Monday, April 30, 2007

Stop looking at that photo

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I posted that self portrait yesterday, but let me apologize for any pain it may have caused you. Have I gone crazy?

I've had an earache/throat ache for the past few days so I went to the doctor today just to make sure I wasn't coming down with anything (other than my pre-existing lung cancer). Surprise, Surprise, I have an ear infection. Isn't that a little kid disease? Oh,'s nothing a little antibiotic can't clear up. I've been resting since I got home with a heating pad on the side of my head....I should take a photo now if you really want to see something beautiful...Ugh!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is our big day at the Cancer Care Alliance for Pam. I know she's anxious, but ready to get on with a treatment plan. Keep us in your thoughts (while they check out her calcium deposits). Rick seems to be feeling better since his treatment last week. He has the rest of this week off, then chemo again next Tuesday. His CEA number is down to 3.5 (from it's original 59.8) The chemo is obviously working. Yahoo!

Yesterday I planted 36 sunflower seeds in a starter packet in my garden window (I have more but I want to stagger their bloom times). I plan on having sunflowers blooming all summer and fall. When they actually make flowers, I'll post photos...

Love you more than all the apples in Wenatchee.

Dream Big,

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Groggy Blog

I just got out of bed. 10:34am. I'm not proud (but I am very rested). What has gotten in to me? I never sleep this late. As a matter of fact, sleeping is a foreign word for me sometimes. But with sleep, comes beauty...Or not. Why do they say beauty sleep? If you've ever had a really good nights sleep, don't you look bad when you wake up? Your hair is all smashed, and you have pillow or sheet marks on your face. What so beautiful about that? I'm posting a photo for proof.

I was the biggest loser at Bunco last night. With this Bunco group if you're the biggest loser, you get $20. So, in fact, I was also one of the biggest winners. We had a great time and laughed a bunch.

Rick and Jake are already outside again, playing farmer. They worked very hard yesterday. Hopefully, today will just be a little finish work on the fence. I have a few more things I want to do around the house today, but otherwise, I'm going to lay low as well. Heck, if I don't get started on them soon, it will be evening. I'd better get going.

Love you more,

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More Upgrades...

Today they layed wood flooring down our stairs. It looks amazing. I can't believe this is the same house we've been living in for over 20 years. Everyday I wake up and look at all our improvements and think, "why didn't we do this a long time ago"? Oh well, it was worth the wait.

We went to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Auction last night and bought a few things we didn't need, had dessert (that we didn't need)...but it was for a good cause. My sister-in-law Dawn is active in the group and asked us to join them. We had a nice time and visited with some people we hadn't seen in a while.

I've been cooking and cleaning today (while the workers were here). Rick, Jake, My Dad, and Rick's Dad have all been putting up a new fence for our cows (I call them cows but Rick says they're steers...I'll just refer to it as the other red meat). We only have 3 steers at the house right now. (Not actually in our house, they are wandering around our acreage) They're eating grain and getting ready to go into someones freezer. Sorry, all you vegetarians. When you grow up in a farming community, you eat beef and fresh veggies. :(

Tonight we're going to play Bunco with a group of friends. It should be fun. If nothing else, the company will be great and I think there will be wine. Or if I don't win, I'll whine. Either way, wine/whine is involved.

Better get back to working. I'm on a roll and I don't want to get distracted.

Dream Big,

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Friday

Good morning my friends. I'm heading to work today (we're interviewing for a new head boys basketball coach) and I have lots to do. Tonight we're going to an auction with Rick's brother and his wife and some friends. I'm looking forward to it. What do I need?

Rick didn't sleep well last night. I only mentioned this because he's actually been sleeping a lot better lately. I hope it's just because he was asleep on the couch watching basketball earlier in the evening.

We had a successful Relay for Life meeting last night. It was amazing to see how many people showed up, we do have 72 team - up from the 30 at last year's event, so I guess it's no wonder we filled the room. Last night after the relay meeting, I visited with my friend Bev (who I haven't seen in years - except at a relay meeting) for an hour in the parking lot. It's funny how we have friends who we haven't seen in years and we can just pick up where we left off. We could have talked for hours more, but Grey's Anatomy was on. Just kidding, I TIVO'd it!

I want to send a special congratulations to Taryn and Andrew who announced their engagement a couple of days ago. Thanks for including me in the group of friends who got the message. :)
Remember: A happy marriage is a long conversation that seems all to short.

I'm due at work soon, so I'd better get off the computer.

Have a wonderful weekend. Plant flowers. Mow your lawn (if the rain ever stops). Eat dessert first.

Love you more than all the laps that will be walked at Relay for Life 2007!
Dream Big,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Day After....

Chemo went as planned. We stopped at Dick's for a burger. Came home. Aunt Fran and Uncle Chuck stopped by for a nice little visit. I made dinner. Went over and played with my niece for a little bit (she was driving her mom a little crazy...and she was asking for AUNTIE), came home and went to bed. Then sometime in the wee hours, Rick started feeling nauseous. Luckily for us we have 4 different kinds of nausea pills to choose from and the first ones seemed to work (but not immediately). I got him a cold rag for his head, rubbed his back and he seemed to feel a little better. Once the nausea hit however, I could tell it was going to be a restless night. We tossed and turned for a long time, finally fell asleep and we didn't wake up (except to take phone calls) until 10:30am. I think the sleep did us both good. I feel a little congested today but hopefully it's just from being in bed for so long.

Today, I'm working from home. My sub (who is actually my new friend Sheryl) is at the office, but I have a couple of things I'm working on that will be much easier to do without interruption at home. Rick just decided he should go to work for an hour or two. He needs to check the mail, make some calls and go to the bank. I told him I would be down there to get him if he stayed too long. We (or maybe it was just me) decided that "I'm the boss on days when he's getting chemo...and he still has his fanny pack on, so watch out".

The other day I mentioned that I was going to speak at an occasion in May and I thought...what will I say? Well, while Rick was getting his chemo and sleeping at the hospital yesterday, I started to write, and write, and write... The words just kept flowing. I'm not sure how good it is but it was easier than I thought.

I'd better go now. I've got things to do. Stuff to clean. Shirts to iron.

Dream Big,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Twas the night before chemo...

...and all through our house, I was stirring and couldn't go to sleep. I know it doesn't rhyme, but not all stories do. It's only 9:00pm but I can already feel my anxiety level rising. If any of you are up by 5:30am call me. I'm sitting here thinking....oh, great. Now, no one will be able to sleep tonight. We'll all be waiting for the 5:30 alarm to go off. Sorry, but if I have to share this anxiety with someone, who better than all of you. I'm nice that way. Sharing and all.

Tonight, I was asked to be a guest speaker at a "Friendships and Chocolate" gathering in May. I'm suppose to talk about friendships (which I think I have a little knowledge) and what they mean in my life (which is immeasurable). I'm sort of thinking, maybe they could just have me write a blog on it, then they could read it. I'm already a little nervous. That's ok. It will give me something new to worry about. What will I wear? What if my hair looks dumb that day? Will I stutter? Who want's to listen to me blabber, or blubber? I'm going to do it, however. With a smile. And a good attitude. (and maybe even a new outfit)

After work (yes, I worked at my job again today...don't look so surprised) I headed to Angie's house and played with my granddog for a little while. After playing, we went to the plant farm at Smokey Point. It was really nice and we bought some beautiful flowers (Angie didn't need much as her yard already looks beautiful) After a quick stop at Costco, I headed home. On the way to Angie's, I talked to Amy, who was on her way home from qualifying her shooting and defensive tactics for her job today (she has to do this a couple of times a year). She never has to use her gun at work (I hope I didn't jinx her) and she didn't grow up with any guns in the house, but for some reason (I think it may have been the influence from the Dukes of Hazzard) she's a sharpshooter. She did not get this talent from her parents. We're proud of her just the same. Now, be careful.

I have a few photos to share from this weekend. I hope you enjoy them.

Love to you all,
You know the drill...Dream Big!


Tonight was not a good night for me. For some reason my mind wouldn't turn off. I decided to sit on my couch and watch TV. It didn't take long before I remembered why I rarely turn on the television. My mind continued to wander. I thought about the stress I have at work, the sadness I experienced yesterday at the funeral, the friend who let me down, etc. and I actually cried for a few minutes. I'm not sure what had gotten into me but it was one of those moments that I haven't had in a while. Just as I reached for a Kleenex and buried my head into my pillow, my cell phone beeped with a text message. The message was from my dear friend Jessi in Virginia. All it said was, "I'm thinking about you. I hope you had a great day." I smiled.

The past year has been overwhelming at times. I've had some bad moments when I find myself reaching for a Kleenex... or better yet a hug... but there have been just as many overwhelming "happy" moments. Whether good or bad... overwhelming moments are extremely draining. Its in these moments of weakness when friends... real friends... come thru. Although Jessi didn't know that she was going to send that message and help me snap out of an extremely sad moment, the fact is, she did.

Had you asked me two or three years ago who my best friend was I would have been quick to throw out a few names. Sadly, those are not the same names I would tell you if asked today. It's not that we don't get along, it's just that troubled times bring out the true friends. There are a few people who have certainly proved that they care enough to be there in bad times as well as the good times. Real friends are the people who would get in the car and come to you at any hour if you asked for a hug.... regardless of what time they have to wake up the next morning. They are the ones who stick by your side even when you do something stupid... yet again. They don't judge you. They might not call you all the time, but whenever you talk you can pick up where you left off without that awkward silence. I have learned so much about what a friend truly is. I would take a handful of people I know I can count on over a large group of people who are there for me when it's convenient.

I try to find something positive in every situation. Some days and some situations are much easier to find that ray of sunshine. Other days and other situations it's a struggle. Over time I've learned that a good friend doesn't come along very often. I recently opened a fortune cookie that said, "What's new is not valuable... and what's valuable is not new." At first I thought nothing of it, but now I think it is referring to friends. I'm grateful to have that handful whom I hold close to my heart.

This time it just happened to be you Jess.... and for that, I thank you.


Sunday, April 22, 2007


We often look in the mirror, or around our houses, at our jobs, or at our loved ones and think ~ we need to make changes. "My plan didn't look quite like this". It isn't often that we just savor what we have, who we have, and how lucky we are to have all of it.

I own a book called "50 things that really matter" and one of the topics is contentment. I won't tell you what the story in the book was about but I will tell you that it made me think. Most of us think contentment means having everything you wish for. The reality is, contentment is finding a little happiness is whatever life throws your way. That's what I'm going to do in survival year number 2.

Somedays I wake up and think "oh, I'll write about planting flowers outside" then I have to read back in my own blog because I can't remember if I already thought that was a good idea or if it just came to my mind. So, if I start to repeat myself, just bear with me. (I'm blaming it on the meds I take)'ll notice that was just a random thought. What has come over me?

We had a nice celebration for Jake's birthday on Friday night with a family dinner at a local restaurant. It's great having us all together again. There it is. Contentment.

Dream Big,

Friday, April 20, 2007

End of a busy week

I forgot how tired I can get after working the entire week. Every weekend is filled with odd jobs to do, people to visit with, parties to go to... If I work 5 days in a row then play on the weekends ~ when will I find the time to rest? I'm going to have to re-think this work thing. :)

It's Jake's birthday tomorrow, so we (Amy, Angie, Dave, Val, Rick, Megan, and I) went out for his birthday dinner tonight at Amigo's. Megan flew over from Pullman for his birthday so he's a happy boy. After dinner, Amy and Angie went to the high school and helped prepare for Mike Chandler's memorial service tomorrow. Dinner was fun and very good(though we didn't have them put the sombrero on Jake's head and sing happy birthday ~ with Angie teaching at an elementary school she couldn't help but think about lice in hats...and who knew what was in the sombrero?).

I'll write more tomorrow when I've had a good nights sleep. Have a safe and happy weekend.

Dream Big,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

1 year and many smiles later...

I hate to sound like the father of Anna Nicole's baby...but, "I told you so". Just kidding. I did however, say "I'm going to be the one in five who survives this first year" and I think I did it with flying colors. If I were to grade myself on my performance, I would give me an A.

I went to bed last night with a terrible headache so I woke up this morning feeling like I had a hangover. No such luck. No fun was involved. No partying til the cows came home. No staying up all night. Just a headache hangover where you move your head and your brains join up with it 5 seconds later. So, I took my time getting ready for work and arrived late to a desk with flowers and cards and a wonderful piece of art designed by Jennifer Kelly (a teacher I work with). She drew caricatures of my family and I standing in the middle of our entire school staff. She had these duplicated & laminated and is selling them for $10 each to raise money for her Relay for Life team. The print made me cry (surprise, surprise) but now that I'm over her initial thoughtfulness, each time I look at it I can't help but smile (or laugh) at her interpretation of all of us.

This will be a bittersweet weekend. Jake's birthday is Saturday along with Mike Chandler's memorial service. Mike will be missed by many, but never forgotten. With the effort of the school board and our community, we are hoping to rename the softball field after Mr. Chandler. I'll keep you posted if this happens and when we plan on dedicating it.

Just think???? 1 year from today...I'll be writing to you again, telling you how good I feel and that Rick and Pam are doing great. Laughter makes the time fly by.

Love you more than all the days, and months, and years that I'll be writing this blog.

Dream Big,


One year ago today you called my cell phone crying and told me you had cancer. Statistically they told you that only 1 in 5 people with lung cancer would live a year from the date of diagnosis. You immediately said that you would be the one, and nobody is surprised to see that you are here today to talk about it. Attitude is everything. Your desire to be alive and an abundance of love is why you are battling this disease head on. Statistics can't measure love. Here's to another happy and healthy year.

Hugs and Kisses-

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

364 days and counting...

As I sit here tonight, I can't help but reminisce about my life. One year ago tonight, our lives were uneventful, I had an annoying cough, the sun was shining, Jacob was getting ready to turn 21,and I was anxiously awaiting test results from my lung biopsy. I was convinced I had T.B. (though I wasn't sure if people still got it), or I had a new strain of bacteria (perhaps something I picked up in Mexico), or even the bird flu (though I wasn't around any birds). Instead, I got lung cancer. Wow, that's a word I've heard more than I'd like to (and I'm going to out on a limb to say you're tired of it too). What I also received, was hope, courage, new friends, deepened friendships, undying love, strengthened faith, and the ability to DREAM BIGGER than I thought possible.

I'm here because of you. Your prayers, love, support and laughter (along with the TARCEVA) have given me so much more to look forward to. Thank you from the bottom of my lungs....

Dream Big,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

American Tragedy

As I write this blog tonight, I can't help but think of the friends and family members of all those people lost in the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. As I watched the news tonight, they told the stories of these young lives and what their hopes and dreams were. What a loss it is to lose so many amazing people. This is just another confirmation that we are never guaranteed another day, so live each day as if it were your last.

Good news. Pam got an appointment at Seattle Cancer Care on May 1st. What a May day that will be. When we're done talking to her team of doctors I think we should go to Pike Place Market and get ourselves some flowers. Any excuse for us to go shopping....

I'll be working everyday this week to give my sub a break. She does a wonderful job, but this week while her husband is home from his job, I told her I could "sub" for her. I've had a great time, but I must say it takes everything I have to get out of bed in the morning. I'd better get to bed now so I can get some beauty sleep.

Love you more,

Dream Big,

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm off to work

Just wanted to wish you all a great week. It might be raining where you are, your copy machine might be broken, you might be having a root canal, but look on the bright side; the sun will shine again, the copy repairman is on his way, and you're tooth will feel better once it quits hurting... Life really is what we make of it. Believe that better things are ahead and they will be.

I attended a Southern Living at Home open house yesterday at my friend Jan's. She had a great fundraising idea. She held this party (she's a distributor) and her commission would be donated back to Relay for Life. I visited with lots of people I hadn't seen in a while, the food was spectacular, her house looked beautiful (as always) and she doubled her fundraising goal. Now that's what I call a successful day. Congrats, Jan.

I'm looking outside right now and flowers are popping out everywhere. I do LOVE SPRING (and you).

Dream Big,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Somewhere over the RAINBOW

My camera doesn't do this photo justice, but I must say, this was one of the most beautiful rainbows I've ever seen. It was a full arch (though I've only given you a glimpse of it) and had deep colors. What a great way to end a perfect day.

It's our anniversary today and I awoke to new barstools in our kitchen, from my honey. We went out for breakfast, shopped for some flowers, washed cars (I just watched...Jake helped), planted flowers (Rick just watched...Angie helped), visited with our neighbors Jeff and Erika, had steak and prawns for dinner and now we are relaxing for the evening. I'm thinking about putting a movie in. The problem is, we'll wake up at 3:00am with the TV blaring without a clue how the movie ended. I'm speaking from experience.

Rick isn't feeling great this evening...I'm sure he's overdoing it. He had a slight fever this afternoon but Tylenol seemed to help it. Let's hope it's nothing to worry about.

I'm going to get off the computer now and spend some time with the "ONE" I love.

Dream Big,

Friday, April 13, 2007

No Swearing Allowed

I'm going to try to write this blog tonight without swear words. Sometimes, however, you need to use them to make your point. I'll do my best to keep it clean.

I went with Pam to her follow up appointment today after work. What we thought would be a simple, "looks good, now get going on your radiation", turned into, " looks like we still didn't get it all". The solution to this is...try one more surgery and if it still shows cancer cells, then a mastectomy is probably the next step. WHAT? You've gotta be kidding me. I thought the solution the first time was to do this little lumpectomy. Simple. Wham Bam. You can go shopping the next day. How could this have turned into surgery #3 with a 4th one in the wings? I really am optimistic about Pam's prognosis, but come on... how good can 3 surgeries be on a 60 (oops, I mean 47) year old woman? Or, anyone for that matter. As you know, I think I'm just a few credits short of my M.D. so I've talked Pam into getting that second opinion she needs (at least I hope I've talked her into it). It's not that I don't trust the doctor or his judgement, it's that I want her to have a surgeon that works hand in hand with an oncologist. That is the important step right now. Being her own best advocate is the greatest thing Pam can do for her health. After the appointment we had that glass of wine and dinner like we had planned, but with the news we received earlier, it was all hard to swallow.

Rick and I are feeling pretty good all things considered. Hopefully the rain will stop soon and we can get back out in the yard doing some "dirt" therapy. I don't have much more to paint or to rearrange in the house so we've moved outside for a little update.

Have a wonderful weekend. Don't forget to "LOVE THE ONES YOUR WITH"

Dream Big,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Life is what we make it - Make yours memorable

Today was a day. Not JUST another DAY. But a wonderful day. Nothing exciting happened. HAPPENED and that's what's important. I worked a little this morning, the sun was shining, I visited with a friend who is expecting her first child in August (it was the first time I'd seen her since her pregnancy... she looks great), went with Rick to his chemo disconnect, it was still sunny when we got out of the hospital, stopped at Costco for a king size version of everything on our grocery list, went to a baseball game (didn't get rained on), attended a Relay for Life meeting (which by the way, we've raised over $45,000 dollars so far), then home for a late dinner. This is why my first year of survival went by so fast. I figured if you stay this busy, cancer has no chance of catching up to you. Ok, now that I'm sitting down and telling you what I've done...I'm exhausted. It must be about bed time.

Tonight at the Relay for Life meeting I sat by my dear friend Jan. We've been friends for a long time but we don't see each other as much as we used to. I remembered tonight why I love her so much. It doesn't matter how much time passes between the two of us because we pick up right where we left off. She makes me laugh, is so incredibly giving, and a true friend. I love her kids and her husband (Ok Rodg, knock it off. I didn't mean it that way). Everyone needs a Jan in their life. But, please don't take her. She's mine.

Pam and I go to her doctor's appointment tomorrow. Mostly, so she can look at her cute doctor. But don't worry, I'll be there taking notes and listening carefully to the last biopsy/surgery reports. When the appointment is over she'll want to celebrate with a glass of red wine (with ice in it) and brag about how alike we are. She tells everyone she wants to be like me that's why she got cancer. I want to be just like her, that's why I'm thinking about dying my hair copper penny red. Or not. Perhaps, I'll move by a lake, or get a P.T. cruiser instead. The only way I want Pam to be like me is to put up a fight against cancer and never give up.

Although, I joke about cancer whenever I get a chance (it helps me to cope), it isn't a laughing matter. It also doesn't identify who I am. Sometimes I feel like I am only Doreen Schmitt, (the woman with lung cancer who never smoked) or Doreen Schmitt, wife of Rick Schmitt who has colon cancer, or friend of Pam who has breast cancer. But really, the old Doreen hasn't changed. She's still there enjoying whatever is thrown at her, working hard on projects that are dear to her heart, loving life (however crazy it might seem). Today I read a saying in my book called Timeless Thoughts on Love. I thought I would share....
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength;
loving someone deeply gives you courage"
I love you all more than you'll ever know....

Enjoy your Friday!

Love Deeply and Dream Big,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Doreen's Check-Up...

I had a monthly doctor's visit today in Seattle. One of the neat things about going to the Seattle Cancer Care or the University of Washington is that they are teaching hospitals. So, many times you don't just see your doctor, but rather your doctor and someone else. Today's guest was actually a new oncologist pharmacist. Dr. Eaton was proud to say "Doreen is a great patient who has shown no apparent side effects". I could have told him that over the phone but he reminded me I am not a doctor. So, I need to have bloodwork every month and scans every few months. He told me I needed to start taking my medication to help me sleep better but I don't want to depend on them to make me sleep. He said, this will be the least of my worries. Take the pills, get some sleep and who knows, I might feel rested, perky, alert. After my appointment, my sister in law Dawn and niece Darlena and I went to Pike Place Market for a couple of hours. We enjoyed our day, I got a couple of hydrangas, and we watched the ferries come in while we were having lunch. When we returned home, I went outside (it was a beautiful day) and painted our front porch. It looks terrific. Now, I need to get some flower boxes planted (or perhaps buy some new ones). If you have to go to Seattle for a doctors appointment, why not make a day of it?

I know Amy told you about our friend, Mike Chandler, but I'd like to add a little more to the story. About 10 years ago, Mike became very ill and needed a kidney transplant. At that time we didn't know if Mike would make it out of the hospital. After much searching, it was discovered that his wonderful wife Becky, was a match. Mike's transplant was a success until a few years ago, at which time he had to go back on dialiysis. Though we will all miss Mike, I'm sure he would tell you how blessed he felt to have those extra 10 years that were nearly taken from him. I was fortunate to know Mike in many different roles; Coach, Co-Worker and Friend - all of which he could talk your ear off about if you had the time. He will be dearly missed. :)

Tonight's dinner menu: Mini teryaki meatloaves, mashed red potatoes (with the skins on) and cooked carrots. Does this sound like down home cookin' or what? I'm not sure why I told you what we were having for dinner...but you know me RANDOM THOUGHTS (my new middle name).

I have a couple of errands to run tonight before I head for bed. So good-bye, sleep well and dream big dreams.

Love, Dor

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thanks for Everything Coach....

It has been a while since I've sat down and written an entry on the blog. It's not that I don't care, or can't find time... it's just that I haven't had anything "important" to talk about. Tonight I want to talk about something.... someone.... important.

As some of you might already know, Mike Chandler passed away this morning, at the young age of 55. For those of you who didn't know Mike, he had been a teacher at the High School for many years. Mike was also involved with athletics in Stanwood. He was my softball coach in the mid '90's and stuck with the team as they transitioned to fastpitch. Mike, better known as MC to his players, was a great human being. He was a fireball at times and was always good for a laugh or two. Highly respected by his peers and often looked up to as a father-figure by his students and players, Mike will be missed.

The Schmitt family sends their thoughts and prayers to Becky and the rest of the Chandler family.

With happy memories but a sad heart,


Monday, April 09, 2007

Blog #275, Chemo Eve, Family Photo

You know how I dislike coming up with a title, so I've given you a few to choose from. Call it whatever you wish, the words are what count anyway.

We had a wonderful Easter yesterday. Starting with 8:30am church service at Camano Chapel (all 5 of us went together), then Easter dinner and Darlena's birthday at Jeff & Dawn's house, then back home for a relaxing evening, the day was perfect. This photo isn't great, but you get the idea....we clean up pretty well.

Last year at this time I was anticipating a doctor's appointment with a specialist regarding my pneumonia that wouldn't clear up. I was attending mom's weekend at WSU, then went to Spokane for an Athletic Director's meeting. Never in my wildest dream would I have imagined my life taking the turn it did. Lucky for me (us) we've gained so much more than we've lost over this past year (besides weight). Miracles do've just gotta believe!

I worked today (at my real job) so I'm exhausted tonight. It's not as though I run around all day, it's just mentally draining and that's what wears me out. I forget how much information I have stored in my head until someone asks me something and "poof" it pops out of a dusty, cobwebbed hole in the back of my brain. Thank goodness it's only my short term memory I struggle with. No kidding, if they made velcro post it notes that I could hang on my clothes to remind me where I'm going or what I'm wandering around the grocery store for, I would buy some (but I would probably forget what I bought them for).

Hopefully chemo will go a little easier on Rick this week. He just hasn't felt the same since the episode after the last chemo cocktail. His treatment isn't as early as it usually is ~ so I'm hoping to be able to sleep better tonight since I won't be afraid of sleeping in. As a matter of fact, a little shut eye sounds good right now so I think I'll call it a day.

Love you more than the IRS loves our money...

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter & Happy Birthday Darlena Jo

It's 4:30 am and I've been up for about an hour. I didn't feel well last night and I fell asleep before 8:00 so I must have had all the sleep I need. I'm still not feeling like myself, but it's ok. I had stuff to do that didn't get done last night, so I worked on my projects this morning. I'm going to lay back down after I finish this blog and see if I can catch a little more shut eye.

We're celebrating today with a family outing to church, then lunch and a birthday celebration (Darlena is turning 2) at my brother-in-law/sister-in-laws house. I really wanted to have an Easter Egg Hunt, but know about the EEHD. I told Amy and Angie (on their cell phones - separately) I wanted them to wear their bonnets to church today and no joke...they each said "oh, mine's dirty". Even though they never admit it...they are so alike. I wonder where they got their sense of humor?

Yesterday, I had a nice lunch with Amy and Jessie (her roomate and soccer teammate from college) Jessie has a wonderful opportunity to move to Virginia (Beach) with her job and will be leaving on Tuesday for at least 2 years, so it was nice to get together with her one last time before she leaves. I'm sure her parents, siblings and nephews will miss her, but she'll be living in a beautiful part of the country...who wouldn't want to go visit? I've already volunteered :) Best of luck Jess~

Live Simply, Love Generously, Dream Big...and have a VERY SPECIAL EASTER~
God Bless,

Friday, April 06, 2007

Take Time

I spent today with my good friend Cathy. We used to make it a point to meet on Wednesdays for coffee (and conversation) but it has been over a month since we've gotten together. We still talk regularly, but it's not the same. We had a great time visiting, shopping at local gift stores and of course having a cup of java. I really enjoyed our time together. You should definately make the time to share with those you love.

Angie came over tonight and we played beauty shop. For those of you who don't know, I'm still a hairdresser. I've had my license for 30 years. So, tonight I lightened Angie's hair. It looked adorable. I never understood why I kept my license. It doesn't help me get my hair done any quicker...I'm always the one who needs a haircut...or has a growout!

Cancer has been in the news a lot lately. It's a shame to think this way, but it helps our cause when someone famous is inflicted with this horrible disease. Now, let's find a way to cure it. Think of the publicity we would get then.... There is a great article in Newsweek this week, read it if you get the chance.

I've got the head bobbin' thing going on right now. I'm very tired.

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Where are the Easter Eggs?

Tonight feels like the right time to share the Easter Egg story with all of you. Many of you have already heard this story, but it gets funnier each time it's told.

Our children (all 3 of them) have an Easter Egg Hunting Disorder (EEHD). We're not sure how or why it happened, but honest to GOD they could not "see" any of the hidden eggs. They would be in plain sight, in Rick's pocket, sticking out of my purse, on the coffee table...etc. and they would walk right by them (while looking directly at them) and say, I don't see any eggs. It was the strangest thing we'd ever seen. Little kids hunting for Easter eggs, looking right at them, then turning their heads as quickly as possible so we wouldn't notice they had spotted one. After the first 20 minutes or so, we would get frustrated...walk them to each of the eggs, pick it up and put in in their basket, all the while they were crying because they couldn't see one. We thought Amy and Angie would eventually grow out of it...but they never did. They were never able to see the Easter eggs. 8 years later, Jake came along and it was time for him to start "hunting" for Easter eggs...No kidding, he did exactly the same thing. It was as if the eggs looked like snakes or something. To this day, we tease the kids about it. Rick says "are you going to hide eggs for the kids? " And I always reply..."no, they won't be able to find them anyway". Just writing about those times brings a smile to my face.

Pam's surgery went well today. Hopefully, they got all the cancer cells this time. She'll have an appointment next week and we'll hear about the pathology report at that time. I had her home by 1:00pm and she's been resting ever since.

I had a very early start today and my lack of rest is catching up with me. I think I'll head off to bed now and work on that beauty sleep I'm always talking about.

Love you more than all the Easter eggs our kids NEVER saw.

Dream Big,

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Man of the Day...

Meet Eric. Our man of the hour/day/week. Eric is a good old buddy of Amy's. He is a retired police officer and Marine. He is funny. Smart. A very hard worker and a darned good gardener.

Eric has been making the rounds today, thatching all of our yards (ALL- as in Amy's, Angie's, Angie's neighbor, Pam's and ours). Who would have thought so much junk could come out of our beautiful green grass? Thatching your yard is a lot like cancer and chemo. You have to get all the bad stuff out before you see the good. Eric is like a little shot of Tarceva. Thanks Eric and kids for all your hard work today. We are so greatful to have you all looking out for us :)
I wasn't much help today, but I did provide my workers with a nice lunch. I know it doesn't seem like a fair trade but I really do appreciate it.

Our new furniture came this afternoon. It's beautiful. Dark brown leather now compliments our new carpet, floors and paint. I feel like we live in a new house. Stop by if you're in the area. I'd love to see you. (But...Please remove your shoes) Our house was completed 20 years ago this week. We moved in then had Easter in our new house the same weekend. It seems like only yesterday...

I've got an early morning tomorrow. Pam and I will be leaving by 5:30am to head back to the hospital. We check in at 6:00am. Her surgery is at 7:30. You know the drill. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I'm feeling pretty tired tonight so I think I'll call it a day. You can never have too much beauty sleep. I should have gone to bed at noon!

Sweet Dreams,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Full Time Job

I'm not sure how I've been able to hold down a full time job since my diagnosis. I swear, taking care of medical tasks is a full time job of its own. This morning, I went with Pam to her follow up appointment (Pam wanted to go by herself but I insisted she needed another set of ears with her). Although the doctor is still very confident that Pam's cancer is not invasive, he also told us they did not remove enough bad tissue, so... on Thursday, Pam will be heading back into surgery to have more of her "calcium deposits" removed. I got a little fiesty and wondered why they wouldn't have just removed more to begin with since surgery isn't something you should be having every week. I guess this is common, but I don't like it. This is 2007 ~ You'd think they could test the tissue before they closed the person back up. I really wanted Pam to get a second opinion before she just rushed back into this surgery on Thursday. She's been in contact with Seattle Cancer Care and they've encouraged her to just have the surgery so she can heal and get started on her radiation treatments. I'm now backing off a little, but I'm still not happy about it.

Tonight we are heading to Seattle to see Camelot at the 5th Avenue. (It is my birthday present from Pam - My birthday's not until May, this is Pam's favorite play and she is going with you see a pattern?) You've gotta love friendships like this.

Jake has been a work-a-holic since he's been home. I swear he's been going non-stop since Sunday. Our rec room (basement) looks like a Sports Pub with all his memorabilia hanging on the walls. No one ever uses the downstairs anymore so, I'm excited the space isn't going to waste. He's getting ready for the new furniture that will be delivered on Wednesday. Our old leather from upstairs will be heading to his "Sports Pub downstairs"!

The whole family was over for dinner last night. I love it! They all sat around watching college basketball and it felt like "home" again. Our niece, Darlena, spent the night with us and that was pretty fun. Her mom and dad are remodeling their kitchen and want to have it done before Easter and Darlena's birthday on Sunday. So, she got a little spoiled by Uncle Rick, Auntie and her cousins. 2 year olds can wear you out if you're not careful.

Rick is feeling better, though after our little scare last Tuesday, he just hasn't felt the same. I hope his treatment this time is a little easier on him. My shingles are nearly non-existent. Every once in a while I'm reminded of them but for the most part...I think they are over.
Thank goodness!

I forgot to publish this blog before I left for the play. It was wonderful. I never knew the story of Camelot. Where have I been?

Dream Big,

Sunday, April 01, 2007


I just woke up. Have I missed anything? Just kidding! We've been gone for a few days over at Desert Aire. Jake was still at school, Amy attended a 30th birthday party for her old college roommate Jessie (Happy Birthday Jessie), so Angie rode over with Rick and I. The 3 of us got a bunch of work done in the yard and house so, it's now ready for regular visits. Between our household and our cousins houses, there were about 10 of us at D.A. for the weekend. We got back home around 5:00pm today. Do you think it's too early for me to head back over? Ok, I'll wait a bit.

I'm sitting here with a smile on my face as I hear Jake rustling around the house, putting his room back together and unpacking 4 years of incredible college memories. When he called us this morning to let us know he was on his way back to Stanwood, you could hear the crackling of sadness in his voice as he pulled away from his "home away from home". Megan is still over in Pullman until graduation, as are all of his fraternity brothers and his friends in the WSU education program. Rick and I aren't the same, but we'll do our best to keep him laughing. I'm sure Amy and Angie will do their share of entertaining as well. Our family is all back together again (or at least within 20 minutes from each other). Life is good!

As I was getting ready to say goodnight to you, it just dawned on me that today is April 1st. APRIL. APRIL 2007. It was a year ago yesterday that I heard the "C" word for the first time. I had gone in for a routine x-ray to see if the pneumonia was going away. Instead the Dr. told me that this x-ray looked worse than all my previous ones. At that time, they set up an appointment for the following morning at 7:00am for a CT Scan to rule out a tumor in my lung. They didn't find a tumor, but the next few weeks were a blur... spring break, mom's weekend at WSU, an Athletic Director's convention...then the news that would forever change our lives. It has been a bittersweet year to say the least. I've learned more in these past 11 months (about life, love, faith, happiness, loyalty & friendship) than I'd ever thought possible. Who knew that some of life's biggest lessons would come after I thought I knew it all?

Love you more than all the April Fool's pranks that were pulled today.

Dream Big,