To find us: go to ~ www.imaginenocancer.blogspot.com
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
To find us: go to ~ www.imaginenocancer.blogspot.com
Saturday, January 02, 2010
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
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
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!
Rick and Doreen
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
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
Friday, December 11, 2009
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. :)
Monday, December 07, 2009
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
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!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
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 :)
Friday, November 13, 2009
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
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 :)
Sunday, November 08, 2009
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...
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
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
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.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
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.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
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
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,
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
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.
Monday, October 19, 2009
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-
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
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).
Thursday, October 15, 2009
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
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.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
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
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?
Friday, October 02, 2009
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.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
(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,
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.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
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
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
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 :)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
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.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
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...
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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
Friday, September 11, 2009
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.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
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
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!
Friday, September 04, 2009
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
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.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
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.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
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 :)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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,