Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The first 24 hours....Going Good!

Today was very uneventful other than Rick really did take it easy until around 3:00pm when he thought he should go to work for a couple of hours. I said ok (since he would have gone anyway) and he was back home as promised before dinner. So far, only mild nausea and fatigue. He has about 18 more hours of his chemo drip then we'll have it removed. Day 1 - down. And we survived! What makes me sad about this whole thing is not that we have cancer, but that it has disrupted our lives and so many of our friends and family's lives. We'll continue to fight this battle with all we have to show you that your efforts, love and prayers did not go un-noticed.

I just got an e-mail from the Lung Cancer Alliance to share the news that they have a new awareness campaign that's hitting the air on Friday. If you want to learn more about it, go to Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Cal Ripkin, Jr. are the new spokesmen. I think that's pretty powerful.

Both of the girls came by today. Amy stopped by on her way to a meeting and Angie brought dinner over tonight. I look at our children carefully now and hope that they are taking care of themselves. Each of them looks exhausted (but cute) and I worry they are spending too much time taking care of everything but themselves. Hopefully, we will get back on a routine that is good for all of us.

Relay for Life is flourishing thanks to many hard working people. You know who you are and I'm very proud of you. Keep up the good work. Who knows, we may meet all our goals by May!

I'm going to head off for some much needed rest.

Dreaming Healthy Dreams,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time to pull over....

When you are driving and that pesky little "check engine light" comes on... you should stop what you are doing and get some help.

When you are driving and you notice the Jiffy Lube sticker in the upper left hand corner of your window says you should have gotten your oil changed 1,500 miles ago.... you should stop what you are doing and get some help.

When you are driving and your gas light comes on.... you should stop what you are doing and get some help because you are running on E. The Schmitt family, my friends, is running on E.

Mom and Dad pulled into Seattle at 9am this morning and started their long trip home thru rush hour traffic at 5:30pm. Most of the time when you put in those type of hours you get to walk away with a paycheck and not a fanny-pack filled with Chemo drugs. I'm not going to lie, today was tough. Today has been one of the toughest days I've had in a long time. I haven't cried a lot (although the day isn't over yet) but mentally and emotionally I am beat.

I hit traffic this morning on the way down to Seattle and since Angie had a mandatory class today and couldn't come down, I was without the luxury of the carpool lane. When I finally got to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance it was 10:00. Dad was in his room and the nurse was about to get started with the injections. Mom and I were able to sit in the private suite with Dad the entire time. We took turns lying next to him, holding his hand, rubbing his feet, etc. Numerous nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and chaplains visited throughout the day to make sure we were ok. I have no doubt that my parents are being treated at the right hospital. I can't express my appreciation for their professional skills... which are performed with such a caring & human touch.

At 3:45 Dad finally finished his long day of treatment. He did not experience any serious discomfort. He was never nauseous or uncomfortable. He experienced sweating, some significant foot/leg cramping, and an elevated heartbeat at one point. That's it. At the conclusion of the treatment a nurse hooked up his take home fanny pack. The fanny pack holds additional chemo drugs which are being injected directly into the port in his chest until Thursday afternoon.

After his treatment ended we went upstairs to see his doctor and get the results of his tests from last week. This is where I have to admit, I struggled to make it through the test results. The doctor began by saying the lesions on his liver have grown. I'm not sure what I expected to hear, but it wasn't that. I am well aware that my dad just spent the past 5 weeks recovering from his colon surgery and did not receive any treatment during that time. It's not like I expected to hear that his liver is looking "better"... since he wasn't being treated yet... but I think we have been spoiled when it comes to mom's excellent progress reports. We have never heard her oncologist say anything negative. Every appointment her scans look better than the one before. That was not what we heard today with dad.

The test results contained a lot of big words and a lot numbers... none of which will help you understand my dad's condition... except one. His CEA count. CEA is a tumor marker, equivalent to a PSA reading for someone with prostate cancer or the CA 125 test for a woman with breast or ovarian cancer. It is a baseline reading to read the cancer cells. For the average person, a normal score for a CEA test would be somewhere between 0.0 - 2.0. My dad's CEA is currently 44.3, up from 26 at his appointment last month. Clearly, it was hard for all of us to hear the doctor say that. Nobody wanted, or expected, to hear that his cancer was growing so quickly. The doctor assured us that nothing was abnormal about the findings however. He said it is expected for the cancer to grow until the patient receives medical treatment. He told dad to think positive, eat well, get some exercise, and to enjoy life with the family that obviously loves him. It's hard to argue with those directions. We've decided to give them a try.

Today was long and emotional but the unknown of chemo is now behind us. We are home and resting. It's time to pay attention to the flashing red light that's telling us to refuel. We can all use some sleep....

Signing off.....Amy

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tonight will be a sleepless night

I'm so unsure of what lies ahead of us tomorrow that I can't imagine closing my eyes tonight. I know Rick is finally beginning treatment and that is a good thing. We can't begin to heal until that process begins. We'll get through this one step at a time...I just hope they let us sit down and take a break every once in a while. I'm not up for a marathon.

My restlessness doesn't just stem from the unknown, it also stems from knowing. Although everyones reaction to the chemo drugs is different, we do know life as we know it will change. When I was first diagnosed, I used to say only good will come out of this, and there is a reason for everything, but as I look on our journey starting tomorrow, I can't begin to think of anything in this pitcure that looks like a good idea.

I cleaned the house, washed the bedding & baked oatmeal/raisin cookies today(I wasn't paying attention to the directions and used a tablespoon of baking soda - instead of a teaspoon - so I had to triple the batch) Did I mention that I'm still baking cookies?

I'll write more tomorrow and let you know how everything went.

Love you more than all the oatmeal cookies I've baked tonight.

Dream Big,


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Welcome to our lazy world

Not much to report other than we had a lazy weekend. Jake was home, we went to a basketball game as a family, then out to dinner. We snuggled a little, enjoyed each others company and caught up on some much needed sleep. (Except for Rick...he prefers to stay awake during the night then snooze in his chair during the day)

My side is still hurting (not bad but I know it's not normal) and Rick is feeling pretty good. Now he's laying low and resting up for the big week.

My pork roast is about done, so I'd better get off the computer and finish the rest of the dinner.

I'll write more later if something comes up (don't count on it)

Dream Big,
Boring Doreen

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New and Improved Blog Page

I thought you might be getting tired of the same old "BLOG", so I decided to brighten it up a bit. Give it a "facelift". So here it is. Hope you like it. I think it's easier to read. Now, if I could just write something interesting to read about. Let me think....

I didn't feel my best yesterday. Nothing bad, just a tightness in my chest (that has now moved to my lower ribcage on one side, and my middle rib cage on the other). I don't feel bad, just a little uncomfortable. I'll take a few tylenol and call you in the morning. I think this all started when I coughed a little too hard. That happens sometimes to healthy people so I'm sure I'll be fine. I just need to stay as germ free as I can, because I don't want to get Rick sick during his treatments. If I'm not feeling my best, I'm sure I can wear one of those face masks like dentists wear... I always wanted to be a medical professional :)

Rick has been feeling pretty good these past couple of days. It sure makes me happy to see him eating better, getting out more and smiling. Tonight we're going to go watch a Western girls basketball game in Bellingham as a family. Many of you are thinking...why not a movie? Or the opera? Let me assure you, we'll all be at our peak on the inside of a gymnasium.

Jake is home and we're thrilled. I got up this morning and he was folding clothes and cleaning up the kitchen. I feel a little guilty that I woke up an hour after him, but he didn't seem to mind it a bit. It gave him more time to re-organize for me. (I'm really not kidding. This happens everytime he comes home)

Angie stopped by this morning after working out to visit. While she was here, she also cut Jake's hair. Usually, that's my job, but she did pretty good on her own. She stayed and had lunch then went home to see my grand-dog Claira and my grand-cat Fuzz.

It's Saturday afternoon and I still have a bathrobe on. I did however make a nice lunch for everyone, so I don't think anyone has noticed. I'd better hop in the shower now and start getting ready. If I want to be pretty before I leave, I should have started yesterday.

Love you more than I did yesterday but not as much as I will tomorrow.

Dream Big,

Friday, January 26, 2007

Here I am

I'm so sorry I haven't written in the past few days. I had a lot to say but I couldn't get my blog to work. Everything is updated now so we shouldn't have anymore problems.

First, let me take us back to Wednesday....I worked (at my job that I haven't been at for weeks) and I thought I would "love it". I loved seeing all my friends and workmates, I loved the kids, and my bosses, and the environment, I loved having lunch with Pam and Neener, but I didn't "love being at work". I've come to a conclusion that work will be fine without me for a while, but more importantly, I realized that I'll be fine without work for a little while too. Apparently, once the kids left home, I started to identify who I was by my work. Truthfully, that's not who I am at all. I'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a goofball...and right now, I want to concentrate on all of those very important roles. Troy, Tom and Sheryl are doing a great job at the office. They'll be fine without me (though I'm sure they will miss me...right guys?)

Rick had a rough day recovering from his port-a-cath procedure on Tuesday but by Wednesday night he was feeling much better. (I'm sure the reason he was feeling so cruddy was because of the long day we had on Tuesday.) He found that laying around all day isn't one of his favorite things to do, but he also realized that if he takes it easy, he'll recover quicker. Another one of life's lessons.

Now, on to Thursday...I worked again but only for a half day. I had lunch with my good friend Cathy who just returned from Haiti where she worked with a team of dentists. She shared some amazing stories and I'm very glad she made it home safely.

The Relay for Life Kick Off was a huge success. We've hit our goal of over 50 teams already and we're months away from the actual event. I'm going to attach some photos from last night's gala...(they were taken by our own Larry Libby) I hope you enjoy them. I am so thankful for Amy Terich and the committee who really pulled this thing together. I want to specially thank Peggy for the flowers, cakes and decorations and Karen for the great give-aways and securing the perfect location. My friends Pam, Janeen, Kelly (and her kids), Bill Gum and others, were there early to help set up, then remained available all night to help wherever they saw a need. We had a great turnout of high school students who want to get involved. It was fun to see them all there. However, Rick and I were most proud of our daughters for their love for us and their dedication to this cause. I know I'm the mom, but I really believe last night was such a hit because of their determination to make a change.

Jake is home from college for the weekend so we're going to spend some quality time with him. I'm going to go get dressed so he and I can some errands then have a nice afternoon together. I can't wait til the end of March when he'll be home for good and we'll have our whole family close.

I know I say this all the time, but LIFE IS GOOD.

Dream Big,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We're Exhausted~

This photo is to show you just how tired we are. Ugh!

What a day it's been. Rick and I left the house before 7:00am. We arrived in Seattle around 8:20 (the traffic was terrible) and the girls met us shortly after. Although the day was very overwhelming, we learned a great deal about what we should expect from Rick's treatments. He will most likely feel sick/nausea (but they have great meds for this), his white count will probably drop, he might lose his hair (but not everyone does with this chemo cocktail), mouth sores are almost a guarantee and he'll have a diminished appetite. Nothing here seems impossible to overcome. Remember, you've gotta DREAM BIG.

The Port-A-Cath that was installed in Rick's chest today is a pretty neat apparatus. It is implanted completely under the skin and it has a tube that has been fed down a major artery and into his heart area. (I know that didn't sound very professional but I couldn't remember me, it's going to work great) We have an ointment to rub on the area before his treatment each time to numb the skin and he'll never even know he's having poision pumped into him. Ok, that might have been stretching it a bit, but it will help with pain during his treatments.

He had a PET scan today to check out his whole body (hey, hey, get your minds out of the gutter ladies), and a CT scan so they have some baselines to compare his IMPROVEMENTS to. I'm a firm believer that 2 months from now we will have great news to share with our family and friends.

We were going to take Amy and Angie out for dinner tonight after all the tests were complete, but they decided to come back to our house early (after they told us he would be in the PET scan for at least 3 hours) to start a fire and load the garage with more firewood. I'm telling you...they are keepers...and NO they are not for sale or rent! Since we didn't take the girls out for dinner and Rick hadn't eaten since dinner last night (which by the way was a wonderful pot of soup prepared by our friend and neighbor, Erika) he chose none other than DICK's for dinner. It made him happy and that's all I cared about.

Until tomorrow, keep dreaming big!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Relay For Life

I noticed that someone just posted a comment asking for information about the Relay For Life here in Stanwood. For those of you who live out of town, or who are not currently on a team, I will attach the link to the Stanwood Relay page. Save the link as one of your favorites so you can log on each day and watch the community get closer and closer to reaching our goals!

Last year the community had 35 survivors walk the survivor lap.
30 teams sign up to participate.
And, we raised $81,000.

Our goals for this year are:
75 survivors.
50 Teams.

As you follow the link you will see that as a community we have already raised $10,000 and we have already surpassed the 30 teams that we had last year! We are off to a great start and we are still 5 months away from the walk. As you look at the new Relay website, you can sign up a team or make a donation to a participant if you wish to. If nothing else, look at which businesses have made large donations to sponsor the event... and thank them for their involvement when you enter their business.

If you are a cancer survivor, we encourage you to come walk the survivor lap with us on the night of the event (JUNE 1ST, 2007). The webpage is not set up for survivors to sign up online, but please email Angie at if you want to come and participate. She is in charge of survivors and she has been working hard to make sure it will be a memorable experience for you.

Survivors: Make sure Angie gets you on her list so she can order you a free Survivor T-shirt!


By the way, the webpage can be a little confusing your first time. To see who in the community is participating.... scroll down and look at the section called Team Rank on the right hand side at the bottom. Just below the top 5 ranking you will see the more button. If you click on that it will bring up ALL of the teams (and individuals) in the event so far. Let me know if you need help with anything.

Busy day today

I was going to get up really early and write this blog (since I haven't written one in days) but I just woke up. Sorry. :(

I have scans and x-rays and reports to pick up so we can take them to Rick's appointment tomorrow. Amy and Angie will be with us tomorrow in Seattle for the all day excursion. One of the girls always takes notes as the rest of us try to listen carefully. This cancer stuff is a lot of work. I should have my PhD when we're finished with treatment.

Jake is coming home this weekend and we're all looking forward to seeing him. It's just not the same without him here. Keep praying for good weather over the pass or his plans could change.

Amy, Angie and I put signs up all around Stanwood this weekend for the Relay for Life kickoff. We went out for dinner in LaConner on Saturday night with friends and had a great time. I starting knitting a dish cloth with a heart design in the middle (I didn't say I would finish it...I just said I started it..), and we had a football Sunday. That pretty much sums up the weekend.

I'll try to write more tonight after my whirlwind day is over.

Love you more,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Holy Buckets - It's been 9 months already

Nine months have passed since the dreaded diagnosis day. So much has happened since then. Much of it was good, some not so good...and one thing that was downright horrible. Keep watching for good things to happen. We are going to keep fighting this fight until we have nothing left to give, oh...and we're going to win, because Schmitt's don't like losing.

I went to Angie's school today and watched her teach a classroom full of kindergarten kids. It was delightful. They love her. I believe Angie is the kind of teacher that impacts her classes and the children will never forget her. When I got home from Angie's school, Amy was here to greet me. We snuggled in the warm livingroom then watched a hilarous episode of Ellen. I TIVO'd it so I'll share it with anyone who needs a good laugh! I have the best daughters in the world. Have I mentioned that lately? Oh, and my son's a keeper too, so don't try to take any of them from me - I will share, but you have to give them back!

This afternoon a couple of dear friends delivered a wonderful surprise to our house. Shelly & Pam brought us t-shirts, that read "ScHmItT CREEK PADDLERS" and an oar "paddle" that says, ScHmItT CREEK. They fit the situation we're facing perfectly. We will wear our shirts with pride. I'm sure if you want one they can be purchased at Eagles Nest.

Recently, our family emotions have been so raw. Even though we're close, we are all dealing with the reality of Cancer in different ways. Most of the time the girls get themselves so involved in projects or meetings that it doesn't allow them time to grieve. Rick goes to work to keep his mind off the unknown. Jake is away at college so although he worries about us all the time, we are able to comfort him through a phone conversation. As for me, I'm numb. That's the only way I can explain it. I couldn't tell you what I did yesterday or what I'm suppose to do tomorrow. I had to get a little day planner (that I'm going to carry everywhere with me)...because I can't remember anything. I'm sure it's normal to feel this way when you're facing what we have going on, but I don't like it. If I was suppose to call you, or meet you, or do something for you and didn't...I'm sorry. I hope to be better organized in the upcoming weeks. (But don't hold your breath, there are no guarantees)

I'm getting a little tired so I think I'll call it a night. Thank you for listening :)

Love you more than all the smiles at Disneyland....

Doreen the Dreamer

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Think big thoughts, relish small pleasures...

I went to work for a couple of hours yesterday. It was great to see everyone. I think we've worked out a game plan (spoken like a true athletic secretary). I brought home work to keep me busy, but my presence in the office isn't really needed. They're doing a great job without me. The "old Doreen" would have hated being replaced so easily, the "new and improved Doreen" is ever so greatful that she can concentrate on the things in her life that matter most. Like I've said many times before...I am blessed.

I attended the monthly Stanwood-Camano Relay for Life Meeting last night and WOW...what a surprise. Ususally there are about 8 -12 people attending. Last night, the room was packed. It was filled with High School kids who represented youth teams (way to go Morgan for getting so many youth teams together~you're amazing) .... Guest speakers.... and the regulars... It was a great meeting. Angie has already raised nearly $1,700 of the $7,000 raised in our community. Hard work always pays off. Co-Chair Amy has done an amazing job getting the Stanwood Camano Relay information on the web. It's incredible how many people have donated already because they could do it right on line. (Number 167,895 why my children make me proud) Next Thursday night is the Relay for Life Kick-Off (from 5:00 - 8:00pm at the Stanwood Cinemas Pavillion) Everyone is encouraged to attend (and don't forget to bring a friend). It is a fun filled information night to bring awareness to our community about the upcoming event. Amigo's has donated coupons for $5 off any 2 entrees and then intends to donate the $5 back to the Relay....So if you're planning on having dinner that night, stop by and pick up a coupon. You'll have a nice dinner and you'll be supporting a great cause.

I know many people say "if there is anything I can do to help, please ask"...well I'm asking now.

Promise me that you'll listen to your bodies when something doesn't feel right.
Get a colonoscopy when you are 50 (or before)
Have a mammogram regularly
Love unconditionally
Eat Healthy
Stay informed...about everything
Keep your mind active
Quit smoking (or never start)
Find a passion for something
Join us for Relay for Life... whether you're on a team, in the stands cheering us on or sending a donation; every little bit counts.

In my new favorite book, the one I was telling you about the other day, there is a line in it that says something like; Mom ~ there is no other word in our vocabulary quite like it. It's a hum with a pause in the middle .... Mmmmm ahhh Mmmmmm That makes me smile :) Just try it! Mmmm ahhh Mmmm... It can't help but make you feel good about your momma. I know I do.

Rick just left for work and I have plenty to do around the house today; starting with a shower and getting out of this bathrobe.

Love you more everyday,
Doreen the Dreamer

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm "Feeling" it tonight

Somedays I sit down at the computer and ....NOTHING. I can't think of a positive, negative, boring, exciting thing to say. Then other times, like tonight...I'm afraid I won't be able to shut my pie hole. But, here goes.

We're back from our journey to Palm Springs. We had so many suggestions for things to do, many of which we failed to complete. Instead, we just relaxed. We enjoyed our company. We went to the movies. Our lives were enriched just by the people we were around. It was nice to get away for a few days even if we didn't get a tan. Tans are over rated anyway. They can cause skin cancer and that's the last thing we need.

While we were gone, I read "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. It's a very short story about the love we have for our mothers. It's a must read. I know how much I am loved by my children, not just by their words, but by their actions. Each day I can truly say that at least one of our children shows us their love and appreciation by something they've said or done. From filling the garage with firewood, to unloading the dishwasher (because, when they stopped by no one was home so they thought they could just help out a little), to a phone call every morning followed by an "I love you more". I realized as I read this book, that with all the things going on in our lives right now, I have forgotten my own mom. Not "forgotten" her. But forgotten to let her know how much I appreciate all she has done and still continues to do for me. Without her unconditional and undying love, I wouldn't be where I am today. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been to have parents who love you even when you're bad. (This was only a time or two I'm sure, but no matter what...they never left my side) Thank you Dad and Mom. I know I'm your favorite (I promise not to tell).

I am approaching the 9 month mark for Tarceva. I find it hard sometimes to even think about my illness when the road we have in front of us for Rick's treatment seems unbearable. I know we are not alone, but it's still hard to grasp. This next month will be a test of our patience, faith, energy and love. Please bear with us.

I had a fun time with Angie today. (We were hoping Amy could join us, but I'll spend a special day alone with her soon - then Jake will be home the end of March and we'll get a chance to do the same) We had lunch with Rick, ran some errands, visited my mom and dad, stopped and saw some old friends, then had our nails done (my hands, her feet). I don't get a chance to spend one on one quality time with the kids, so days like today are very special.

Tonight we went to dinner with our friends, Dave and Val. I can never get too much of them. They make us laugh (and sometimes cry) but most importantly, we can alway count on them. Isn't it wonderful to surround yourself with people like this?

Health Update: Rick is feeling better every day. I feel great just nervous for the unknown. Next Tuesday will be a big day for Rick. He has a PET scan (all over his body to make sure the cancer hasn't spread any place else), then he gets a portacath in his chest so it's easier to administer his chemo and other drugs, followed bymeetings and appointments that range from 7:45 am and the last one begins at 3:45pm. It will be a long day...One of many I'm sure. His first treatment is scheduled for the 30th another long day, but worth it for the end results.

Ok, that's it for tonight. I've rambled enough.

I love you more everyday.....

P.S. I'm going to work tomorrow for a while. I can't wait to see everyone. (oh, and get some work done)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

We are sitting here in Palm Springs enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Although the sun is out, it's still a "chilly" 57 degrees. We picked oranges and grapefruit yesterday (and plan on stealing a few lemons from the neighbor when it gets dark tonight). Actually, Kim will be doing the stealing...I will be driving the get away car.

Ok, here are the official "Oscars" we won a few years back. Rick got his for best Supporting Actor and mine was for best Supporting Actress. I was going to say Lead Actress in a Comedy Series....but I remembered this is an Oscar not an Emmy. I know the photo looks distorted, so I'll try to fix that when I get a chance. I am on vacation you know. I'm suppose to be resting and relaxing, not working on the computer. By the way, these are genuine Oscars. They weigh about 7 lbs. each. I was holding Mary Pickford's 1928 Best Actress Oscar and Rick was holding Buddy Rogers 1985 Humanitarian Oscar.

We went to a street fair this morning then took a trip to downtown Palm Springs. After the journey into the city, we bar-b-qued steaks and had a wonderful dinner at the "tennis condo".

I've been wearing some very snazzy sunglasses this afternoon. I must say I look very Beverly Hills/Palm Springs/Rodeo Driveish in them wouldn't you say? I'd better go now. It's time for me have my driver take me for a spin in the Bentley.

Ta, Ta for now...
Dream Big (sunglasses)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sorry we didn't write sooner

We made it to Palm Springs....actually we are in Rancho Mirage (just on the outskirts of Palm Springs). We've been laying low which is actually kind of nice for a change. This afternoon we went out for a nice lunch and then to see the movie "We are Marshall". What a nice day we had.

We have a few things on our "To do" list over the next couple of days, but the most important thing is just to relax and enjoy the company of our friends.

I wish I had more to write, but I'm just not "Feeling It" tonight. Hopefully, I'll have more to say tomorrow.

Love you more than all the orange trees down Morningside Lane.

Dream Big,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Arctic Blast 2007

Ok, so we got a little snow....but according to our local news... it's Arctic Blast 2007...especially at Church Creek Estates (where my dear friend Pam put her car in the ditch where she claims the snow was 5 feet deep- while taking a short cut to my house) Rick came to her rescue (although she bet him $50 he couldn't get the car out of the ditch...she lost) She's spending the night at our house again tonight so she doesn't miss anymore weather related work (and she wants to get employee of the year...)

Now about CANCER. It sucks! My appointment went as planned. Blah, Blah, you have lung cancer, looking good, blah, blah, take Tarceva, see you in a month...blah, blah.

It's great to know that my meds are working, but now I need something to take care of my broken heart. Today on our way home from Seattle, I drove while Rick napped. As I looked over at my strong, handsome husband, I couldn't help but wonder what this cancer treatment will do to his body and soul. Rick takes so much pride in working hard and taking care of his family. I know the worst part of his chemo treatments won't be hair loss or nausea, but rather the way it will make him feel when he attempts to do his daily tasks. I know he will want to complete ordinary chores with the same kind of vigor he always has, but the poisions in his body will tell him otherwise. Luckily, he has me around to keep reminding him what a babe he is and how I will like that he gets to lay around with me a little more often. I'm taking complete advantage of him slowing down (but don't tell him I said that).

We are looking foward to a few days in Palm Springs with our friends Kim and Brian. I think a little sun might "brighten our outlook". Let's hope the snow clears up enough so we can get to Seattle to catch the plane. Which reminds me of another theme song... from Fantasy Island...when Tatoo said "Look Boss, De plane, De Plane"... Oh, how I loved that show!

Love you more than all the cars in the ditches due to "ARCTIC BLAST 2007".

Dreaming Big Snowflakes,

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rick's first big appointment

Today was my dad's first appointment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where we met his Oncologist, Dr. Whiting. We were all very impressed with him. My dad will be starting Chemo soon. The plan is for him to get blood work done on Monday the 29th, and then start treatment the following day. He has chosen to do his treatments in Seattle instead of trying to find a closer location. We just like the doctors in Seattle too much to walk away at this point. The first day of his treatment will be a 3-4 hour chemo drip, followed by two days of treatment from home. He will repeat that process every two weeks as long as he is getting good results.

Prior to starting his treatments my dad will get a port in his chest. He will also have a PET scan and additional tests. The doctors approached the family about getting some genetic testing completed as well. They intend to biopsy the tumor that was removed from my dad and then do blood work on Angie, Jake & I. At that point they can look for genetic similarities and determine if any of us are at a higher risk for developing colon cancer. Our family has chosen to go forward with the test. None of us want to hear that we have the same genetic make up as dad's tumor, but statistically... we know we are all walking time bombs anyway so we might as well get tested and stay proactive.

We know that we have a long road ahead of us but the things that come easy in life usually aren't worth having. We are up for the fight and we look forward to getting started. In the mean time we are preparing for the results of mom's appointment, which is at 7:45 am tomorrow. Assuming everything goes well, they will be leaving for Palm Springs on Thursday evening. Although they both have a lot on their mind, I think a few days away from home will be good for them. Mom and Dad are staying in Seattle tonight so I'm not sure if she has internet access. She wants me to assure you that she will update everyone as soon as she can get online.

Thanks for the kind words. It's nice to know that we have so many people rooting for my parents.

One day at a time-

Monday, January 08, 2007

Our little secret

Please do not tell anyone...but, I'm still in my bathrobe and it's almost 3:00pm. I'm not sure what happened to another day. I'll write more later (after I take a shower and get dressed - maybe I should just put my pj's back on) Oh, I did brush my teeth, so I guess it hasn't been a wasted day. :)

Love you more.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Busy Weekend

After the Seahawk game last night (which was very exciting I might add), Rick took off for Desert Aire with his brother. One of our neighbors on the East side called to say our roof had some serious damage in the big wind storm. I was a little bent out of shape that Rick even thought about going on a roof, but I calmed down once I knew his brother and cousin would be there doing the work. (I guess the less I know the better...I'm sure he got on the roof but I'm not asking) He made it home safe tonight and that's all that matters. He's very tired but says he's feeling pretty good.

I had a houseful today while Rick was gone. Our cousin's son Ryan is home from Texas for a visit. Ryan is proudly serving our nation and returned home from Iraq just a few short months ago. It was nice to see him and the other 20 people he brought along with him. It looked like we were having a party at the Schmitt's...but I guess everytime the Schmitt's get together it is some kind of party.

Our friends Len and Mark also joined the Schmitt gang and came loaded with "Len's Famous Mac & Cheese". I made appetizers for my guests so when Len brought the Mac & Cheese, I hid it. Sorry.... Some things just aren't for sharing.

We're getting anxious for our appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday. Like I've said before, the unknown is often much worse than just finding out what's going on. Hopefully, we'll know a lot more by Wednesday afternoon. We'll keep you all posted.

I'm heading off to bed now. I didn't get much sleep with Rick being gone last night. Amy and her friend Liz came and stayed with me so I didn't have to be alone. I guess I made Amy a little crazy...I couldn't sleep, so I kept trying to remember the words to theme songs of my favorite shows as a kid...Gilligan's Island, Beverly Hillbillies, etc...this might have been amusing, except that it was 2:30am when I was doing it. Sorry Amy.... Gilligan, the Skipper too....the millionaire, and his wife, the movie star, the professor and MaryAnne, here on Gilligan's Island.

Love you more than all the sad Cowboy fans in Texas....

Dreaming Big,

Friday, January 05, 2007

Busy doing NOTHING

I got so busy doing nothing today that I forgot to write my blog. I'm not kidding. Besides washing my bedding and programming my new phone...I did nada, nothing, zip, zilch. (Oh, I lied. I took a shower but that was around noon) I didn't sleep well again last night so Rick sent me back to bed this morning and I slept until after 9:00am. When I was sleeping, I was having terrible dreams. So whatever sleep I got was very restless.

Rick went to work again for a few hours today. I understand it helps take his mind off his worries, but it adds to mine since I know he should be home recouperating. We're hoping to take a few days (after we find out what Rick's treatment will be like and how the doctor thinks I'm doing) and spend it in Palm Springs with our friends from Snohomish. We can sit around home or we can sit in the sun...Hmmmm, let me think about it? Ok, I've chosen Palm Springs. We figure there is no time like the present to have fun.

We ventured over to the boys high school basketball game tonight against Snohomish. (We lost in the last few minutes but it was a very good game) It was nice to see a lot of the people I work, the kids, their parents and friends we haven't seen since the holidays. We got all the well wishes out of the way before the game started so we were able to just enjoy what we love. Sporting events!

Tomorrow is the big Seahawks playoff game. Get your blue on and root for the home team. I know they can make us crazy sometimes, but who doesn't?

Love you more than all the fans at Quest Field tomorrow.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Good Morning

The check up with the surgeon for Rick went well yesterday. He reminded us that if Rick had undergone a surgery like this 5 years ago he would still be in the hospital. Let's give a hand to the advances of medical science. Dr. Ochiai told us he was pleased with Rick's progress and even gave him permission to do some tasks I forbid him to do...(you see how much authority I have?) The best news is, he has an appointment to figure out a PLAN at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance on Tuesday. We are thrilled to get started on his recovery.

I'm still not back at work and I don't have any plans to head back until we at least figure out what Rick's treatment will be like. I know if don't take better care of myself, I won't be any good for the rest of my family. They need me now as much as I need them.

Last night, Angie brought us a wonderful dinner prepared by one of the teachers she works with. Besides the great food she sent us, it warms our heart to know that so many people care. (and care about our kids...that's the awesome part)

Gosh, this was so serious. I need to lighten up.

I'm in the "office" setting up a new printer/scanner/fax/copier/back rubber/cook/maid, but I seem to be having some problems with it. I can get the printer,scanner & copier to work, but the fax, cook, maid and back rubber don't seem to running properly. I'll keep trying.

Love you more,
Big Dreamer Dor

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More News

Rick didn't go to the doctor today (we have an appointment tomorrow instead) But, Dr. Ochiai-the surgeon, called to say the pathology reports came back showing the same cancer cells in all the affected areas. This means, Rick's colon cancer has metatisized to his lymph nodes and liver. We'll really understand what this all means once we've met with his oncologist, but they tell us this diagnosis is better than if the cells they found in his liver came from some other form of cancer. Right now, we're just hoping and praying for a speedy recovery (Rick doesn't do well just sitting around, as you can all imagine). He's feeling better everyday and that makes me happy :)


Our newest purchase...

As a family, we've decided to prepare for any upcoming emergencies, so we've purchased some paddles from our new favorite country store.

I'm sure at some time or another you've all been down this creek. Hopefully, 2007 will keep us all out of the water.

With love,
Rick, Doreen & kids

Monday, January 01, 2007

So Far 2007 Looks Great!

We've made it through about 18 uneventful hours in 2007. Let's hope it continues.

Today Rick talked his way into going down to his office to gather up some work to do at home... I'm sure this is why our children are such over- achievers. They watch their dad take his cane to work on New Year's Day to straighten things out at the office. I love him for his hard work ethic but he's going to make me crazy. I just want him to get better. (By the way, he says the same thing about me...) He is feeling better each day but I still think he is over doing it. What do I know? Like the kids always say "we're just a few credits short of our doctorate".

I want to thank all our friends and family who dropped food and goodies off this weekend. Everything tasted great, but if I keep eating what Rick doesn't, you'll need to bring me some elastic waist pants. How did we get so lucky to have you in our lives?

I know I haven't talked about it lately, but I'm sitting here in our new office where I feel completely at peace. Amy, Angie and Jake are such a blessing to us and their gift of this room couldn't have been more perfect. Stop by. I'd love to show it off. (It looks much better in person)

I'm exhausted tonight. I find when I get really tired, I tend to cough more. Today I coughed a lot. I promised Rick I would get some good sleep tonight so I would be refreshed to tackle tomorrow with whatever came our way.

Love you more than all the New Year's Resolutions that will be broken by tomorrow. :(

Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.