Thursday, May 31, 2007

Countdown to Relay...

It's 11:00pm and I should be in bed. My mind is racing. I have a long list of things to do before tomorrow and tomorrow will be here in less than an hour. Ugh..

Although I'm looking forward to an amazing day (and night) with all of my friends and family, I'm really looking forward to Saturday afternoon when we are heading home after this event is all over and the money is counted. Yahoo! Our friends Bob and Dy are flying over from Spokane tomorrow to be here with us. Stop by the Dream Team tent and say hello.

I'm going to be a speaker at our event tomorrow night. I haven't told the committee yet, but I'm charging them 1,000 dollars for my services. The proceeds should go directly into my Relay for Life Account. I am getting famous, so you would think my services should be worth something...wouldn't you? I'm just kidding's only $750.

Get a good nights rest...I'll be up worrying for the both of us.

Love you more,
Dreamer Dor

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Birthdays are a beautiful thing....

I used to dread getting older. Then someone said, you might not. So, now I love it. I love to defy odds. Shake things up a little. That's part of my wild side shining through.

Today was a wonderful, wacky, tiring, productive day. I was greeted at work by cards, flowers, presents, and a warm chocolate chip cookie (thanks Hoose). I went to lunch with Pam, Janeen, and my sub Sheryl (who also shares my birthday...Happy Birthday!). After work I headed to Haggen to order the rest of the food for Friday, then out to dinner with my family. I got a massage and facial gift certificate (which I can't wait to collect on) and I also got a new digital camera. It has 7.2 gigahooters or pixels, is lightweight and takes amazing photos. As soon as I learn how to use it, I'll attach some pictures. Mom and Dad gave me a 2GB disk to store the photos on. I'll be able to take pictures for years without any problems. Angie, Karrina (my neighbor girl), Mom and I finished the survivor bags tonight. Dawn and Darlena stopped by with a beautiful sunflower print for me for my birthday and I'm just sitting down for the evening. And on top of all this....our office and house, felt like an easy bake oven. No wonder I'm exhausted. My fingers hurt just from typing my day. :)

Good News about Pam...
The surgeon called tonight with the pathology reports from her latest surgery. They got all the cancer from both breasts. There was no sign of cancer in her lymph node. The cancer in her left breast which was originally thought to be invasive lobular carcinoma was infact, non-invasive lobular carcinoma. GREAT NEWS. If all goes as planned, it looks like Pam will be able to bypass chemo and head straight to the radiation department. Thank God! We are so happy to get some good news about this for a change.

Only 2 days until Relay and we are all getting very excited. Congratulations Dandies for hitting your goal tonight. I knew you could do it!

Time for me to hit the sack, put a fork in it, call it a night, count sheep....What ever you call it, I'm ready for bed. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Dream Big everyone and thanks for a wonderful 49th birthday....


Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday dear Mom...

Happy Birthday to you.

Now that she's 49 we need to start the countdown to 50. When she was diagnosed a year ago she mentioned that she wanted to go on a big cruise for her 50th birthday. She said she wants everyone she knows to come with. Many of you may have heard this story but for those of you who haven't... you might want to start saving up for a Caribbean cruise that will be taking place early next summer.

Hugs and Kisses-

Your baby girl

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Seattle Cancer Care News

Our scans came back today with great results. No change in my lungs and Rick's tumors keep shrinking. I'm always happy to deliver this news because it's good. What's weird today is that I don't feel very happy. Oh, I'm happy and rested from our weekend at Desert Aire. But, today I realized that whenever we go to the Cancer Care Alliance it's not to hear "it looks like your cancer is in remission, or there are no signs of tumors" instead, we go hoping for no changes. To a Stage 4 cancer patient, No change (when you're feeling good) means great quality of life, and more time. Stage 4 does not have to mean we stop living. But it does mean we'll never live without cancer in our bodies. That realization stings like a slap in the face. I guess it's because we feel good most of the time that we FORGET what's really going on inside our bodies. After a visit with our doctors, who are very hopeful for great quality of life, and continued success with our treatments, we also get a dose of our future. Sometimes, that pill is hard to swallow.

Enough about that. Let me tell you that Desert Aire was warm and wonderful, except for the 60 mile an hour winds we had on Sunday. (ok, I may have exaggerated about the speed of the wind, but if you didn't have any meat on your bones, you could have blown away...) Rest and laughter is good for the soul. We got our share of both.

It is Relay For Life Week at the Schmitt house so we have to concentrate on having a successful Event! I'm so proud of our committee, our kids & our community. I can't wait to see everyone out there with their tennis shoes and smiles on. This is an amazing event that will change someone's life. It's changed mine.

Keep beliving in miracles,
Dream Big,

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Desert Aire Delight

I'm sitting here at Desert Aire in the 88 degree weather thinking of you all. We left Jake and Angie back on the westside to take care of the homestead. Rick, Amy, and I are over at Joe's having afternoon cocktails and appetizers. Jessi Edelbrock (Amy's college roommate and soccer team mate at Eastern) is also visiting from Virginia.

My buddy Mark just invented a new drink to celebrate me being woman of the year. It's called the LavenDor. I'm not sure what's in it, but it was a nice shade of purple.

I know I told you I never go to garage sales, but we went to one this morning and we bought a "housewarming gift" for Susie and Pat. It was an incredibly ugly hide-covered bucket with an antler handle. You had to see it to appreciate it. We filled it with Coors light to increase it's value.
I'm not sure if you can really understand the joy I get when I'm over here. Friendship, laughter and love are abudant. Thank you my Desert Aire family for another wonderful weekend.

Love you more than all the Galliano in all the Harvey Wallbangers that Ian, Mark and Len have drunk this year. (Honestly, I just watch these people drink...I just have water)

Dream Big,

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scan Day

I'm down in the lobby of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance while Rick is upstairs drinking some nasty tasting stuff before his CT Scan. I was scanned without/contrast so I didn't have to drink anything (though he tried to make me share his)

I discovered this morning that we are becoming "numb" to pain or discomfort. I dropped an ice chest on my big toe...(one without a toenail) and I when I told Rick about it he said, "oh, it will feel better once it stops hurting". I thought about it for a minute and he was right. I think I must do the same thing to him. Oh, you dropped a log on your shin? Do you need a bandaid? I don't think we are insensitive, I just think we have bigger things to worry about.

I'd better get back upstairs or he'll wonder where I've wandered off to. I'm sure he's already missing me.

I'll write more later.

Love you more than all the people getting better today at Seattle Cancer Care.

Dream Big,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

I know I should have written yesterday when we got back from Seattle, but I was WIPED OUT! I had 2 days at the hospital (this isn't a whine...I promise) and it just takes the energy out of me. Rick and I had appointments to have CT/MRI scans done next week, but both of our oncologists are attending a conference in Colorado so they've moved them up to tomorrow and Friday. On Tuesday, we go back for our follow up appointments to see how everything looks on the inside. I'm sure we're fine...they just need to keep checking. The kids will all be with us that day. It's important for them to hear the news with their own ears. It gives them more comfort.

Pam is feeling better each day. She plans on going to work for a few hours tomorrow....we'll see how that goes. She's pretty stubborn (don't tell her I said that) so we just do what she tells us. Hopefully, she'll start asking us for help when she needs it, but that hasn't happened yet. Oh, we love her anyway...

I went to work today (just so people remember me) and got a bunch of stuff done that I had been putting on the back burner. It feels good to be ending another year of school. All major sports are done this weekend. Then it's just end of the year events. Sheryl, my new friend and substitute is doing a great job. I would never have survived this year without her and the help from everyone else around the office. Now, if I could just think of something to do to repay them.

I'm just sitting down for dinner so I'd better say good bye. I might write more later if I can stay awake.

Love you more than all the Relay for Life shirts in our garage...
Dream Big,

Pam is getting along pretty well. She has stayed at home like a good patient should. I think she plans on coming in tomorrow for a little while. We'll see how she's doing...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Results of the Day

Pam's surgery went well. It just didn't start until 3:00 but we had to leave Stanwood by 6:00am to be in Seattle by 7:30am for a bunch of procedures. These all needed to be done before the surgery. She had surgery on both breasts, and under her armpit so they could take a lymph node to see if the cancer had spread. First biopsy of the lymph node came back clear. They are sending it to a pathologist for further reading. She does however have 2 different kinds of breast cancer but they saved both of her "hooters" as she prefers to call them. They were able to just do lumpectomies. Now, she's pretty sure she'll be able to return to her night job, Dancing with the Stars. Is there a chance that just a little bit of normal could pass by us?

I was with Pam all morning by myself until her kids arrived. They told her kids not to go back where their mother was because she was radioactive.....Hello? No one told me to stay away from her. As a matter of fact, I had to walk her up and down the halls. Maybe I had a radiation treatment today and I didn't even know it. Perhaps, I've been healed. Thanks Pam.

Tomorrow is Chemo Tuesday (not to be confused with Taco Tuesday). We have been lucky so far with traffic, chemo treatments, good weather and nice nurses. I feel another great day coming on tomorrow. Besides, I get to spend the day with the love of my life :)

Thanks for all the kind words about my Friendship and Chocolate speech. It wasn't as bad as I thought... I need to get to bed now. I know it seems early, but I've got another busy day ahead of me tomorrow. This health care stuff really takes up a lot of time. I'm going to need a vacation just to re-coup from this week.

Love you more than all the hanging baskets on porches...

Dream Big,

Friendship and Chocolate

I'm getting ready to head to Seattle to take Pam down for her procedures at SCCA and surgeries at the University of Washington. It will be a long and busy day, but in the end it will everything will be ok... But, before I take off for the day, I wanted to let you know...I survived yesterdays talk about friendship and chocolate. As a matter of fact, it didn't even hurt that bad to do it. I've given you a condensed version of what I had to say. I haven't proof read it so if you find a mistake...please move on.


Good Afternoon My Friends:

When I was asked to speak to you today about friendship and chocolate, I immediately (without thinking – as usual) said Yes. Sure. Why not?. Then, thought about what I had committed to and started breathing heavily into a brown paper bag. I was panic stricken. I’m a talker. Not a speaker. I get on the computer and write a blog almost every day to keep the world up on my life. But I don’t know how to speak those words, I only know how to type them. I started thinking to myself, when do words come easiest for me when I’m not at the computer? And then I remembered. It’s when I’m having coffee or on the phone with my kids, my mom, or a friend. I hope my props won’t distract you, but this is the time I do my best talking….(Then I grabbed my cell phone and a coffee mug and acted like I would them for the whole speech)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Denae, Jamie & Linda for asking me to share my story with you. I am honored, privileged, and scared to death, maybe that’s not a good choice of words for me. I’ll try not to cry, but if I do, please be patient with me. I’ve never been known to attend anything without crying. I cried when Nemo’s mom dies at the beginning of Finding Nemo and I’ve never lived that one down.

Honestly though, when I actually sat down to write this, words fell from above. I couldn’t write fast enough. I was so happy to have my 3 minutes of fame…complete. That was over a month ago. Then just a few short weeks ago, Denae called and said, “Hi, Doreen…I just wanted to let you know that we’ve given you a 15 minute block of time. I hope that’s enough.” That’s when I brought out the paper bag again. How could I possibly fill this time?

Then I went to lunch with my friend Cathy on Thursday. When we met, Cathy “re-gifted” a book of poems to me that I had once given her (that was once given to someone else for their retirement in 1985 from someone named Joyce). I’d originally bought this at a garage sale for 25 cents which for me is odd enough since garage sales start early in the morning on Saturdays and I don’t get out of bed on Saturdays until I have to. The reason I’d bought this book was because it was titled “When I think about you, my friend”. My children tease me about this my I can’t mention my friends names without mentioning “My friend” first. So, when my friend Cathy returned it to me this week she had written me a note on a page with a poem for me…and I’d like to share that with you: (then I read the poem...I'll share that with all of you later

As Mark Twain once said: Grief can take care of itself. But, to get the full value of joy, you must have someone to share it with.

This is where my story begins. At the age of 47, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bronchio alveolar carcinoma. Sounds scary huh? It is. It’s Lung cancer. I thought I had pneumonia, or T.B. because I had a cough that just wouldn’t go away. I had never smoked, or grown up around smoke, I knew I’d never worked in a coal mine. I do burn candles but I can’t believe that makes enough smoke to effect me.…

I never imagined getting cancer since that wasn’t a common disease in my family, let alone having it be a cancer attached to a stigma, where the recipient is often times responsible for their own diagnosis. The survival rate for lung cancer isn’t very promising. My type of lung cancer is in the “rare” category. The doctors tell me it is inoperable and incurable. I was given a 1 in 5 chance of being alive a year after my diagnosis. And like usual, I volunteered. I figured if someone had to be the 1 out of 5, why not me? That was 13 months ago and here I am. Looking pretty healthy and feeling great.

My parents always told me that sometimes bad things happen to good people. So, I figured that was it. I just drew the short straw. I find that the statistics regarding survival are for people who are good with numbers. Thankfully for me, I’m terrible at math. So, I’m making my own statistics where no numbers are involved. Only moments. I LIVE EVERY SINGLE DAY. I LAUGH OUT LOUD & I DREAM BIG.

Friendship is not a private club reserved for only those outside your family. If you’re lucky enough, your closest friends will already be inside your family circle. If you’re really blessed, special people who touch your lives will be invited inside this circle and remain there forever, my circle is overflowing.

Since my diagnosis, friends have never failed to amaze me. They help me face the unimaginable with grace and dignity. They make me laugh when I don’t think I have anything to laugh about. They summon calmness, or anger or faith or adrenaline or whatever it takes to pull us through… and we all go on with another day.

I’m sure we’ve all wondered what we would do if faced with a sudden interruption in our otherwise content life. I know what I did and continue to do. To calm my turbulence, I reach out. Whether it be to my family, my friends or my faith, I know I’m NEVER alone. That touch, that smile, that word. That’s what keeps me going.

True friendships are RARE. They’re unconditional. They’re full of love and trust, laughter and forgiveness. They bring words of encouragement when we’re down, expressions of pride at our accomplishments and the sound of silence when we already know the answer.

My life is mostly made up of love, humor, Grey’s Anatomy and Starbucks – not necessarily in that order… (oh and a touch of cooking and cleaning just for good measure). For me this is contentment. This is what it’s all about. I have an apron that sums up my thoughts. It reads, “Life is what you pray for, Love is what you stay for” (you may be surprised by this, but that saying came from the side of a Starbuck’s cup…Coincidence? I think not.)

8 months after my diagnosis, 3 days before Christmas, we learned that my 50 year old husband, my high school sweetheart and best friend, had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes and liver. For a moment, just a brief moment…I questioned God. What was HE thinking? How could our family and friends deal with this? Selfish as it seems, I thought HOW could I handle it…why would you do this to me when I’m already feeling weak and vulnerable? Then I remembered. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle so at that moment, I figured he must believe I’m stronger than I thought. So I picked myself up…took a valium covered in dark chocolate (just kidding, it might have been a Zoloft) and forged ahead. God has a plan for us he just hasn’t sent me the blue prints yet. Rick’s surgery and chemo had been going well since late January, so I started to let my guard down (with the help from my friends and a little red wine) until March 13th. That was the day my dearest friend was diagnosed with breast cancer (or calcium deposits as she still refers to them). I really believed there had to be a mistake. Please let this be a mistake. Pam was my friend who had promised to love our children like her own if Rick and I weren’t around for them. She was Aunt Pammy. She was my “OLDER red-headed sister” She made me laugh at the most inappropriate times. I needed her. I needed her to be healthy. I needed her to be strong for me, for us. I know she’s going to beat this thing, but we have a lot of fun things planned for this summer and cancer treatment isn’t on the agenda. I don’t have enough medicine or enough dark chocolate to make this better, so I’ve handed it over. I’m going to have to let HIS blueprints do the job. Though sometimes I act like I’m just short of my PhD, we all know the truth. I’m just Doreen. A wife, mother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, cousin, and Auntie and a friend (oh, and now I’m woman of the year but… we’re not talking about that). And I can’t fix this alone.

This is when the test of all my friendships took hold. Those who are true friends, never wavered. They didn’t flinch. They’ve been with me every step of the way. What’s funny about this is that they’ve always been here. Once we became friends, we’ve shared birthdays and anniversaries, stupid boyfriends, births, death, and illnesses , we’ve comforted each other when our children went away to college. We have coffee, and lunch and weekday getaways in the summers. We gave each other money to get our children out of jail (I’m just kidding…I was testing to see if you were all still listening). We laugh at each others jokes, even when they’re not funny or we’ve heard it 3 other times. They bought me Lee Press on toenails because the medicine made mine fall off. They helped me when I was a in a leg boot for 3 months because I did a “Superstar” stunt for my cheerleaders and ruptured my calf muscle. It’s only now since I’ve taken off the rose colored glasses and really looked at life, that is see everything clearly. Friendship IS worth it’s weight in gold. (This is why I’ve been putting on excess pounds…I want to be known as a really, really, good friend)

Oddly enough. Friendship is a lot like chocolate. Sweet. Satisfying. Sometimes messy. But always worth every savoring moment. Please take this time to look around the room at those who have touched your lives and remind them what their friendship means to you.

I'll write more tonight when I get back.

Love you more than friendship and chocolate.

Dream Big,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Good Morning...

Thankfully, the sun is out again this morning (at least for a little while) because I'm heading over to Angie's neighborhood garage sale. Who wants a garage sale in the rain? If she's a really nice daughter (which she is) I'm going to bring her a coffee...

What a busy, hectic, fun-filled, overwhelming, satisfying week this was (is it grammatically correct to use all these adjectives in one sentence?). I'm so glad Saturday is here. Although I have things planned for the weekend, I really am going to just have fun doing them. I also plan on taking a nap this afternoon and maybe one again tomorrow (before my friendship and chocolate talk).

Since the article in the paper about our family, I have been blessed with e-mails from people I've never met (I can tell you now, some have already touched my life and we've only met through e-mail). They said they are thankful that we've shared our story and would like to meet me. I'm really happy that we (I) agreed that we would do the interview. I hope it will make a difference in someones life.

Like I've said many times, when you get cancer, you join a "club". It's different than any other club I've been in. We don't ask to join it, we're not sure what to do when we get there, but we meet amazing people who have a story much like ours. I don't want anyone else to join this club because there are already too many members. Let's just keep doing our job about awareness and research so we can close our doors to "new members". Stanwood Camano Relay for Life is really doing it's job in "RAISING $$$ AWARENESS".

I love you more than all the slugs in my flower beds...yuck!

When you smile be sure to Smile WIDE...
Dream Big,

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sleep? It's overrated...

Well here we are at 12:49 and I'm wide awake. I would love to turn my ipod up and dance but Rick and Jacob are sleeping (that's what most people do at night). So, lucky you. I'll tell you about my day.

Worked until noon. Lunch and coffee with my good friend Cathy. Cat nap. Went to Monroe to watch district fastpitch (double header). Stopped at Costco for a minute (who am I kidding?). Came home BBQ'd steaks and watched Grey's anatomy. (oh, and during commercials I practiced my speech for Sunday) Rick and I came home to a sparkling house and no dirty laundry. Jake played Jakey homemaker when he got home from work this afternoon. What a nice surprise that was.

Angie's community neighborhood is having their annual garage sale this weekend. Of course, Angie has to work all day tomorrow, so grandma and grandpa will man her station until she gets home. Her proceeds will go to the Relay in June. (Like she doesn't have enough money already?) Ok, I guess you can never have enough money for research....keep giving :)

Hopefully, my kids will all take a little time for themselves this weekend. I think they are all going at full speed. We all need a little rest. Hey, maybe I'll take some of my own advice. Sure I will. When pigs can fly.

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (my wonderful friend from California) is making huge strides in lung cancer screenings, treatments and awareness. Check out her website if you get a chance. She's an amazing woman. Hopefully, you will all get a chance to meet her at the Relay. She has a very pregnant daughter so her Grandma role might kick in before her guest speaker role does.

Enough rambling. Except for one last thing:

"I got some literature from a friend today in the mail that was pretty powerful. The first 2 lines of the article read: You can't have a testimony until you have a test. You can't have a victory until a battle is fought." Sleep on that! Oh wait. You're alreay sleeping.

Love and kisses,
Big Dreamer Dor

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sunflower Season is Coming....

Honestly, you'd think I'd slow down a little, but I swear each day I feel like I've taken on more than the day before. Tonight we had a big Relay meeting (there is no official number yet, but I think we're pretty close to our goal of $100,000) I think the day of the event we are going to be blown away by how many people are there and how much money we actually made.

I'm sitting here at the computer wishing I had something exciting to tell you (other than I had my photo taken today for Woman of the Year...but remember...we're not talking about that anymore). I really had to write on the blog so the Mona Lisa replica wasn't the first thing you saw when you logged on. Apparently, I was in a creative mood last night when I did that fine art work.

I'm just about ready to transplant my "sunflowers" that I started from seed in my kitchen window. I will be so happy if they actually grow once I've moved them outside. Just thinking about them makes me smile. :)

Tomorrow is my cousin Sue's birthday...she's pretty old. 13 days older than me to be exact and I never let her live it down. I think the only time it was to her advantage to be older was when we turned 16 and 21. After that... no one wants to be the "older cousin". Oops Susie. I don't think there is much we can do about it! Hope your day is a happy one. I'll be thinking of you.

It's after 10pm and I been depriving myself of beauty sleep ~

Love you more than all the candles on my cousins birthday cake....(Did I hear a smoke alarm go off? Is that a firetruck in the background?)

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What a wild week it has been...and it's only Tuesday!

First let me get this out on the table (my mom and dad are really proud and they're telling eveyone- so I'll let it out of the bag). I was nominated for the Stanwood-Camano Woman of the Year...and I won. I'm not sure what my role will be. Hopefully, nothing as demanding as Miss USA. I will be wearing my crown a little more often, hopefully I'll get a seat in our local restaurants (without a reservation), I'll have to behave myself when I'm out in the public. Oh, and I get to ride in a nice car during the Stanwood-Camano Fair Parade in August while giving the queen wave. Now, we will not talk about this again. I am however very honored. :)

Secondly, I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but our local newspaper reporter called and asked if she could do an article on our family. She said her editor had given her the story idea. So, we (I) agreed and today we're on the front page of our local paper (With a color photo...this is big time). The important thing about this article is that the reporter got it. She listened to our vision, our concerns, our joys and she turned it into a beautiful story about cancer awareness. If you want to read it, either purchase a Stanwood-Camano News for only 75 cents or go online to: and click on the story called Doreen's Dream ~

After work today, we met Bill Gum (Captain Bill as he prefers to be called), leader of the Rick and Doreen's Dandies Relay Team. He decided to hold a motivational meeting at Amigo's (local mexican restaurant) to get his team working on their fundraising. I came to the meeting as the token woman (of the year). We had a great time visiting, laughing (oh and brainstorming) I tried my speech out on all of them for Sunday (and I ended up with a table of crying men). Perhaps, I need to lighten it up a little if I made grown men cry? How do people survive in this world without a community and friends like mine? I love you all!

It really has been a long week at work and today is only Tuesday. I may need a little break by Thursday...but I'll wait and see. Who knows, I might wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready to go! If not, I'll wake up exhausted and cranky and I'll go to work anyway. I'm sure they'll love that at the office.

Love you more than all the autographs I'll have to give now that I'm the Woman of the Year...
Just kidding...we're done talking about it. RIGHT NOW!

Big Dreamer,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Where do I begin?

Mother's Day was a very nice. The weather was beautiful, the kids spent the whole day with us, working in the yard, cleaning out the storage room in the basement (and taking home all the things we've been "storing" for them for years). I'm a lucky mom.

Pam got some unsettling news today about her latest biopsy. Apparently boob #2 has a different kind of cancer in it. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. Is anyone getting sick of the C word yet? I sure am! Pam was already scheduled to have surgery on boob #1 next Monday, so in her words...It will be a 2 for one job. They will do their magic on her at the University of Washington Medical Center (aka Seattle Grace Hospital for all you Grey's Anatomy fans). I'll be by her side all day. In good times, in bad times, I'll be by her side forever more....that's what friends are for. (I know those aren't the correct words but it worked for my sentence).

I'm starting to get excited for Relay for Life. We've gone over the $70,000 mark and we still have a couple of weeks to go. I'm so proud of our community, our daughters and our friends. I'm attaching the sign we had made. My dad built the sign and the thermometer, and Mary Mac Signs did the design. What a great job! Thanks again for your committment.

I've been working fearlessly on my speech for Sunday. I'm starting to get nervous now. I really have to do it ~ I can't back out. What if I make a fool of myself? Oh, never mind. I do that all the's nothing new. If you're not doing anything on Sunday at 2:00, the Lutheran Church in Stanwood is hosting this women's event called Friendship and Chocolate. The cost is $5.00 and it should be lots of fun. If you need more information about it or want to join us, give me a call and I'll hook you up with a committee member to get a ticket.

I know this is a shocker...but I'm tired. I need rest. More importantly, I need beauty sleep!

Love you more than all the money raised for cancer research....

Dream Big,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

By the time you read this, it will be Mother's Day. Now, to some people, that day comes only once a year (the 2nd weekend in May). But at my house, EVERYDAY is Mother's Day. From the daily calls, to the daily I Love You's, to a little present for no reason at all...I am a very blessed MOTHER, MOM, DOR, MOMMA, HEY YOU....

It's amazing to think of all the love my mother has given me over the years and how she taught me to love my kids with all my heart. I hope I have given my children the tools they need to love unconditionally, have patience and understanding, and forgiveness.

On Saturday, Rick and I went to the Stanwood/Edmonds baseball game (winner to state). We lost, but the kids gave it their all. As a community we are very proud of their accomplishments. After the game we went out for lunch, then came back home to see my Uncle Wayne and his wife Joy who were visiting from Tennessee. It was great to see them. Later in the evening, I went to see a "chick flick" with my sister-in-law Vickie...then I met up with my parents and Amy and Angie while Rick was in a poker tournament. This does not sound like the life of a "sick" person, does it?

Our plans for the "official" mother's day are as follows:
Sleep in late, go to church, come home and work in the yard with Rick and the kids, wash and detail the car (the kids are doing that), rub my back (no one has volunteered for this job yet), BBQ steaks and ribs for Linner (lunch/dinner), make cards (the kids don't know that's on my list), spend some time with my mom (and hopefully see my brother and his "wife") watch Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters then head to bed. Ok, for sure I'm sleeping in late and BBQing, but other than that...I think we'll play it by ear.

To all you moms who have helped your children's dreams come true....know that you are loved.
Happy Mother's Day :)

Dream Big,

Friday, May 11, 2007

FEAR of the unknown

To be completely honest with you, I have not been myself the past week. Although it is beautiful outside, the family is together, we are getting ready to celebrate another mother's day, etc, I just can't seem to get out of this rut. I think a few of my closest friends have seen the changes in me so one of them invited me to coffee yesterday.... just to talk. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't turn down a hot Starbucks coffee when I'm having a bad day. When I got to the coffee shop she greeted me with a hug and a book. I immediately rolled my eyes and said, "Oh great, what is this, one of those 'please save me from going crazy' type of books?" She laughed at me and told me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. She reminded me, like my mom does on occasion, that I am human and it's ok to feel weak, fearful, and confused sometimes.

As I started into my coffee I also started into the book. Each page has a quote based on a certain topic. The topics range from "emotions" to "resistance" to "what we want from others." This book tells it like it is. There is no beating around the bush and no touchy- feely quotes. They hold you accountable for your thoughts and feelings. This was exactly what I needed to make it through the day. Although I want to sit down and read them all at once, reading two or three each day has provided me with something to look forward to tomorrow. Today I read the quote titled "Fear". In closing I will leave you with these brilliant words to live by...

"Fear tells us to stop, to stay within the boundary of our protected cocoon-world. Yet when we feel fear, if we take even one small step toward it rather than yielding to our habitual pulling away, we move one step closer to the vast mind that lies beyond. When we feel fear, instead of saying "I'm afraid," thus reinforcing our identification with our fear as who we are, we can simply say,"Fear is present." Thus fear's power gradually dissipates, and we begin to free ourselves from it. When we simply experience fear just as it is-without our opinions, judgements, and reactions-fear is not nearly so frightening." -EZRA BAYDA-


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not Feeling It Tonight

I was going to write to tell you about my nice day, but I'm just not feeling "it" tonight. Instead, I'm opting for my jammies, a book, and my blissful bed. I can feel the comfort already.

I'll write tomorrow when I get home from work. Hopefully, I'll have a lot more to talk about.

Wishing you BIG Sweet Dreams,

Blog #300

I find it unbelieveable that after 300 entries on this website, you are all still reading this. I can't tell you how moving it is that so many people show genuine care and concern for our family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Rick is doing pretty well after treatment this time. He was a little slow moving yesterday morning but by afternoon, I think he was doing pretty well. I can't believe that he's been through 4 months of chemo already. Thank goodness it's all been working great. His newest CEA number is 2.8.

I was invited to an awards ceremony last night by a Stanwood High School student, Lori Jadwin. Students were asked to honor teachers or someone in the education field who had impacted their life. Many teachers, administrators and my good friend Janeen were all there as well. It was a very nice program and we all felt honored to be there. Thanks Lori!

My new medication for my side pain really seems to be working (in a double way). I take it at night with my sleep meds, and I'm here to tell you...once my head hits the pillow, I'm out. I also haven't been waking up because of my back/side ache at all.

We just looked out our window and we saw 2 beautiful deer in our back yard. Well they're beautiful at least until they eat all the blooms off my flowers, or poop in the yard...

I'm just rambling....because that's what I do best, so I'll let you go get some work done.

Love you more than all the blooming lilac trees :)

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Chemo - Round #8

We got back from Seattle around 4:00 tonight. Exhausted as usual. I again, didn't sleep the night before, so I spent the entire day curled up in a chair next to Rick's bed. Boy, I was really helpful to my husband this round. He was just glad to see I was sleeping for a change. Everything went as planned. (Though Rick had an oncology nurse who may have been a "newbie". Everyone has to start somewhere)

I may have mentioned this before, but if goes.... The strangest thing about watching someone administer chemo in a patient is that they have to put on really thick rubber gloves, a protective gown, lay thick paper all around the area they're working in, and if by some chance there is a spill...the haz-mat team gets called out, all the while, they are putting this poison directly into a port on Rick's chest that is hooked up directly into his blood stream. Does this sound rational? Who's bright idea was this? And...whoever they were, I'm forever grateful.

I had an appointment today as well. I told Dr. Eaton (the lung cancer oncologist that Pam thinks is cute) about all my ailments (many which I haven't mentioned to you) My toenails are dropping off. Literally. They tell me it's just a side effect of Tarceva. Oh happy day. What am I suppose to do with my red nail polish. Just paint the skin on my toes? The upside to this disgusting problem is that as long as they just fall off and don't cause discomfort or infection, I can continue taking Tarceva. If I have complications, they'll take me off it until the problem clears up. Oh, the stuff we go through to LIVE! Bring it on~

I've found that I can't lay on my left side for very long. (RED ALERT) My brain was thinking...Left side. Bad lung. I hope it's not something horrible. Then Dr. Eaton informed me that what I was describing sounded like the after effects of my shingles...Oh, yeah. I forgot. I had shingles on the left side a couple of months ago and this pain is in the same location. He said sometimes a main nerve can be so effected that it takes months or even years to clear up. We're doing a new CT scan next month for safety sake. I promise I'm not a hypocondriac, but when you've been given the Stage 4 - incureable label it's hard not to wonder if the next "thing" is going to be the "BIG THING". Who am I kidding? It's already the big thing.

The poor sleep is a thing of the past. I will be faithful with my sleeping pills. I won't worry about becoming attached to them (truthfully, I'm hoping to become addicted to Tarceva). I will follow the doctor's orders. I will be a good patient. I just won't be a patient one.

We got some bad news when we got home from Seattle today. Rick's Uncle Milton had a heart attack this morning. I spoke with his son tonight and they say he's doing well. We're all wishing for him to have a speedy recovery.

I'm tired and I can't think of any reason to stay up. So, I'm calling it a day ~

Dream Big,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mission Accomplished...

Yesterday, in Pullman (the beautiful middle of nowhere...) I sat in the stands with Rick, Amy, Angie, sister-in-law Vickie, and Megan's family as we watched our children make their way to the front of of the stage to pick up one of the most important pieces of paper they will ever earn. As I looked down at the floor of students, I couldn't help wonder what their "story" was. Did they grow up with a silver spoon in their mouth? Had they worked full time while going to college? Would they appreciate this opportunity they had been offered? Had they lost someone they loved? Then I saw Jake. I knew his story and I knew it would have a happy ending. I never doubted that I would be at his graduation. I never doubted that I would be surrounded by people I love. I never doubted that this would be an amazing experience for Jake just like it was for his sisters. Each of our children came home with a "story". Though their "stories" are not all the same, they were the author of their own best seller. Rick and I have been fortunate to watch each of our children set and achieve personal and professional goals. Whether they graduated from University of Alaska, Eastern Washington University, or Washington State....they are proud alumni and we are proud parents.

Amy left shortly after graduation to head back up to Spokane (this is her drill weekend for the Air Force...she just slipped away to watch her baby brother graduate). Jake and Rick went to Spokane as well, and picked up a riding lawn mower the Bobby & Dy were selling (their new yard is the size of a bread box so a riding lawn mower seemed a little outrageous). Angie, Vickie and I headed out of Pullman towards Desert Aire (where we had all intended to go for the rest of Saturday and Sunday). The problem was, I NEEDED to make stops at all my favorite stores in Pullman and Colfax and it took longer than we thought. Once we actually got on the road home, it sounded better to just come all the way back. Otherwise, we would have been at Desert Aire for only a few hours before it was time to clean up and head back over the mountain. That seemed like too much work, so we took a vote and all agreed to go home instead. I think it was a smart move.

I must say that my stomach and face are still hurting from laughing so hard this weekend. From the weather, to the sleeping arrangement at Jake's fraternity (4 twin bed mattresses on the floor - 6 bodies - side by side - Aunt Vickie talking until all hours of the night...Amy with the pillow over her head because she was right next to Vickie), to the games we played in the SUV, to Vickie's (and my) singing and charades (which by the way made Angie crazy), I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. We were together. It dosen't get much better than that.

Though my heart is overflowing, I haven't felt physically great these past couple of days. I'm not sure if it was the weather change or the lack of sleep, but I've been coughing more than usual. I've decided to lay low...very low today and catch up on housework, mail, sleep....etc. It's a busy chemo week again starting with Monday's bloodwork.

I'm attaching some photos from yesterday. Enjoy!

Photo #1 - Jake and Megan after graduation
Photo #2 - The family before graduation (or coffee)
Photo #3 - The "sleeping" arrangements at Phi Kappa Theta (I was taking the photo...)
Photo #4 - Jake and Megan and her parents Debbie and Ken

Dream Big,

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rotten nights sleep

I'm excited about Jake (and Megan's) graduation, it's been a very busy week at work, Pam had another biopsy yesterday, I haven't felt my best this week (starting with the stupid ear infection) so I'm sure any of these factors added to my poor sleep last night. But, since I'm awake, I thought...why not talk to my friends?

I can't believe that 4 years have passed since our baby started college. I know I felt this same way when the girls finished, but it seems like so long ago. They've had so much take place since then. Master's degrees, great jobs, houses...worring about their parents. Maybe we'll all be at some peace now that I've hit another big goal. Last child's college graduation...

Yesterday at work, I noticed a saying on my friend Gail's bulletin board that made me laugh. This quote came from her boss Kevin and I'm sure you can all relate. "I get my exercise from forgetting". When I think of how many times I get up and go into another room, only to find I've forgotten what I went there for, or how often I wander around the grocery store (because I went without a list), I too have found that forgetting things actually has a health factor related to it.

Now that I'm up, I think I'll go clean out the car. It's not dirty, but it's always nice to ride in a freshly wiped down automobile when you head out for a trip. I need to give it a quick vacuum job, wash the windows and fill it with emergency trip stuff.

I love you more than Washington State Cougars love their fight song....

Dream Big,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Memo #296

When I got online tonight to write to you, I'd noticed that I had already written 295 other blogs. No wonder I repeat myself. One of these days I'm going to run out of things to say.

I don't have much to share tonight except my massage was wonderful, my boys took me out for dinner, I talked (and laughed) on the phone to our friends Steve and Toni from Idaho for a long time, and now I'm ready to head off for bed.

Just a reminder that if all the Stanwood-Camano relay for life members raise $13 dollars by our next meeting, we'll hit the $75,000 mark (and still have 2 weeks until the event). That is amazing! (As you can tell, this is a math problem so Amy figured it out...I'm just passing it on)

Love you more than all the rain...
Dream Big,

What a day

Yesterday was a whirlwind. We learned a ton about Pam's breast cancer. She learned how important it is to have a "team" of doctors who are looking out for her best interest. Pam's daughter Erin met us at the Seattle Cancer Care so she got the information first hand as well.
We do know that Pam will be having another surgery. We do know she'll be having radiation. We are certain she will take a drug for 5 years (without many side effects). And they're over 90% sure they can cure this thing. That was worth all 8 hours at the doctor's office yesterday.

I'm a little mentally exhausted today but I have a lot to do at work before we head off for Jake's graduation. This is a busy weekend at the high school and I don't want to leave them all unprepared.

My earache is getting much better. I'm on the mend. I just need to take it easy these next few days so I feel good for the trip to Pullman. I'm scheduled for a massage today after work. That should help a little.

I'll write more tonight when I'm not as rushed.

Love you more than all the runny noses in an elementary school.

Dream Big,