Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Home.....

I think I need a vacation to rest up from the vacations I've been taking. I left last Tuesday (the day of my last entry...sorry) for my little mini-vacation before the family reunion started. I had a wonderful time playing in the pool (it is 7 and 1/2 feet round and I got in with my pajamas on), we ate well, took some photos, and laughed a lot. On Thursday afternoon Rick and Amy arrived. We had a great dinner, watched a movie then got up early to greet our guests for the weekend. I think I was cooking or cleaning most of the weekend, but that's what I love to do. Most of the family members were there by Friday evening when we celebrated Rick's 50th birthday.

By Saturday morning at 9:00am we had breakfast going - Shelly was cooking eggs and pancakes, I was cooking pancakes and sausage. After breakfast, the horseshoe tournament began. It was wonderful visiting family that we hadn't seen in a very long time. We had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night, took lots of pictures, drank some vodka (bodka) from Russia (thanks Jeff), laughed at old family movies and celebrated our lives.

Rick and I both got birdhouses from Eric (and Joe). Rick's was for his birthday, mine was just because they love me. They will be treasured.

Thank you all for the great weekend. We had a wonderful time. A special thank you to Aunt Jessie who put this whole thing together and to all of you who opened your homes to our guests.

I'll post photos later tonight of some of our events.

Love you more than all the wind at Desert Aire.

Dream Big,

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Off to the Desert. See you soon!

Hello friends and family,

I'm getting ready to head off for a couple of days to Desert Aire. Angie and I are going today (along with our friend Peggy) Rick and the others will join us later for a Schmitt family reunion. I'm looking forward to seeing some family members we haven't seen in a long time. Let's hope Desert Aire has a little breeze. If not...we'll be melting or we'll head inside where the air conditioning will be running constantly. I'm bringing a couple of new books and some good music. Other than that, peace and quiet will be our best friend. A few more days of rest and I should be feeling great!

For those of you who are wondering, Desert Aire is a little community on the Columbia River about 18 miles from the Vantage Bridge. We bought a cute little house with Amy that we are all able to enjoy on a regular basis. It is half way to Pullman/Spokane. We've been able to meet up with Jake for little getaways and we each just have to drive about 3 hours one way. It's perfect.

I will try to send a blog or two while we're there. I just can't promise. You never know how much fun we'll be having.

Love you more than all the Schmitt's in Germany.

Dream Big,

Monday, July 24, 2006


Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I really am feeling cramps in the feet and legs. My throat is still sore and I still have a little headache but I'm working on getting those to go away as well. Other than these minor setbacks, I'm my OLD self again.

Can we talk about the weather again? What ever happened to a "happy medium"? Say, 75 degrees and sunny with a breeze? Did any of you get a chance to go outside last night and look up? The stars were beautiful and very twinklie (if that's a word). I shared the stars and some lavendar with my friend Cathy and she shared 3 crab and a bouquet of sweetpeas with me. (I believe I got the better end of the deal) Thanks Reid and Cathy. It is delicious!

For those of you who have never experienced a massage, please treat yourself to one. They are good for the body (and the soul). I just had one this afternoon and I'm feeling great. Geez, when I write some of this stuff down in words, it sounds like I'm spoiled. Day Spa at Gene Juarez, dinners, plays, movies, massages, lunches with friends, crab and flowers...oops! I think I am spoiled. Hopefully, not spoiled rotten.

I'll post some photos later. Love you more than an air conditioner on a hot day!

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Doing better today

Well, as you've heard, I've sortof had a bad couple of days. But, I think I'm on the mend now. I still have a dull aching headache (that I've had off and on since Tuesday- which is why everyone was alarmed) and my throat is still sore. My feet and calves are starting to feel better - apparently I was running marathons in my sleep. The doctor said my white count was up but not dangerously high which is why they think I just have a virus: hence, the sore throat, headache, and swollen nodes.

Enough talk about sickness. How 'bout this weather. Are you all sweating and breathing heavy? Oh wait, that might be too personal. Let me re-phrase that. Is it hot enough for all of you? If it gets any hotter, I'm going to cook a roast in my livingroom on the coffee table. (It really is 91 degrees in my house with doors open and fans going) Can you say "Easy Bake Oven"?

Love you more than all the beads of sweat running down my forehead.

Dreaming Hot, I mean Big....

Friday, July 21, 2006

Just one of those days

Mom has spent the last 4 days with a headache, extreme leg & feet cramps and a sore throat. After having 3 months of feeling great, everything seemed to hit at once. This morning Mom and I went to see her local doctor in Stanwood. We also contacted the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and they wanted her to come down for a MRI of her head. We headed to Seattle for a long day of appointments, giving blood and scans. At 4:30 PM we were re-assured that Mom is doing well. Her MRI ruled out that she has a mass in her brain that is causing those bad headaches. They checked her legs for blood clots and showed her how to monitor the legs for changes that can be dangerous. She is now taking a muscle relaxer to help with her leg cramps. With some rest and a LOT of water and Gatorade her legs will be feeling better soon. As for her sore throat... they believe that she has a virus. I am very glad that her wonderful team of doctors take her concerns seriously and are so quick to respond. I am confident that Mom is in good hands.

Living Strong-


Thursday, July 20, 2006

The clock is ticking....

The weird thing is... it's ticking for all of us. We read and write daily messages about mom being sick and the sad comments discuss how unfair it is that she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I thought a lot about that today. I have come to the conclusion that I need to change the way I view this situation. My mom is lucky. She has an opportunity to say everything she has ever wanted to say to people. Pick up the newspaper and read about the head-on collision that killed 3 people, or the fire that took the life of an entire family. Those people are the ones to be sad for. They never knew it was coming. They never had a chance to say goodbye, or tell the people they love just how much they were appreciated.

Life is unfair sometimes and that's what makes this game of life so interesting. Life is a game.... I truly believe that. Just like any other game... we occassionally have an opportunity to impact it in a positive way.... sometimes we are not that lucky. In some games, things happen around you that you have absolutely no control over. You may be forced to sit back, watch, and just wait for the inevitable to happen. That's just the way it goes sometimes. Sure, mom is unlucky on some level but she is very lucky on another. She is saying the things to people in her life that you and I are not. We say things like, "life is short", "Don't take things for granted", "Live like you were dying", etc., but how many of us actually do that? Even now, being reminded of the value of life, I still take far too many things for granted.

Life is just about making it thru one day at a time and mom was just as successful at accomplishing that goal today as you and I. In theory, her life will be cut shorter than we all hoped... but in reality, we could all be in the same boat. Tomorrow is never promised. Make the most of today.

Life is a game.
Your clock is ticking.
What are you doing about it?


Class Reunion

Stanwood High School Class of '76 is planning their 30th class reunion at Maxime's Cuisine (upstairs) on Saturday, August 19th from 7:00pm to ? . I'm only telling you this because those people are OLD. Oh, wait. I am one of those people. Some of my fondest (and probably wildest) moments are with some of these friends. Oh, you know who you are...Kathi, Cathy, Molly, Cindy, Julie... I am really looking forward to seeing some of these "old faces". If you know anyone who graduated with us, please pass on this information. Thanks!

My afternoon ended yesterday with Amy stopping by to visit. She showed me how to do some awesome stuff for the ipod. I really am becoming technical. I should get a job at Best Buy with the Geek Squad. Or not.

For those of you who don't know it...My husband Ricky, is going to be 50 years old next Friday. 50 - the big 5-0, Book him Danno, 1/2 a century, AARP member, WOW! I used to think 50 was old. Now I think it's perfect :) Love you honey!

The weather is going to be gorgeous today. Enjoy it! I'm heading out in my bikini for a little bask in the sun (oh, I just got a vision of what that might look like) Never mind. I think I'll sit on the deck and read with my sunhat on instead. I want to protect both of our eyes.

Love you more than all the 2 piece bathing suits in Hawaii...

Dream Big,

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

3 Months and Counting...

Can you believe how fast time flies? It has been 3 months today since my diagnosis. I knew I would beat the odds, but who would have thought I would be feeling better after a few months instead of worse?

I'm a little worn out after my busy day yesterday. I promised Rick I would lay low at home (which is where I've been ALL DAY) I did a little work around the house (installed a new toilet seat) , had visitors (Angie, Peggy, Aunt Jessie & Uncle Melvin), watched a little Maury (Regarding the paternity of 2 year old Shaniqua, are NOT the Father - apparently it is the same show everyday just a different guest who claims to be 1 million percent sure who the father is...though I'm not good at math, I think 1 million percent doesn't have any more validity than 100%), loaded some new songs on Rick's ipod and took a nap. I know what you're thinking...She knows how to install a toilet seat? Oh, if only you knew about all my hidden talents. We talk about that later. :)

I've been finding new reasons to live everyday (besides the obvious ones) and today's is...I need to stick around to load new songs on the IPOD. (Rick can run it, but he doesn't know to put songs on it) Again, another talent you were probably unaware of.

My head is pounding (not from loud music) so I think I'd better get off the computer and take some Tylenol. You know, for all the name dropping I do for the drug companies, I should be getting a kick-back.

Love you more than I love Monk-E-Mail...(ok maybe equally as much as Monk-E-Mail) but that is a lot!

Dreaming, Living, & Loving,

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Laugh and enjoy life

I had crazy dreams last night so I don't think I slept well. I may need a little nap this afternoon :)

Yesterday morning I met Angie at Starbuck's while my "granddog Claira" was getting a haircut. We had a nice visit and some caffeine courage. (Claira looked adorable after her cut) Then my friend Jana's son Josh, met me and we visited for about another hour. It's amazing how fast kids grow up. After my coffee excursion, I went to my friend Pam's house for lunch with her and her grandson, Andy. We had a lot of fun. After Pam's visit, I stopped by work, then to my new bosses house, then Rick and I went to dinner at Jeff & Dawn's house (brother in law/sister in law) and the food was VERY GOOD. I gave my niece Darlena a bath and put her to bed (I think she really loves me) When I got home I discovered a HUGE Sunflower on my porch from Morgan and Kelly (it was beautiful) Poor Amy and Jacob got left out. But never forgotten. Sorry kids. I'll make it up to you. :(

When my day is jam packed like that it helps me put my fear aside. It also wears me out. Perhaps I should spread my excitement out a little bit.

Don't just try to stay alive.
....Participate in your life.

Dream Big,

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lucky Kids

After spending 4 days vacationing with my parents and siblings, I was reminded of how lucky we are. We will all have different memories of this vacation but I am confident that each of our memories will be about love and laughter. Five minutes after arriving at the cottage this weekend my mom handed me a book called "The Big Book of Lists to Live By (For everything that really matters)". She bought one for each of her children and saved it for a special day. The book is full of good concepts and ideas about contentment, friendship, family and so on. She told me that this book will be my guide when I need one in the future. Mom is planning ahead and I appreciate it. Throughout the weekend mom set aside individual time for her children. Every morning (and several times throughout the day) Amy, Jake and I could look forward to hugs and kisses from her. In addition, she set aside time to lay in the hammock and talk with her children individually. We talked about great memories, future plans and eventually fell asleep snuggling together. Our family played games, watched movies, and walked on the beach. We searched for heart-shaped rocks for mom's collection and spent time kayaking with the seals. I want to thank my parents for the wonderful weekend because I know we will all remember bits and pieces of those experiences for the rest of our lives.

Living Strong,

Good Morning

Ok, now I feel rested. Though this vacation was not what my family was wanting for me (they would like to have flown us somewhere far away for at least a week) it turned out to be just what I needed. The whole idea was for us to be together and away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. That is what we got. We saw beauty. We smelled fresh air. We played games and watched movies. And kayaked. I invented meals. I made up new dances. We laughed.

I believe the initial response to my diagnosis was, let's get away from it. I know now that we can't run from it. Instead, we'll embrace what it has brought us. A deeper love for each other. Awareness. More laughter. Oh, don't get me wrong. We're not giving up. As a matter of fact, times like this with my family around me, make me want to fight even harder than I already do. I should have a shirt made that says, "When you mess with me, Lung Cancer, you mess with my whole family".

Sometimes we get sad. And when we do...the tears flow like lava. Often times, it's a happy moment that sets it off. I'm sure this is a normal reaction but it doesn't make the hurt any less painful. We just keep believing. That's what will keep us going.

We are very lucky to be surrounded by so many thoughtful people. Thanks again for loving and supporting us like you do.

Dream Big,

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ay...we're bach from Canada...Ay!

Hello friends and family,

We got back from our little vacation in Canada today. It was very beautiful, relaxing and peaceful. I have so much to share with you (including some great photos). We went to a little island called Mayne. The "cottage" we stayed in belongs to a friend of ours who so graciously opened it up for us. (Thanks Karla & Linds) It was just what we needed.

I 'll write more about our adventure tomorrow because I'm heading off to bed now. I'm exhausted from our 4 days of leisure. (Doesn't make sense does it? You'd think I should be rested?)

Love you more than all the ay's in Canada!

Dream Big ~ Dor

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I can't stop laughing...

Last night Angie sent me an e-mail (actually it was called monk-e-mail) At first I thought it probably just seemed really funny because I was so tired. So I slept. I got up this morning and watched it again. I've discovered it really is one of the funniest things I've ever experienced. I've written this whole e-mail while giggling. Do you think the medicine could be warping my sense of humor? Please visit the site and enjoy yourself. You can personalize it for the ones you love.

By the way, my new eye drops seem to be helping. I can see clearly now the rain is here...

Love you to pieces,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I forgot.

I think I fell into a rut. I got overwhelmed with work, military training, and a few days of feeling under the weather. The good news is that I am back by popular demand. I got two emails from people who asked if I was ok because I hadn't written a blog for a while. That was a sign that I needed to check my priorities and write something before someone sends out a search party.

Today has been a tough day for me. It actually started yesterday when Mom called me on her way home from her doctors appointment. I asked her what the doctor had to say and she told me. She seemed fairly upbeat while relaying the latest news. I will admit that I was semi-distracted as she started talking but it didn't take me long to focus on her every word. I think I had forgotten about the cancer. Obviously I didn't really forget about it, but in a way I think I have been in denial for a while. Every appointment since the day of diagnoses has been a positive one. It has become natural to expect positive results from her appointments because we are yet to get news that the cancer is getting worse. She seems healthy so it's easy to forget she is so sick. Yesterday when I asked her what the doctor had to say about her right lung looking so clear she said, "Honey, it might look like the cancer is shrinking but remember they say it's not curable and the doctor said eventually the Tarceva will stop working." Her words were hard for me to swallow. She didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but hearing them come out of her mouth was hard to listen to. Again, I had forgotten.

After the initial shock in April, the family has pulled ourselves together and remained optimistic and positive. We have to, for our sake as well as hers. It has been easy though. Look at her... she looks wonderful, laughs all the time, and seems to be the same old Dor we have become accustomed to loving. I guess it's hard for me to imagine her any other way. As she continued to tell me the news I said, "Why do you guys seem so happy? I don't think the news sounds very good." In a soothing tone of voice and in a way that only mom can, she reminded me that there is a difference between good news and realistic news. She is right. I should be happy with her progress but at the same time remember that this horrible disease is not curable. Oh, how easy it is to forget sometimes.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Dr.'s Visit

My Dr.'s visit today went well. Though he didn't tell me the cancer was gone, he did say the CT scan showed that my lungs are looking clearer. He also said, that doesn't mean the cancer is going away. This type of cancer is very hard to watch because it really does still look like pneumonia on X-rays and CT scans. He reminded us today that the goal of Tarceva was never to kill the cancer, but to keep it from spreading rapidly and to give me a better quality of life. So far...So good. It's doing it's job.

Angie asked the Dr. how long I should expect to take Tarceva and he said for most patients who respond well to it (and I'm one of those people) the average time that Tarceva seems to work is around a year. Hopefully by then they will have something new for me to take.

My vision is getting a little blurry and he told me that was due to the Tarceva drying out my eye fluid. Not a big thing, I'm just going to use eye drops. I've been a little queazy lately but that is pretty normal too. Other than that, I feel great! I've gained some weight. (They say it's good...I say I better watch it or my new stuff won't fit)

After my appointment today, I went to Pike Place Market with my daughter Angie and my sister-in-law Vickie. We had a wonderful time and I came home with some beautiful flowers. You all know how I feel about flowers....they make me SMILE! When I got back to Stanwood, I went for a massage. There you have it. Another spectacular day.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about yesterday afternoon. I went to Bellingham with my good friends Pam and Janeen. We went to a little old movie theatre called the Pickford and watched "Heart of the Game" (a documentary about girls basketball) then to a quaint little Italian restaurant called Giuseppe's for dinner. If you've never been to either of those places, find the time. It will be worth it. I promise. The moments I share with these two are always filled with laughter. Thanks Ladies.

Time for me to get my jammies on. It's been an emotional and busy day.

Thanks for thinking about me.
Dream Big ~ Dor

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Today!

Today's the day. I have computerized copies of my CT scan and chest x-ray that I will be bringing down to Seattle today for my appointment. One of the great things about this Dr. is that he will put the C.D. in and show us the progress. Not just read a report from a radiologist. My stomach is nervous. Nervous in a good way because I know he will tell us positive news. But still nervous, about the unknown. I'll let you all know how the day went after I return home. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers today. We'll need it!

Dream Big,

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mac & Cheese

When we left Desert Aire yesterday, a friend of ours Len was making his famous Mac & Cheese. It's so famous that I almost stayed back and rode home with someone else just so I could have some of it. I've just learned that Pat (another friend...or used to be friend) ate my portion after I left. I'm not very happy right now. :(

I'm sure many of you are thinking..."Doesn't she have more important things to worry about? Like Lung Cancer?" Let me assure you, if you had tasted the mac & cheese you wouldn't have to wonder why I'm feeling this way. So my dear friends at the desert... No more hot crab dip until I see another batch of Mac & Cheese. I'm holding out....

Ok, I'm better now.
Love you more than I love Len's mac & cheese (and that's a lot)

I'm Back...

Good morning my friends. I made it back from Eastern Washington though I nearly melted. Luckily there were cold beverages and a cool pool. That is the "life". I read a couple of books, did a ton of Suduko (number crossword game...I'm addicted...thanks Angie), watched movies and just enjoyed my husband's company. (Though, he worked his rear off in the yard...and he didn't have much rear to start with)

On Wednesday, I went on my first real wine country excursion with some of our Desert Aire family. Rick went to Othello in the morning for business so he sent me in good hands. (oh, that and he doesn't like wine) We went to 5 wineries in Prosser. Here's what I learned....the grapes from 2002 made wonderful wines. Don't judge a winery by it's cover (I'm known for buying wine as gifts for the "cute" label on the front....not always a good idea). Go on tours with people who know about wines and agree with them. ;) I had a blast and I've been renamed the Wine Diva. Apparently, I have a talent for "nosing" the bouquet. (Sounds important so I'm going to tell everyone)

I have an appointment in Seattle on Monday at the Cancer Care Alliance. I'm anxious to start my routine down there. Everything about it seemed top notch. I'll let you know more about my progress after the visit.

Have a wonderful time with your family and friends this weekend.

Hugs & kisses,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day 2006

On our walk Sunday morning, Rick and I discovered that Desert Aire has an annual 4th of July Golf Cart Parade. (As you can imagine, I was very excited) Though many of the other participants went with the Americana theme, we decided (along with our Desert Aire family) to go with the "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" theme. We were all decked out in summer gear, strings of lights that had margaritas, daiquiris and martinis on them, umbrellas and pink flamingos in the back. We were a hit! We bought candy to throw to the kids, but in the 102 degree weather we should have been throwing popscicles.

We are having a wonderful time. As usual, great food, fabulous company and lots of laughs. The kids all decided to stay home. :( But, don't worry, we will all be over here again in the near future. My favorite thing to do while I'm here (besides eating at the "big house") is to sit in the blow up "ool", (notice that there is no P in Pool, please keep it that way) I feel like a kid when I'm here. Hey wait...I am a kid (at heart)

Please know that when I'm not writing in the blog, it's because I'm having a great time. I promise to share all the details of my fun when I get back to a computer.

I hope you are all being safe this holiday. I am :) Love you more than all the golf carts in the parade today...

Dream Big,