Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Time to Spread the Word

Beginning tomorrow morning we can officially say that it is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I know about it; you know about it but I want us to get the word out to everyone else. I am going to make it my mission to convince businesses to write the message, "November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month" on their reader-boards. I am going to check into making fliers and sticking them on pizza delivery boxes. I will check into fundraising outside of a grocery store this month. I am going to do everything that I can to educate the public about the importance of funding this horrible disease. What are you going to do to help spread the word?

I would like to collect photographs of the reader-boards from any business that will participate in this cause. I will recognize them for thier efforts. Let's make it happen!

Dreaming BIG!

Happy Hallo"wii"

My day started out very nice. I finally got around to getting a storage unit for Relay for Life. We had a generous donation from Camano Storage, so my dad and I brought all the stuff we've been storing in our garage and house out to the unit. It's so nice to have it all in one place. After we finished that task, my dad took me out for coffee. Mom only likes her coffee BLACK (nothing in it) and Dad and I are adventurous, so today we had a Ghost Mocha (white chocolate). Mmmmm, it was good. After an afternoon of errands, I came home to get ready for my Halloween visitors.

We had some really cute little trick-or-treaters tonight. Here's who stopped by... Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz), a chicken, Buzz Lightyear, a Fairy, a Bumble Bee, a Lion and a mouse.
It's funny how the older I get, the more I seem to like Halloween. Maybe it's because I'm not dragging the kids around through the rain and mud while they're crying because they want to eat their candy. Yeah, that might be the reason it's a lot more fun for me now. :)

Since tomorrow starts lung cancer awareness month, I thought it only fitting that I find some songs appropriate for the occasion. Here's what I've come up with so far: The "Lung" and winding road (originally a Beatles song, I've just changed a few words), then there is the Jethro Tull song, "Life is a lung song", "Lung December", by Counting Crows. I assume you can see a pattern with these songs. Amy named them "Doreen's Sing a Lungs". I'm open for any suggestions, so send me an e-mail and I'll post them on the
Thank you for laughing out loud with me. Life isn't always fair, but it is worth fighting for.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crusade? No...just awareness

I woke up this morning and started my phone calls to all the important people who might be able to help me start my "flagger crusade". The truth is, yesterday just pushed me over the edge. I'm not starting a crusade. I'm going to try to make changes in the "clean air act". Everyone I communicated with today was understanding and very helpful.

Once I got a massage this afternoon I was feeling much better. Perhaps I wasn't really annoyed with what I saw yesterday, but rather stressed. No, I don't think that was my problem.

I got so many really nice e-mails from people who feel much like I do. It's not about the smoking, it's about the disrespect. I don't want the woman to lose her job. I want her to appreciate it. I'm done talking about it now.

Rick's blood work results show that his body is healing like they had hoped. Now if we could just get rid of his head cold, he'll be good to go. My sleeping has been terrible lately. Maybe tonight will be better.

It's Halloween tomorrow and I think I'm going to dress my kids up like clowns...Oh wait, I don't dress them up anymore...but if I did, you know what they'd be. Sorry kids.

Dream Big,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Watch out ... Doreen's on a rampage

I just got down off my "high horse" a little bit ago. I need to share an experience I had today so you know why I was even one to begin with.

Rick and I went to Mt. Vernon to the medical center so he could have some blood work done. Right as we were pulling into the hospital/medical center we ran across some construction work. At the construction site they had a flagger directing traffic with her stop sign in one hand, a walkie talkie in the other and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. After a little scrambling, she put the cigarette in her hand with the walkie talkie in it and used the cigarette as her pointing device to direct us through the construction. Shortly after we passed, she dropped the cigarette and squished it on the pavement with her foot. I'm sure I didn't just tell you some amazing, unbelievable story. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you've all witnessed something similar to this before. The epiphany I had was "No wonder people don't want to donate to lung cancer research, they think this is what lung cancer looks like". A disrespectful, flagger, who not only used her cigarette as a pointing device, but also littered right in front of us. What ever happened to smoke breaks? Or smoking during lunch? I was very irritated to say the least. So, when Rick got out of the car to have his blood work done, I got out and walked up to the Fisher & Sons construction trailer and asked if I could talk to whoever was in charge, then gave the poor guy an earful. I don't expect the world to quit smoking because I feel cheated. I understand the power that nicotine has. I don't think smokers ever put a cigarette in their mouth with the intent to hurt or punish someone who never smoked. What I want to change is the stigma. I decided today was the first day of that mission for me.

Tomorrow I'll be calling the Department of Labor and Industries to find out the rules for flaggers. I'm sure they have rules. They can't drink on the job. They can't wear headphones. They can't use cell phones. They must wear safety clothing. Wouldn't you think smoking could be considered a distraction? I've decided that whenever I drive by a construction site and the flagger or heavy equipment operator is distracted by a cigarette, I'm going to call the construction company and complain. I'm also going to contact our legislature to see if we have any state laws prohibiting smoking on construction sites.

I've always told my kids....Pick your Battles....I've just picked mine. I want the face of lung cancer to change and if I have to do it one flagger at a time...I'm up for the challenge.

Rick came down with a terrible head cold (I can see a light at the end of the's just a little dim right now) so he didn't go with me to celebrate my mom's birthday. She had a wonderful day with my Aunt and Uncle then met up at the American Legion with all her friends. It was nice to spend the time with mom and dad and to see how much they are loved by so many people. The kids are all getting together tomorrow night to celebrate with their Grandma! Hope your birthday was a happy one, Mom.

Don't forget that November is Lung Cancer Awareness month....I'm going to remind you everyday. We don't have a pink ribbon, but we do have a we're going to use it for all it's worth.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I just love baseball :)

After a long busy day yesterday, I was asleep by 9:00. I woke up refreshed and ready to do something productive. So I cooked, cleaned and organized. It felt good to get up and make a dent in the counter top filled with mail. I also made a nice breakfast casserole since the kids and some of their friends were coming over. We played a little Wii, watched some football and had a nice visit. If you use them wisely, Sundays are very special days.

I brought the laptop into the living room to write this blog tonight because I'm a sports junkie and I couldn't miss the World Series. Jake wants me to get out the broom because he says the Red Sox are going to "sweep" the Colorado Rockies. This family of mine. You've gotta love them.

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday ~ Happy Birthday Gramma Myrna :) I forgot how old she is (I think it's just a few years older than me....or am I older than her now?) That's one of the good things about getting can't remember things like age. However, sometimes she has problems remembering our names too, but that's been a problem since I was a kid. I Love You mom.

Rick is feeling better everyday. He is still not himself, but I'm starting to see the old Rick shining through. Tomorrow he has some bloodwork, so we're hoping to get good reports.

Love you more than all the baseball fans watching the world series tonight~

Big Dreamer,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Relay University

Today was a very valuable day in our cancer world. We went to a conference called Relay University where we learned how to run a successful event. It's hard to walk away from a seminar like this and not be motivated to get out there and change the world.

We met some amazing people with stories that will forever be in my heart. I was also a guest speaker (I didn't tell many people before hand...I get too excited and I want to try my speech out on everyone and then it's no fun at the event) and although I thought I might cry when I got to a certain part of the speech, in fact cried throughout the whole thing. I'm sure I looked beautiful...snotty nose and all :)

I want to share a funny little story that happened this morning at our first breakout session. We were learning how to take our Relay for Life to a higher know how to get really motivated, never take no for an answer...stuff like that. Amy proceeded to sell candy that was on our tables (originally meant to be table decorations/snacks). She said she was raising money for Stanwood Relay and would like people to donate (what she apparently forgot was these people were also trying to raise money). Before she left this meeting she had a bag filled with more than $75 just from asking for their help. Before she left the conference this afternoon her bag had about $150 in it. Everyone loved her enthusiasm and were happy to give to her cause.

I'm home now, watching the Red Sox trying to win game number 3 (in a row). My brain is aching a little from all the crying I did today so I'm going to call it a night and go to bed early. Thank you for supporting whatever our cause is at the moment. Whether it's sending me to the Ellen show, supporting the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, or donating to Relay for Life, I can always count on our many friends and family to come through. We are blessed!

Dreaming Big,

Friday, October 26, 2007


Yesterday morning Rick and I got a call from our dear friend John Galbreath who wanted to stop by if we had the time because he had something for us. Time is all we've got, so we said come on over. I'll try to make this story short but it's very touching so I don't want to miss anything.

Last spring, John told me of a story where his son-in-law Adam (who is a glass artist - blower) helped each of his daughters and their cousins design a marble for themselves on their 100th day of school. The procedure is amazing and the girls now look forward to being a part of the process. John was talking about Rick and I to the their family one night and said he wanted to so something special for us. His granddaughters suggested they each make us a marble. So, John with his awesome camera, captured the entire process of each of the girls making their marble for Rick and I. He not only gave us the beautiful marbles from his darning granddaughters, but he also gave us a CD full of photos while they were making them. I'll attach a few for your viewing pleasure. These marbles represent so much more than a piece of blown glass and we are honored that we were the chosen ones to receive them. Thanks Galbreath/Smith family. I'll try not to every lose my marble :)

Last night as I was getting ready to write the blog, I had a coughing spell. So I went to bed instead. Since my flu shot on Wednesday, I've been feeling a few of the side effects. Almost like I have a low-grade flu. I know they say that can happen, and it's better than getting the full blown flu so if you are over the age of 50, work at a school or daycare, are around sick elderly people, you should have a flu shot. It only hurts (for a week - just kidding) and it's worth it in the end. (Doreen's weekly public service announcement) I still feel kind of cruddy this morning, but I'll get over it. A little cup of coffee, a phone call with a friend, and I'll be feeling like new again.

I know it's not officially winter for a month, but we woke up this morning to acres of frost and fog. The weather is beginning to change. Time to start making more scarves - and maybe, I'll move on to something new... like a hat?

Since I'm up and moving, I'd better think about completing some of the things I set out to do yesterday. I have some speaking engagements coming up so I should get serious about what I'm going to say. Nothing worse than an unprepared guest speaker.

I'll talk to you again tonight. Until then...Happy Friday!

Dream Big,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My check-up... A-OK!

Today turned out to be a routine check-up for me (except for the flu shot which hurt like $%@#). I talked to Dr. Eaton about the drugs that were suggested to me in San Francisco and he said he's very aware of them, but they both bring bigger risks to the table than what the benefits could be at this time. He said after the report came back from my CT scan last month, the biggest tumor had grown less than one millimeter (which is very little) and with Bronchioalveolar I can tolerate a little growth without making big changes to my treatment. I feel confident that he knows me and knows what kind of life I live. If I have no symptoms, why give me some?

My dear friend Pam went to my appointment today so my husband could stay home to get some rest and so our kids could go to their jobs so they didn't have to take any more days off. This illness really cuts into our daily schedules. After my appointment, Pam and I met with some friends we made while Pam was having radiation and Rick was having chemo. I got a flu shot, went to lunch, then to the movie "Lars and the real girl" (odd but very touching...I'd see it again). It was a long day, but very nice. I really miss the daily time I used to spend with my friends. Today was one of those special days I love.

What I learned today about coping with cancer is that I have my blog which gives me the opportunity to lay everything out for whoever is interested. I have grown children who follow the process with me - eyes wide open like a new intern. I have a husband who shares the role of caregiver and patient with me. I have no hidden thoughts or concerns. I laugh in the face of fear. I cry when I need to and everyone understands why. That isn't the case for everyone. When we met with my friend at SCCA today and we talked about life and how cancer changes everything, I realized that we are all dealt very different cards. My friend has young children. A nice husband. Yet, she is at home everyday ~ hurting, healing, wanting to be the woman she once was. She's blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends, but sometimes even that isn't enough. I wish there was a pill to make this all better, but in the's all of this bad stuff that makes us stronger. Perhaps being friends with another cancer patient, like me, will help her make some sense of this crazy disease.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rick's Diagnosis

We left early this morning for what we thought was a check-up for Rick and a routine chemo treatment. Instead, we found out he had neutropenia (very low white count) which puts him at a high risk for infection. While the oncologist was doing an exam, he found a very tender spot near Rick's incision, and saw that Rick's belly was bloated, so he decided to send him in for a CT Scan. The scan showed Rick had developed an infection in his colon at the original surgery location. All chemo has been stopped for 3 weeks until Rick's white count goes up and he is pain free. All of the symptoms are common side effects of the chemo he is on. Dr. Whiting explained that although Rick's infection is bad, once the medicine for the neutropeina takes hold (more shots in his abdomen) and the antibiotics do their job, the risk for further complications lessens.

We didn't get home until 5:00pm. My doctor's appointment is tomorrow, so I'll get to do this all over again in the morning. I'm going to mention to Dr. Eaton (my oncologist) that I don't have time for any of these added problems, so go ahead and renew my Tarceva prescription and we'll call it a day. Ok, I'll listen to what he has to say, but I really don't have the time or patience right now for anything new. I've got a husband to take care of, vacations to plan, and Wii to play. Illness is just not an option. There. I said it. I'm going to follow my own advice. I'm done with sick. I'm going with funny. Or silly. I'll let you know later how it's working for me.

It's time for me to head off to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow.

Keep us in your prayers...

Dreaming Big,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dealing with the side effects...

I had a busy day now that I'm back home (I should have stayed gone longer). Cooking, cleaning, laundry, went to work for a little bit to give some advice, had a meeting, the kids came over for football and dinner (they did the dishes) we had a good time, and now it's blog hour. I didn't even take a shower today....yuck!

I'm really looking forward to Rick's doctor appointment tomorrow (right before his chemo) so we can discuss what happening with his body. I know for many people sickness and chemo go hand in hand. Luckily, Rick and I have been very blessed. Watching Rick in pain, losing his appetite, and just an overall sense of feeling icky, makes me sad. When you know you can't do anything, it's the time you want to do EVERYTHING.

Oprah had a couple of amazing guests on her show today who are dealing with death. They both have cancer that is in stage 4. After watching it, I found that there are many of us who have joined the Life Bandwagon. One of the guests said it's incredible how people flock to help when you have a good attitude. I hope that's why you've all be there for me. As long as we're willing to keep learning how to live rather than how we're going to die, we can't help but be happy.

Love you more than Boston loves their RED SOX!

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here's the scoop ....

Photos: Bonnie and Family; Rick relaxing at our "table"; Tony and Bonnie in their kitchen; Me, Lisa (my new friend), and Bonnie at the party

I feel very fortunate to have wonderful, amazing, funny friends and family whom I surround myself with on a daily basis. Tonight however, I'm sad. I always talk about Bonnie, but what I haven't talked about it her family. These past couple of days I've had the chance to spend some quality, silly times with them, and if I didn't know better I would guess we were related. I miss them already and I can't wait for the rest of our family to get to know and love them like we do.

Bonnie’s family holds a place in my heart that I can’t explain. Sheila (her assistant who takes care of everyone), her children (whom I would be proud to be their Auntie), and the grandchildren (who are all adorable and they already like me) husband Tony, who is funny, and caring, and generous…and then Bonnie, my hero – This group of people will forever be attached to me (whether they like it or not). Bonnie has an amazing life, and still takes the time to let us in. We laugh at the same things. We both have a passion for our families. The best thing that every happened to me because of lung cancer was Bonnie J. Addario. Remember that name. She is the Susan G. Komen of Lung Cancer. She will and is changing the face of "you know what"…

Someday, when you’re at the grocery store buying cough drops during the month of November there will be a pink and green ribbon on the package with “lung cancer matters too” written on the front of the packaging. (That was just an example...don’t think we’re stopping at cough drops). Proceeds will go to a foundation that understands what the world of lung cancer is missing. Awareness and screenings. The very things that have changed breast cancer survival rates are the things we are missing. Very few people know that it is the #1 cancer killer (for both men and women), people are unaware that you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. Most of us are oblivious that the 5 year survival rate for cancer has improved from 13% to 15% in the past 30 years. In my short time as a member of this community of lung cancer patients, I’ve already seen a change and I'm happy to be a part of it!

Now, let me tell you about our past few days. Rick and I left early Wednesday morning on a road trip (with only a few people knowing were going). We stopped in Redding, CA on Wednesday night, then got into San Francisco Thursday early afternoon. Bonnie’s party wasn’t until Thursday night, so we checked into our hotel (which was spectacular), Rick took a nap, Sheila and I walked to Union Square and did a little shopping. After shopping, I went back to the hotel to get ready. Sheila was picking us up around 7:00pm. Since I had the time, I soaked in the marble tub, with the luscious bath gel that was provided and watched the bathroom flat screen TV to waste a little time. Once I came back to reality, I got out of the tub and and tried to get pretty (I guess I should have skipped the soak in the tub and worked on the pretty a little longer:) Rick, like most guys, took a shower, dressed and got ready to go in about 10 minutes.

The party was at place called the Supper Club. There are no tables and chairs, only walls of beds, fluffy pillows, and tray tables. (I’m attaching a photo) Bonnie’s family had reserved the entire club for her party so everyone there (80+ people) were there for the party! The food was a piece of art. We were served a 5 course meal over a 3 hour period. Different entertainment was supplied all evening, from a special song dedication to Bonnie, an acappella singing group, to an acrobat who preformed above our heads. We met many of Bonnie and Tony’s friends (many who already felt like they knew us because Bonnie has them all reading my blog). Oh, and don’t forget about the massages that we also got sometime during the evening.

Friday we had a nice lunch with Tony and Bonnie at Rockaway Beach then spent the night at their home. It's beautiful. Their kids all came over for Wii and appetizers (I talked Bonnie into getting a was a hit). We were going to order Chinese food but by the time we were done grazing, who wanted to eat anything else?

I’m looking forward to attending the Gala in November because this time we’ll really feel like we belong. I’m excited for them all to meet our children as well.

In closing, at Bonnie’s party I had a chance to visit with her amazing doctor, David Jablons. He knows about my case, and asked if my oncologist had suggested adding another drug in conjunction with the Tarceva since it’s no longer doing exactly what it’s suppose to do. He says it’s a fairly new concept, but he thinks I would benefit from it. I have an appointment on Wednesday, so I’ll be asking Dr. Eaton what he thinks. Dr. Jablons also gave me the name of a Dr. at Swedish Hospital in Seattle who is doing a study on Bronichioalveolar Carcinoma (my kind) and he thinks I should speak with him as well. If you want to survive in this crazy world, you need to check out all possibilities.

Rick has chemo on Tuesday and we have lots to share with his doctor. This past week (when we thought his body would feel the best) has been his worst week ever. Besides the pain in his feet, mouth sores, and tooth ache, he has had a terrible pain in his belly. We’ve been on the phone with his doctor in Seattle (I thought we might even need to take him to the emergency room) and they’ll give him a thorough exam when they seem him this week.

Very glad to be home doing my laundry, but bittersweet leaving Bonnie and the gang ☺

Dreaming Big,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

We're heading back

I have so much to share. I'm in a hotel room right now trying to put it all in words but I think I'll wait until tomorrow when I get home in my own office. Be patient with me. I'll post photos and give you all the scoop.

It was bittersweet leaving Bonnie and her family today. They truly feel like a part of my family that I never knew about. More to follow. I miss them already (Sheila too!)

Dreaming Big Dreams,

Friday, October 19, 2007

The truth comes out...Surprise

We're in California. We are staying at a beautiful hotel call the St. Regis. I feel like royalty :) Tonight was a surprise 60th birthday party for Bonnie. And was she ever surprised? I couldn't write about it because she reads this daily, so I've had to act like nothing was going on. I almost blew up with excitement. We had an amazing time at a place called the Supper Club. We were served a 5 course meal in bed (that was spread out over 3 hours). Sounds kind of crazy, but it was actually a wonderful experience and the food was very good. I'll post photos later.

Massage therapists wandered around the room and you could buy a massage (with clothes on) so, Rick bought one for each of us and we laid on our mattress/dining area and had a wonderful 15 minute massage of our back and shoulders. Rick said it felt like a little piece of Heaven.

Once I found out about this party, I've barely talked or written to Bonnie. I was so afraid I would blow it. Rick and I hid out of sight a little so it was about 20 minutes or so before Bonnie even saw us there. Again, she was very surprised. We shed a few tears but that's nothing new.

My headache is virtually gone. I had a little one on the way down to California on Wednesday, but nothing since. I was a little worried about Rick last night before we left to go to the party. He was having some pain near his incision site from his surgery last December. He was feeling better as the night went on and we have an appointment on Tuesday for him, so we'll mention it to the doctor. We're thinking he might be allergic to San Francisco. I think he's allergic to so much excitement.

I'd better go now. We don't have much longer in California and I want to savor every last minute.

Dreaming Big...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oops, I missed a day

I was a little brain dead yesterday. The headache is finally getting better, so I've been trying to get some things done that I been slacking on. Sorry ~

Tuesday, Debra Smith a reporter from the Everett Herald came for an interview. She started our story over a year ago and has something in the works. I'll let you know if it ever becomes news worthy. I did my Taco Tuesday special will all my buddies (which always brightens my day). Then ran errands all day long (ok I drove to do the errands, I didn't run). Yesterday was very much the same kind of day, minus the tacos :)

Rick's tooth is starting to feel better. Of all the different drugs he takes, his new antibiotic is the only one he ever complains about. I know when he just took it because I can hear him in the kitchen making horrible noises. He says it's the nastiest thing he's ever tasted. We're hoping the foot pain lightens up this week since he has the week off from chemo pills. Then everything starts up again on Tuesday.

Yesterday in Marysville there was a bank robbery at Shoultes Wells Fargo. On the news they said they closed down the high school and an elementary school because the bank robber was armed and on the loose. Angie teaches at Shoultes Elementary so my brain immediately thought it was her school. (You know, something new to worry about). It turned out to be a different elementary school, no one got hurt, and bank robber finally turned himself in so it turned out to be a happy ending. For me at least. I'm sure the women from the bank aren't very happy :(

I'm going to see the chiropractor at least one more time. I think the adjustment was just what I needed. My ribs were out of whack (maybe from the coughing) and my neck was crooked (not visibly but internally). What a difference it has made so far.

My "new friend" Ellen has been in the news lately and I feel very bad for her. It has happened to all of us, when we think we're doing something good for someone and it turns out so bad. I hope it all works out for the best. If anything was to be learned from this, it's that we should all read documents we are signing better than we do. I'm starting today.

Dreaming without a headache :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

UPDATE: Benefit Concert for Cancer Reseach

For those of you who don't remember, Noah (the bald guy on the left) is a great friend of mine who recently battled Testicular Cancer at the age of 23. His band, Thomas Starks, is playing a benefit concert at the Triple Door on the 19th of November and ALL proceeds will go back to Shelby Webster Testis Cancer Research. Noah is in remission, and his hair is growing back, so he is ready to show off his skills as a talented drummer.
Noah told me that KISS 106.1 will be there doing some type of live broadcast. In addition, KOMO is doing a special on him. The Seattle Times, the Stranger, and the Seattle Weekly are all doing articles on him and the show. He said there are only about 50 tickets left so if anyone wants to go and still haven't bought their tickets (LIKE ME) you should probably log on to the website and get them very soon.
I hope to see you there.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Magnificent Monday

Today was another great day. I went to the chiropractor and got some instant relief. I think my head is finally happy ;) I visited with my friend Cathy this morning over coffee at Starbuck's. This afternoon, I went with Jake to his follow-up ultrasound appointment and everything is fine. (Just like I knew it would be) Rick visited the oral surgeon again and went back on some new antibiotics as well as a low dose of Advil for the inflammation. Thankfully it wasn't a dry socket or a bad infection. Because it takes his body so long to heal, they just want to take precautionary measures by putting him back on an antibiotic. I couldn't agree more (remember, I'm almost a doctor).

Sometimes I feel like it's just one thing after another, but then I think of the alternative. I'm so happy to be here to experience and support my family and friends when they need me most. Or, when I need them.

I had a "moment" today with Cathy. We were in my office at home listening to "wedding/dance" music. I had her listen to some of my favorites. She cried (happy tears) as did I. Then I came to a song that I've always loved, "True Companion" by Mark Cohen. Although it's one of my favorite love songs and it makes me happy, I started crying. Only mine weren't happy tears. They were tears of fear/sadness/worry about not being around for what should be a very happy event. By then, my make-up was ruined and so was hers. Jake walked through the back door so we could leave for his appointment and saw the two of us in the bathroom trying to cover up our blotchy crying faces. I blamed it all on Cathy. She blamed me. That's what friends are for. I'm better now. I reminded myself that my track record in the lung cancer world is pretty darned impressive. I intend to keep up the pace.

So for now, I'm going to keep dreaming big....I'd like you to do the same.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Laid back Sunday...Hey, is this a pattern?

I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but Rick and I woke up at 10:00am. Who wakes up at 10 in the morning, besides party goers and teenagers? We don't happen to fit in either of those categories, so it must be the "damn they must have been tired" category.

I finally got my dead flowers off the porch and I'm putting outdoor summer stuff away. I guess it's official now. Fall has arrived. We had a beautiful weekend with a touch of autumn in the air. I'm still wearing flip flops (I can't quit yet!)

I don't have much to say today ( this a first?) so I'll just leave you with good thoughts.

Remember: Everything is a "once in a lifetime" experience.

Dream Big,

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Laid Back Saturday

After all the exciting news last night, we are just staying close to home today.

My dear friend Cathy called to say her daughter Anna got engaged last night too. Must have been a full moon. Congratulations to them as well.

Rick isn't feeling well lately. As a matter of fact, right now he's laying in his recliner with a bag of frozen peas on his cheek, and his feet up in the air with cream on them. I guess we need to get back to the oral surgeon on Monday (hopefully he's in) because Rick's mouth is really bothering him again. I know he doesn't heal as quickly as he used to, but we need to make sure it's not something new. My headache is about the same, not getting any worse. It's beginning to feel like a big wart on your nose...the one you are always aware of, but are trying to forget about.

I'm currently wearing my chef jacket I got from Megan and her family for Christmas this past year. I've got a pot of roasted chicken corn chowder cooking as well as a batch of cinnamon rolls rising. Just call me Iron Chef Dor...

Gotta get back to the kitchen where I do my best thinking.

Love you more,Publish Post

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Engagement

Tonight Jake and Megan got engaged. We've been busting at the seams to keep it a secret. Last Thursday night, Jake took Megan's parents and Rick and I out to dinner to ask us for our blessing. We were all happy to give it. Then on Tuesday, Jake, Rick and Ken (Megan's dad) went ring shopping together. The ring is beautiful (the picture doesn't do it justice).

No date is set. Though Jake and Megan both graduated from WSU last May, Megan still has 3 years in the Physical Therapy program at the University of Washington. Jake is still doing his student teaching, then he'll need to find a teaching job. We already felt like Megan was a part of our family (she and Jake have been dating for 3 years). Now this confirms it. We're happy to have the rest of her family join our gang as well.

Megan and her mom have invited me to join them when they go out wedding shopping...I can't wait. I know it won't be for a while, but it gives me one more reason to keep fighting hard.

Love is all you need.

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Headache Relief

My headache seems to be a little better today. Not gone, but better. At least it's going in the right direction. I have an appointment for a massage soon...thank goodness. Sherry Carroll my massage therapist sent home a neck pillow filled with lavender for me to use. The smell alone makes me feel better.

We've received some really nice messages from our blog friends over the past few days. Thanks for your continued love and support. Also a big thank you to those who've sent donations to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Every little bit helps fund screening, bring awareness and find a cure.

Tomorrow is the end of another busy week. Oh wait. I didn't work. As a matter of fact, I barely did anything. I laid around the house all week trying to get rid of a headache. Tomorrow I'm going with Pam to Seattle Cancer Care (she has to do follow up blood work because she signed up for a clinical trial in hopes that it will benefit our daughters from every facing this disease ~ and if I go we can ride in the HOV lane ~ That's what friends are for...convenience) The Cancer Care Alliance has been good to us, so I never mind stopping by to say hello.

The girls stopped by tonight. They both have busy weekends planned so I don't know if we'll get a chance to see them on Seahawk Sunday. Jake is going down to Seattle to visit Megan and her family. Looks like Rick and I are home alone. PARTY...ON! (Just kidding kids, Dad will have ESPN or Fox Sports on all weekend...I might get him to play a game or 2 of Wii with me and we'll nap...actually, that doesn't sound too bad does it?)

Gotta go now. It's time to get ready for bed. Grey's Anatomy is on in 25 minutes.

BREAST CANCER. LUNG CANCER. Girls just wanna have NONE.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Everything becomes a RED FLAG...

As I said months before in a blog, when cancer hits you, it slaps your whole family. When Angie had a cough a month ago, my brain couldn't stop thinking that it was something worse than a cold, or allergies, or pneumonia. When Amy gets a stomach ache, I think "perhaps you should have a colonoscopy". Now with Jake, it's was hard not to be alarmed when he shared his concerns about this lump. All of this is the part I never thought about, BEFORE CANCER. BC as we like to refer to it. BC we just put ice on an ache, took some Tylenol for a headache, ate a tums for a stomach ache. But now, we ask ourselves, "could this be related to something worse". Honestly, I'm sick of thinking this way. I pride myself on being upbeat, thinking positive, having high hopes. So, if I'm all of these things, why does my brain immediately go to horrible thoughts when something minor happens? I don't think there is an answer for this now so I'll just ponder it for a while and get back to you when the answer comes to me.

Yesterday morning was the first time in a long time I woke up without a headache. I was so happy. Until around 2:00 when the headache took on a life of it's own and I went to bed last night around 9:00 with the worst headache I've had in a very long time. Today I'm feeling better. Let's hope I'm on the mend.

Rick began having side effects yesterday from the chemo pills he's been taking. It is called hand/foot syndrome. It has only effected his feet so far. He is walking very gingerly this morning because of the pain he is having. He is beginning to develop blisters on them as well. We're following some of the suggestions to ease the side effects. He isn't complaining about it, but I can tell he's hurting. The site of his tooth extraction is still bothering him as well. I don't think our bodies heal like they used to. I'm just thankful that we're here for each other and we can laugh at our ailments. Even if we don't grow really old with each other like we had planned, we can still feel like it!

I wish today's message was something fun and uplifting...but I've decided that I was suppose to give you an important message instead. Our body is a lot like a best friend. Everything it tells us is important even if we don't want to hear it.

The words on the side of my Starbuck's coffee cup had an important message the other day. It said something like "it's physically impossible to listen with your mouth open". I'm going to try it! Mouth closed...Listening.

Dream Big,

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Message from Jake

I normally don't get on here and write because I feel indifferent about the whole world knowing our daily life. If it motivates people, and makes my mom feel good, that's great, but when someone stops me in the grocery store to ask how my shoulder is feeling from all of the Wii or a complete stranger asks me about something I did the previous day, it can be weird.

Tonight is different. I am writing and I hope everyone reads it (but please don't ask me about it in the grocery store tomorrow morning). I am writing to inform everyone that on Sunday night, while getting into the shower, I found a small pea sized lump on one of my testicles. I immediately told my mom and I made an appointment to get everything checked out today. The doctor said he is 99% confident that based on its location and size, it is not anything out of the ordinary, but I will get an ultrasound next week so we all feel better about it. He told me that I did the right thing by coming in when I discovered it, and taking this seriously. I am at the prime age when males are at the highest risk of getting testicular cancer (18-30). With all of the "cancer" that we have been dealt this past year, I wasn't taking any chances.

Women are encouraged to get mammograms and do self exams all the time. Guys, we need to be doing the same thing with our bodies. We need to be aware of how things normally feel so we have something to compare it to when something suddenly feels different.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Massage, Muscle Relaxants & Merlot

The headache is still here but we're taking a different approach. Massage, muscle relaxants and Merlot. Oh wait, I don't think Dr. Eaton mentioned Merlot. I guess that wouldn't be such a good combination. We are going to try to relax my headache away...I'm liking the whole idea. Even if it doesn't make the headache go away, it will still feel good. I told Dr. Eaton I didn't feel like I had a lot of stress on me now that I'm not working and he reminded me that now I have the whole day to think about IT. I reminded him that I'm much too busy to think about IT.

Maybe we should stop talking about cancer on this blog. The only problem with that is, this website has given me a place to put hopes, dreams, awareness and information out to those who really want to know what's going on. Though cancer slaps us awake each morning, we are able to go to sleep each night knowing that we are doing the best we can with what we have been given. I hope you are doing the same with whatever is on your platter.

I think we've all had a "cancer" in our life before. Sometimes it comes as bad cells. Other times it comes as a divorce, a terrible neighbor, another debilitating disease, the loss of a job or some other life changing way. Whatever form your cancer comes in, know that there is always a treatment plan to get you on track for recovery. Mine has been Tarceva.

During the past hour that I've been sitting at the computer, 19 people died of lung cancer. Many who look very much like me. 80% of all non-smokers diagnosed with lung cancer are women. These are staggering statistics. I'm not sure how to solve the mystery of why people who never smoke get lung cancer, but I'm not going to stop working on it as long as I'm here. I plan on living to help save others. Big job for a girl from a small town like Stanwood...but I've got great teammates.

I guess I'd better go lay on ice for a while. I'm trying all the remedies you've sent me. Later on, it will be a bed of broken glass. :)

Love you more than all the dead flowers in the pots on my porch. (I think I know what tomorrow's job will be)

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Late night Sunday

I was going to write hours ago, but my day was full of family, fun, cooking and knitting...I'm just now settling down for the night. Perhaps this is why I have an ongoing headache. No rest for the weary.

Tomorrow will be the first Monday I've had since I went on my long term leave that I have not had something pre-planned to do (if it wasn't a doctor's was the Ellen show-what's a girl to do?). Though I'm looking forward to settling down into a routine of taking care of personal business, I have bittersweet thoughts about work. I miss my friends and co-workers. We get together every once in a while for lunch, I'll stop by to see them, or we'll talk on the phone....but it's not the same as our daily banter with one another. Sheryl, the gal who subbed a majority of the time for me while I was out on sick days, will take over until at least the first of the year and she'll do a great job. I'll re-evaluate our situation and decide where we go from there when my 90 days is up.

Health wise, Rick seems a little more fatigued than usual (the chemo pills might be kicking in) and my headache seems to be letting up a little (I'm going to call about it in the morning). This kind of news is easy to write about. Headache and tired? Who isn't effected by these things all the time?

When I sat down at the computer tonight I felt like I had so much to say. Now that I'm sitting here I can't think of a thing to tell you. Whatever it was must not have been too important.

The weather these past few days has put me in the knitting mood again. In the past 2 days I've finished 2 more scarves, worked on an afghan, and started 2 more scarves. Our living room looks like a yarn store. I'm not sure life gets much better than a fire going, the family playing Wii and me knitting.

Dream On.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Headache Remedies?

I started writing a blog yesterday, but I was "blogged down" by this aching head. I just laid low (except for the 2 hours in the late afternoon when I went to a movie with Amy and Angie). I'm hoping that by staying close to home, getting some work done around here, and relieving a little stress will do the job.

Now, if that doesn't work...I may need your grandmother's old time remedies. "Stick your feet in a pot of boiling water...your feet will hurt so bad it will take the pain away from your head". You know, those kind of ideas.

Rick is getting better everyday. No real side effects yet to the chemo. His mouth is healing well. This "chemo lite" is working well so far. And me? Different day, same lung cancer, same feisty attitude. I'm still talking to the Tarceva daily. "Keep doing your job...because I've got a job to do". So far, so GREAT!

Lately I've been wondering where I would be today if not for lung cancer. Would I have met so many people who have changed my life? I'm sure life would still have been rewarding, memorable, fun...but would it have been so meaningful? Would my eyes be this wide open?
My wish for all of you is that you learn from our experiences. I want you, to take care of YOU first. LAUGH out loud. LIVE through adversity. LOVE with all your heart. Participate in your LIFE!

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Same Headache, Different Day

Rick had a good night last night. His tooth and mouth are feeling much better. He's going to go to work for a while. I'll be calling him soon to make sure he doesn't stay too long. He's on his new routine of 10 chemo pills, 1 belly shot, and a handful of other miscellaneous medicines to make his days go well.

I'm relieved that my headache isn't more cancer.. but it's still very annoying. It feels like the beginning of a migraine that doesn't want to it nags at me all day. I'm going to jump in the shower, pick my car up from the dealership (after I've put some clothes on), run some errands and try to ignore the headache today. I'll let you know later how this works. Remember, I dream big!

It's already 10:00am so I'd better get moving. This has always been my big fear about not going to work each day....still in my P.J.'s when it's time to make dinner :)

Love you more than all the Halloween decorations that are being set up this month....

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The tooth is out!

The extraction went well. Rick is still very groggy and in pain, but all of that will ease up with time. We stopped the blood thinner today for the procedure but we'll start up again tomorrow. Rick had his first round of chemo pills last night and so far, so good! As soon as he wakes up out of this stupor I'll give him more. Just call me Nurse Dore'.

My head is still aching, nothing major...Just a small pounding jack hammer in a steel drum. Dr. Eaton called this morning to say the MRI was clear (except it's overflowing with brains and ideas). I think today we'll just take it easy. Watch a little TV. Take a nap. Snuggle on the couch with a warm fire burning. See? Cancer does have some good side effects too :)

I'm off to make jello and pudding. Nothing warm/hot until tomorrow. :(

Let's not forget that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you haven't had a mammogram it's time to sign up for one now. Some cancers are curable when they are detected early. Breast cancer is one of them. Awareness and funding have made this opportunity possible. Now get out there and save the boobies!

Keep dreaming big...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tuesday's Update

Rick's chemo went pretty fast. I had a brain MRI (that was so noisy, if I didn't already have a would have caused one). I won't find any results out until at least tomorrow. I have no doubts that they will come back fine. :) We learned today that Rick will be taking 10 chemo pills per day for the 2 weeks following his treatments. They look like horse pills, so as you can imagine, Rick is thrilled. We are expecting to see some side effects this time. The chemo drugs are a little different combination. Though they are easier to take, we're just not sure if they will be as kind to his body as the past 9 months of treatment have been.

The kids all came by to check on us tonight so I had them stay for dinner. Nothing special, but just having them here was nice. We played some family Wii then called it a night.

I hope tomorrow's tooth pulling goes well. I'll keep you posted.

Hugs and kisses,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fighting a Headache

I've been fighting a headache the past couple of days which is why I didn't write anything last night. Once I laid down for the night...that was it. It's feeling a little better now. Hopefully, by the time I close my eyes tonight, I will have forgotten I even had a headache.

We have a busy week planned. Today was a visit to the tooth specialist to see if they're going to extract Rick's tooth. The answer is yes ~ on Wednesday. Tomorrow is chemo day (the new kind) and an MRI of my brain. The good news will be that they found brains. I'm not worried about anything else. Then Wednesday, Rick gets to visit the tooth fairy. The oral surgeon will be putting him all the way out since it's the tooth in the very back. (It's kind of like pulling a wisdom tooth) I'm sure he'll want top dollar from the tooth fairy and if he's a good boy, he might just get it!

This morning I got a whim to read back in the blog to remind myself how lucky we've been over this past year and a half. I want the words I write to matter. To make a difference. Thank you all for motivating me daily to share our story.

A photo of Rick and I will be on display in Alabama for an art exhibit called "F.A.C.E.S." (face all cancer emerge with strength) along with many others whose lives have been touched by cancer from October 6th - 23rd. I had to find words to express how we were feeling. Here is the caption under our photo ~ "In sickness and in health, til' death do us part". Powerful words when you're battling cancer with the one you love.

When life hands you a coconut...make a pina colada

Dream Big,

P.S. Do you know what I was doing a week ago? Dancing with Ellen in Pam's shoes :)