Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2 Year Scan Report (sounds official doesn't it?)

Yahoo! I hope that gave you an indication that today's appointment went well. Dr. Eaton's first words to me (us) were "the scan looks good". Nothing has changed. Everything is still there.'s stable. I couldn't help but ask "are you sure nothing has been shrinking?". He told us that he is the Dr. known for lowering patients expectations. I am suppose to be happy with stable he said. Tarceva has made it known that it's not preforming up to capacity, and that I am not to expect shrinkage, only stability. Are you kidding me? How can anyone be stable when they have an "oncologist"? I told him thanks and I'll see him in a month (after I've celebrated my 50th birthday and walked the RELAY). Today's appointment was my first birthday gift :)

Now for the funny stuff (remember how I said there is always something funny?) Today he asked if I was losing or gaining weight. I wanted to answer...."TAKE A LOOK...what do you think?" but instead I said I was "stable" but I know I need to go on a diet. His words (with the family in the room) were "I don't want you losing weight. You can get exercise by being active but no diets." Oh, shoot. Darn it. I was so looking forward to salads with no dressing.

All kidding aside, I'm thrilled with today's appointment. Even the report didn't look as scary. No mention of 36 tumors (though Dr. Eaton said they're all still there)...just, NO SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE from the March 2008 scan. All my blood work looked like I was a healthy person (which I am, minus the lung cancer stuff).

Thank you for all your prayers and hugs these past few days. I felt every one of them.

Dream Team members...don't forget we have a meeting at my house this Sunday at 6:00 ish. Please bring any money you have to turn in, I'll help you post it to your account. Thanks!

I've added a couple of photos of the before and after Dor. The skinny one (with the superman shirt) was me a few days after my diagnosis before Tarceva. The plump, happy one is me this past weekend on the Oregon Coast, after a Blue Moon beer and some clam chowder (oh, and Tarceva)

Dreaming Bigger than EVER,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bracelets for a CURE...

Well, we made it through chemo and scans, now we're just hanging out in Seattle waiting for good news tomorrow. Rick is always drained the first few days after treatment so he's just resting in a comfy chair watching baseball on FOX sports (I know, surprise...surprise) I know that good news isn't always the outcome. But, for those of you who know me personally, you also know that I can laugh my way through most situations. So, whatever we hear tomorrow will probably be followed by a giggle (and possibly some sniffling but we're not going there yet).

When I had my CT scan today, I got to see my favorite radiology tech. She always seems happy to see me and reminds me that I definitely don't look like a cancer patient (she sees a lot of them, so I'll take her word for it) and she's so glad things keep going well for us. I asked her to please inform the doctor who reads the results to only look for good stuff. She said she'd pass on request.

I've been going through the same motions for the past 2 years. Telling you how everything is going to be fine~yadda, yadda, yadda...well apparently, that's the SECRET. If you keep saying it over and over, it will be true. When I hear survivor stories of people who've lived with cancer diagnoses or re-occurring cancer for years and years, I can't help but admire their strength and attitude. I hope you'll all be saying that about Rick and I when we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary...many years from now (that's my next big goal-first it was to be 50 years it's 50 years of being married to the same cute guy).

Every time I turn around I get news of friends or acquaintances who are being challenged by the threat of cancer. That's where ACS comes in. If you or someone you know are diagnosed (or even a scare) with any kind of cancer, if you want to explain to your children about a grandparent or someone they know who has cancer, you can call 1-800-4-CANCER and request information to be sent to your home at no charge. When you give to Relay for Life, you're helping make this benefit possible. Don't forget, Relay is only 31 days away so you still have time to GIVE.

A friend of mine, Cindy Cutforth is making silver bracelets in support of a cure. I've attached photos of the bracelet & side options (the packaging is really cute too but I can't get the photo to attach to the blog...I'll keep working on it). Cindy made me a bracelet the week I was diagnosed and I haven't taken it off since. It's beautiful...and made with so much LOVE.

Visualizing Healthy Lungs,

Bracelet Info:
Available for order now! In keeping with the 2008 Relay For Life Wizard of OZ theme...Sterling Silver HAND STAMPED bracelets with -"THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOPE"stamped on outside - and "TODAY I WALK FOR A CURE" stamped on the inside. (Custom stamping on the inside is available upon request). Bracelets are$30 each. If you want to personalize your bracelet, please add $5 to the cost.Due to the hand stamping process, bracelets will vary slightly from the ones pictured. Each bracelet will come to you in a gift box, with a handcrafted enclosure card - designed and assembled by Sonia Kline! Please allow 10 days to 2 weeks for your bracelet to be made and delivered to you. If you wish to send a bracelet to someone as a gift, I will gladly ship it at no cost! All proceeds from the sales of these bracelets will be donated to RelayFor Life. I will need to cover only the cost of the sterling silver. All other materials & labor have been donated. Once sales for the braceletsclose, I'll post the total amount donated!
Cindy Cutforth Secretary, Lincoln Hill High School 360-629-1340 (ext. 2201)
Order Form:

Relay For Life
“There’s No Place Like Hope”
Sterling Silver Bracelet Order Form
Name:___________________________________ Phone:____________________
Address:_________________________________ Phone:____________________
City/State/Zip:____________________________ Email:_____________________
All bracelets will have “There’s No Place Like Hope” stamped on the outside.
Check which design you want for the outside of bracelet (see pictures):
______ Swirls
______ Awareness ribbons
______ Plain
Check what you would like the inside of the bracelet to read:
______ Today I walk for a cure - $30
______ Today I walk for___________________ - $35 Name of person
(quanity:______ Total Cost:______
Send your order and payment to:
Lincoln Hill High School
7600 - 272nd St. N.W.
Stanwood, WA 98292
Or (for SCSD School Employees only)Via Interoffice mail
Please make checks out to Cindy Cutforth.
If you have any questions please call Cindy at 629-1340.
A copy of this order form will be sent to you, along with your bracelet, as a receipt

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

Tomorrow is scan and chemo day so we're staying in Seattle tonight as well as tomorrow night (I don't get results until Wednesday morning...) Melana is gone on a business trip so we'll take over her condo while she's gone. I meant, we'll take good care of it while she's gone.

Bob and Dy left to go back to Spokane this afternoon, I finished unpacking from Oregon and started packing for Seattle, then took care of some health stuff for my father-in-law. My folks stopped by this afternoon and I surprised them with their jar of oysters (yuk). All in all, it was a pretty uneventful but busy day. At least it took my mind off my scan and Rick's chemo.

Hopefully we'll be trying Northlake Tavern pizza tomorrow (for lunch or dinner). We hear about it all the time but have never tried it. If Rick's appetite cooperates, we'll give you our personal review.

I'm going to bring my laptop along this time and keep you posted on how things are going. I promise. :)

Dreaming about clear lungs,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Alive and Well (ok...Alive)

I would love to say how much I've missed writing this blog the past few days but that would be a little white lie. I've had so much fun in the sun on the Oregon Coast that I didn't even think about it.

I'm attaching a few photos from our journey to Cannon Beach and Seaside with our friends, Bobby, Dy, Dave and Val. We had an unforgettable road trip and have already set our sights on another one next year, to San Francisco.

We arrived in Cannon Beach (actually Tolovana Park) on Thursday night (pretty late after all the stops we made along the way). We rented a 3 bedroom condo a block away from the beach. We really wanted to spend time together and what better way to do that then to share a condo? We were so full of energy once we arrived (couldn't find the key to the condo we were renting so we had to go back to Cannon Beach at 11:00pm) that we stayed up way past our bedtimes. The good thing was we didn't have any set plans for Friday morning so we took our time getting ready for what ended up being a wonderful day. We went to Cannon Beach and Seaside ~ sightseeing, shopping, and lunch then headed to Astoria for the Crab and Seafood Festival (lots of wine vendors too!). We bought our friends each a little wooden sign while we were shopping around Cannon Beach. It said "Friendship isn't a big thing. It's a lot of little things". This weekend summed that up!

Saturday we went to Tillamook to see how cheese was made, played around in little towns along the way, then headed back to our condo before heading off to dinner at Mo's on the beach. Another wonderful day and lots of laughter.

On our way home today, we took the long route...I stopped by Pam's daughter's house in Seaside and peeked in her windows (Sorry we missed you Erin and Cody but you were at church). Then, we drove along US101 and though a little town that Val's mom used to live in. We swung by some famous oyster shop so Dave and Val could buy some of those stinky little things to bring home for dinner. The music, laughter, food and friendship was priceless.

It's another very late night and we have a busy week ahead of us so I'd better get to bed. Thanks for being patient with me. Sometimes it's nice to just go away, be silly and just forget about the serious stuff waiting for us back home.

Dreaming Big (with sand between my toes)

All is Well

This is just a quick little message to say "All is well in the Schmitt House". Mom and Dad went down the Oregon Coast for a few days with some friends. I'm sure Dor will tell you all about it when she gets back tonight. I know she was disappointed not to have wireless internet service. Jake and Megan are at Desert Aire, Angie is in Portland, and I have been in Stanwood most of the weekend keeping an eye on mom and dad's house and taking care of some Relay stuff.

We are well... don't be worried. :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rick's Test Results

According to Rick's oncologist, Dr. Whiting...the results are good. Here's what he had to say: Nothing has changed. All the tumors in his lungs, liver, lymph nodes are all where they were 2 months ago and they are all the same size. The good part is, NOTHING is BIGGER. As long as his body can tolerate the FOLFOX chemo cocktail, he'll continue to do it every other week.

We were hoping for some shrinkage but Dr. Whiting explained that it's only been 2 months with this new chemo so he wasn't surprised to see everything looking the same. Rick was a little down when we left the Cancer Care Alliance, so he came home and mowed the grass. A little lawn therapy is just what he was needing (that and a Dick's Deluxe hamburger on the way home).

I've gotta head out for our Relay for Life meeting. Only 5 weeks to go before our big night.

Dream Big,

We're off to see the Wizard

I've felt like Dorothy in the field of poppies on the Wizard of Oz lately. I seem to be sleeping much more than usual. Not only do I sleep in, but the moment I get in the car my eyes seem to close (unless I'm driving), when I sit still for any length of time my head starts bobbing... As you can imagine it's a lovely sight. Drool down my face, a constant sleep mark down my cheek, bloodshot eyes. Hey, that also sounds like I could be drunk. Let me assure you, that's not my problem. YET.

I promise I won't be sleeping when we get to Seattle today. My ears will be wide open as I hear the doctor tell us that Rick's chemo is kicking cancer's butt. I'll write a quick blog when I get home this afternoon to let you know how it goes. I have a Relay meeting tonight and our friends are flying in from Spokane so I won't have lots of extra computer time to chat with you for hours.

The plan is for Rick's dad to come home today. They found a small leaky valve in his heart and it doesn't pump the blood out of his chambers like it should, so his heart is working overtime. They've put him on blood thinners and a beta blocker to prevent a stroke. Apparently, this kind of problem happens as we get older. They figure once the meds start doing their job, he'll feel much better. When Rick and I talked to the doctor yesterday, he didn't seem very alarmed. He reminded us that Smitty is 83 and things just start wearing out. Other than this heart thing and the fact that he's a skinny old fart he's doing ok!

Love you more than all the miles we've put on our vehicle while driving to doctor's visits...On that note, I forgot to wish you all a happy EARTH DAY yesterday. Live Green :)

Dreaming Positive,

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Jake!

Happy 23rd Birthday Son. I'm hoping to be around to celebrate many more with you. :)

Rick and I had full intentions to leave the house for Seattle (scan day) by 7:00am. Instead, we woke up at 7:00am. Oops! The good thing doesn't take us long to get ready and the traffic cooperated with us, so we were actually in Seattle EARLY. I'm not sure if I'm not sleeping well, or just what's going on, but I was groggy most of the day. I slept in the chair while waiting for Rick's scan to be complete, I slept the whole way home (until Rick stopped for lunch), then once I got home I laid on the couch and woke up to the phone ringing at 3:45. That better be counting as beauty sleep or I've just wasted some precious time.

This afternoon Rick's dad was taken to the hospital (by ambulance) because of an irregular heartbeat. He was having some pains in his chest and they can't seem to get his resting heart rate regulated. When we got to the hospital, Smitty had just eaten his dinner (and cleaned his plate with is unusual for my 130 pound father in law). He actually looked better than usual. Perhaps the IV drip to hydrate him and whatever meds they had given him to calm his heart down was the answer. They are keeping him in the hospital for a day or two for observation. I think it's a good place for him. I'll let you know how things go.

I'm off to bed now. It's been an exhausting day.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blog Entry #600

Holy Crying in the Night...Can you believe I'm still writing this thing? 600 entries and I still haven't run out of things to say.

Megan was up visiting Jake for the weekend and it turned out to be a busy one. On Friday night we went to the MOPS auction, Saturday I rode with Jake and Megan to Mt. Vernon and did a little shopping for his birthday, on the way home Rick called and said we were going to dinner for the Dairy Farmer's of Snohomish County so we got ready again and went out for prime rib (and the crowning of the Dairy Princess). This morning, we got up early and went to church then out for breakfast (Pam joined us and got the senior citizens special...she wasn't going to order it because she said she was too young, but when she found out it was cheaper she jumped on it). Amy was waiting for us when we got home and boy is she BROWN. She finally made it home from her vacation (after an overnight stay in Dallas because her flight from Cancun was 4 hours late). I figure as long as she made it home, the plane touched down without shooting flames or without the wing falling off and she's in one piece...what's a little delay? We're glad to have her back.

Angie is in Portland helping her friend Shannon paint her newly remodeled basement. You can never have too many helpers for a job like that. When I talked to Angie last night she said that it took 13 gallons of primer to cover the walls. That is some serious painting. I'm hoping she's on her way home now before it starts to snow again. Ok, I don't know if it's going to snow...but around here you never know. It's WASL testing again this week and stress levels are high at the schools. I wonder what happens when it snows on a WASL day...can you cancel school?

We woke up yesterday to a couple of inches of the white stuff covering the ground. I love the stuff, just not in the spring. We have Relay coming soon and I would hate to have to wear snow shoes around the track. :)

Tomorrow is Jacob Charles' 23rd birthday. I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone. It seems like only yesterday we were pulling names out of a baseball cap to name him because we couldn't all agree what to call this new family member. I think Amy and Angie were rooting for Jacob Tyler, but still call him Chuck or Charles. Whenever our friend Vic sees him, he calls him Nathan. Growing up, all his friends called him Jake. Now at school, he's lovingly referred to as "Mr. Schmitt". Happy Birthday son...whatever your name is :)

Rick's hands, feet, ears (actually any extremity that is out in the open) is really causing him pain. It doesn't stop him from going outside, but he's all bundled up when he does. The moment he gets inside he steps in front of the fireplace and thaws out. The severity of the pain gets better just about the time he's due for another treatment.

Tomorrow is scan day for Rick. Results follow on Wednesday. Whatever we learn will just be another step in this journey they call life. Hopefully this chemo cocktail will remain on the menu, but if not...they have many other concoctions to try. We have friends coming over from Spokane on Wednesday night and we're all heading down to the Oregon Coast on Thursday. We can't wait. The timing is perfect.

The 29th and 30th I have a scan and results. These next couple of weeks will be emotional ones. Not because we'll learn bad things, but because we don't know what we'll learn. That's the worst kind of worrying to do.

Since I haven't done much of anything productive this weekend, I think I'd better get off the computer and fold some laundry. Ugh. Where is that maid when I need her?

Dreaming Big,

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white April...?

I spent a great day helping my friend Cathy celebrate her last day in the 40's. She's going to do just fine as an older woman. I could tell by the way she was handling her walker this afternoon. Ok, just kidding...she doesn't look a day over 35 and I'm jealous.

I'm still tired but I'm not ready to go to bed yet. We went to an auction tonight and bought a few things in support of our sister-in-law Dawn's MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group. The dinner was good and the entertainment was fun. On the way home (I was driving) I had to pull over because I couldn't see in front of me. It was like driving in a blizzard. I frightened everyone in the car so Rick insisted on driving instead. For safety's sake.

I'm not sure what's going on with our weather but I'm now thinking of planting plastic flowers in my flower beds. This might be the only way to guarantee colorful blooms that don't freeze. When is that "safe" time frame to get your plants in the ground?

I'm going to take a little something for my cough tonight. It's a little more annoying than usual and I'm sure this weather doesn't help.

Be safe...don't drive in this stuff unless you have to. Amy gets home from her vacation tomorrow. I'm sure she'll be thrilled with the blizzard conditions.

Love you more than all the snowflakes in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Dreaming Big,

Wide Awake ... at 3:00am

It is 3:07 am and here I am wide awake.  Oh, I'm sure I could find something constructive to do around the house (but I'll use the excuse that I don't want to wake anyone).  Now I'm not awake because I fell asleep too early in the evening, or that I took a nap this afternoon.  As a matter of fact, I was exhausted around 3:30 this afternoon and I thought I wouldn't make it past dinner.  Instead, tonight was one of those nights when I closed my eyes I couldn't help but think about STUFF.  

When we saw the orthopedic surgeon today for Rick's shoulder, he explained that Rick had a tear in his rotator cuff and he has now developed frozen shoulder.  I guess any one of those things by itself can be painful, but having both of these problems at the same time is a double whammy.  We also learned that although surgery could repair the partial tear, he would have to stop chemo and that option isn't even on the table.  I have a husband who rarely complains about pain, or sickness so when he moans from his fingers hurting from the cold, or when he walks on a cold floor and the pain is like walking on broken glass, or when he tries to put his shirt on but can't straighten out his arm, I just want to get get mad.  I want to yell at the guy in line at Haggen who isn't getting service fast enough because there is a new girl getting trained, or the woman at Starbuck's whose latte has too much foam.  I want to remind them to focus on all the amazing things we have to be thankful for, and start appreciating the things that really matter.

On Saturday, I will hit my 2 year survival mark.  Now to some, 2 years doesn't sound like much but for me, it's a year longer than "statistics" gave me, it's over 700 days of laughter, and love, and determination.  It's the most important life lesson I've ever learned.  On the 29th of this month I'm scheduled for another scan.  I'm a little nervous for the results this time because of all the changes in my last report.  I know there is a good possibility that we may try new medications/chemotherapy.  Something new that may or may not change my quality of life.  Something new that might work really well.  Maybe I do have a bunch of things on my mind that are keeping me from sleeping.  Perhaps I should have gotten up around 11:00 and shared my worries with you then.  I may have actually caught some shut eye before it's time to get up.

I'm heading out early in the morning with my buddy Cathy.  We're going to the tulip festival in Mt. Vernon to celebrate her 50th birthday.   I'll write tomorrow and let you know how the  day went.  (unless my lack of sleep catches up to me and I'm asleep on the couch at noon) 

As much as I want to plant my flower boxes, I heard we may be getting snow again this weekend.  If I don't get them planted soon, I might not have anything blooming until the fourth of July.  Maybe I should choose a red, white and blue flower combination...

Have a spectacular weekend and stay out of trouble.  If you can't stay out of trouble, then at least have a good time being bad.  :)

Wishing I was dreaming big...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What I've learned about cancer...

We all believe that cancer effects a certain part of your body. Hence, colon caner...we worry about your colon. Breast cancer we worry about your breast. But the truth about cancer is that the way to fix it it generally by putting poison into our veins and destroy bad cells along with the good cells. These good cells can be attached to your gums, or your joints, or your bones, or your hair follicles. And what seems to be an easy fix, turns into mini nightmares and unknown possibilities.

Rick's newest problem is a torn rotator cuff and a frozen shoulder. It's been bothering him for over 4 months, but he decided to pick his battles and just take care of the cancer first. Now the shoulder hurts so bad he doesn't even think of the cancer. Tonight, Angie stopped over and played Dr. Ang. She ran him through some exercises until he makes it to physical therapy on Tuesday. I know it's going to hurt more before it starts to feel better. We feel so fortunate to have someone in our household with the knowledge to help him through this battle.

I just worry about all of it. I want him to be pain free. I hope he will start to sleep better. I want the scan results on Wednesday to be positive. I like him to smile. I am so thankful for all the great things that have happened in our lives as well. Friendships are stronger, joy is brighter, Love is immeasurable...

Oh, and I also have to worry about me a little too. I'm sure everything is super dooper, but after the next scan we'll have a better handle on it. I will remind my oncologist that I'll be turning 50 in about 40 days so we need to find a way to keep me feeling well until then.

I'm getting to bed early tonight. I'm going to spend the day with Cathy to celebrate her 50th birthday. I'm telling you...all my friends are getting old right before my eyes. I'll wear sunglasses so I won't be spotted with all these old folks.

Love you more than all the tulips blooming in the Skagit Valley,
Dreaming Bigger than Ever~

Heading out the door

I had a wonderful massage yesterday, stopped by the office to help out with a little project, came home and took a long (apparently very needed) nap, then woke up in time to play Bunco with my bunco buddies. I got home at 10 and went straight to bed.

Rick's hands and feet are very painful this time around. He was told that each time he had chemo the build up would eventually be rough on him. He's feeling it now.

We're just heading out the door now to see the shoulder specialist then have his chemo disconnected. I'll be home later and write more.

Until then...Dream Big,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The long and winding road to chemo

Today started very early here at the Schmitt house. 5:15am to be exact. Rick and I got up and showered, got our things in order then made the trek down to Seattle. Chemo was uneventful but we did have a chance to talk to his oncologist about all the shoulder pain that Rick had been suffering with. He encouraged us to find an orthopedic doctor in our area and he would send a referral to get things started. I contacted a doctor in Everett (that was referred by Erin - our family physical therapist and friend) and his office said they could see Rick this week if they would do the MRI at Seattle Cancer Care. If we had to wait for an MRI in Everett the appointment would not be until May sometime. Everyone did what they could, rearranged schedules, made calls and before we knew it....Rick was having an MRI before we ever left the building. While I was waiting patiently in the cafeteria with my friend Diana, a gentleman from human resources came in and offered us tickets to the Mariner game that started at 3:40. We were leaving the decision all up to Rick. If he felt up for it, then that's what we were going to do. Rick and I didn't come to Seattle prepared to go to a ballgame in the cold, so Rick bought us each a new Mariners sweatshirt at Safeco Field, my friend Diana and her husband Kelly brought us blankets and gloves (Rick can't stand cold hands and feet for about 10 days following treatment). We bundled up, met our friends, had a wonderful time, stayed through the 7th inning stretch then headed out (the Mariners were up 11-6 and we needed to get home before we fell asleep).

My throat is much better today (I think it may have been the change in weather that made it sore). I'm just very tired. We didn't get any shopping done. We didn't go to the Northlake Tavern for Pizza...but each of those things will be waiting for us the next time we have an appointment. Oh wait, that's next Monday. I think we'll live til then. :)

I'm attaching another photo of Rick and I from the game today, as well as one of our friends Diana and Kelly and their granddaughter. Go Mariners!

Good night, Dream Big....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today was our anniversary. Although we didn't do anything special, it was day spent with the ones we love. We went out for dinner tonight with Rick's sister and her husband to celebrate. Dinner was great and the company was too! When we're with Vickie and Tom, we always have a great time.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat (so I can't even kiss my honey our our special day). I've been gargling and resting most of the day (except for the few hours I was out running errands and getting my hair done - I got it cut short and had some blonde highlights put in it). I'd like to blame the sore throat on the bad weather in Western Washington but it was sunny this afternoon it's probably just a virus.

Rick has chemo at 7:40am tomorrow so it will be an early morning for us. We're hoping to go out for lunch and maybe do a little shopping when chemo is over. Generally, once treatment is done we hurry and head out of the city. I'm hoping we can spend a little time having fun as long as we're in Seattle already. Next week Rick has scans and test results, then the following week it's my turn for the scans and results. Lots of stuff happening over the next couple of weeks. We'll keep you posted as soon as we know anything. I have a feeling it's all going to be just FINE.

I hope your taxes are all done for tomorrow. Just think on the bright side, the only way you wouldn't have to worry about taxes is if you didn't make any money. Thank goodness we have this problem.

Sweet dreams,

Sunday, April 13, 2008

She's Back!

After a wonderful week in Eastern Washington, I'm home now. Janeen left on Friday morning, and Rick arrived on Friday afternoon. As much fun as I had with my friends, I don't like being away from my sweetie for that many days. (I think he missed me a whole bunch too) We were blessed with fantastic weather. Except for a little rain and wind on Monday, we were in the mid to high 60's/70's all week. These past 7 days have been spent reading books (I'd been meaning to read for months), listened to music, worked on improving my Wii skills, cooked for my friends, lots of laughter and a bunch of nothing in the sun...Doctor's should prescribe this kind of treatment for all their patients.

Tuesday is chemo again (the last one before the big scans next week). We're praying this new batch will be just what his body needs. I wish he felt a little better the week of chemo but he doesn't complain, so I guess it's my problem. I just worry more than usual when he isn't eating or sleeping. Or when his menu consists of root beer floats and chili burgers :)

This past week Amy and Angie have both been on vacation (out of the country) and it's the first time that our communication has been limited since the cancer diagnosis. I was hoping that we'd stay in touch via e-mail but that doesn't work very well for me at the Desert (I'm checking into a new wireless plan tomorrow). I knew I was fortunate to have kids that liked to talk to their momma at least once a day, I just didn't realize that momma needed it more than they did. When I did get a chance to read my e-mail I was so happy to see they were having the vacations of a lifetime. Angie came to Stanwood when she got home this afternoon. As you can imagine (with the olive skin) she's very brown....all eyes and teeth. She got the most out of her 7 days in Mexico.

Jake was home taking care of Rick and Angie's kitty, Fuzz while we were all out playing. He's a good boy. I think we'll keep him.

I haven't talked to Amy today, but this evening she had the opportunity to listen to Lance Armstrong at the event she's attending in the Bahamas. I'm sure if she was able to get close enough, she talked his ear off. A few days ago, she helped put bicycles together for an orphanage in Nassau. What was that saying I mentioned a few weeks back? If you're not're not living.

I'm actually feeling really good right now. The back ache is still there, but I try to ignore it. The only thing bothering Rick is his shoulder and his shins (he's been cutting wood with Jake and logs keep rolling onto his boney shins...ouch). Life is wonderful journey as long as you remember to wear your seatbelt for the bumps in the road.

I promise I'll be keeping this blog up to date every day, now that I'm home. I realized how much I get from sharing my daily concerns or joys with all of you. I hope I haven't forgotten how to write.

Until tomorrow,
Dream Big & Livestrong~

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Vacation Update

I'm going to make this quick. The weather is beautiful. Pam and Shelly have both come and gone (we had a great time). I love being a hostess. I really should have had my own bed and breakfast. That's not a regret. Just an afterthought.

Janeen got here yesterday so now it's just the 2 of us. We went to Bingo last night (which was quite an experience...way too much work...we left the Bingo hall with stress headaches from all the thinking we had to do). Janeen won $18 and I won $5 (I had to split mine with some other person). Today has just been a day of reading, relaxing and exploring the area.

Amy and Angie are enjoying their vacations (they went to different places), Jake has the week off for spring break (except for his job at Sylvan) so he's been chopping wood and taking care of our houses, Rick is missing me (I'm sure) but will be heading over here to join me sometime Friday. Life with the Schmitt's is Good :)

As much as I love my family and my home, it's funny how I can come over here to the Desert and just forget about the STUFF that brings sorrow to my life. As a matter of fact, if I didn't have my meds sitting by the bathroom sink...I would forget to take them.

Love you more,
than I did before....

Dream Big,

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Desert Aire - Spring Break '08

I hope to have wireless service while I'm over at Desert Aire, but if I don't I want to apologize now for not writing a blog for a week. If I have service, I promise to drop you a little note each day and tell you how badly my friends have been behaving. You know me...I'll just be watching...quietly...from a distance.

I'm packing the Wii, pj's, stuff to make hot crab dip, and a bottle of red wine. Will we need anything else?

It's spring break, so I'm taking the week off from cancer. I'm not going to mention it until next week when Rick has chemo again. It takes up way too much of my time anyway. :)

Until I find a wireless connection...

Dream Big,

Friday, April 04, 2008

Worst Movie Ever!

Got up this morning and had a nice day with my parents. We went out to lunch, then to Costco. I'm sure my parents usually spend about 10 minutes in the store when they go alone. They bring their list...get their stuff...then head out. When they went with me today, we went up and down the aisles looking at everything. They were troopers. I never heard one complaint out of them (well, at least not out loud).

This afternoon I went to a movie with some friends. Pam insisted that we see the movie "4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days". She assured us that she had good references & the movie got great reviews. It may have been the worst movie I've ever seen. No, I'm certain, it was the worst movie I've ever seen. I'm still baffled that someone was at the door taking money for the next crowd that was coming in. Ugh.

Tomorrow is another fun filled day. I have a wedding shower to attend for my friends daughter, Anna. Then Rick and I are going to do a little birthday shopping with our niece, Darlena. Tomorrow night I'm going to get packed up and ready to head to Desert Aire. I'll be entertaining some friends during the week, then Rick will be joining me on the weekend (or at least that's the plan for now).

Rick's mouth is feeling better, no more bleeding. I feel bad leaving him here by himself all week, but he says he's a BIG BOY and can take care of himself. I'd like to believe he really needs me. My hip is actually feeling better. I'm not sure if it's the steroids doing the trick, but whatever it is, I like it. My back is still in a state of a constant ache, but I'm tolerating it.

My first phone call of the day was from my long term disability coordinator. He said he was sorry for having to make the call, but he noticed one of the boxes on my claim wasn't filled in by one of his staff members. His words, "We need to know if this Stage 4 lung cancer is terminal?" I told him I hoped it wasn't but I haven't been given my schedule yet. If we've lived this life in fear of dying, we haven't really lived at all.

And, isn't terminal a place where you park your bus or ferry? Just wondering?

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thankful Thursday

With the help of so many of you, Aaron is getting closer to his dog and new "best friend". Again, I know it seems like we're always asking for things...but I heard once that if "you're not giving, you're not living"...and I wanna LIVE.

This morning Rick woke up with blood all over his t-shirt and the pillow case. After a moment of panic (I thought the blood had come from the port-a-cath in his chest) we discovered that the tooth he had pulled 9 days ago was bleeding. Because of his blood thinners, it takes a little longer for him to heal. Rick has been extra fatigued lately but that's to be expected. By the sounds of my blogs lately, it sounds like a bunch of old sick people live at our house. Trust me, we're doing fine, his mouth stopped bleeding and he's feeling "pretty good".

I had a very nice day today with my friend Kim from Snohomish. As I pulled into her driveway, I was enveloped by a wave of daffodils. She had every color and kind of bulb you could imagine. I told her we could just stay at her house all day and look out the window at the beauty, but instead we went to lunch at a spectacular restaurant, then walked around the quaint little town of Snohomish for a bit. I need to go there more often. You can't help but feel nostalgic in a town like that. I got my oil changed, stopped by Angie's house (she was in bed with a migraine), then came home and made a "real dinner". Salmon & rice pilaf with zucchini. Yum~

Last night we had a great turnout at our Relay For Life Meeting. I can't believe how many people have become motivated to make this another successful year. We have a special new club called the 1K club. Anyone who raises $1,000 or more gets a hooded sweatshirt with a cool design on the front, putting them in this elite club. So far we have 8 people who've hit this mark. 5 of those people are from Doreen's Dream Team. We set a team goal of $20,000 and so far we've raised close to $10,000. I'm so proud to be surrounded by these amazing people.

I'm getting excited to spend a few days at Desert Aire next week. I'll try to remember to bring my camera and take photos. Hopefully the smiles on our faces will let you know how much we love being over there.

Time to think about going to bed. I need to try and get a full, dreamless, peaceful night's sleep for a change. I'm definitely lacking in the beauty sleep department.

I want to give a special shout out to my new friend Linda, from Alberta Canada. She was diagnosed with BAC nearly 2 years ago as well. She found me through the Bonnie J. Addario website and we've been conversing every day. Just another friend I didn't know I had :)

Okie Dokie. That's it for tonight!

Goodnight, sleep tight,
Dream Big~

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Help me help Aaron. Today is the day... and I'm not kidding. I know my family is always coming up with things we want to raise money for. Lately those things are cancer related but right now I want... NEED.. to help Aaron. Today is literally WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY. We all know the story about Aaron and how he needs a dog to help him with his autism and to prevent him from running away. If you don't know the story click on the link below and you can read all about it. He needs $5,000 for his service dog and he has already raised around $1,100. There is no time like the present.. and life is too short. Here is my idea.

If you are a dog lover, you already understand how much this will change his life so give the kid $10. If you're not a dog lover, but you're a human being and want to do the right thing... do without your latte today and donate $5. Then, send this link to all of your friends and co-workers and ask them to do the same thing. It's that simple. Heck, I don't have a dog and I can't say I'm a big animal lover but I'm going to give him $25.00.

Folks... it's WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY... can you think of a better time? Click on the link to find the address to send checks and the place to make a credit card donation (half way down the page on the right hand side). We have until midnight and I KNOW we can do it.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A little scare at SCCA

We've been on a roller coaster today and we're now getting off. The past few days have been filled with places to go, people to see and things to do. I was doing all of it with an aching back and hip (blah, blah...blah)

Today we had appointments in Seattle. Rick's was for chemo. Mine was for my monthly visit without any scheduled scans. When I got to my appointment (I was alone as Rick's chemo had already started upstairs) Dr. Eaton didn't like the fact that my HIP was hurting. We sort of know what's happening with the back, but the hip was something different. I explained how the family had been bugging me to call him about the pain (and I fought back saying he is my lung cancer doctor...what does he care about hip?). Well, apparently, Dr. Eaton says he is my primary doctor. He needs to know anything about everything. I guess lung cancer quite often ends up in the bone in our hips (sorry I didn't listen to you Bonnie). Hence...I guess I shouldn't have been diagnosing myself for the past 2 weeks. He ordered an abdomen CT scan that I can say with confidence didn't have the "sign of cancer" he had anticipated. A shadowy thing was found, it looks like it's in or on my vein. A radiation specialist will follow up with that but I'm sure it's nothing. If they had discovered cancer in my hip it would have been an easy (those are my words) fix. A little radiation. And we're done. But Tarceva would most likely have come to an end.

I can tell by my conversations with my doc that I'm about to be done taking Tarceva. He only re-filled my prescription paperwork for 3 months but encouraged me to only fill it month by month. He also reminded me that we have lots of other things to try and with my track record...maybe I'll take the next round of "whatever" with the same kind of success.

Rick's chemo went along today without any problems. Thank God. I was in radiology all day and only spent about 5 minutes laying next to him (it has become a habit...after all this time). Before I knew it, Rick was down in my room with me. What a ridiculous situation we're in. When does the really fun stuff start?

I'm going to turn off the phone tonight, crawl into bed with some pain medication (which I'll take more often if needed...I didn't want to be a wimp), watch my Tivo'd shows and do that snuggling with Rick tonight instead.

I want to send a big HUG to Melana for letting us crash at her condo at Gasworks parks last night. It made our journey to SCCA much nicer this morning.

Dreaming Big (with a good hip)