Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Birthday Eve

I've had a little joke going for the past few years about the girls. Whenever someone says "you can't possibly have daughters that old, I say "oh, they are from their father's first marriage". It's not a lie. I too, was from his first marriage, I just leave that part out. Please don't take that the wrong way. I want to be an important part of the amazing people they've become...I just don't like saying the number 30 out loud. (Sorry girls...I'm sure you don't like it either)

I wonder if our daughters knew when they were little girls how much they would impact the lives of others? We always did. :)

Chemo went well again. We've been so lucky, so far!

Hugs and kisses,

Monday, February 26, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Tonight we surprised Amy and Angie for their 30th birthday at a local restaurant (Jimmys, their favorite). About 20 family members and good friends showed up and helped make this special birthday memorable.

This past year has been very trying on the girls. They always try to be strong for us. They take time off from their jobs to accompany us to appointments. They are by our sides for everything. I know they want to make it easy for Jake as well. He feels like he is out of the loop being over at college, but they always tell him to "keep studying hard and he'll be home before he knows it. Until then, don't worry, we'll take care of mom and dad. You just take care of yourself". Those are amazing sisters and daughters.

I promised the girls I would give them my recipes one day (which I never seemed to get around to). While shopping at a little boutique in town last week (during my lunch break) I found the perfect recipe boxes. They were handpainted (with my favorite green color on the top) with the words, "Big dreams start small" painted on them. It couldn't have been more fitting. So, one of the gifts I gave them tonight was the beginning of their "mom's recipe box". They cried when they opened it (as did I) so I think it may have been a hit. We also gave them 30 roses, a passport and a week of relaxing ~ wherever their heart desired, near or far (I heard them mention Venice before we left the restaurant...Oh, to be 30 again) I plan on being around to celebrate their 40th birthday with them. By then, their recipe box will be overflowing, like my heart is for them.

It's chemo eve again. I hope we sleep better than we did 2 weeks ago. Let's hope everything contines to go as smooth as it has in the past 4 weeks. We always have a rough couple of days at the beginning, but it tapers off by the end of the 2 weeks.

If you get a chance to wish our girls a happy birthday on Wednesday, I'm sure they would love itto hear from you. Amy's email is: amyzoe@hotmail.com and Angie's is: schmitt_12@hotmail.com Tell them Mom and Dad sent you.

Thanks to all of you who made this night so special. And a special thanks to our daughters who make life worth living. Have a very happy birthday week....

Love you more than all the recipes in my recipe box!

Dream Big, Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I've missed you all

What a tangled, busy life I've lived this past week. I worked everyday (got a bunch of work done and enjoyed myself this time...I loved being there), worked on Pam's surprise party that we had last night (which I might add was a ton of fun...and she was very surprised...Angie, Jake and Rick came after watching cousin Ally at Snohomish District Basketball game so they got in on the fun too!), I've been working on a secret project for Amy and Angie for their birthday that is coming up on Wednesday, and Jake came home for the weekend. Amy comes home tonight from Puerto Rico... And it's the Oscars tonight so all our work has to be done by 5:00

Today is a day of rest and recoup since we start the chemo process again tomorrow. I didn't wake up until 9:30 (and that's because I heard the phone ring) We've been so lucky to this point. Rick will have one more chemo treatment the week of March 12th, then on the 19th we both have CT scans. On the 20th we have appointments to hear the results. I have a good feeling that will be a great day :)

Just a little F.Y.I. ~ I'm doing better now. I'm not the emotional wreck I was a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I think it was healing for me to have a day like that. I don't want to have one again anytime soon, but if I need one...I'll take it.

I'm sitting here writing my blog and listening to my boys talking. Rick is a little bit of a sock addict and he has more packages of unopened socks than anyone I know. He and Jake are sorting through this "extra" socks and discovered some of the most hideous colored socks ever. I can't believe we bought him teal colored dress socks, or bright royal blue ones. Rick said he wants me to buy him some shirts to match the socks...I said "put them in the Goodwill bag". Jake doesn't think anyone at the Goodwill would buy them. I don't remember smiling and laughing so much over socks. It feels good.

I'd better get going so I can work on my birthday surprise for Amy and Ang.

Love you more than all the new socks in Rick's drawers and in our closet (and in the Goodwill bag).

Dream Big,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The end of a busy week

I'm looking forward to tomorrow (the end of a busy week and celebrating Pam's birthday). I've been working (at my real job) all week, getting a lot done, and looking forward to next week when we start Rick's 3rd round of Chemo. Isn't it amazing how time flies? It has been 2 months since Rick was diagnosed. Since then he's had surgery, recovered from that, had another small surgery to get his port in, recovered from that, and is getting ready for another round of chemo. I feel so thankful that the doctors got things moving as quickly as they did. We have angels helping us every step of the way.

I forgot how much I love my friends at work (and the job), but I also know I'm beat every night when I get home. I'm going to have to come up with a game plan to fit all my needs and the needs of my family and work (oh...and my needs. I always forget about those)

My dear friend Pammy will be 60 on Sunday. I don't mean to rub it in, but it sure is fun. I hope tomorrow turns out to be a blast. We're all celebrating but she doesn't know about it. (Don't worry about her finding out...she doesn't have a computer at home...so by the time she reads this...she'll be covered in birthday wishes.

Jake is on his way home from college for the weekend, Amy arrives home on Sunday from beautiful Puerto Rico (however in the past 24 hours she has developed a terrible sinus cold and some kind of stomach bug) , and Angie is only a phone call away. Oh, what a wonderful life I have.

Hey, it's Grey's Anatomy night tonight. I'd better get my work done so I can be ready to watch it by 9:00.

Love you more than all the laughter in our office tomorrow.

Dream Big,

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Short Blog

I have to make this fast (as I'm on my way to work for the 2nd day in a row). I worked all day yesterday and I got a lot done. It was nice to be back there for a while, but I'm exhausted today. I'll come home and take a short nap before I head off for the Relay for Life Meeting tonight. The meetings are always short, so I can get to bed early if I need to.

Rick is feeling good, just extremely tired. Luckily, he is listening to his body and just taking it easy. We've been lucky so far with our treatments. If you looked at us from afar, you'd think we were just a couple of 48 and 50 year olds in the prime of their life. We actually are. Internally, we have a few problems...but we're working on those.

This working thing is cutting in to my blogging. I'll try to write more when I get home today.

Love you more than you'll ever know...

Dream Big,

Monday, February 19, 2007

Month #10

I knew from day #1 that this journey wasn't always going to be easy, but I also knew I could do it. (whatever IT was). So far, the road hasn't been too bumpy, the scenery has been beautiful, the people I've met along the way will be in my hearts forever, and TARCEVA is still doing it's job. The only problem I seem to have come across is the DETOUR down colon cancer road with Rick. That was not suppose to be part of our journey...but so far, that part of the adventure has gone pretty well... And if I had to change my plans for anyone, who better to do that with than the love of my life?

I'm a 10 month survivor. I now have to start counting with my toes. Before you know it, I'll be counting the years. I looked up the word survivor today and the definition was: to manage to stay alive or continue to exist, especially in difficult situations. I realized that I'm not someone special. We're all survivors. Everyone of us faces a difficult situation at least once a day/week/month. Not just those with cancer. So, I'm just going to keep living...not just surviving.

Live life without regret. Live life to the fullest. Dream Big.

Hugs, Doreen

Saturday, February 17, 2007

No Name Title

I've mentioned this before but the worst part about writing a blog is coming up with a title. I didn't want to overwork my brain so consider this generic.

Today was another busy day for Rick and I. We slept in longer than usual (because we stayed up later than usual last night). Uncle Chuck and Aunt Fran stopped by for a quick visit this morning, we went to lunch with Bob and Dy, then it was off to a funeral this afternoon. The service was very nice, but we had not been to a memorial service since we had been diagnosed so our emotions were pretty raw. After the service we went to watch cousin Ally's basketball game in Marysville. Snohomish won so they're headed to state. Congratulations. After the game, Dave, Val, Bob, Dy, Rick and I went shopping then out to dinner. I am still stuffed..... we ate too late, and too much. Our friends are a very bad influence.

We talked to Angie today who is in Fairbanks, Alaska...her temperature is zero degrees.
We also talked to Amy today, in Puerto Rico...her temperature was in the high 80's - low 90's
Jake called from Pullman. He didn't mention his temperature, but he was excited because his 5th grade parks and rec basketball team won another game. (I think he has a pretty good little team this year...and they must have a pretty good coach)

My dad really wants to bring wood into the garage for us so I'll mention him in my blog. He was only kidding, but honestly, if I mentioned my dad everytime he did something for me/us, I'd talk about him everyday. As soon as we get the Relay for Life pledge board finished (that he built) I'll post it so you can see one of the many amazing things he does. What a lucky girl I am.

I need to get out in the livingroom and visit my friends before they leave tomorrow.

Hugs and Kisses,
Dor the Big Dreamer

Friday, February 16, 2007

Surprise from our friends

Today turned out to be very special. We had a surprise visit from our friends, Bob and Dy from Spokane. Tonight, Bob, Dy, Dave & Val came over for dinner and laughter. You can always count on the 6 of us laughing about something....usually it's inappropriate, and it's usually Bob who starts it.

Rick is feeling pretty good after his treatment this time. I do think it's been a little rougher than before. We should have been in bed earlier than now, but it's much more fun to enjoy our friends. I promise, we'll sleep in.

We've got a busy weekend planned . I'll write more tomorrow. Love you to Pluto and back!

Dream Big,

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blog #225

Can you believe it? I've written to you 225 times and you're still interested in what I have to say...or I think you are? Hey, is there anybody out there? Never the less, here I am.

This photo is of me with my friends Pam and Shelley. They painted this oar (paddle) and had these shirts made especially for us. They say
ScHmItT CREEK PADDLERS with a no cancer sign on the upper left chest. You've gotta love their sense of humor. I've been up this creek a time or two so the paddle came in handy.

I don't need to tell you this (because you already know...and you're probably sick of it) but without our children I'm not sure where we'd be. They are with us at nearly every appointment. They take notes, take photos of the prescriptions we take (so they can keep us organized), haul wood in the garage for the fireplace, make us laugh, comfort us daily.... So whether they are here at our house, over in Pullman, or in Puerto Rico, we feel their presence everyday.

Part of my anxiety at the doctor's office on Tuesday was about having a new CT scan while Amy was gone on her military leave and Jake is still over in Pullman. I didn't want a scan while she was gone, because if they saw that there was a change I would have to tell her (and she would be alone and sad) or I would have to lie to her about the results (and I would be in big trouble when she found out). There was nothing worse for me than having Jake find out about my lung cancer while he was in Pullman, alone. I actually told Megan (his girlfriend) first and had her go to Jake's fraternity to be with him when he found out. My parents drove to be with him for the next couple of days. From now on, we want the kids close by when we get results. Good or Bad. Dr. Eaton assured me that waiting a few weeks would not hurt anything. And...the Dr. knows best.

Jake is looking forward to being home for good the end of March so he can be a bigger part of what's happening around here. I hope he knows what he's getting himself into. Amy is sad right now because she is on a military duty in Puerto Rico. I'm sure it's beautiful there...but she feels bad about not being home for us. I've tried to remind our kids that they should continue having a "life". We are surrounded by so many amazing people who will help us if we need it, that our children need to have a little fun. (Amy did admit last night that it is beautiful where she's at)

Angie is going to have a little fun this long weekend with her friends from Alaska. They are great people who love her and our family, so it will be good for her to spend a little time with them.

I'm not sure how I'll be able to fit work into this busy schedule of mine. Rick has his chemo pump removed this morning, then we'll exchange his dad's cell phone for a new one, go to Michael's Craft store (for some yarn), then get an oil change. You're thinking...wow! What an exciting life these people lead. The important part of that sentence is that "We have a life".

I got these lyrics from a friend the other day...thought I would share them with you...

When I look back on my ordinary, ORDINARY life, I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

I never want to miss a magical moment.

Love you more every nano-second,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday in Seattle I had a mini-meltdown. Rick had his second chemo treatment and it went well. The little problem I had was...since his infusion went a little longer than expected, I went to my appointment without him for the first time. Angie went along instead (as Amy is in Puerto Rico with the AirForce). It was nice having her there, however when the nurse asked me how I was doing...I lost it. I was sobbing and blubbering...and sniffling... The funny part about this is that I don't get emotional at my appointments. We talk about how I'm feeling (I say good), if there are any changes (oh, just a little cough), I get a little exam (everything looks fine), we talk about test results (all within the normal range), I ask some questions (blah, blah)...and then I make a return appointment (for one month later). This time, without Rick, I guess my body wanted the doctor to know how I really was. Oh, externally, I'm great! I'm "fine". Internally it appears, I'm a mess. I told my doctor I "hate" cancer. I'm sick of it effecting my life and my family's life. I hate not having control of my emotions. The weird part is...Dr. Eaton was happy for me. He thought it was about time I got mad. Broke down. Told it like it really is. He thinks I'm still doing great but it's time for a scan again next month. Since the cough has gotten worse and I have an ongoing pain in my left ribcage he says it can't hurt to get another look. Angie had to leave my appointment to get back upstairs with Rick because he had an appointment with his doctor by this time, so I had a chance to talk with my doctor all alone. He assured me that he thinks I'm doing well. He reminded me that things can start to change, but he can also help fight whatever comes my way. By the time I left his exam room, he asked me if I needed ice packs for my eyes. (you can only imagine how pretty I must have been by this time). I had to walk through the waiting room, lobby, get on the elevator and go to Rick's room while I was still sobbing. On the elevator, I apologized to the 4 people riding with me. I said nothing serious has just happened, I'm just an ugly crier. They reminded me it was ok, I was in a cancer hospital...this kind of this happens regularly. We left the hospital with a bag over my head (just kidding). Once we got done with Rick's appointment we headed for home. Besides my meltdown, everything really did go well.

Rick said if he was feeling well after his treatment he wanted to go to the Stanwood/Jackson district basketball game. I agreed to it. We did have to go buy some eye make-up for me before the game, so I didn't scare the players and spectators.

So far, Rick is feeling good again. He just wishes he could get more sleep. We're working on that. I slept until 9:30 this morning. Apparently, I was exhausted.

It is Valentine's evening and I'm trying to make a nice dinner for my honey, so I'd better go.

Love you more than all the roses sent to sweethearts today!

Dream Big,

Monday, February 12, 2007

Chemo Eve

Chemo Eve? I thought if I made it sound like something exciting we would forget about the actual event. I guess not :( Tomorrow morning Angie, Rick and I will make the trek down south with our picnic lunch and my knitting for another day of fun and excitement at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I mean that honestly. The staff is wonderful...

The truth is, this first round went well. Now for round 2. I know when you're in a boxing ring each round gets a little tougher... but, one of the fighters has to stay tougher than the other. Rick is my Muhammad Ali... enough said!

I'd better go now so I can start packing our lunches. A mother's/wife's job is never done. I love that!

Love you more every second...
Dream Big,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Campaign Coming Out Tomorrow

I woke up this morning with the desire to clean. Honestly, it was a desire. Thank goodness it was short lived and I only worked around the house for a couple of hours. Imagine if I had that feeling all day. I wouldn't have been able to visit all my guests...or knit.

This afternoon, my cousin Sue (who happens to be 13 days older than me - not that it's any big deal...I just thought you should know) came down to visit from Sedro Woolley. We were very close as young kids, but over the years we'd grown apart as families sometimes do. Today was the first time we'd seen each other since my diagnosis. When she got to my door it was as though time stood still. We hugged for what seemed like forever. I miss her funny laugh, I miss her smile, I miss knowing about her life. I think after today we've both decided that we need each other more than we knew it. I'm happy about that :)

My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece stopped by this afternoon too. We attempted to watch a new movie that they brought over, but Darlena only likes to watch the Lion King. Maybe we'll try it again next time. Angie came over after her exciting morning as an official for Special Olympics Basketball. She told us some great stories. It was clear she had a memorable time. I think that will be on Angie's list of "must do" things for the future. It's funny how the more we give, the more we get back...

Tomorrow A Breath Away From The Cure Foundation is starting a new lung cancer awareness campaign. I'm attaching the website so you can look at all the signs that will be hanging on busses in San Francisco and New York City. I'm really proud to be a part of this incredible organization. There are 13 different ads. Check them all out!

Ok, time for me to get my jammies on. We need a good night's sleep since we start a new chemo week tomorrow. I have my monthly check-up on Tuesday while Rick is having his chemo. Doesn't this just sound like a soap opera, or a really bad sitcom?

Love you more every minute.

Dream Big,

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Beautiful Day

We were blessed with a beautiful day today. Rick and I took advantage of it and went for a walk this afternoon. You've gotta love the sunshine... It's drier than rain.

I'm changing the name of the blog to something other than Rick and Doreen Cancer Updates. The title gives cancer so much power. Like what has it done to US lately? I would rather let you know what we've done to CANCER instead. I've decided to call it Life is Good: Hosted by Rick & Doreen.

I got up this morning and worked on some little Valentine's presents for my kids. I'll share them with you after the 14th. If I tell you now, I'll ruin the surprise. Speaking of surprises....did you know that my dear friend Pam is celebrating her 60th birthday and Amy & Angie are celebrating their 30th birthday this month? Isn't it funny how age is only important if you're trying to collect on your social security or if you want to buy a beer? Otherwise, it's only a number. I think they all look fabulous for their age (but then I'm a little biased)

Hugs and kisses,
Doreen the Dreamer

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cough update...

Whenever I'm having a bad (or sad) day and I write about it on the blog, I always think...Don't be so whiney, Doreen. Keep your chin up. Think positive.... Think of the starving kids in China (didn't your parents always say that when you didn't want to eat your dinner?)I want you all to know that I do think positive. I do have high hopes. We are going to beat this. But every once in a while, I have a little pity party with no cake or decorations...just a bunch of whining and pointing fingers and it's not very fun. So, I've decided that the next party I have will be with hats and martinis and music. You're all invited.

I bought a puzzle before Christmas just in case anyone was in the mood to put one together (we haven't done one in 10 years or so) and I took it out yesterday. I forgot how much I love to do them. Now my biggest dilemma is not about lung cancer and Rick's chemo, but whether I'll knit or work on the puzzle. It sounds like I'll need therapy sooner than I thought!

Oh, I forgot to mention my cough (I know...blah, blah....). I went to the doctor yesterday at my familys demand and they prescribed an antibiotic. Other than a little bug (and cancer) in my lungs, I'm perfectly fine, I promise. Rick gets his next round of chemo again on Tuesday and now we know what to expect, so hopefully we will be a little less anxious. Thanks for all your love and support!

I've gotta get going now, I have to do some actual work for my job. Yes, I still have one. Stop laughing. They still say they want me to come back to work when I'm ready... or when I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

Love you more every hour...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rambling On... Version #175

Yesterday was a weird one for me. I cried many times for no reason. Ok, yes...there are some reasons, but I thought I had it all together. Is this what they call denial? If so, I think I have it.
The worst part about being so emotional is the lack of control. You cry or (blubber) at the strangest moments. I've lived for the day I would see my final child graduate from college. Yesterday we got information about his cap/gown and announcements in the mail. You guessed it. I bawled like a baby.

I know I've mentioned how proud we are of our children but let me tell you a little story. By no means do I think they are better than others, but I do think they are wiser than most. Rick and I started out our life as young parents. We didn't go to college (I went to beauty school and got my hairdresser's license...) and Rick has been with the same company for over 27 years. However, we've always been hard workers. We provided well, took fun vacations, and built a home filled with love. From the time our children could remember, we always referred to their future with words like "when you go to college, or after you graduate from college", as though there was no other option. In our eyes, there was no other option. We wanted them to have the best opportunities possible and we knew how they could get it. So, here we are. Amy, graduated from Eastern Washington Unviersity with a degree in Criminal Justice, and a masters in Public Administration. Angie, graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a degree in Exercise Science, and a masters in Teaching. Now Jake will be graduating from Washington State University with his degree in teaching. How satisfied we are that our children followed their dreams...and the ones we had for them. It didn't matter what they wanted to be, we just wanted them to have a passion for something. I think they've all found it!

I've promised the family I will call about my cough today. It really isn't that bad, but it must be annoying them. I may just go down to my family doc and have him listen to my lungs. I'll keep you up to date if I know anything.

I'm hoping to join my friends for Taco Tuesday today. It was my favorite day with them when I was working. I think part of my emotions might be stemming from missing my old daily routines, but I'm so thankful that I'm able to stay home and take care of myself and my family. I love having the freedom to do the things that bring me joy. :)

We had a terrible night of sleeping...but what's new? We do, however, take naps during the day to make up for it. Rick is still handling the chemo well. Now, let's hope the chemo is taking care of the cancer.

Sorry about all the rambling, but you're probably used to it. Thanks for listening.

Love you more every hour...
Dream Big,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl Sunday

Way to go Colts!

Today was a pretty low key Superbowl Sunday for the Schmitt's. Amy was away in Spokane with the Air Force & Jake was over in Pullman. So, I...along with Rick, Angie and my brother- in- law and sister-in-law (Tom and Vickie) spent a quiet day in front of the big screen rooting for the Colts. Apparently, I was a little tired or something, because I fell asleep and missed most of the 3rd and 4th quarters. Turkey dinner was the treat of the day. We had a few snack items too, but the main meal was turkey and all the trimmings. Yum.

I can't believe it was a year ago when we were sitting in front of the 36" television cheering on the Seahawks. When a milestone like this one comes along and reminds me how much our lives have changed over the past year, I'm almost in shock.

Rick is still feeling pretty good. No major side effects of this first round of chemo. I'm still coughing, but if you listen closely it sounds like the lyrics to a song "Rock around the Cough".
Just kidding. I'll try to keep taking care of myself too (however I'm a terrible patient).

Love you more than all the money lost in Vegas today on "the Bears"

Dreams do come true,

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Things have been going so well I forgot to write a blog....

The past 3 days have been great. Rick had his "chemo pump" removed on Thursday with no problems. On our way back from the hospital he was hungry for an M & M Blizzard...so I pulled into a Dairy Queen to make him happy. He's so easy to please these days. :) I think he has a pretty nice "personal nurse" as well, and I remind him of that daily...

Honestly, we've had a pretty good 1st week of chemo. Other than being a little more fatigued than usual, we've kept on top of any nausea that seemed to come his way. We know things can still change before his next treatment, but we're taking each day as it comes.

My cough is worsening (I think more from stress than anything else - I'm sure it's nothing contagious, otherwise I'll need to wear a gas mask around the house). It's not constant, but I can feel the change. Once we get into a routine (whatever that means) I think my stress level will taper off and hopefully the cough will lighten up.

My dear friend Cathy came and took me out of the house for a couple of hours yesterday morning. We went shopping for our friend Donna's 40th Birthday present. I think we had more fun shopping for it than Donna will have using it. I love my Cathy days...

Yesterday afternoon we had a nice visit from Rick's cousin Shellee and her son Landen. Early in the evening his cousin Kelly and his wife Shelley came over and we had pizza and salad then watched their daughter Ally's basketball game against Stanwood. After the game, Rick's Aunt Jessie, Uncle Mel and cousin Tom stopped by for a few minutes (I had something to give Jessie, I made her a scarf, surprise, surprise). We must have been tired from our visitors yesterday, because we slept in until almost 9:00am this morning. Oops! Hope we didn't miss anything exciting.

It's February now...the month of love. Don't forget to "love the ones your with"! Hey, that could be a song.

I've chosen to root for the Colts tomorrow in the Superbowl... because I would look foolish still yelling for the Seahawks.

Dreaming Big,