Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I'm not sure if's it's my age, or the fact that I don't have to actually take my kids trick-or-treating anymore, but I think I'm starting to enjoy Halloween. I'm attaching photos of our 8 guests we had tonight (Dorothy, Glenda the good witch, the lion, a werewolf, a lady bug, another lion, and 2 little cuties from the 50's with their poodle skirts)

When I think back on the faces of my adorable kids as they stomped through mud and leaves on Halloween all those years ago, I guess it wasn't near as bad as I've made it out to be. Any day we get to spend with the people we love...are wonderful days...and I have way TOO MANY to count.

My old boss and principal took Rick and I out for lunch today. Much to our surprise, another friend who saw us eating lunch picked up the tab before we could even argue who would pay the bill. What a wonderful world we live in. Thanks Koetje's! Lunch was great.

I got an e-mail today from one of the authors who's book I have on my list of "books you must read". We've never met, but she somehow learned that I had her book posted on my blog. Isn't it funny how we get connected to people we may never have had the opportunity to meet?

Rick and I are both feeling good tonight. I think tomorrow we'll start to help Jake move into his new apartment. I'm going to take my time....I'm not quite ready to break up with him yet :)

I really want to thank all of you who have offered to be our chauffeurs, HOV buddies, traveling companions, 64th Avenue Shuttle Service. I am going to take you up on your offers if you really mean it. Traveling to Seattle twice a week may get old, but if I have all of you to add a little excitement to my journey I may not even realize what I'm going for. Thank you again for your friendship and support. We feel so LOVED.

Dreaming "Spooky" Dreams,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween Eve

My favorite holiday will be here tomorrow ...and you all know how I feel about it. I would rather wax my nose hairs then celebrate it. Rick did his usual Halloween shopping and bought a 5 pound bag of good candy bars (for those 3 kids we might get). They rest will be in a leftover bowl where I will try my best to stay out of them.

Amy wrote an awesome blog yesterday and it's always hard for me to follow a message from someone else. I'm so happy the women in her barracks were touched by my daily missives. It was the least I could do while they protected our lives.

My chest (and the site they put my port in) are still a little sore tonight, but nothing like it was yesterday. Everyday I get a little closer to being back to normal.

As I'm sitting here at the computer, my eyes keep dozing off. I need to get into bed and catch up on lost sleep. I'll write more tomorrow.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bandaids & Happy Thoughts

Back in 2003, I volunteered for a short tour of duty to Qatar. At the time, the "war" was fresh and everyone was on edge. My mom didn't like the idea of me going overseas into the dangerous unknown. As I prepared to leave, mom sent me out the door with a backpack full of "goodies from home". My favorite item was the small red book she had made for me. Each page had a different date, and different message. Page one had the date I got on the airplane to leave and a special message from mom. She made me promise not to read ahead to the other dates. I never did. Reading my daily note from mom became something the women in my tent looked forward to. We all gathered around to read our daily note from a special woman who was thousands of miles away, yet none of them knew my mom. Some days the message was emotional. Some days the message was inspirational. Some days she made us laugh. I think of that book often and I still have it at my house. It is worn and battered, but I have it nonetheless. I think this blog is very similar to the book she made for me many years ago. We all wake up and gather around our computers, in different states and countries, to read her daily words. It has gotten to the point where many of the people who read this blog don't know her, but many of them probably say the same thing I heard every day over in the desert... "I love this lady!"

Back to my goodie bag from mom. In addition to the book, snacks, pictures, etc., mom sent me with a box of superman bandaids. I laughed at first. I mean, I work in the hospital on base so the odds of me having access to a bandaid in the case of an injury was pretty good. When asked about the bandaids, she said "bandaids make everything better". I thought it was cute so I accepted her theory. I was never injured while overseas, but there were a few days when I would wear a bandaid under my uniform, just to keep me safe and make me feel closer to mom. To this day, we occassionally apply a bandaid to an uninjured piece of skin, just because we hope it will help. I think we could all use a bandaid today.

I have called to check on my mom a few times today. She sounds exhausted. Last night Angie and I noticed that my mom was getting a bad rash on her chest, near the bandages from her surgery. Her skin was red, inflamed, itchy, and hot. After checking with a nurse, we found out that mom had an allergic reaction to the cleaner they used on her skin before surgery. She was also very uncomfortable last night. Anyone would be sore after having an incision cut in your chest, and one in your neck, but unfortunately for mom she gets to add coughing on top of it. When I spoke with her earlier today she said that she didn't sleep very well last night because her pain medicine kept wearing off, and she was unable to take sleeping medicine for 24 hours after her surgery. She has been resting most of the day. She said she feels like she was "kicked in the clavicle by a horse".

My dad went to work for a while today, but only long enough to pack things up and bring them home. He has decided to work from home today so he could bring my mom lunch and watch after her. My mom said his spirits seemed better today. That makes my heart feel a tad bit better.

People have started to call or email and ask what they can do to help and we really appreciate that. At this point, it's hard to pin point exactly where our needs are, but as they become abundantly clear down the road, we will most likely be taking some of you up on your offers. With mom's treatments falling on Tuesday's and Friday's (most weeks) mom might be looking for a car pool buddy every now and then. My parents always want to be with one another during their treatments but the commute to Seattle so many days a week will surely take its toll on all of us.

Thank you for the kind words, emails, phone calls, and cards. Life has become a rollercoaster, but our friends have become our seatbelts. Think happy thoughts. Love your friends and family. Participate in random acts of kindness. Give more than you take. Most importantly, LIVE every day.

Being held together by a bandaid... and happy thoughts-

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Good News

Last night we had a really fun night at dinner, watched football and addressed invitations to a shower. We all got a pretty good night's sleep. Then...we had to wake up. In retrospect, I wish we had just stayed in bed. My port was installed without a problem (although I am pretty sore and drugged up). When I was done in recovery my sister in law and I went up to Rick's doctors appointment where the girls were sitting with him. I knew the second I entered the room that there was much more to the story than I wanted to hear. Rick's cancer is getting worse.

Due to Rick's cancer getting worse, they have taken him completely off the clinical trial, and he didn't have chemo today. It is not known yet if he has the right gene for the next drug Urbitux, so until we know anything, they won't be giving him the new drug. He will be having chemo with me next Tuesday to see if a different combination of the drugs he has tried in the past will have any effect on the cancer cells.

We're all feeling overwhelmed. Rick seems dazed and sad. I wish I could do more but I just had my little surgery this morning so I'm a little drugged up and that only makes me cry more.
We are a hopeful, happy, competitive family but today it has been hard to find a smile. We can all use a nap and some time to re-group.

I might write more later, but I'm feeling kind of cruddy myself.

Big Dreamer,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

As much as I tried to talk myself out going on this trip to St. Louis (the timing wasn't exactly right) I am so happy I went. The people I met, the information I learned, the sites I saw....Wow! I think being around such motivated people who want to cure cancer was just where I needed to be before I start my new journey with the clinical trial.

Generally when I go to a new city I want to shop and go to touristy kinds of things, but this trip wasn't like that. When I did get a chance to leave the hotel conference rooms, I saw EVERYTHING. The buildings were beautiful, the fences and gates around those buildings were breathtaking, the trees and flowers and parks were gorgeous. I'm sure it's been like that when I've gone on other trips but apparently I was in too big of a hurry to notice. I'm going to attach photos of some of the things I SAW this weekend.

Tomorrow, Rick's sister Vickie is taking us to Seattle for appointments (most of the day), then tomorrow night we're meeting the girls at our hotel for pizza and Monday night football. Amy, Angie and Vickie will be with us on Tuesday while I'm getting my port and Rick is having chemo. Hopefully, we'll have a routine worked out before long.

Jake and Megan found an apartment in Lynnwood (conveniently located to the bus line for Megan's sake). Another thing off the list of important things to do before December 27th. The drive shouldn't be too bad for Jake since he'll be traveling against traffic. And, with gas at only $2.69 per will almost be free to commute. :) Isn't it funny how we're so excited it's only $2.69? I remember when I swore I would NOT pay $1.00 per gallon. I would rather walk. How's that working for me?

Angie her way home from a wedding in Oregon and Amy, Mel and Jake are here watching the Seahawks with Rick. Oh, yeah, I forgot...I have to go now because I have things to do.

I promise we'll keep you posted on what's happening over the next couple of days, but don't worry....we have a plan to kick cancer's butt!

Love you more than all the amazing sites I saw in St. Louis!

Dreaming Big,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update from St. Louis

My mom called me tonight from St. Louis to fill me in about her busy day. She said her flight arrived at about 8:00 am and the American Cancer Society session started at 8:25 am so she didn't have much time to get herself ready. She said the session was very informative and that she met a number of amazing people. Her "new best friend" Carol is from Wisconsin and is attending this ACS conference alone too. The two of them seem to have hit it off and went for a walk around the city today. Mom spoke about the gorgeous arcitecture and said she saw the arch today. Tomorrow she hopes to find time after the ACS session to ride to the top of the arch to see a view of the city. She told me it would be like "George Jetson riding around in the bubble spaceship thing." She makes me smile...

Mom will be flying out of St. Louis tomorrow night at 6:30 pm and heading back here to rest up before her busy week of appointments. I'm sure she will post pictures or give you a more detailed description of her trip when she gets home and is well rested.

Have a great weekend-

Be careful what you ask for... you just might get it

A few days ago I updated all of you on mom's test results. I gave Dor a hard time for not having her phone on, not returning calls, and more or less not keeping us in the loop. I have to say, I'm beginning to wonder if my request to be "kept in the loop" was such a good idea.

Last night I was sound asleep, counting sheep, and probably drooling on my pillow, when I was awoken by a horrible sound. It was 4:16 and the horrible sound was my cell phone vibrating on the nightstand. I attempted to turn on the light and find the phone. With all of the "stuff" our family is going thru right now, my cell phone is always on and close by. When I finally opened the phone, it was a text message from Dor that said she had arrived in Dallas and was catching her connecting flight. She said she slept the whole way there. It also said she loved "all of us" so I guess it's fair to say that someone else was blessed with this precious gift at 4:16 this morning.

I smiled, rolled my eyes, and finally fell asleep. Right as I was slipping back into a deep sleep, I was startled to hear yet another loud vibration on my nightstand. Again, I fumbled with the light and hoped it wasn't bad news. It was mom... (and did I mention it was 5:49?) this time telling us that she had landed and was looking forward to "an informative day". I don't remember smiling after the second text message.

When mom gets home from her trip we should probably have a quick little chat about when it is good to be in contact with your family, and when it's ok to wait. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. :)

Well informed, but with sleepy eyes-

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On my way to St. Louis

Being the ditsy mom that I am, I forgot to turn my phone back on after my appointments yesterday. I was having so much fun with Jana that I guess I wasn't thinking about test results. Oops! In case you were wondering, most of you heard the good news about my brains before I did. :)

I'm getting ready to head to St. Louis in an hour or so. I've never been there before, so I'll use this seminar opportunity to check out the sights (if they give us any free time). A couple of friends (Cathy and Lori) are driving me to Seattle to catch my flight. I bribed them with a stop at Dick's. Oh wait, I think that was what I wanted to do....not them.

Today at Camano Chapel, Cancer Lifeline held a luncheon for people whose life was effected by cancer. When lunch was over then they had a group of us up front answering random questions. I felt really honored to be asked to be on the panel.

I don't have much to report today other than I'm already tired and I don't get to my destination until 8:00am tomorrow morning. Ugh.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nothing But Brains

Being the impatient person that I am, I have called my mom 15 times today to see how her tests and scans were going. She answered the phone zero times. Dor tends to make her journey to the hospital with either a cell phone that is 95% dead, or a cell phone that has its ringer turned up to the highest possible level so it scares her and everyone else in the waiting room when the phone rings. Clearly, today wasn't choice number two as somone surely would have heard at least one of my 15 phone calls. Nonetheless, my curiousity and impatience caused me to email her doctor and ask for results. See, when you are one of the "caregivers" for someone, you get to be on their HIPPA list which entitles you to their medical information. Today was the first day I tried out my HIPPA qualifications and the process worked out nicely.

While still waiting for my mom to call, my phone rang and it was her doctor. He said, "Your mom's scan came back great. There is nothing but brains in her head." I asked if my mom seemed relieved when he told her. He laughed and said, "She's not answering her cell phone so I can't give her the good news." I told him not to feel bad because she was ignoring all of us. If I find out that her and Jana are out playing somewhere and avoiding us, Jana is going to be fired from her role of HOV buddy. Actually, I guess I don't care. As long as the doctor shares the good news with the rest of us, those two can find out when they read the blog.

So there you go, finally a little bit of good news.

Brains, Brains, nothin' but brains-

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Today was one of those days when you just have to say, Aaahhhh....

I started my morning with a massage, ran a few errands, had taco Tuesday with "the old girls", came home and cleaned a few things, made a big batch of Chicken D, started packing my things for St. Louis (I leave in the middle of the night on Thursday), went to dinner with Morgan, Corey, Kelly and Ricky. I got a lot done and I enjoyed all the visiting I fit in to my already busy day.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the beginning of my NEW ADVENTURE. My friend Jana Shaughnessy is going to be my HOV partner, Seattle Cancer Care Buddy, and support system for my day of tests and scans. We'll start the morning at SCCA getting an MRI of my brain. Before we can start the clinical trial they have to rule out any brain metastases. (No one thinks I have anything bad going on in a matter of fact, we're not even sure I have very many brains's all for safety sake) After the brain MRI, we head to the CT department where I'll drink a bunch of chalky tasting liquid so they can get clear pictures of my lungs, abdomen, pelvis (and anything in between). Oh, did I mention I can't eat anything for 4 hours before my CT scan which is at 2:30, and when I could be having a bite to eat I'll be in the MRI machine. Hey, tomorrow might be the first day of my new diet.... :) After the full body CT scan we head over to the University of Washington for my eye exam. They need to check my eyes carefully before we begin the chemo because it can cause some eye problems and they need to have some idea of how healthy my eyes are to begin with. Perhaps, I should bring a little knitting? I might have some free time in the waiting rooms.

When I go to St. Louis I don't think I'll be bringing my laptop. It's a pain going through security with it and I'll be so busy I probably won't even plug it in. I'll try to keep in touch with Rick and the kids. Hopefully, I can get one of them to let you know how things are going. If not, I'll tell you all about everything on Sunday when I return.

I had a couple of mini meltdowns today. I think mostly because we're actually starting the process of the new drug trial. I think I'm also having a little anxiety about not taking the Tarceva. It's been my best friend for the past 30 months and I haven't taken it for a week now. I don't feel any different, it's just a mental thing. I do feel that this treatment plan we're changing to is the right thing for me. When given the opportunity to keep living, it's hard to I think I'll wait a little longer.

Until tomorrow, keep dreaming big dreams...
Love you much,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Short but sweet....

Went to the Monday movies with Vickie and Tom (sister in law and brother in law) again today. We're starting to make a habit of that. I sure love those in-laws of mine!

I got this phrase today in an e-mail...I think it might be my new favorite.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!

I've decided to get my umbrella and galoshes can never be too ready :)

Hugs and kisses,
Big Dreamer Dor

Sunday, October 19, 2008

30 month Cancer"versary"

When I look back over the past 30 months I am amazed. Not only for all that we've been through, but all that my friends and family have endured as well. Hopefully, this has been a time for learning to take care of ourselves, to chose our love and love our choice, never take anything for granted, get screened, ask questions, and laugh like there's no tomorrow.

For thirty months I've helped the doctors and drug company understand how valuable Tarceva can be to the right person. Hopefully, I'll be able to help them learn something great about My Infinity and Beyond drug, too. IBI-504 if you want to get technical about the name.

It's very late and I should be in bed by now but I went to my sister in law, Vickie's house and she gave me a hair cut. Oh, how I needed a make-over. With my busy weeks coming up, the last thing I needed to worry about were BAD HAIR DAYS.

Love you more than all the beautiful, colorful, changing leaves we saw today on our trip back over the pass. The mountains looked like a masterpiece. :)

Dreaming Big (with a cute new haircut),

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday's Surprise

Since Rick and I got all our work done over here at the Desert and it's been pretty quiet, we decided to pack up our things and head home tonight. That was until we got a special afternoon surprise. My mom and dad loaded up their van and drove over to surprise us. We spent the afternoon playing games (I'm not a poor loser, but they all cheated and I didn't win once). After a day of fun and games, we went to the Sandtrap (our only restaurant at Desert Aire). We figured we could watch the Boston Red Sox game in the bar as well as have our dinner. The food was good and the Red Sox won.

Tonight, with our tummy's full, we're all winding down with our sudoku and crossword books until we get tired enough to go to bed. Except for me...I have a little blogging responsibility.

Before my parents got here today, Rick and I layed on the sofa and watched the movie "The Notebook". Make sure you have a box of tissues handy when you plug it in. I know what to expect each time I watch it, but I sob every time. I heard a line in the movie today that I'd never heard before. It said, "do you think our love can make miracles"? Rick and I both agreed, Yes, OURS CAN.

We'll be heading home in the early afternoon tomorrow. We have a busy week ahead of us.
I'll be spending all day Wednesday in Seattle for tests, then out to Camano on Thursday for the Cancer Lifeline lunch, then I'm off to St. Louis for and American Cancer Society event at 11:30 Thursday night until Sunday evening.

Ok enough rambling...I'll talk to you tomorrow. Hey did I mention that the weather is a perfect 70 degrees? Oh, how I love it over here.

Dreaming Big,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thoughts of Love and Friendship

After the draining but empowering day I had on Wednesday, I gave myself a day off from the blog. Instead, Rick and I packed up a few of our belongings and headed over to Desert Aire. We have a few items to prepare for the winter and we needed to prepare ourselves for what's next on our life agenda.

After doing much research and talking and listening, I feel really confident that this new drug plan is what my body needs. I know when looking on the outside it's still hard to believe that something horrible is going on inside. Amy gave me a great example as we left the hospital on Wednesday...While we were in an elevator I asked her if she felt like this was the right choice for my survival...Amy's response....she started walking into the sliding elevator doors that weren't open, she would do it again and bounce off, then very calmly she waited for the elevator doors to open, she walked out and said "One door has closed for you mom, and another one just opened. Walk though it". Gosh, I have smart kids. I think she must have learned that from me :)

I attempted to "organize" my life on Wednesday night when I couldn't sleep. So I got on line, found a company who has free calendars that you can update and forward on to people you want to keep informed. So, I worked on it for an hour or so, forwarded it toAmy, Angie and Jake,.,.and I immediately got an e-mail back from Angie who was laughing hysterically. She said "You're trying to get US organized"? Mom are you crazy? How many fingers am I holding up? The purpose of her sarcasm is, for the past 2 1/2 years (my obsessive compulsive, organized, on time, regimented children have been going crazy due to the lack of knowing what's going on around me. I say, "oh, don't worry about it, I'll call tomorrow and see what time the appointment is" They say....write it down in your day planner so you know ahead of time. Oh, yeah, I should but I was going to have coffee with a friend instead so I lost my train of thought. Where I was headed with all of this, is I don't know if I've told them lately how proud and amazing they are, not just as our children, but how they live their lives with a purpose. They get involved with things that are bigger than themselves. People who pay life forward...are the richest folks I know. At this rate, our children could pay down the national debt. :)

Thank you for all your kind words, and love, and prayers, and laughter. Each one of you holds a very special place in my heart (hence the weight heart just keeps getting bigger to hold all of you in it...and my belly is taking care of the overload)

To infinity and beyond...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To infinity and beyond...

You know when you wake up some mornings and think....should I just stay in bed? Today was one of those days. Although I always have an idea what my doctors visit might look my mind I tend to "pretty" it up a little... I close my eyes and imagine sunflowers in vases, the room painted a nice comforting green, a new magazine to browse through, and perhaps a bowl of peanut M & M's for the visiting patients. Instead what I saw was a plate (make that a platter) of reality. Here are the facts (as I remember them).

My lung cancer is advancing. Tarceva is not doing it's job. I am no longer on Team Tarceva.
I will be starting a clinical trial for people who took Tarceva and had good results.
My chemo will be 2 times a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) for two weeks in a row, then I'll have the third week off. I will continue to be on this routine as long as the cancer stabilizes, gets better, or I decide to stop.
Sometime in the next 2 weeks I'll have a brain MRI, CT scan, a special eye exam (apparently this drug can cause infections in the eye), have a port installed, blood work, EKG and other miscellaneous poking and proddings.

All of this might sound scary (and for a couple of hours this morning I was emotional about it), but then I realized that 30 months ago there wasn't a back up plan for my cancer. Now there is. In those thirty months research has been happening that will hopefully give me another 30 months...and so on, and so on.

The reason for the title of this blog is the manufacturer of this clinical trial is called Infinity. I thought it was an appropriate name for my new "life saver".

Dreaming and Hoping and Praying,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Uneventful Cancer Day :)

We're back from Seattle and so far no news is good news. Rick's chemo was uneventful, and my scan took 5 minutes (at the most). Tomorrow we'll learn a little more (Hopefully just good stuff). Rick's CEA count (the tumor marker for colon cancer) is still rising. I guess that is to be expected for now. It's up to 19.2 (regular is between 0 and 2)

We ran a bunch of errands on the way home today so we didn't even get back to the house until about 4:00 or 4:30. I whipped up a little dinner and now I'm beat. I'm thinking of putting my jammies on and getting to bed early. I have to leave for Seattle by 8:00am tomorrow. My early mornings and daily exhaustion have left me with a little headache.

I'll write more tomorrow once we know something.

Dreaming about great scan results,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Early Tuesday...

Just a reminder for you to keep us in your thoughts on Tuesday. Rick has his clinical trial chemotherapy and I'll be having my 2 month scan. I'm sure we'll both be fabulous when the day is over with, but just for back up a prayer or two or two thousand can't hurt.

Heading to bed to get a little extra shut eye. We're trying to get up on time this week (unlike our last visit to Seattle when we woke up an hour late...ugh).

Dreaming Positive Dreams,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How's your health?

Today at the grocery store I stopped a few times to visit with folks I hadn't seen in a while. Each time I see an old friend, they always ask "how's your health"? I always give the canned answer that I learned from Rick, "Pretty Good". On my way home from the market I thought about that question a lot. "HOW'S MY HEALTH"? Here's what I've come up with. Health is not measured by having an's about having a life. My internal health might not be so good. But, my humor health is fabulous. My love health is wonderful. My attitude health couldn't be better. My hair health could use a little work but no one asks me about that. We are lucky to have so many other great things in our life to measure our health by: Happiness, laughter, well being, friendships & family.

After helping Rick yesterday as his "logger wife", I've decided that I don't want to be that when I grow up. Every joint, bone and muscle in my body hurt this morning when I woke up. But...I kept moving and the pain got better and better as the day went on. My neighbor Lynell and I even walked 5.2 miles this afternoon. Let's hope my sore body isn't met by shin splints in the morning or I'll be writing my next blog on my laptop, from my bed.

Tuesday is another big day. Rick has chemo. I have scans. Wednesday, it's scan report day. I've decided that worrying about this stuff only gives me wrinkles. So, starting worrying days are over. I feel free already :)

Dreaming about a fabulous week,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm taking a little break...

Yesterday was a busy day working on the envelopes for the wedding with Megan, her Mom Debbie, Shannon the computer guru, and me...the supervisor.

Last night was the birthday celebration for my friend Jana. We went to a fun little place called the Relaxation Station. We were massaged by chairs, we also had water massage (we stayed dry...I can't really explain it very well), sat in comfy chairs with headphones and relaxing music while fresh oxygen surrounded us. We had appetizers, desserts, wine and lots and lots of laughter.

Today, Rick and I got up and decided to do some outside work before winter settles in. I've been cleaning out flower beds and cutting back old plants while Rick was out cutting wood from trees that fell on the property. When I finished my jobs, I decided to join him because he was looking really exhausted and I thought I might be able to help a little. What a joy for me (honestly). He taught me to use the chain saw (I think that may have been on my bucket list), I tried to split some logs after I cut them but after a few tries and lots of laughing, Rick says I cut wood like a play darts (dangerously). So, I just kept loading the pick-up after he cut and split it. We really had fun with each other. It was an eye opener for me however when I saw how quickly Rick tires from things he used to be able to do all day long. Cancer has taken it's toll on my husband's body.

Amy is here now helping her dad so I got a little break and I thought I would share my day with all of you. I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather we've been blessed with this weekend.

Keep dreaming big,

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Little House on the Prairie?

A few months back, I spoke of how wonderful it would be to live in the days without all the hustle and bustle that we face in our everyday lives. Well, I got out of bed this morning, stripped my bedding to do a load of wash, loaded the dishwasher to run it, got naked to take my shower...and discovered we had no water. None. Zippo. Nada. Dry as a bone. (a big construction job near our house apparently needed the water off for the whole day...I didn't get the notice)

It didn't take long for me to put my pj's back on to ponder what my liquid free day would be like. First things first. I made a nice warm fire. Took all my medicine. Had an Oreo cookie for breakfast then I started to iron. Since I still had electricity I couldn't get out of that job. So I took my bottled water, filled my iron, and ironed away....all day long. I think Rick has enough shirts for work until December (maybe that's a slight exaggeration). After that really hard job, I cleaned out my purse (which was almost as scary Halloween). This afternoon as the rain was pouring down, I made a batch of cabbage patch soup to warm our souls. So with dinner done, the water line fixed, I'm back to washing clothes, doing dishes, taking a nice hot bath and reminiscing about my wonderful day.

Tomorrow night is Homecoming, and here in Stanwood, Homecoming is a big thing. The stadium is packed with people, old timers and newbies join forces to see their team win the big game and the watch the Homecoming Queen come in on a fancy old car. That is one of the very special things about living in a community our size. Tradition. I'm proud to say, Relay for Life is becoming a Tradition in Stanwood as well.

Angie had a sad week at work. Her dearest buddy at the school she teaches at and his wife who is also a teacher at her school, were awakened in the early morning hours to care for their grandchildren who were taken from their parents. Much of the story is unknown, but what Angie knows for sure is they are now raising a 2 year old boy, and a 2nd grade girl with very little, toys, bedding, diapers... There is a younger child who is at Children's Hospital with possible head trauma. Knowing the size of Angie's heart, she couldn't sit back and do nothing. So, she's on a mission to help these people give their grandchildren the best possible life they can provide. If you know of anyone who might have toddler boy clothes size 3-4, or girls clothes size 7-8, or any of the other items mentioned above, please send Angie an e-mail and she'll make arrangements to pick the items up. She can be reached at

Thanks in advance.

Happy life? Have you been working on yours? I have... it's still under construction and I believe it may take years or even decade to finish the project. Reason number 197,395,294 to Live. It makes it so easy to be a survivor when you've got so many things to live for. Like all of you :)

Ok, enough babble. I started taking a strong antibiotic on Monday for the cough, trying to catch it before it turned into pneumonia/bronchitis. I actually feel better tonight than I have in the past week or so. Maybe it's working. Hey...maybe I'm cured?

Next week, Chemo for Rick, Scans and results for me...then hopefully Desert Aire for a few days. It's time for us to close up the houses for the winter. Please remember, we still have a really cute house for sale (and we'd be glad to show it any time) Or, I can send you photos... Just ask.

Grey's Anatomy will be on soon and I probably need to finish up my odd jobs around the house before I settle down for the night.

Love you more than all the falling leaves,

P.S. Great news! Shannon's pathology report came back ~ CANCER FREE!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Get to work on that happy life...

I believe we are all in a quest for a better, longer, more fulfilling life. Some of us are working towards it everyday...others keep putting it off until the right time comes, or they've got enough money, or when they get older... I hope in the past few years we have encouraged many of you to start working on that journey sooner than later. There is no time like the present...that's why they call it a gift.

Yesterday afternoon Amy stopped by and we spent some quality time snuggling and watching Jon & Kate plus 8. Amy had never seen it before, and listening to her laughing was worth all the wasted time in front of the TV. It's now going on her Tivo list.

Today is my friend Jana's 50th birthday. Welcome to the club, my friend...It's a great place to be. On Friday we are celebrating with her by going to the "relaxation station" and doing whatever they do at a "relaxation station". I think the name alone tells me I'll like this PARTY.

My brother in law hurt his back about a week ago, so tonight Rick and I went over to their house and brought him a sciatica belt and a walker. You never know...he might need them. Somehow we ended up with a walker at our house after Rick's surgery and it still has the tags on it so we decided to put it to good work. Jeff really is a mess. Watching him get off and on the couch gives me pain. Dawn invited us to stay for dinner since we were already there and I didn't have dinner started at home. We had a fun time playing with our nieces while the food was cooking.

Well, it's time to get to bed and work on that beauty sleep. I know, I really should sleep more often...

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sleepy Sunday

I've been whining about my lousy sleep experiences lately and last night was no different. Since we were going to be celebrating Seahawk Sunday I went to the store and bought groceries before Rick was out of bed. The game was so terrible, thank goodness we had good food to take away the pain. :)

This afternoon we had some special visitors. Pam's grandbaby, Will (the 3 pounder) came to see us. Andy, Heather, Drew and Pam were also here but Will (who is now 4 months old and 12 pounds) insisted on meeting his Aunt Doreen...and Uncle Rick.

When our visitors left, I laid down to see if I could take a little nap. I woke up at 8:30 tonight. Yes, I'm sure that will really help my sleep pattern. Never the less, I feel really rested. I've promised the family I will call Seattle tomorrow and tell Dr. Eaton that the cough isn't getting any better. I'm sure this is nothing that a little antibiotic can't fix :)

Except for the fatigue and tingling hands and feet, Rick is feeling really well. We need to get through the next month or so of the clinical trial and hopefully get some good results.

I'm going to get off the computer now and try to go to bed. I need to start having a better sleep routine. I think I'll start tonight.

Love you more than all the pumpkins that are ready to be picked....

Dream Big,

Saturday, October 04, 2008

All is good at the Schmitt House

The last couple of days have been busy ones (but what's new?). Today we attended Lindsey and Trevor Smith's outdoor wedding and it was beautiful...even through the wind and rain. That's when you know a marriage is going to last. When the weather doesn't put a damper on the event. Maybe some people complained about the precipitation, but the happy couple didn't even notice. I'm attaching a few photos from today.

Shannon's surgery turned out to be a success. The doctor told her she can feel "cancer free" because he took all the bad tissue and cancer cells. They will know for sure next week when the test results come in. The other good news is, he said she caught it at the earliest stages of melanoma. That is what early detection is all about. Catch it early for great results.

Until tomorrow...Have a great evening...and GO SEAHAWKS!

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pajama Thursday

I woke up this morning with a fabulous idea to stay in my PJ's all day so I wouldn't leave the house. It was a great idea until I learned I needed a few things at the store. I cheated a little and called my dad to see if he was coming up my way "by chance". Of course, my dad came through for me (like always). He stopped by the store and got me the supplies I was missing so I could make "Peach Salsa with a Twist" and soup for dinner.

Picture this: Me in the kitchen in pajamas that don't match, I haven't combed my hair, I have chicken corn chowder cooking on the stove for dinner, pots of water on the stove for canning my "salsa", knives, tomatoes, peaches, onions, spices, peppers, etc. spread out all over the counters. I worked for 2 hours getting the salsa "just right" and when I went to distribute it into the canning filled 2 quart jars and 2 pint jars. I wasted 2 1/2 hours and a made a huge mess for 4 jars of salsa. All I can say is... "it better be good". Thank goodness only 3 people stopped by while I was looking "so good". My dad, my brother in law and the UPS lady. As long as there wasn't a hidden camera in anyone's pocket....we'll be ok.

It was nice to stay home all day for a change. It was a dark and dreary day (reminded me a little bit like Halloween). Those are the best kind of days to get work done.

Shannon has more surgery tomorrow to remove the melanoma that's left on her tummy. We'll be keeping her in our thoughts and prayers all day and wish for good results next week. Let's hope that all this stuff we've been dealing with lately will be gentle reminders for all of you to check for unusual moles, get your mammograms and colonoscopies, have annual check ups, get scans when it's your time, listen to your body...and your doctor...and me (Dr. Dor).

Rick is in bed asleep already. The rest really does his body good. He has been eating better the past few days and that makes me happy :)

Don't forget, Early Detection Saves Lives..

Dreaming Big,

Coughing Spell

It's nearly 1:00am and I can't quit coughing so I got up to write a blog. At least when I'm coughing in the office, I'm not waking anyone up (or at least I don't see any action from the bedrooms). I'm assuming it's from the lung cancer :) Maybe I just have asthma? Just kidding :)

Tonight as I was reading about Paul Newman's death it said he died from cancer. Nothing specific. So I googled his name and asked what kind of cancer it was? Answer: Lung Cancer and he'd only been fighting the disease since June of 2008. My dear friend Angie, just lost her dad last week from lung cancer as well. These are the days when I feel so blessed that I was young and had a sense of humor when I was diagnosed. I believe my attitude (and a million prayers) are the reason I'm still here today.

Rick had a pretty good day today. He's lost his appetite a little and is pretty fatigued by the end of the day, but other than that...he's doing fabulous.

I'm going to take a few pills to see if I can get the coughing to settle down, have a hot cup of tea and prop my head up. If this doesn't work, I'll be back writing a new blog around 3:00am.

I need my rest because I'm hoping to can peach salsa tomorrow. MMMM, MMMM, Good!

Wide Awake (no dreaming tonight)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Here

This clinical trial might get the best of ME. We were suppose to be in Seattle at 8:00am for Rick's PET scan, but at 6:47am I rolled over and looked at the clock. We'd slept right through the alarm. That was a first for us. Thankfully, we don't worry too much about beauty...took the quickest showers known to man, got dressed and were on the road by 7:04. We called the UW to let them know we might be late and they told us not to worry, just get there safely.

That is NOT my favorite way to start a day. The rest of the day went along as planned thank goodness and we left Seattle Cancer Care just in time for the afternoon traffic :) Some days, you're the windshield...some days you're the bug.

We don't and won't know how the clinical trial is working for at least another month. We do know that his tumor marker (called CEA) is still growing. The doctor's don't seem alarmed by it, so we've opted not to get worked up about it either for the time being.

While Rick was in having his PET scan, I went to Starbucks at University Village and took over a table. I have some exciting opportunities coming my way this month so I was arranging flights, hotels, and calling all the people who are making these opportunities happen. On the 23rd I'm going to be on a question and answer panel put on by Cancer Lifeline (being hosted by Camano Chapel where they will serve a nice lunch to anyone who signs up to attend). Then I'm leaving at 11:50pm that night to fly to St. Louis where I'll be part of a forum for American Cancer Society. I'll be attending a 2 day workshop where I hope to learn a ton of things that I can share with all of you.

To all my breast cancer buddies...THIS IS YOUR MONTH. Stay healthy and happy. To those of you who've been putting off getting a mammogram...consider this your warning. Screenings Save Lives.

I just flipped my calendar (which you all know I love to do...that means one more month has passed). I'm going to leave you with my calendar's saying for the month.

Live in each season as it passes. Breathe the air. Drink the drink. Taste the fruit.

Dreaming Big,