Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just some thoughts :)

I was asked today by a reporter if I will continue to write in my blog even when I'm not feeling well. I answered yes...without hesitation. I find that when I open my heart and soul to those I love (and who love me back) I can't help but feel better. If not physically, then emotionally.

I had another great day. An old childhood friend stopped by the house this afternoon to visit (which we did for about 2 hours). I went to dinner with some friends for my birthday and laughed a lot! It really is the best medicine.

Relay for Life is just around the corner and I can't believe the support. Money is pouring in for our teams. I call Eagle's Nest everyday to order more shirts. We keep getting more and more ideas for our campsite festivities. I am so excited to share 18 amazing hours with all of you. Whether it's walking with a team mate or chatting with one of our fans, I can't wait to share this experience. We are doing a good thing in the name of research. Be proud. I am. :)

Hugs and kisses,
Dor (6 -week lung cancer survivor)

The Beginning of Something New

Well, 47 years have come and gone for Mom. It's time to move on to something bigger and better. Although the Schmitt family has faced some tough times in the past month and a half, we have also faced some very inspirational moments. I don't cry nearly as much these days as I use to. It's not that I'm not sad, it's just that I have a sense of peace about me. I don't ask why anymore. I don't get frustrated or look on-line for some type of miracle cure to save my mom. I truly believe she will be in a good place from this day forward. She is strong mentally. She is as strong emotionally as anyone could possibly be in this type of situation. I'm not sure what it is I was hoping to save her from. Although it's difficult to find something positive about my mom getting lung cancer.... you know... as hard as I try I can't finish this sentence. There is NOTHING positive about my mom getting lung cancer. Let's try that sentence again.... Although I would never wish to see my mom ill or in pain, I have to admit that I am glad she will get the opportunity to hear stories of how she has touched other people's lives. Everyday I hear stories about how influential my mom had been in shaping someone's life. I am honored by that. Imagine what it was like to have her on a full-time basis. I know now, more than ever, how truly blessed my life has been. I have parents who love each other more than any two people I know. I have a dad who would gladly trade lungs with those of his soulmate. I have a mom who loves everyone as though they are her own children. So, 47 years have come and gone, but I believe her best years are ahead of her. She has lots of things left on that "To Do" list, a family to love, a cure to search for, and a community to strenghten. Mom, Best Wishes for a happy, healthy year. You are loved.

All of my love-

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Getting Older...It's a Good Thing!

I had a wonderful weekend at Desert Aire. The weather was questionable on Saturday but by Sunday afternoon it was beautiful. I've decided that weather will not make or break my happiness. When it's raining, or windy, I'll just stay inside and have fun. Once it clears up, I can head outside to enjoy life. It took me 48 years to figure this out :) Some of us are slower than others... We had a wonderful time with Bob & Dy, Dave & Val, and our Desert Aire family. The food was great but the company was even better. Thanks for my little birthday party and your love. (Ally the cake was my best one ever)

It's fabulous getting older. Women aren't suppose to say that ~ We're suppose to defy age. Now I can't wait to have my next birthday and the one after that... Hooray for wrinkles.

Thank you again everyone for the awesome life I live. You are all a very important part of who I am. Have I told you lately that I love you?

I love you more,
Dream Big - Dor

Birthday Girl!

Happy, Happy Birthday on this your special day...

I hope your birthday is filled with love, laughter and things that make you smile. Let's celebrate another year behind us and many more to come!

I love you,


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Update

I'm drinking wine with friends and family while making memories. I believe it is theraputic. I'll let you know on Tuesday. Are you suppose to mix red wine with TARCEVA? Oh, I just read the label and they say it's a great chaser. (Just make sure you take it on an empty stomach). Pictures to follow later. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Love you all.

Dream Big,

Thursday, May 25, 2006

1st Bottle of Tarceva - Empty

Wow! 30 days flew by. I laughed, I cried, I ate, I slept, I took my Tarceva, I got better...Now if I can just keep this up for a few more years. Ok, I was going to say 30 more years but I didn't want to sound greedy.

Thanks for all the hugs and well wishes I've received from all of you! I really do feel loved.

Dream Big,

1 Month Check Up Results - Great News

When I got to work on Tuesday morning before my appointment, (my friend) Janeen said she had invisioned the x-ray the Dr. would be taking that day to show little cancer cells "taking cover and screaming out....ok, ok, I give up. We didn't realize who we were messing with". Though it wasn't quite like that, my oncologist's office called yesterday afternoon to inform me that there was a definate change (for the better) on my x-ray after only one month of Tarceva.
The Dr.'s office was as excited about these results as I was. I knew my cough was better and my drowning feeling had nearly gone away. I've been saying all along that if someone is going to beat this thing...why not me? They still say it's not cureable but stopping the mutation of the cancer cells is a win-win situation.

Next month I will have a new Chest CT Scan that will determine what's really going on inside. Thanks again for all your support and prayers.

Dream Big,
Love ~ Dor

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Thank You Dream Teams

Dream Teams~ I wish that you knew just how much this relay for life means to our family. To see the support we have recieved from the community and especially from the Dream Teams, we could not have asked for more. Dor had a smile on her face for the rest of the day on Sunday after the meeting. She knows that she has a lot of support behind her and she is very proud of her teammates. Keep up the good work and someone try to catch up with Peggy. Nice job Peg :)
Your support is priceless,

Monday, May 22, 2006

What a TEAM

Dream Team...We haven't put a foot on the track yet and I already feel like we're winners. I was really touched yesterday by the great turnout at our meeting, knowing how many of you planned to spend all 18 hours together, and your enthusiam for doing a good deed. I wouldn't vote any of you off my island :)

Amy, thanks for putting these teams together & the SuperDor's.
Angie & Erin, thanks for the cheese dip and munchies for the meeting (maybe you could make one of those again for race day?)
Cindy, thank you for your generous team donation.
Krystle & Karen, thanks bunches for the dream big bracelets.
Peggy, thank you for your fundraising motivation.
Morgan & Kelly, thanks a lot for handling the t-shirts and all the other jobs you've done to help us out.
All the other women who have donated your time and energy to make this event a success...Thank you, thank you, thank you!

30 women...18 hours...
There's no limit to what you can achieve if you don't care who gets the credit!

You're in my dreams,

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What a great day!

Yesterday I spent the day in Seattle with my good friend Pam. We stopped at Pike Place Market for just a bit (so I could spend a gift card I got at my favorite kitchen shop) Then for an early birthday present Pam took me to see the traveling production of "Chicago". We loved it! The seats were great, the cast was great, the company was the greatest! Afterwards, we went to dinner at Cellar Bistro on Capitol Hill. The food and atmosphere were delightful. The weather turned out to be perfect. Pam never got lost :) Though I was a little tired by the end of the day (so was Pam) it was worth every second. Thanks Pammy!

Later in the evening (after a little snooze) we stopped in at my sisters "50th" birthday party. We saw some family and friends we had not seen in a while. It was a nice ending to a wonderful day.

Today "Doreen's Dream Team" members are gathering at my house for a quick little meeting. I'm looking forward to seeing all of them. I have some amazing people rooting for me. Thanks everyone.

All my love,

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blast from the past!

Last night I enjoyed the company of 8 of my former cheerleaders. (For those of you who have forgotten...I had a brain lapse and coached cheerleading at SHS for 5 years...) Just kidding. I had a ball doing it! We met at a local restaurant and laughed about the past, talked of the present, and dreamed about the future. They really are a special group of girls-women (and parents) who I am forever grateful that they allowed me to be a part of their lives.

In our group last night we had 2 mothers (by the way Mel & Megan...I'm very proud of you) and a room full of successful, beautiful women. I never doubted your potential and you never let me down.

Thanks girls for the laughter, love and dinner. I loved it all!

Dream Big,

Friday, May 19, 2006

My reasons for living ~

After reading the postings of my daughters, thinking about my afternoon snuggle and talks with my son, and opening my eyes each morning to the love of my life, it is easy to understand why I'm going to fight this horrible disease to the bitter end. I am the lucky one. I've been given a heads up to remember to live life to its fullest. And that my friends, I intend to do :)

Dream Big,
1 month survivor of Stage 4 Lung Cancer


Let me be the first to say HAPPY 1 MONTH ANNIVERSARY Mom. I truly believe you are healthier (mentally and physically) than you were a month ago. You no longer cough. You don't appear to be in pain. You seem to be at peace. You are overwhelmed with love. More importantly, you have an optimistic attitude and that alone will take you far. One month down... many more to go.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Becoming my mother

I want to share a story with you. Last night a wonderful friend of mine from Alaska called me needing advice. She was frustrated with her mom and they hadn't talked in days. She explained the events leading up to the argument and then told me that she feels guilty fighting with her mom when she knows what I am going through with my mom. After listening to her story for several minutes I proceeded to give her my recommendations on how I would handle the situation and then told her to call me back if she needed more guidance. She said that I had been extremely helpful and that she felt ready to work things out with her mom. After hanging up the phone I layed on my bed and thought about the situation for a while. I quickly realized that I had not given her my advice, I had given her my mom's. I had given her the words of wisdom that my mom had shared with me over the years about how to deal with people and problems. I had become the non-judgmental listener that my mom has always been with me. I taught her how to speak her mind without pointing fingers or putting blame on others. I have become my mother... and there is not another person that I would rather be!

I love you mom,


Overwhelmed by Love...

Hello Friends,

I know I haven't written much in the last few days, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about all of you. Today I went down to Eagles Nest to help place the order for t-shirts for "Doreen's Dream Team" and when I walked in the girls working there had on "Love Doreen" shirts. I nearly cried. My daughter and I went into the American Legion to drop off a packet for one of our team members and displayed all over the walls are "SuperDor" photos with kind words written on them from community members. I am very humbled by your love and support. There are no words to express my gratitude to you. So, instead, I send a hug and a smile. My husband, children, parents and extended family thank you for all you've done and continue to do for us. We will be forever grateful to this community and our friends.

Health Related Issues: I'm feeling great. No rash. Just very dry skin. I'm tired (but who isn't?) My cough is almost non-existent...I'd say the pneumonia is gone, but apparently I never had pneumonia. Now if we could just work on the cancer...

Hope to see you at the Relay for Life.

Dream Big,

Monday, May 15, 2006

Time to step up to the plate....

I have attached a large amount of information for those of you who wish to write letters to our state leaders. Our family hopes to help others who may be facing the same battles with their insurance company that mom did.

Contact Information

Governor Christine Gregoire
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Governor’s office (360)902-4111
Fax (360)753-4110

Congressman Rick Larsen
U.S. House of Representatives
107 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: (202)225-2605
Fax: (202)225-4420

US Senator Maria Cantwell
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-3441
Fax: (202) 228-0514

US Senator Patty Murray
173 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2621
Fax: (202) 224-0238

Office of the Insurance Commissioner
To file a complaint: 1-800-562-6900

Or write to:

Rep. Eileen Cody
Re: Health Care
337 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7978

Washington State Department of Health

General questions regarding health care: 1-(800)-525-0127

Mary Selecky
Secretary of Health
P.O. Box 47890
Olympia, WA 98504-7890
Phone: (360) 236-4501

Rep. Steve Kirby
Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Chair
432 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7996

Stanwood Area Representatives

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen

407 Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40410
Olympia, WA 98504-0410
Phone: (360) 786-7618

Rep. Chris Strow
323 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7884

Rep. Barbara Bailey
405 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7914

Arlington Area Representative

Sen. Val Stevens
105 Irv Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40439
Olympia, WA 98504-0439
Phone: (360) 786-1999

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
404 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7967

Marysville Area Representatives

Sen.Jean Berkey
103 Modular Building 1
P.O. Box 40438
Olympia, WA 98504-0438
Phone: (360) 786-7674

Rep. John McCoy
338 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7864

710 KIRO Newsradio
Dave Ross “The Dave Ross Show”

KOMO 1000 News
Kathi Goertzen

Ken Schram

The following is a sample letter which may assist you in your letter writing process:

"I am writing to express my sincere concern regarding medical coverage decisions. I believe that a patient’s physician should determine what’s in the best interest of the patient. In particular, if a physician prescribes medication the person’s insurance carrier should pay for it.

I have recently become aware of a disturbing situation. A woman, not quite 50 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Her oncologist prescribed the drug Tarceva that in the doctor’s opinion would increase her survival chances. Unfortunately, Regence Blue Shield (the woman’s insurance carrier) refused to pay for the prescription.

I find this decision appalling, because it not only undermines the authority of the attending physician, but also pronounces a sure death sentence on the woman.

We buy insurance to cover health care costs. The decision by Regence Blue Shield undermines the purpose of insurance. This woman has been paying premiums to Blue Shield for all of her working life and now that she needs the insurance Blue Shield walks away.

I would ask that you please do all in your authority to ensure that insurance works as intended: to provide coverage when it’s needed. In a person’s most desperate hours, when her very survival is at stake, the last thing she needs is for her insurance carrier to counteract her physicians. The physician’s job is to heal."

Thank you for taking the time to write your letters and express your desire for change. My mom got her medications approved but it was only because she had many people on her side. Please help our family make a change. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at:


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Weekend & 2nd Opinion

Good Morning Friends -

Have I told you lately that I have the greatest family? Rick & the kids took me to Desert Aire for the weekend and it was awesome. The weather was beautiful, the food was good and I was with the ones I love. The kids bought me a TIVO and a 12 month subscription (then argued who would get to pay for it next year, and the year after...and the year after that) Won't that be great if they are still fighting over the TIVO subscription 5 years from now because they want to pay for mom to have it?

My second opinion on Friday confirmed my 1st opinion. No mistakes have been made with my x-rays or scans. They didn't mix my results up with someone else's. I infact, have stage 4 BAC lung cancer. It is incurable and inoperable but like before, I was told we could do our best to confuse the cells from multiplying and spreading by taking a drug like Tarceva. I'm willing to try anything. The doctor was great and told me if this treatment doesn't work, that I would be a good candidate for a clinical trial. He said he would have started me on Tarceva or something similar as well, right from the start like Dr. Coughnour did. Now, I just wait and see. Dr. Eaton at the Cancer Care Alliance encouraged me to eat more, do the things in life that bring me joy and go for short walks. I'm ready for that. My next Dr. appointment to see if there have been any changes (my cough is better so there's a sign) is on May 23rd. Let's hope for the best.

Amy is hoping to get all the information on the Relay for Life today. As soon as she has it, we'll distribute it to the team members. We're still discussing what the Dream Team shirts will look like (it may end up being a surprise...) Again, even if your name isn't on the team list we still want you to attend Relay for Life and be a part of "our team".

Thanks again for all your love and support.

Dream Big,

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's Official... "Super Dor" is for sale....

I took my idea and made it happen. Since the American Legion in Stanwood is one of the sponsors for this years Relay for Life I drove down there and asked their opinion on the fund raiser. It took about 30 seconds (at the most) before they took the copy out of my hand and walked accross the street to make 100 color copies. They loved the idea. The "Super Dor's" are available to anyone who wants to make a donation. I waited around to make sure I could buy the first one. :) So, they are being printed on 8X10 pieces of paper (mom is about the size of a 5X7) so that leaves room on the paper for people to leave mom a message. They will be hung on the wall of the business. I will collect the sheets on June 3rd before the race and put all of the pages into a book for my mom. I know she will appreciate everyone's kind words... and all of the proceeds will go toward finding a cure.

You can now get a "Super Dor" at the Eagles Nest in Stanwood as well. (Thanks Mike!)


Who needs sleep?

Ok, I realize it is after 1am but really... who needs sleep? I used to think I did but recently I have come to think sleep is over-rated. I'm sure you're wondering what I could possibly have to do at 1am. Well... let me tell you.

Last week I crawled into bed one night with my Rollingstone Magazine and attempted to think about anything other than my mom, cancer, the relay for life, etc. I figured, what could possibly distract me in a Rollingstone Magazine. Within 2 minutes.... there is was. Near the back of the magazine there was a page filled with different cartoon drawings. I immediately noticed the superman picture flying toward me. To be honest I probably would have turned the page and thought nothing more of it until I noticed the picture next to it. It was a person with a crown on their head. A lightbulb went off in my head and a smirk snuck onto my face. I knew what I had to do. My plan was to make mom a magnet for her refrigerator. I cut out the pieces and brought them to the Highschool the following day thinking mom would be working. It wasn't going to be a surprise.... just a little token of my love for the day. Mom wasn't at work, but her friends were. I showed the peanut gallery (aka. Pam, Janeen and Andrea) my idea and before I knew it I had "helpers." They took the pieces from me and assured me they would take care of it.

Mom came home from work a few days ago with an envelope full of "Super Dor" magnets. One for all of the kids and one for her refrigerator. She informed me that all of the ladies in the office had the magnets as well and that everyone loved them. I appreciate everyones help.

So, tonight I was sitting at my computer updating the webpage with Relay for Life info and I started thinking about different fundraisers we could do. I looked over at the magnet of mom and I had an idea. I put the magnet on my scanner and blew it up to a 5X7. Then I printed it out. I figured.... people donate a buck or two all the time to purchase a shamrock or leaf, etc., to put their name on and hang on the wall at a restaurant. Why not donate a buck or two and buy a "Super Dor?" I think I'll make copies and see if anyone is interested in helping us raise money for cancer research by putting their name accross the chest of "Super Dor" and hanging them on the wall of their business. I figure... if "Super Dor" can raise money to fight cancer and we all get to see my mom's smiling face on the wall.... it's a win win situation for everyone. :)

Ok... bedtime.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

2nd opinion - Cancer Care Alliance

We're heading down to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance early in the morning to visit with our "lung oncologist". Hopefully he will agree with my 1st doctor's choice of treatment so I can just continue with my "miracle drug". I am hoping to learn a little more about this nasty little cancer while at my appointment... all of this unknown territory is the worst part to deal with. Wish us luck...(and if you don't mind my asking, could you make that good luck you're wishing?)

I hope you all have your best Mother's Day ever. I know I will :)

Dream Big,

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Week 3

I hit the 3 week mark today. 21 days with lung cancer. 504 hours...(ok I was going to go on and on but I suck at math...) None the less, I'm here. I feel great. I look fabulous (just kidding)... I'm still smiling :) And I still laugh at my own jokes.

My side effects of Tarceva are still very mild but they are here and that's all that matters. When I picked up my prescription at the pharmacy, I was expecting to see a price of $2,700 for the month but it was acutally $3,599.63 (I only had a $20 co-pay) Imagine those people who don't have heath care? Would they just go untreated? That's the stuff that makes me sad.

Mother's Day will be here soon. If your mother is still around, don't forget to let her know how much she is loved and appreciated. There is NEVER a doubt in my mind.

Good night my friends ~ Dream Big,

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

20 day survivor and proud of it!

Wow. I woke up today (after 10 hours of sleep) and realized that 20 days have already gone by since my diagnosis. Before we know it...20 months will have passed. See how time flies when you're having fun? Enjoy life to its fullest and dream big.

Love to you all,

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's gonna be a great day :)

Good Morning my friends,

We visited with lots of friends and family this weekend (which explains why I wasn't on the computer much). Jake came home from college for the summer (smile), and we worked on some odd jobs around the house that gave us a sense of accomplishment (since we felt like we hadn't done a thing in weeks). I'm still feeling great. Though I don't have a bad rash, my skin is very dry (which is another side effect...good news) and I still get tired quickly. As a matter of fact, I was so tired last night that I missed most of Desperate Housewives and all of Grays Anatomy. I better start setting the VCR...(I know, we're still behind the times)
I really do feel like this medicine is working. I don't cough near as often and the wheezing has almost stopped. I have my "big appointment" on Friday in Seattle, so I'll let you know more after that.

Thanks again for all your love and support. Don't forget to Dream BIG and Live Strong.

Hugs, Doreen

Saturday, May 06, 2006

If love heals...I'm cured :)


Yesterday about 80 wonderful people gathered around the reader board at the high school with "Queen Doreen" shirts on for a "team photo". I have never felt so honored to have all of these great people on my side. I saw the photos last night and they are awesome. Thanks to all of you who instrumented it and those of you who took time out of your busy day to join us.

This whole "lung cancer thing" is still very new to me. I still look the same, act the same (sorry about that), but I feel much, much different. When I look at people I take the time to see the color of their eyes, flowers have never been more beautiful, every song I hear has meaning, I can't go anywhere without a hug and a well wish. Oddly enough, I believe I will be a better person for having had this disease. (And an even better person after I BEAT it).

Dream Big -
Doreen (17 day - Stage 4 - Non-Smoking Lung Cancer Survivor)

Now it's Rick's turn: (please be patient...he's not done with his Mavis Beacon typing course)

Friends, Family, & Co-Workers:
Your generosity and love for my wife is immeasurable. I can never repay the kindness and love you have shown to not only her but our entire family. I'm amazed at the comments people write about the way Doreen has touched people's lives, I just never new how much. Yesterday's "team photo" to support the most beautiful, caring woman I know really put it into perspective.
Thank you for continuting to help us beat this disease.

Live Strong -

Friday, May 05, 2006

Great News!

Hello again my friends,

I have great news. (And no, I didn't save money on my car insurance with Geico)

I was notified yesterday that Regence has now agreed to pay for my treatment (TARCEVA) indefinately. I knew they would do the right thing. What saddens me though, is how an insurance company can determine whether or not you get to take a life or death treatment.... I was a lucky one. I had advocates for me all over the place. From my doctor's office, to the drug company, to Rick's company, and most importantly the School District. They really went to bat for me on this one and I feel honored. What I do hope is that when you get the opportunity, you will still write to our government and express your concerns for those people who need treatment and are being denied by their insurance company (and don't have the advocates I did).

Thankfully, the medicine isn't making me really sick so far, but it does tire me out. I'm planning on working in the mornings for a while then we'll play it by ear depending on my progress. I want the freedom to take off with my family and/or friends for adventures when they arise.

I hope that each of you are stopping long enough in your busy lives everyday to just enjoy your life. Sometimes I think I may have spent too much time worrying about and doing things that were not all that important. Participate in YOUR LIFE!

I'm trying to keep up with returning phone calls and thank you's but I'm not doing very well so far. Please know that I'll get back with you and I thank you from the bottom of my pea-pickin' heart (this came from my Twin City Foods working days) for all your kind words, gifts, flowers, hugs, etc.

Dream Big,
Queen Doreen

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another great day

My friends :)

I had lunch today with a couple of my "oldest" and dearest friends from high school. We laughed, cried, then laughed a bunch more. It really is the best medicine (next to Tarceva -which by the way is making a rash appear on my chin as we speak)

I recieved an e-mail from "my band" today and I thought I would share it with you. My brother sent a note to Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband (DREAM BIG) and they responded almost immediately.

This is just another sign to keep dreaming big.

All my love, Dor

Read what they had to say....

"Hello Doreen,This is Bart, one of the members of Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand.We just received an email from your brother Darren and he gave us your email address. I just want you to know that we are so happy that our song is helping you as you fight lung cancer. Ryan wrote the song years ago and wehave played it live for almost the 10 years that our band has been together. I have watched it touch people in the crowd and we've received a lot of email talking about how the song has inspired hope for people. It is a songthat we live by and many more have adopted it as well- and we are honored that you are one of them. I just want to send you some simple heartfelt encouragement as you face this new struggle in your life; You can do it!Keep dreaming big and hang in there... Brighter days are sure to come.

God Bless,
Bart Olson
W/ Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand"

It's time to fight for some changes

The more that I think about Regence Blue Shield denying my Mom's perscription for Tarceva the more frustrated I get. I believe that it is wrong for insurance companies to deny their insured person the life saving medications that are perscribed to them by their doctors. I am sad to think that this will continue to happen to other people who are also fighting for thier lives. Instead of simply putting effort into being mad, I have decided to put my effort into fighting for a change. With help from a fellow teacher at my school, I have gathered information on ways to contact our Governor, Congressman, Senators, Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, State Health Care Committee, Members of the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committees, Washington Department of Health, Ken Schram from KOMO News and Dave Ross from KIRO Radio. I plan to voice my concerns through letters, phone calls and emails. I would be happy to share this contact information with anyone interested in supporting me on this mission.

Thanks for your support-


Who knew?

As I'm sure you can imagine... the past two weeks of my life have been very humbling. Our family is extremely close and this has been difficult. I think for my siblings and I, it has always been natural to call mom in the morning to say hi and see what's new. I have always appreciated my parents for being so giving and choosing to play such a supportive role in the Stanwood Community. It is rare to attend a sporting event and not see them in the stands... or keeping score... or selling tickets, etc... even long after we graduated. My mom has an energy about her that radiates to those around her, and a smile that's contagious. Although I love her more than she will ever know, there is no doubt in my mind that MANY people feel the same way. Each day, I am reminded of that more and more.

I was standing in the greeting card isle at the grocery store yesterday and a female walked up to me.... wrapped her arms around my neck... and after hugging me for what seemed like forever, said "I love your mom so much." I didn't even know the girl. I get the same reaction everywhere I go in Stanwood. I appreciate the hugs, kind words, and positive attitudes.

When I set up this website, I thought it would be a good opportunity for the family to keep people in the loop with mom's health issues and possibly take some of the burden off of my parents with the constant phone calls to their house. Mom loves to talk to everyone (surprise, surprise) but I think it's also important for her to rest and have quality time with my dad. I think the webpage has been a success. Many people seem to be reading it on a daily basis. The one thing I have experienced that I didn't expect (although I probably should have) were the touching e-mails I have received after putting my e-mail address at the bottom of the website (I just added mom's new address as well). Yesterday was the best day I've had in terms of tears. It was the first day I didn't cry.... due to sadness. I did cry however when I read a few of the e-mails I have received from people. I am amazed when I read the words people have written about my mom. I knew she was up for "mother-of-the-year" every year.... but I didn't know she received so many votes from other than her three children. I can't tell you how many times I have heard "Dor is like my other mom" in the past two weeks.

I received an e-mail from a childhood friend yesterday who is married with two children of her own. Her e-mail was quite possibly the most touching one I have read so far. She said she grew up watching Angie and I and wishing she had the out-going, funny, energetic mom that we had. She said she always wondered what it would have been like to have that type of woman in her life. She said she learned what type of mom she wanted to be from Dor and has since become that type of role model for her own children. It was touching. When I finally stopped crying... my first thought was "I could probably make a book filled with similar e-mails." I have always known how wonderful my mom is (and I hope I never took that for granted) but it is even more impressive to me now that I realize she shared her love, compassion, and mothering with so many people. She... and probably the rest of us... will never know the impact she has had on others. Although I expect to share many more years with her, she has already accomplished more in her life, and has touched more people than the rest of us could dream of.

I love you mom.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Just another day in paradise...

Hello my friends,

Today was a great day. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. (but only a little)

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance called and scheduled an appointment for me (2nd opinion) with a great (so I've heard) oncologist who specializes in lungs (and it seems I'm in need of a lung specialist) Hopefully, he will be my "new best friend". I had VERY FAST internet service installed today (6 gigahooters or something like that). Now I can call and write to you at the same time. My kids said "welcome to the 21st century".

I'm not sure if you all know this song, but "Dream Big" is my survival tune. Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband sing it and it represents life as I want all of you to live it! Here are the lyrics:

When you cry be sure to dry your eyes...cause better days are sure to come.
When you smile be sure to smile wide...Don't let them know that they have won.
And when you walk, walk with pride....Don't show the hurt inside because the pain will soon be gone. And when you dream, Dream big as the ocean blue...when you dream it might come true, when you dream, Dream Big. And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud... cause it will carry all your cares away. And when you see, see the beauty all around and in yourself and it will help you feel okay. And when you pray, pray for strength to help you carry on, when trouble comes your way.
And when you dream, Dream big as the ocean blue...when you dream it might come true, and when you dream, Dream Big.

You're in my dreams...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bring on the side effects...

Hi everyone. I know it's late and you all think I should be resting but I couldn't wait to share my news. I HAVE A SORE IN MY MOUTH... I never thought I would be so happy to see a side effect. Hopefully the rash will follow soon.

We've been checking into the Relay for Life Event and will have more news on how to join our team or make your donation by the end of the week.

Living Strong and Dreaming Big,

Together at last!

It was great to have Jake home with us for the weekend. Our tight family just didnt feel complete without him here. We were able to take a number of family photos and spend some quality time telling stories and making each other laugh. I think that our smiles and laughter is what Mom needed the most. We found out today that Jake will be able to take two distance education classes from home this summer and still graduate on time next year from Washington State University. He had already made up his mind that he wanted and needed to be home with his family this summer; however, he was concerned that it might throw off his graduation date. It is great to hear that he is right on track. He will be returning home on Saturday for the summer.