Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A wonderful warm evening by the fire...

I got home tonight after work where I arrived to a cozy livingroom with the woodstove burning. I lit all my candles, stirred the stew in the crock pot, took my boots off, got ready for my trick-or-treaters, and then I did NOTHING. I just sat down and enjoyed the quiet of my home. Oh, it was short lived because my little guests started arriving before long. My boss, his wife and their 3 kids stopped by first, followed by Dawn and Darlena, my sister-in-law and niece. We saw a power ranger, Thomas the train, and 2 lady bugs. I've changed my mind. I do love Halloween. And don't let me forget it.

Now that Halloween is over, let's talk about Christmas. This will be the first year we will be putting up an artifical tree. Jacob isn't happy about a fake tree but he'll get used to it...as a matter of fact I'll bet he LOVES it (he has threatened for the past 3 years that he wouldn't come home from college if I bought a fake tree...the day after Christmas last year he helped me pick it out). The way I see it....I can put it up whenever I'm ready to because we don't have to worry about it drying out. Does November 1st sound too early? Ok, I'll wait until after Thanksgiving. It's going to be a beauty...

It's cold season so don't forget to bundle up. If you're in need of a scarf, I know a knit-a-holic who could whip one up for you in no time.

Dreaming warm thoughts,

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day #195

The only bad part about writing a blog each day is coming up with the title. So, tonight I counted the days since I was diagnosed and named it #195. I was shocked and amazed. 195 days. 4,680 hours. 140,400 minutes. (I was going for the seconds ...but you know the problem ...math) Please be impressed with tonights numbers. I did use a calculator, but that is irrelevant.

I have had some very touching moments lately with old friends, new friends, and family. I would like to share a couple of them with you. On Saturday, an old friend (she's not old...we've just known each other for a long time) Linda Zimmer, stopped by Haggen's while we were raising money for A.B.A.F.T.C. She was diagnosed not long ago with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Though she didn't have much hair (it's starting to grow back), she looked as beautiful as ever (she never forgets to put her lipstick on) and her attitude was amazing. I was inspired just by talking to her. Her prognosis is good and her outlook is even better. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She's a great lady.

My children were all home for Football Sunday. We had their favorite brunch (my version of eggs benedict made with crossiants). Though it was a nice idea to have us all together, I didn't feel very well, so after brunch I layed down and slept through the entire game and all the laughter. When I woke up, they were all gone and the kitchen was cleaned up. I think I over did it this past weekend with Jacob home, my mom's birthday and a houseful on Sunday. Perhaps I should spread out my exciting times so I don't burn out all at once.

I'm attaching a few photos from the fundraising festivities last Saturday. I am so grateful to my friends and family for their countless hours of dedication to my cause and the abundance of love they give me. What would I do without them?

I had a weird little scare today (and not of the Halloween type). Last December when I developed my first case of pneumonia, I remember going for a walk and breathing in cold air. I could still feel the air in my chest the next day and within a couple of days I became very sick. This morning, I got in my car (in the garage) and drove to work. When I got out, I breathed. And, in came cold air...right in the middle of my chest. I can still feel it, though it's not bad. I just realized that today was the first frost we've had since my diagnosis. I will wear one of my many scarves around my mouth when I'm outside during this weather. The last thing I want to do is get "pneumonia".

Please have a very safe and happy halloween tomorrow. Don't forget to check the mini 3 musketeer bars "for safety sake". Let me know if you need my help.

I love you more than all the kids dressed up like clowns at Halloween. (yes Amy, Angie and Jake...other people dress their children up like clowns too, and they like it!)


P.S. The photos (taken by our own Larry Libby) are of Jacob Schmitt (my baby boy) and my friend with the Copper Penny hair, Pam Erickson in photo #1, then the 2nd picture is of Me, Jordan Northrup, Kelly Lloyd ,Peggy Taylor & Morgan Osborne ~ in the front (my own personal dream team), then finally a photo of Doreen (the one without lipstick) & Linda (the pretty one with the lipstick)

Faces of Lung Cancer

For those of you who didn't get the opportunity to watch Jean Enerson's "Health Watch" on King 5 News Saturday night, you missed a great show. The King 5 website www.king5.com discusses the news special and shows clips of the show. Sure... I might be a little bias about the shows quality because my beautiful mom was featured on occassion, but truthfully, it was well done. Jean wasn't afraid to talk about lung cancer funding, the guilt associated with smoking, and the need for a celebrity smokesman. Kudos King 5.



Sunday, October 29, 2006

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth

Just in case you wondered...I've had a very busy weekend. Now, at 6:00 am which is actually 7:00 am or 5:00 am (again a math related topic-Rick will tell me when he wakes up what time it really is) things seem calmer.

I was unable to let my secret out until now. Jacob came home on Thursday night to surprise my mom (his grandma) for her birthday. She was very happily surprised, but we had to hide him from her for a day and a half. Her birthday party was a success. Friendship, food and laughter was had by all.

You would think I'm an athletic secretary, but I have to share my good news. The girls soccer team clenched the league championship with a win over Lake Stevens on Saturday which gives them an automatic berth to state. Our girls swim team is sending more swimmers to the district meet than ever before. Volleyball is going to districts for their upteenth time in a row. Our boys tennis team is headed for State. But, I'm not sure about cross country (I haven't been to the mailbox yet). Ok, enough Spartan talk. I can't help it. It's just that I'm very excited for "all my kids".

The television special about lung cancer aired last night. I was on a couple of times so if you need an autograph, please just stop by my office and I would be glad to give you one. Ok, I'm not famous and I never really had a desire to be... What I am excited about it the lady that was featured on the program who is taking TARCEVA and doing very well. Apparently, if you have a certain gene, you are a better candidate for this kind of treatment. With the great genes I have, I'm certain I have the special one I need for a longer life. The program gave me a lot of hope. For those of you who watched, I promise I didn't cry all night long. They just seemed to pick my emotional moments up on camera.

We had a fun morning at Haggen's (in Mt. Vernon) bringing awareness to the Skagit community while raising a little money. I am baffled by the generosity of so many of you. Thank you again for helping this amazing organization. There is no doubt in my mind that A Breath Away From The Cure will help save many lives....maybe even one of ours. My good buddy Larry Libby (who calls me the 4th daughter he never had - and I feel honored by that) has been designated as our team photographer. Just when we need a candid shot, Larry shows up to snap a photo. For those of you who don't know him yet, I hope you get the chance to meet him. For those of us who do....we are the lucky ones. I would like to add in Larry's words "I would be happy to print these photos on fine parchment paper...please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery". (I've never waited for more than a day - LLL, you're the best)

Amy and Angie attended Relay University (another degree they're probably working on) yesterday in Seattle. They want the Stanwood-Camano Relay for Life (that will be held in June) to be the best one yet. Somehow, I don't think they'll stop until that happens.

I think I'll crawl back into bed for just a little longer. I hope it's not almost 9:00am. I've got a Seahawk game to get ready for. This time, the "whole" family is here and I love it!

I love you more than all the leaves in our yard.

Dream Big,

Thursday, October 26, 2006


If you get a chance, check out this article. http://blogs.king5.com/archives/2006/10/lung_cancer_det.html

A year ago, I would never have dreamed that hearing the words LUNG CANCER BREAKTHROUGH would be such sweet music to my ears. It seems so weird to me how lung cancer is in the news and in magazines now more than I can ever remember. Are they realizing the devastation it is having in the medical world? If I have done nothing else in my lifetime, I hope that I have brought awareness into each of your lives. Not just about lung cancer, but about being an advocate for your own health. Take care of yourselves. Take care of your loved ones. Ask questions. Demand answers. I've never felt like my doctors did anything wrong, but what I didn't do was push for an answer sooner. I knew something was very wrong. With lung cancer, time is your enemy.

Today was another spectacular day. I had lunch with my dear friend Cathy. I never seem to get enough of the people I love. I need more days in the week so I can spend additional quality time with my husband, children, parents, family and friends. When it's daylight savings time do we gain a day? Wouldn't that be great? I think we could all use it. (I would like it to be a weekend day if at all possible). Yes, I've just decided, we are turning our clocks back one day instead of one hour. I'm going to call it Funday. It will be the day after Saturday and the day before Sunday. I've already got some things planned.

My Breath Away From the Cure Fund is growing everyday. I cannot thank my generous friends and family for their donations. My goal was to take a check in the amount of $2,500 to San Francisco with us when we go in November. I'm happy to say, we've done much better than that, thanks to you!

Time to get some beauty sleep. I hope I wake up before next week.

Love you more than all the halloween candy that has already been consumed (and we're still a few days away)

Dream Big,

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Computers, can't live with'em, can't live without 'em

I'm not sure what was happening with this blog page, but I have not been able to get on it until now. I had so much to tell you, but I've forgotten it all. Don't worry. I'll make something up if I have to.

Oh, I remember. I had my oil changed yesterday. It might not seem that interesting to most of you, but to me...it's another milestone. Another 3 months, another 3 thousand miles.

When I used to give blood (for the purpose of helping others) I would tell people it felt like getting my oil changed. I guess your body has to re-make the pint they just took out. I always felt re-charged. If you've never done it, try it. If you give, keep on giving. I've given over a gallon (not at one sitting however or I wouldn't be here to tell you about it). I remember when I was a little girl, my dad would come home with a cotton ball and tape over the bend of his arm because, "I gave blood today", he would say. Though, I never understood what that meant, I always thought he was somebody's hero. He was. Mine.

I must say, I've been feeling good the past few days. I'm not even as tired as I was. I've got a doctor's appointment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance next week. I'm sure Dr. Eaton will just write "ditto" next to the date. No change, Patient Looks Great...see you in a month.

I'd better get ready for bed. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow and morning will come early.
Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite...

Dream Big,

P.S. Dream Teamers, if you don't have anything planned this weekend, some of us are meeting at the Mt. Vernon Haggens to raise money and awareness for A.B.A.F.T.C. Many of you will be attending the Relay University for the American Cancer Society so I might be up there by myself. Let me know if you're interested in joining me for a fun filled day next to a Starbuck's.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Words of Wisdom

Rick and I went shopping today after work (it wasn't at Costco) and we got him a very nice new suit for our shin dig in San Francisco. We went to the Tux Shop to rent him a tux...long story short, we liked the suit better, he needed a new one and we don't have to worry about bringing it back when we get home. I got a new pair of shoes, not sure if they go with my new dress but I like them anyway and I can always use new shoes. Right ladies?

Sounds weird, but I forgot about being "sick" today. Besides my groggy mornings, I'm just regular old me. I worked until after 5:00pm, went shopping and ironed a few shirts. Just another day in paradise. I guess I shouldn't call it my sickness but rather a detour in my highway of life.

While reading a great little book called, Good Advice, I came across my words of wisdom for today ~

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.
~Evan Esar (I don't know him but I like his way of thinking)

Good night, Sweet Dreams,

P.S. It just dawned on me today that my mom will be 70 years old on the 29th of this month. I used to think 70 was old...oh wait, I still do...just kidding mom! For those of you who know Myrna, don't forget to rub it in...oh, I mean wish her a happy birthday. I love you mom~It's just fun to mess with old people because they usually forget about it by tomorrow. Love, your precious angel of a daughter, Doreenie

Sunday, October 22, 2006

There is still time to donate!

I have been receiving many phone calls and emails asking me if they can still donate to the ABAFTC Foundation before my parents leave for San Francisco. The answer is YES! Besides the nearly $500 that was donated this weekend by Haggen shoppers I have also received hundreds of dollars through the mail. If you are one of the people who are still interested in donating:

Send Checks to: Angie Schmitt, 18607 Ballantrae Dr., Arlington WA 98223

Make Checks payable to: "A Breath Away From the Cure" (ABAFTC)

Thank you for your continued support!

Dream Big-

Another sleepless night

Here it is after midnight and I'm wide awake. Seems like a great time to ramble... On Saturday morning I met my friend Peggy, and Angie and Erin at Haggen's for an awareness session (that's what I prefer to call a card table with literature and a donation jar on it). It is amazing how many people stopped by to share their wonderful stories and donate to our worthy cause. I visited with some old friends and made a some new ones in my few short hours in front of Haggen's. In the past 2 days we raised nearly $500 more for ABAFTC (A Breath Away from the Cure). I can't wait to hand a big check over to Bonnie Addario and her foundation. I've never felt so passionate about a cause as I do about ABAFTC. We are going to make lung cancer awareness as visable as what Susan G. Komen's Foundation has done for breast cancer. Take a DEEP BREATH and BELIEVE!

This afternoon I headed up to Amy's for a visit and we ventured off to Costco and Michael's (for more yarn...I was starting to run out). While Amy and I were at Costco I ran into some old friends of mine, Kim & Georgia, from Mt. Vernon who I have not seen since my diagnosis. I know they read my blog regularly so I thought they knew I was doing well. When I saw Kim he said "Hey, aren't you suppose to be sick or something?" Apparently, for those of you who haven't seen me in the past 6 months...I'm looking better than usual. I tell everyone it must be the lung cancer...But, please don't try it. Just like a Jenny Craig commercial the *results are not typical :)

I haven't been to San Francisco in probably 20 years or so. I keep looking online and asking around for a neat area and/or place to stay, but I have way too many choices. I was hoping to book everything by today, but reservations closed before I could confirm anything. So, since I have another day to plan, does anyone out there have a favorite place they would like to tell me about? If you do, e-mail me at dreambig@wavecable.com What would I do without all of you taking care of me?

I'm actually starting to get sleepy eyes so I think I'll head off to bed. It's another big football Sunday at our house tomorrow. Menu for the day: Pizza, salad and PUMPKIN PIE.

Love you more than my son loves being a Washington State Cougar :)
Dream Big,

Friday, October 20, 2006

TV Special Coming Soon

We just found out that the news special on lung cancer (where we were interviewed by Jean Enersen), called "Clearing the Air" will be aired on October 28th, at 7:00 pm on Kong TV and at 9:00 pm on King 5 TV. My friend Pam seems to think I will be the star...I tend to think NOT! The camera kept picking up a glare from Pam's copper penny RED HAIR!

Dreaming Big,

6 months

Yesterday I hit the 6 month mark. Yahoo! I'm amazed each day at how wonderful life really is. Nothing special to report in the health department other than I have really hard time getting up in the mornings...not just the usual "oh is it time to get up already?" but more the "I can't get out of bed yet, please just let me sleep a little longer" problem. Work has been great about it. I try to adjust my day according to the time I arrived. As long as I put in the hours and get my work done I think they're just happy I show up.

The girls hope to head over to Pullman this weekend to visit Jacob. I know he gets sad when he's not around family very much, so they thought it would be fun to spend special time with him. I hope it works out that they can go. I know they'll have a great time.

I have a little thought to share...
As someone who works with kids everyday, I find that people are quick to tell you when a child has done something wrong. Speaking from experience, tell a child and/or their parent when you've noticed they've done something right. It's amazing when you look at the other side of the coin how shiny it really is. (Attention: This is not just for kids. You'll be surprised how adults respond to positive affirmation when you've noticed they've done something well)

Today seemed to be a random blog. But for those of you who know me...I tend to be random sometimes. Like today. I'd better head to work so I don't have to stay until midnight.

Please do me a favor today and perform a random act of kindness. You'll be surprised how good it makes you feel.

Dream Big,

P.S. Disneyland just announced their newest slogan: The year of a million dreams....
I made my reservations yesterday. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

1980 and 2004

I looked thru all of my pictures at the house and these are the only Halloween pictures I have. Although Angie and I tease my mom that we were always clowns... she seems to think that we are exaggerating. (If anyone out there has a photo of us dressed as something else, I would love to see it.) I think it's fitting that the only picture I could find from my childhood has us as... CLOWNS. :) I guess we were pretty cute though so I can't blame her for sticking with whatever worked.

I also attached a picture from a few years ago. My mom made our costumes. It is the only time I have ever dressed up as an adult but the costumes turned out pretty well. We went to a Halloween Party and we were voted best costumes. Way to go mom. :)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flashback: Halloween 1978 - 1995

I told you a couple of weeks ago that Halloween was not my favorite holiday...let me give you a few reasons. Starting with really cute twins (who accuse me of only dressing them like clowns or hobos) who's cuteness generated a stop at every house of every person we ever knew (are you getting my drift?) and we had to visit for at least 15 minutes and they had to take photos, and give the girls a pre-stuffed bag of candy and money and toys, then give kisses, and hugs, and we would get back in the car with the girls wanting to eat the candy and crying because they just wanted to go home and call it a night (and that was after the 1st stop). Oh...the memories are so vivid. For some reason I also remember that every halloween with the kids we had miserable weather. When I would stop the car and we would get out, they always walked through a big puddle, or muddy grass so by the end of the night the inside of the car looked like a mud pit with candy wrappers. It just dawned on me that, for some reason Rick always got to stay home "just in case we got trick-or-treaters". For those of you who know where we live or lived....we didn't get trick-or-treaters, ever. Now that we have friends and relatives with little kids we are blessed with their excitement, but prior to that...NO KIDS SHOWED UP AT OUR HOUSE. (We did however buy candy every year...just in case)

Once we arrived back at the house, I had to check the candy out for "safety" sake. Usually there was a problem with the little 3 musketeer bars. I'm not sure what the problem was, but I generally had to "try" them out to make sure they weren't poisionous. By the 2nd or 3rd candy bar they caught on to my little scheme and forbid me to touch their plastic pumpkins. It was a little better once Jacob was the only one trick-or-treating because he didn't like chocolate. Oh, that was too bad. He never seemed to mind that I had to "check his pumpkin for safety sake".

Now that it has taken me 2 days to write this blog, I'm realizing that I miss those times. I still get to help my kids with costume ideas (I haven't chosen clowns or hobos in the past 10 years - I even made the girls Flintstone costumes a couple of years ago) , I don't get to check out the contents of the plastic pumpkins, but most of all...I miss the faces of my children as I would get them ready right after school to show Grandma & Grandpa (and everyone else we knew) how adorable they looked. And, no matter what they were dressed as...they were always the cutest trick or treaters of the night.

I hope to live for a very long time so I can be the Grandma & Auntie who has bags of candy, and money, and toys waiting for the clown to arrive so I can give hugs and kisses. Halloween doesn't seem that bad after all....does it?

Sweet 3 Musketeer dreams,

Monday, October 16, 2006

Couldn't sleep so I thought I'd say HI

Here it is 11:00pm on a work night and I'm wide awake. (this is not to say I wasn't prepared for bed at 5:30 - when I put my jammies on) My joints have been aching when it gets cold, I've had a cough and a tickle in my throat and my mind is wandering. It could be all the excitement about going to San Francisco or the panic of not having everything planned yet. It might just be that I'm not tired, but that sounds too easy. I think I'll go knit a little. If this insomnia keeps up, you'll all get a scarf for Christmas. :)

Dream Big - I would, if I could close my eyes long enough to go to sleep, so for now...

Love you,

Another new day

Let me share a little thought this morning before I head off to work. I know I told with you a week or so ago how much I love autumn. But I discovered this morning when looking outside at the wind and rain, that I love the changing seasons because it means I'm alive and right now, that's a great place to be. I'm sure by the time winter comes, it will be my favorite season.

I really am feeling good. I'm going to do everything I can to stay as healthy as I can during the "cold and flu" season. So, if that means a little more rest, and a lot more pampering, who am I to say no?

I'd better finish getting pretty (I should have started hours ago) and get to work. Another day filled with laughter and friends, oh...and work!

Love you more than all the leaves that need to be raked in our yards :)
Dream Big,

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm back from Portland

What a wonderful time I had this weekend with my friends. We went to a Women in Faith conference where we were reminded just how lucky we are. We laughed, and cried (some of us more than others), and hopefully came away with some tools that we will need to help us get through the lives we were intended to live.

Robin McGraw (Dr. Phil's wife) was one of the guest speakers. When she was done speaking, Dr. Phil came up to the stage and walked her off just like she does at each of his show tapings. It was very sweet. All the speakers had such powerful messages it was hard to pick a favorite.
The most important thing I took away from this weekend however was to keep sharing my contagious joy. I do love life. I live it proudly everyday with my support staff right by my side.

I was so excited to go shopping and "save a bundle" in no- tax Oregon, but I couldn't find a thing to buy (besides funny cards and some stocking stuffers...There are only 71 more shopping days until Christmas). I tried on a bunch of pretty dresses for my big Gala in San Francisco but I couldn't make up my mind which one I really wanted, oops, I mean needed.

I'd better get to bed. It's way past my bedtime and the Seahawks start at 10:00. I hope I'm out of bed by then. Just kidding, I should be up by 9:57 at the latest.

Dream Big,

Friday, October 13, 2006

Good Morning Friends & Family

I'm getting ready to head out for a couple of fun days with some friends. I haven't been to Portland in probably 10 years. I'm sure I will have a great time. What happens in Portland, stays in Portland. Just kidding. I'll share it all when I get back. :)

It looks like we're going to have another beautiful weekend in the Northwest. Enjoy it! Just think, we could be in Buffalo, NY with 2 and a half feet of snow.

Love you more than all the roses in Portland in the springtime.

Dreaming and Hoping and Wishing....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Day one of my coffee fund

I took my lunch break early today (around breakfast time) and met my friend Cathy at Starbuck's. As usual, we had a wonderful time. Today we tried a non-fat, maple, extra hot, macchatio in a real coffee mug. I should actually be getting some kind of kick back from Starbuck's since I seem to mention them in every other blog. Even though Cathy ended up buying this morning (she won a challenge), I still put my portion into the pot. (Let me clarify that. Not pot, as in "medical marijuana", but rather pot as in "fund") Please let me remind you, I never smoked...so beginning with medical marijuana seems like a stupid place to start. I'm sure I lose brain cells everyday from all the meds I take, the last thing I need to do is lose brain cells and get the munchies. I can't fit into any of my clothes as it is. Ok, enough of that talk.

I'm heading to Portland with a bunch of girlfriends this weekend for a Women's Conference. I'm looking forward to all the laughing (and shopping) that I'm sure we'll be doing. I do have a trip to San Francisco I need to get ready for. Rick will be home holding down the fort and waiting for me to get home so he can carry all my packages in the house. (The only reason I'm going to shop in Portland is because they have NO SALES TAX. Think of all the money I'll save!)

Today was my massage day. I'm sorry to "rub" it in, but it was fabulous. I think I'll head to bed now so I can wake up refreshed in the morning.

Reason #9,458 to keep living...MASSAGES ~

We're only a BREATH AWAY FROM THE CURE, so Dream Big!
Love U, Doreen

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Approaching the 6th month mark

As I was typing the date on a document today it took me by surprise. I thought, how could this be? Almost 6 months since my diagnosis? Time flew by...and not much has changed with my body. I've waited for some rash to spring up over night...Or perhaps run out of breath while I was climbing up the bleachers at a game.... But, nothing yet. So, I've decided to stop looking for "it". I'm sure "whatever it is" will find me in due time, but for now my search for "it" will end. I've decided to use my energy and time making a difference. Beginning tonight, I've decided that for every dollar I spend at Starbuck's through the end of the year, I will match that amount in a donation to the Bonnie J. Addairo, Breath Away From the Cure Foundation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not doing this to make me stop going to Starbucks...I chose something I love to do and paired it up with something I can't wait to be a part of. Sounds like a winning proposition to me. I want our part of the country to be known for something bigger than Coffee...perhaps Lung Cancer Screeening...

That's it for today. Can't wait to get a coffee tomorrow :)

Dreaming of bigger and better things,

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Beginning

Rick took me away to our haven in Eastern Washington after the pancake breakfast on Saturday. As much as I loved being with all my friends and family, I was more than ready to just lay low. We had a wonderful dinner with friends on Saturday night, Rick mowed the lawn and did some odd jobs around the house, all the while...I was in the house knitting. Oh, I cooked a little and napped a little, watched a few movies...but most of the time ~ yeah, you guessed it, I was knitting. On the way home today Rick stopped by a Ben Franklin craft store so I could buy some more yarn (and he even went in the store with me). What a great guy :)

I know I told you all about the wonderful surprises our daughters had for us this past weekend, but what I haven't told you is what a difference my life will be now that I have Bonnie Addario (Breath Away From The Cure ~ Founder) in it. She called me this afternoon (which was only our second conversation) and I felt like I had known her forever. She made me laugh, could relate to how I was feeling, helped me understand some of my fears, and gave me a new vision on my future. I think for these past 5 and a half months I've been telling everyone "I'm going to be the one who beats this thing" and "don't worry about me, I'm doing fine". But when I talk to someone who has been there, who worries about the same kinds of things I do (which most of the time isn't our health, but rather the way our loved ones are feeling about our health), and who has the same kind of determination as me...I feel like I've been given a new "breath" of hope. A new beginning. Now, I'm not just saying those things because I want to make others feel better. Now, I will say what I feel because I believe it!

For those of you who haven't visited abreathawayfromthecure.org please take the time to do so. What you read will amaze you. On Sunday, they added another section to their web page. You will now find a drop down tab under friends that is called "someone you should meet". Apparently, they've chosen me for that part. I hope I don't let them down. I'll try to keep my hair and make-up looking good at all times (just in case someone is taking my photo for the website). Just kidding. I feel honored that they chose me as someone who will help inspire others. Isn't it funny how I'm so inspired by all of you, yet they put me on the web page?

I was going to write earlier on the blog, but I had to go to my monthly bunco (dice game) group....I love the ladies I play with. Tonight was one of our best nights ever. I took 3rd place (I won my money back~ woop-de-doo) and my ribs are still hurting from laughing so much. That laughter alone made me feel like a winner!

I'd better get to bed. I've got a busy day at work tomorrow. (Do I always say that?) If so, it's only because my boss might be reading this.

I love you more than all apples grown in Washington.

Dream Big,

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Raising Awareness Never Tasted So Good...

This morning was a complete success! We had the most supportive staff of friends and family that we could have asked for. This event raised A LOT of money for "A Breath Away from the Cure" while raising awareness in our community. I would like to thank the following local business for thier donations: Del Fox, QFC, Silvana Meats, Camano IGA, Camano Island Roaster Coffee Company and the American Legion. I would also like to thank the amazing volunteers that spent hours cooking, cleaning and doing whatever it took to make this event a success. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

Dreaming Big-

Friday, October 06, 2006

Let's talk about gifts

Each day when I get on this blog to tell you a little story about my life, or something about my family and friends, you will find me with a smile on my face, a twinkle in my eye and my head tilted at a 45 degree angle. I'm not sure why I tilt my head, but we can talk about that later. What I am sure about is why I'm smiling and why my eyes are twinkling. It's because of you!

Tonight, I met Amy and Angie, some of their co-workers, friends and my Ricky at the middle school to prepare for tomorrow's big pancake breakfast. I geared up for cracking the eggs, setting the tables and making a few signs. What I wasn't prepared for was the amazing gift I recieved. Let me share ~ I did some research early on in my battle with lung cancer to find an organization that focused on research. Most of the groups I found were located in Washington D.C. or New York. Except for the one that caught my eye. It was called "A Breath Away From the Cure". Catchy name, I thought. What I didn't know is how my children got in touch with Bonnie Addario, the founder of this organization and they formed an instant bond. Apparently, Bonnie and I have a lot in common. She however, is a 2 1/2 year survivor (right where I plan on being 2 years from now). Amy and Angie were working hard to find a way to surprise me with a trip to San Francisco for Lung Cancer Gala in November put on by ABAFTC (A breath away from the cure). I' m trying to make this story short, but I can't. Sorry! Tonight while we were getting ready to start working, Angie got a phone call and said it was for me. When I got on the phone, the person on the other line said" Doreen, hi this is Bonnie Addario". Ok, you know me....I started crying. We talked for a few minutes and she told me how she reads my blog and how she is inspired by me, and how wonderful my family is, and said she couldn't wait to meet me. Then, Amy and Angie gave Rick and I tickets to the Gala in November...courtsey of Bonnie herself. After I was done crying a river...the phone rang for a 2nd time. Who knew? It was for me again. This time the voice on the other end asked if I was sitting down? Then told me that maybe I should. I did, and as we started talking, the voice became more and more familiar. It was a friend and former-sister-in-law who called to tell me how much she loves me and that round-trip tickets to San Francisco for both Rick and I were being overnighted to us compliments of Southwest Airlines. How truly blessed we are.

I'm not sure how we will ever repay all of you for your generosity. Hopefully, on our journey through this horrific disease we will find a screening program to help with early detection. I will work hard to see this hope become a reality.

I can't tell you enough how excited I am to connect with Bonnie. I believe that she has so much to share with me that my brain is already hurting thinking about all the things we have to talk about. We are all given gifts everyday. Somedays the gift might be something we didn't really want, and other days it might be just what we needed. Today was that kind of day.

I believe in miracles, because I have you!

Love you more than all the pancakes we'll be making tomorrow morning about 8:00am. (I guess I'd better get to bed - I've gotta get up early)

You know what's next...Dream Big,
Love, Dor

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another Day... Another Gift.

I know that my mom hasn't felt very well this week and because of that she hasn't written much on the blog. She went home from work early today and has been battling some pretty bad headaches lately. I hate when I hear that she's not feeling well. It makes me want to run to her and wrap my arms around her... place her in a bubble.... and make everything better. I hate that there is nothing I can do. As depressing as it may sound, whenever I am feeling down I log on to the Lung Cancer Alliance website and read through the profiles under the "faces of lung cancer" section. Rarely is their something positive to see in that section. It is filled with people ranging in age from their mid-30's to late 80's... most of which are deseased. Every once in a while I will see someone who is still alive... and has been for a few years. That is always promising to see, but those profiles come few and far between. It's easy to keep things in perspective after reading about the cancer patients whose treatments haven't been nearly as successful as my mom's. Each day is a blessing.

I have had a few wonderful things happen this week and I also experienced yet another low blow. Good things first. Many friends and businesses have stepped up to donate items for this Saturday's pancake breakfast. The preparation for the fundraiser is going to start tomorrow night and I am already referring to the preparation as "Friday's party." We have been surrounded by people who are making the most of every day and I know they are looking forward to a fun weekend as well. Another highlight was my special time with mom on Tuesday evening. I stopped by my parents house on Tuesday night to pick up my "special gift" from mom. She had a personalized gift made for the 4 of us and all of them turned out amazing. When I got to the house she was cold so we cuddled under a blanket in her bed and played a little game mom made up called "would you rather this or that". Needless to say, my mom came up with the most "creative" scenerios. I was asked everything from "would you rather I had lung cancer.... or had my arms cut off and had my hands sewn to my shoulders?" to "would you rather I became a siamese twin attached at the head with someone I didn't know... or had my cheek removed so the side of my face was wide open." We laughed... her at her own jokes... and me at how wild her immagination could get. I am still convinced that she kept me cuddled up under the blanket because of the body heat I was putting off... but whatever the reason, it was the highlight of my week.

The low blow I experienced was an e-mail I received late Monday night from a co-worker in the military. Apparently my 1st Sgt was just diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. He is a strong man, good father, in his 40's, and doesn't deserve this type of news. Then again, who does? His prognosis is not good as the cancer is very aggressive and has spread throughout much of his body. I have had a heavy heart this week for Curt and his family. Again, I wish there was something I could do. I am not a doctor so I did the next best thing. I took the time to write him a letter. I shared my thoughts with him about cancer. I shared my experiences from the past few months... the phases I have gone thru... the frustration I have felt. I also tried to convince him that there is a way to put a positive twist on things and make this diagnosis a gift.... an opportunity to slow down and make your relationships with people meaningful. Finally, I threw in one of our new Cancer Sucks T-shirts because I know it will put a smile on his face. I think we can all use a smile every now and then.

Don't forget to tell the people around you that you appreciate them. Make the most of the time you have in this world and leave both people and things better than the way you found them.

Off to catch some Z's....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What was I thinking?

It just dawned on me that I didn't say hello to you yesterday....or yet today... so HELLO, HELLO! The past couple of days flew by. I know a bunch of you are getting pumped up for the pancake breakfast...I'm hungry just thinking about it. I'll be there helping anyway I can. It amazes me how so many of you just never stop giving of your time and love. Thank you so much. :)

I'm feeling good except for a little back and side pain, but that could be from old age. You know, I am getting up there. I'm only a year and a half away from turning 50! Yahoo~

We're having a late dinner tonight because we went over to the high school to watch the freshman football game. We won... Now, I'd better get going before I burn the pork chops.

Hugs and kisses,
Dream Big~ Dor

Monday, October 02, 2006

Autumn is Here...

I love fall. I love how the sun can be shining ~ but when you walk outside the chill in the air can cut right through you. I love pumpkins and the changing colors . And...spiced cider. I love candy corn, black jelly beans and carmels (the kind that you buy to make carameled apples but eat too many before you remember to buy apples - speaking from experience).

However, autumn also brings...dead plants, spiderwebs and halloween (my least favorite holiday...I'll share those stories later). Clearly the good out weighs the bad!

I didn't write anything yesterday because I had a headache (and a half). I took it easy most of the afternoon and it seemed to wear off a little before I went to bed. The Seahawk game didn't help the pain... I think the headaches are just from stress (anxiety). Even when I think I have everything under control, my body knows differently. I've decided to take up knitting again. I call it "knot" therapy. Have you ever noticed all my different types of therapy?

Ironing - "Heat" therapy
Knitting - "Knot" therapy
Friends - "Laughter" therapy
Gardening - "Dirt" therapy
Love - "Physical" therapy

I'm sure you all have a few therapies of your own, but these are the ones that work for me. You're welcome to try some of mine if you're up for it!

Hugs and kisses,
Dreamer Dor