. I want to knit, but I can't get my hands to move in the right direction. After brief little naps, I take full advantage of doing the things I can, starting dinner, unloading the dishwasher, a little knitting, doing laundry....then it hits me again and I lay down on my bed for what I think is going to be a couple of minutes....and it's 2 hours later when I wake up. The good part? I only have 6 pills left to take for this cycle of chemo then I have 2 weeks off. I've got an appointment with a doc from Swedish to do an endoscope of my esophagus to see what's going on down there. I can only describe the pain as though I have a bone caught in my throat when I cough, swallow too hard, or breathe too deep. I know my body all too well and this is definitely something different. I'm hoping that once I'm done with this cycle of chemo pills that my body will start to feel like it's old self again.

Rick's chemo went well again on Tuesday. As for now, he is just scheduled for his regular routine of chemo drugs every other Tuesday until December. After that, we'll re access our plans.

Megan has been coming down with a respiratory infection of some kind, so she spends every moment she's home down in their basement apartment. If she does have to come upstairs for anything, she wears a blue protective mask with a duck face printed on the front. We're all hoping she gets better soon.

Dave and Val's house is nearing it's final stages. I know they're anxious to get all moved in and start their new life over near Leavenworth, but I'm already missing them.

Shannon had another spot of melanoma removed from her chest on Monday. Angie and I stayed in the room while they cut it out (oh my goodness they take a lot of skin for just a tiny mole). I know it's uncomfortable to have to go through this, but she's much happier to do it now while the cancer is in it's early stages rather than wait until it's out of control.

Amy stopped by last night while I was just laying down for a quick little rest. Poor thing, didn't get much time to visit with me since I was so out of it, but I got to snuggle with her until it was time for her to leave. I love that time with my kids.

Ok, I think it's time for me to head back to bed for a little early morning nap. I'm hoping to go to lunch today with some old friends...I hope I wake up in time.

Dreaming Big,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dor's Side Effect Update

I took mom to the doctor's office in Seattle this afternoon to see why her skin is looking yellowish...or "tan" as we like to call it. Also, there were concerns about her thyroid levels being elevated. Dr. West cleared up any concerns we had about the thyroid levels, telling us that he has seen much higher levels from users of this drug. He told us not to be worried. As far as the skin color, he pretty much said..."things could be worse so embrace that it's just a tan". He doesn't have concerns about any of the new changes.

Mom mentioned the feeling in her chest that has been causing her discomfort. She describes it as the "I think I swallowed a wishbone" feeling. Dr. West is taking that discomfort seriously and has scheduled a few appointments for mom. Nothing will change until her last nine days of this trial are over, but after that she will be getting a CT scan to see what's going on inside her chest, and an endoscopy to see what is going on inside her throat. If the new discomfort is being caused by swollen lymph nodes, she will likely start radiation to attack those spots and lessen the discomfort. In the mean time, he told her not to eat any chicken bones. :)

Overall, I guess the appointment went well. Hearing the word "radiation" was something new, but it wasn't scary. Knowing that her thyroid is within reasonable limits and her new tan is nothing to be frightened about gives us hope.

Another day in paradise-

Early Morning

Rick has been unable to sleep for the past couple of hours and since he can't sleep, I guess my body doesn't want to sleep either. I attempted to knit (but I needed to concentrate too much) so I gave that up. Now I'm just watching the news which is sad so I'm thinking about putting my ipod on and just listen to music instead.

This afternoon I have an appointment with Dr. West at Swedish. I've spent way too much time in a state of fatigue lately and my thyroid counts were way off on Wednesday so they want to check me out again just to make sure everything is ok. I only have about 10 days of pills left in this cycle then I have 2 weeks off. I'm looking forward to that!

I guess I'd better try and get a little shut eye before it's time to wake up again. I'll let you know how my appointment goes this afternoon.

Dreaming Big with my eyes wide open at 4:30am... ugh!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Take my breath away....

When I used to say "wow, that took my breath away", it was a good thing. I had seen something beautiful, heard a speech or song that was unforgettable, but now...it means I probably walked from one end of the house to the other, made my bed, or unpacked groceries. Cancer has been attempting to kick my butt lately, but I won't cave in to it's evil ways.

This new trial drug is building up in my body a little more each day. It's now 12:30 am, I went to bed before 10 and I'm already up because I'm having problems sleeping. I talked to the oncologist today and my thyroid tests were off the chart on Wednesday and I'm looking a little yellow (tan) so we're going to head back to Seattle on Monday to see what's really happening inside my body. I feel like I have something caught in my throat all the time so we might be doing another bronchoscopy soon to check it out.

My eyes are starting to get heavy right now, so I'll try to head back to bed. I promise to write more in the morning (or whenever I get up).

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dr.'s Visit

I had a list of things to ask Dr. West during my visit today (Wednesday) all of which he said were pretty normal side effects of this drug. He is changing my anti-nausea drug in hopes that I can get a little extra relief from always feeling like I need to throw up. :) That will be nice. I was just going to go the appointment by myself until my friend Pam heard I was doing it alone...and jumped on the band wagon. I kept telling her I was fine and didn't need a helper, but now I'm so happy she went. I like and extra set of ears listening to what the doc has to say. I now just need to finish my bottle of pills, take a couple of weeks off then get a new scan. We'll know within the next month if this stuff is working.

I've really been experiencing shortness of breath, the usual cough (but not a very deep one), some kind of blockage in the middle of my chest (that seems to come and go), and a great deal of fatigue along with a few other new symptoms. Nothing a Big Dreamer can't overcome. :)

Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm not always sleeping well which is why I'm writing this blog at 1:00am. Oops. I need to get back to bed.

Rick says he's feeling "pretty good" but he seemed a little under the weather tonight when he came home. Hopefully the cabbage patch soup I fixed for dinner was just what he needed.

I'd better try and get a little sleep before morning arrives and I'm still up working on the blog.

Love you more than the blustery weather we had today....

Keep Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Seahawk Sunday :)

This weekend was a busy one. We delivered frozen beef to Spokane to Bob and Dy which gave us a great chance to visit. We haven't been over to see them in way too long. Every time we go over to see them they've done something beautiful to their house, like painted a wall, built a bar, made a fence. I'm always envious, but I'll get over it. Way too much work to try and keep up :)We had a wonderful time but I already miss them.

After leaving Spokane yesterday afternoon, we went to Desert Aire to do a little winterizing before the bad weather sets in. I think we made it just in time. It was 19 degrees in Spokane, and 31 degrees at DA. While we were there we got to see Susie, Pat, Eric and Joe as well as Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel. We've made our visiting rounds for at least the next couple of weeks.

We've got a fire built (upstairs and down), Megan is making a pot of chili for dinner, the Seahawks were on fire today (theywon 41 - 0). All in all, I think today's a WINNER.

Besides battling nausea, leaving my cell phone at home, forgetting my sleeping pills, and not bringing a coat everything else this weekend was great. I have my first follow-up appointment with Dr. West on Wednesday. I'm anxious to see how he feels things are going.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Beautiful Day :)

Since I'm home alone, I thought what a better time than now to take a self-portrait of myself with my new hairdo. I'm wearing one of my newest green scarves (that I knitted) and squatting by my front porch greenery in hopes that you would not notice how "green" I'm feeling inside. This is me on Sutent. Yesterday while I was suppose to be the good wife who was caring for her husband while he was having chemo...I had to go to my doc for some anti-nausea meds so I could make it through the day. I've now loaded my purse with all the appropriate medications needed for coughing, feeling queasy and fatigued. I'm set to go.

Chemo went well for Rick yesterday, but boy...was it a long day. We left for Seattle around 12:00 and got home at 8:30 last night. Ugh. While we were wasting time between appointments, we both got a flu shot. I'd forgotten about it until I raised my arm this morning. It's much better this afternoon. If you haven't had yours yet, don't forget. Once the swine flu vaccine comes out, you can get that one too. The needles aren't very long and the bleeding stops once they put a band aid on. Just kidding...I barely felt a thing!

We'll find out in the next few days if they are going to try to do another angiogram/chemo embolization on Rick's liver or if that option is off the table. Either way, chemo will continue and our attitudes will be great!

Hope this beautiful weather is finding you healthy and happy.

Lots of LOVE from the Schmitt House,


Monday, October 05, 2009

33 blogs left

As I write blog number 966 I can hardly remember all the things I've shared with you. I never imagined that 3 1/2 years later I would still be here to send updates of life in the Schmitt House :) How thankful I am that I was mistaken. When I get to number 1,000 I'll tell you the name of my new blog site in case you want to stay in touch. Here is a little more...about our life.

Tomorrow is another chemo day for Rick. He's been feeling pretty good lately and that makes me happy. He's been well enough to be outside cutting wood and doing some of the things that make him feel like his old self. He came inside after working this weekend and sort of plopped on his chair. He isn't very good at determining when he's done too much.

I've been faithfully taking my new drug Sutent. It's caused a little nauseousness and extra fatigue, but it's all manageable. My cough however, is driving me a little crazy. I've been using the nebulizer more frequently to try and stop a coughing episode before it starts along with a cough suppressant. It seems to be working.

We'll be getting our flu shots tomorrow...don't forget to get yours. Just a reminder, if you rub it out after the injection, it won't hurt as bad the next day :)

Halloween is just around the corner, I wonder what my kids are going to dress like? Clowns?

Dreaming Big,

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Updates

I'm not sure if it's the change in weather or just what, but my coughing spells have been happening more often and more intense. Although I don't feel fatigued yet, I find myself sleeping every afternoon for no apparent reason. I think it must just be a side effect.

I'm up writing this blog right now because I'm feeling too nauseous to lay down. Once all the side effects show up, I'll be able to manage them with breathing, or meds or a cold rag on my head (my mom always did that...I think it works for everything).

Rick has been feeling great this week. I'm so happy about that. I feel like I have my old Ricky back. Let's hope he stays that way. Quality of Life is so important :)

I'm going to go lie back down again. Hope I'm feeling better by morning.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pill #1

About an hour ago, I got the call that I could take my first chemo pill for the trial. So, we've only just begun...but I'm feeling GREAT about it.

(They are not worried about my abnormal EKG...it just throws an extra beat in every once in a while...I told them it's because my heart is so big it needs to beat more often).

Love to you all,

Extra long day

After a day of CT scans (Brain, chest, pelvis, abdomen), blood work, urine sample, EKG I was exhausted to say the least. I learned a great deal about this clinical trial. The medication is very expensive (we don't have to pay for it because I've joined the trial) so they aren't sure how long it will be available on a trial basis. I got to bring the medication home with me, but I can't start taking it until all my test results come back ok. I know when I left yesterday that my EKG was abnormal but they're not sure why. It could just be from coffee. Let's hope it's nothing major that disqualifies me from joining this clinical trial. I didn't get home until after 5:30pm. The oncologist will call me by 10:00am today to give me thumbs up on whether I'm a good candidate. I believe I am....now we just have to wait and see what he says.

The side effects are the basic expected ones: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, FATIGUE, headaches, along with some other nasty things that only happen in 1% of the people. I never had problems with Tarceva so I have complete confidence this will work for me as well.

Both Rick and Amy went to my appointment with me, but neither of them came back home with me. Amy stayed in Seattle, and Rick went to the Mariner game with his friend Todd.
Rick and Todd got to sit in the Carl's Jr. Box Suite for the game, but before the game started, they were taken down on the field, shown places they didn't even know existed at Safeco Field , then had a wonderful dinner in their suite. They both had a wonderful time.

I'm writing this blog, half asleep so I'd better go get a little more rest before I start my day.

Love you more than all the raindrops that landed on the Pacific Northwest yesterday. It looks like summer is about over and fall has arrived.

Dream Big,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Busy House, Lots of Love

Our full house is working out great. We're still working on who's in charge (me). They've all decided not to argue with me because I'll probably win. Having our friends and family fill our house at a time when they need us most gives me a wonderful feeling. I'm so glad our house is big enough to hold us all. It's even big enough for the whole family to be here for football Sundays and anything else we might plan.

Amy and Mel spent this weekend over at Desert Aire with some family friends (Trevor and Lindsey). They worked on landscaping and any other job that needed a little TLC. I hope they had a great time (after all their hard work). I'm not sure how we'll make it up to them but something will come along when they need us and we'll be there for them. I think it's been good for us to have a houseful of love. Cancer doesn't seem to be in the forefront anymore. I'm liking that.

Rick's energy has been good this weekend. He was out mowing lawns, and cutting wood...all the things he loves to do but hasn't had the strength to do it. His sense of humor and smarty pants attitude have joined us as well. It makes my heart happy to have him "back".

I got a message on Friday from Dr. West's clinical coordinator and it looks like I'll start the clinical trial on Tuesday. I have to call her tomorrow for the schedule but I'm ready whenever they are.

Yesterday afternoon Pam and I joined Angie, Shannon and their friend Martha from Portland for lunch at the Conway Tavern. What a busy day it was (the beginning of the "Oyster Run"...whatever that means). Shannon and Martha hadn't seen each other in a while so they stayed up late on Friday night to visit and drink a little red wine. Needless to say, time and wine got away with them and they didn't have near as much fun as we did during lunch. I hope they're both feeling better today.

Tomorrow is Megan's 1st day of her internship. I'm sure it's a scary feeling but she'll do just fine. It seems like so long ago that Jake (and Angie) were doing their student teaching and the time flew by like a hurricane. Best of luck Megan, believe in yourself and remember...you're not suppose to know everything...yet :)

I'm back in the knitting mood again so be ready to get a scarf. Every time I finish one, I think....hey, I like the colors in that one...maybe I'll keep it. I'm addicted to them and I need to start giving them away. So, if you see me out someplace with a scarf on my neck and you like it, let me know...I might just give it away.

My hair is almost getting long enough to comb. I'm hoping this new chemo don't make my hair fall out. I'm starting to like my new "do".

Love you more than all the pumpkins in the pumpkin patches,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Late night with Doreen

After Rick's long day in Seattle, we've learned that he is still ineligible to have the chemo embolization in his liver again, at least for the next 6 weeks. It looks like a few of the lesions on his liver have gotten bigger, but he said that could be from the inflammation caused by the chemo. Let's pray it's nothing more than that. I'm still holding out for some good news, but until then...we'll keep looking for our own good news.

I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday. Still taking antibiotics and Tylenol to keep the fever away. I was so thankful to have Amy take Rick to his appointments today, and to have Megan here at the house with me. I was able to rest, and Amy did her best to harass her Dad every chance she got. He needed a little of that :)

It's almost 1:00am and I'm having trouble sleeping, so I'd better call it a night and try to catch a little shut eye.

Love you the MOST...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Early Morning Update

After a nice day with Megan (we stopped for a coffee drink, then went to Costco and the grocery store) I got home and within about an hour I was coughing like a maniac and my fever spiked to almost 102. I started taking Tylenol immediately. We got a hold of my doctor and he called in an antibiotic and by 8:00pm I was feeling better. I woke up this morning to another rough coughing spell but after taking my new cough syrup,I'm starting to feel better.

Today is chemo for Rick along with a follow up appointment with Dr. Kooy (his liver surgeon). I'm in no shape to take him, so Amy is filling in for me. We'll be getting the results of his latest CT scan as well. Let's hope all is well. Thanks Amy!

It's time for me to head back to bed and try to get some more rest. Have another wonderful sunny day :)

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spectacular Sunday with the Family

The house was full of Seahawk fans and the smell of Thanksgiving in the air. We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and corn on the cob. Dessert was non other than....pumpkin pie. Although the Seahawks lost, we all felt like winners with our tummies full.

Jake and Megan are all moved in. (who would have known that our basement made such a cute apartment?) It was great to see all the girls. With everyone so busy at their jobs we haven't seen much of each other. We talk nearly every day, but that's not the same as a hug and/or a snuggle.

I've got lots of phone calls to make and appointments to arrange for both Rick and I. So, first thing in the morning, I'll be playing secretary and getting our schedules all in order.

I'm pretty tired after such a busy day, so until tomorrow...sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

And...don't forget to DREAM BIG.

Love, Dor

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

I had a fun afternoon with Val yesterday. We ran some errands and shopped for new items for her house such as, light fixtures, faucets....all those fun things that finish off the project.

As soon as we arrived home, I put on some warmer clothes to go to the Stanwood Spartan football game with Rick. Angie and Shannon met us there, as did my dad and uncle Richard. It was a good game but we lost 17-21. Maybe next time :( It was nice to see some old friends who I haven't talked to in a while. My friend Sue was at the game from Lake Stevens (we were old athletic secretaries together). We could talk for hours, but I knew I was there to watch the game so we only chatted for 2 quarters. Oops!

Today, we moved Jake and Megan into our downstairs "apartment". With all the help from Megan's parents, and Dave and Val we got it done in no time. It's really starting to feel like "home" to them already.

Tomorrow is Football Sunday and all the kids are coming over. I've decided we're having turkey dinner (during halftime). It's only a couple of months early but I figured why not start getting ready for Thanksgiving? I'm looking forward to a houseful of my favorite people. Family, Football, and Food...does it get any better?

Sleep well and have a spectacular Sunday. I love you more than all the stars in the sky tonight...

Dream Big,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Appointment

Today, Megan and I met with Dr. Jack West, a lung cancer oncologist (he specializes in BAC) and he was excited for me to learn about my options. Currently, there is a clinical trial that is meant for people with Bronchioaveolar Carcinoma who never smoked....namely,ME. There is also a clinical trial that is closed but he anticipates it will be reopening sometime soon and that also has my name written on it.

So, between now and the next couple of weeks, I'll need a new scan, a brain MRI and and EKG. After they make sure I'm in good shape, I'll begin taking a daily pill for 4 weeks then have 2 weeks off. After the 6 weeks are up, we'll scan again and see how things are looking.

Megan and I both agreed that he is very knowledgeable and clearly has his patients best interests in mind. I feel really lucky to be a part of this new team of doctors.

I was so anxious about my appointment today that I drove half the way in the HOV lane and I was all by myself (I was meeting Megan in Seattle). Oops. I could have had a whopper of a ticket.

I'm very excited about starting on my next journey to survival. Glad you're all here to do it with me.

Keep dreaming big,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Be SMART... for only $100

As many of you know, the Schmitt family always tries to participate in fundraising events for Bonnie's foundation. When I saw the email this morning about the fundraiser for her November event, I knew I needed to post it on here. Many people have donated to the foundation over the years simply for the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to bring awareness to the disease. Now, there is a great opportunity to actually win something by donating to the cause. Bonnie is holding a raffle for a brand new Smart Car, and it is adorable! I've attached her email below. There are only 250 tickets being sold nationally so if you want to buy a ticket you better do it soon.

"Win a Brand New 2009 passion coupe Smart Car. The red passion coupe will be raffled off at Simply the Best Dinner Gala on November 21, 2009. To purchase tickets, please email melinda@cbcsanfrancisco.com or call 415.821.9693. Only 250 tickets will be sold at $100 each. You need not be present at the gala to win. This Mercedes Engine passion coupe is valued at $16,990. Bonnie won this at another charitable fundraiser and this is truly a gift that keeps on giving."

Good Luck!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So Hopeful...

After my doctor's visit today I'm finding myself more hopeful than I've been in a long time. I've always believed in Dr. Eaton's decisions so when he told me today that he was sending me to Swedish Medical Center to a BAC specialist, I had to believe that he had put a lot of thought behind it. As luck would have it, the specialist is Dr. Jack West (the doctor that my San Francisco Specialists thought I should go see). Currently, he has 3 different clinical trials going (2 that I'm eligible for). So, on Thursday I'll be heading to my first (of many) appointment with Dr. West to get my next clinical trial underway. I can't wait to share my visit with all of you on Thursday night. It's going to be a positive appointment...I can feel it already.

Rick's CT scan went as planned and we'll get the results from that next Tuesday when he has a return visit with his surgeon (along with another day of chemo).

When we got home from Seattle today, a friend of the family who is going through massage school dropped by and gave me a wonderful massage. The table was still up when Rick got home so he is out in the living room having a massage right now as I type this blog. What a treat we were given tonight. Thank you Krystal.

I just noticed the photo I posted yesterday. Ugh...I look terrible. Honestly, I look better than that on most days. I was just trying to show you my new hair.

I'd better go start dinner. It's getting late.

Keep dreaming HUGE,

Monday, September 14, 2009

The internet is finally working :)

Now I have no excuse not to post a blog more often than I have been. My computer is now fast and working like a charm.

Tomorrow is a busy day in Seattle. I have bloodwork and an appointment starting at 8:30, then Rick has a CT scheduled over at the University of Washington at 9:30. The timing will all work out. While I'm with the doc, Rick will be drinking that really good contrast stuff that tastes like berry flavored chalk. He's always so happy to do it :) When I'm done...I'll drive over to the U and pick him up.

I'm uncertain about my appointment tomorrow. I know it's just for bloodwork and a check up but I have to say I'm a little anxious about prolonging the scan for another month. I don't anticipate any changes but if there are some, at least I could make the decision to move forward with a treatment plan. The uncertainty comes from feeling so good. Besides the sore throat and ear ache I had last weekend, I really have been feeling refreshed. If I have a scan and they start a new batch of chemo, that feeling of well being may change in a hurry. I'll discuss all my options with Dr. Eaton and let you know what we've decided. I'm posting a photo of my newest hairdo (the eyelashes and eyebrows are still gone). My hair is so short I could join the military if I wasn't so old, sick and out of shape. I look a little bit like an older GI Jane :)

Rick is feeling and looking much better than he has lately. His sense of humor is returning and I was really missing that. Even his Urbitux rash is looking much better.
Dreaming Big and Wishing for great appointments tomorrow.
Love you more,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Swine Flu?

I'm sure you're getting tired of my complaining about the new internet service I signed up for....but let me say this just once more....what a bad idea this has been. They've promised me that it will all be fixed on Monday. Don't hold your breath. :)

I woke up yesterday with an earache and a sore throat. It's still bothering me tonight but I've been working hard to make it feel better by gargling with hot salt water and using antibiotic ear drops. Angie made me call the doctor today to make sure it wasn't the beginning of the swine flu. I assured her that I wasn't oinking and my tail hasn't curled, so I think we're ok. These kids...always worrying about their parents...we should all be so lucky :)

We're still enjoying our house guests Dave and Val. Next weekend, Jake and Megan will be moving in too. Megan starts her internship on the 27th so they want to get settled into our house before she starts. It will be a nice short trip for Jake every day. About 4 miles to work. The drive for Megan won't be too bad either. This winter she'll be working in Arlington which is less than 15 miles away. I'm looking forward to a houseful of people. Laughter and smiles will make the days much brighter.

Dream Big,

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chemo Tuesday

Rick's chemo went as planned today. He's a little tired tonight but otherwise he's feeling pretty good. He just finished a bowl of chicken noodle soup that Val made us for dinner.

During Rick's doctor's appointment today I had a little meltdown. I told the doctor how I was worried about Rick and the changes I was seeing in him. We explained how we were sad about the liver chemo embolization not working. After a much needed pep talk, Dr. Whiting reminded us about all the things that are still normal in our lives. He told us not to put so much power in the liver process (he said he has lots of patients with cancer that has spread to their liver and they don't even get to try the procedure). Rick was lucky enough to have it work at least once (and maybe more if we're lucky). He gave us some really great advice so by the time we left his office we were both feeling better about life in general.

Lately, I've allowed fear into my personal space. Today, I kicked it out.

Just keep dreaming big...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy Labor Day Weekend

After Rick was released from the hospital on Friday, we made the journey over to Desert Aire. If he needed a few days to recuperate, why not do it here? The weather has cooled off to a perfect 75 degrees. We had a little rain last night but we were inside so it never bothered us.

We spent a lot of time yesterday visiting with Rick's family. The Aunt's from Kansas are over here visiting so we got to spend a little extra time with them. Rick's cousin Lisa and her daughter who live in Walla Walla drove up and surprised us. Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel had us all down for dinner last night to celebrate. Thanks! All of our usual buddies/relatives were over here this weekend except our kids and the boys at Eric and Joe's. Missed you all!

Though Rick didn't have any chemo injected into him on Thursday, I can tell that he isn't feeling like himself. They still did lots of poking and prodding in his tummy so I can understand why he's not really perky. I'm sure he's also processing the possibility that he may no longer have this procedure as an option. When you live with cancer, you never want options to be removed from your plate. We're not giving up on this process, but we know it will be at least another month before they even try again. :(

We are heading back home today because Rick wants to work tomorrow (since he'll be gone on Tuesday for chemo). On the way home we've decided to take a detour and go check out Dave and Val's new house. We're so excited to see the progress. Last time we were there, they had a foundation poured. Now they're putting down real floors. Can't wait to see it!

Continue having a safe and happy holiday.

Love you more than all the traffic we'll encounter this weekend...ugh!

Dream Big,


Friday, September 04, 2009

Fresh new start

After a decent night's sleep (I laid on a chair/bed next to Rick all night long) we woke up this morning with bright new attitudes. We are going to spend a couple of days having fun in Eastern Washington then come back home to Rick starting back on his standard chemo. Whatever happens from this point forward is out of our hands anyway so we've just gotta believe that it's all going to work out. Rick has been fortunate to be able to try 2 unusual types of treatment on his liver. Even if those days are over, something new could come to our door and we'll be waiting to check it out.

When I sit back and think about how lucky we've been over these past few years, the support we've had from friends, family and strangers, and the success we've had with our treatments I believe we have a lot to be thankful for. You've just gotta keep Dreaming Big!

Thanks for all the love and prayers.
Rick and Doreen

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Blog Posting #950...

After a long exhausting day, we just got some discouraging news. Rick's liver has blocked all of its main vessels off and has made some small squiggly ones that they can't get the camera and tools though. So after hours in surgery, nothing was accomplished. Since his body is "repairing" itself, the specialist is hoping to go back in and do a CT angiogram in about 4 weeks to see if any of the new vessels are big enough to use. Currently, they can't get to either lobe of his liver.

I have high hopes that his body will heal itself again and we can go back in and do this surgery again. I'm sad for him because we all know that this is the procedure that has given him the greatest results.

Luckily, he's feeling well tonight, his coloring is great and he ate a good dinner. We're going to enjoy this weekend with friends and family and forget about cancer for a while.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Change of Plans

After a terrible night's sleep (my bed was comfy, but my mind was racing about Rick's surgery) we got up and left for Seattle around 6:30am. Rick got all prepped and then we waited for a surgical room to become available. Before we got to the operating room however, they checked out Rick's blood and found that it was too thin from the Coumidin. So, they cancelled his surgery and rescheduled it for Thursday once his blood has had a chance to thickened up a little.

Amy and Megan were at the hospital today to support us. Thank you girls for spending your free time with us. Sorry things didn't work out.

I'm overly tired today/tonight so I'm going to get to bed early and start tomorrow fresh and full of energy.

Shannon's brother had heart surgery today and everything went well. Here's wishing Kevin a speedy recovery.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Visitors, Salmon and Relaxation

We've had a busy weekend with lots of visitors. A couple of aunts from the mid west are here for a few weeks with Uncle Delmar and his girlfriend Myrna, Pat Yeoman, and old family friend was here for 3 hours today catching up on what's been happening. While I was at a party this afternoon, Uncle Chuck and Auntie Fran stopped by.

Dave and Val left early Saturday morning to head over to Lake Wenatchee. They are hoping to come back tomorrow to pick up another load of their items. Then all next week they'll be working on flooring, lights, and other miscellaneous home builder projects.

I've really been enjoying my time of feeling well. This week will be a little stressful with Rick having his chemo embolization, but I'll sleep right next to him in a hospital chair and hold his hand. That will calm my nerves. (This time I think I'll bring my own pillow and blanket).

Amy left yesterday for a funeral for one of the soldiers in her old troop. He died of complications from colon cancer. The service was being held in Los Angeles with a full military procession. She was very close to Curtis. According to Amy, he will truly be missed.

Angie and Shannon are becoming addicted to fishing. Yesterday (and again today) they were at Shelly Rubatino's house and caught 6 salmon and/or humpies. Perhaps Shannon will put some photos on the blog later so you can really get a feel for what these women have accomplished (Done, hope you like the pictures -Shannon).

I did a little bit of Christmas shopping today at the party I went to. 3 down - 100 to go :(

Dinner is about done, so I'd better say good-bye.

Love you more than all the kids out school shopping this week :)

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enjoying our house guests :)

We've had lots of fun the last couple of days with our house guests. Dave and Val are so easy to live with...I think we'll keep them.

I got an e-mail from a friend today who is also battling lung cancer. She told me that I shouldn't think of it as doing "nothing" with my cancer right now because I'm actually doing more than I think. I'm giving it a rest. I'm playing hard. I'm feeling good. My spirits are high. All of those things are great healing tools. My dear friend Diana, thank you for making me look at this in a whole different light.

Last night after a great halibut dinner, (and before dessert) I surprised Amy and Angie at their friend Allison Reid's house. Allison's kids, her sister, Erin and her mom were also at the house. When I got there, they were all playing Rock Band (the Wii version). It didn't take much persuasion and before you knew it, I too was a part of the band. I didn't stay long, but I sure had fun while I was there.

It's bedtime for the old folks so I'd better crawl under the covers.

Keep dreaming big,