Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good Morning Shoppers

I hope you're all rested from all the turkey you ate on Thursday and all the shopping you did on Friday. This was the first year in probably 20 years (honestly) that I didn't go into a store the day after Thanksgiving. I am always waiting in line somewhere with a Starbuck's in one hand and a list in the other. Take the rest of the weekend to relax and enjoy the end of your holiday. I'm going to!

I had so much fun at chemo yesterday. Jan and Sarah Schemenauer took me to my blood work and chemo (I got to skip the doctor's visit since they all had the day off). We laughed and visited and laughed some more that I thought a nurse might come in to tell us to keep it down. Not everyone finds humor in their visit to SCCA. After we left the cancer alliance, the 3 of us went to lunch at the Eastlake Bar and Grill. Since we didn't have lunch until 3:00 we got to order off the happy hour menu, had a beautiful view of Lake Union and I stayed awake the entire time. What a wonderful way to end a day that could have otherwise been a bummer. :)

I slept very well last night and I'm feeling much better today than I did on Wednesday. Let's hope it stays that way. I'm going to lay low this morning and watch a movie. I hope to be up and around this afternoon putting up my Christmas tree!

Love you more than all the shoppers in line at 4:00am yesterday,
Keep dreaming big...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Friends

When I first woke up this morning, I was so thankful for feeling much better than I had the 2 days prior. Then, I kissed my husband and realized how thankful I am that he is still here to kiss. As the day went on, I saw my children...and who couldn't be thankful for their love and support and generosity and did I mention love? Then I got to my sister in laws house where the aroma of the turkey filled the kitchen and I couldn't help but be thankful for the food we were about to eat. I'm thankful for the laughter and family chemistry that always makes holidays "interesting" to say the least. Later in the afternoon, my parents stopped by Vickie and Tom's and I was thankful that I got to see them on this special day as well. When the day of THANKS was coming to an end, Vickie and I decided to see the movie "Four Christmases" and I was so thankful for the constant laughter that filled the theater. What a wonderful day I had.

We took a bunch of photos today that turned out great. Amy will get on line soon and add those to today's blog. I hope you enjoy them. I think the photo session might have been the highlight of the day. We giggled through the entire photo shoot...

It's now time for bed. Another big day in Seattle for chemo. I'm looking forward to spending the day with my dear friend Jan and her daughter Sarah. I tried to talk them into shopping at 5:00am before we head down for my appointment at 11:00 but they weren't buying my idea. The appointment will be shorter than usual since the doctors have the day off. I just have to have my bloodwork done, then have my infusion. No doctors visit. Maybe, if I stay awake...they'll do a little Christmas shopping with me on the way home?

I hope your Thanksgiving was all you'd hoped for and a little bit more.

Dreaming about more pumpkin pie...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Eve

I was hoping to jump out of bed and forget that yesterday was chemo, but that wasn't the case today. When I woke up, I felt like I'd been in a fender bender. You know, one of those wrecks that hurts like hell but you can't see any damage? That was me today. Tonight I took a nice long bath and I'm finally starting to feel better.

Over these past few years, my list of things to be thankful for has grown out of control. Life, Love, Laughter are some of my favorites. I hope you've taken the time to appreciate all those things you are grateful for as well. If I haven't told you lately, I'm THANKFUL for all of you. My friends, family, blog stalkers...

Tomorrow we'll be spending the holiday with Rick's family at his sister Vickie's house. As usual, I'm looking forward to turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie. I also look forward to leftovers which is why I'm cooking a turkey at home too!

A few weeks ago, Amy bought me a book at Starbucks called Five (Where will you be 5 years from now?) I'm hoping my answer will be "Right here in front of the computer still writing this blog and dreaming big". I would like to share a little bit of it with you: Live your life on PURPOSE. The best day of your life is the day on which you decide your life is your own. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift of life is yours, it is an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. Life is about the choices you make-so choose wisely.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone you love...this book is it. It's hard not to keep pushing forward and living your dream when you've read these pages.

Gobble, Gobble...

Early morning udate

Chemo went well today and as usual, I slept for hours once I got home. I work up just a little bit ago with an upset stomach and I'm hoping that leaves soon so I can get back to bed.

Today while I was at my appointment, I realized how much I love my team of doctors and nurses at SCCA. We discussed all the new things that Angie and Jake brought back from San Francisco and Dr. Eaton encouraged me to talk to the new docs. He said "I want you to live too, so you should look at every avenue out there". That's when you know you're going to the right place for your care.

My mouth feels like I've been sucking on cotton balls, so I'm going to end this blog and go get something to drink.

Dream Big,

Monday, November 24, 2008


I had another terrible nights sleep last night only this time it was due to a ridiculous dream. "Rick and I lived in the outskirts of Centralia in a town that had been destroyed by some kind of chemical warfare. We drove around for hours looking for anyone else who had survived but we couldn't find anyone. Rick wouldn't let me go outside after we had discovered no one else was alive. " I usually don't try to analyze my dreams but after I thought about it, I realized that it really did have some kind of meaning. Rick and I have "survived" chemical warfare since we were diagnosed. Perhaps this dream meant the chemicals will never be able to "hurt" us.

Tomorrow I start my second round of chemo. Each round is only 4 doses. I'm hoping everything goes well like it did the first round (except for day one...which I'd like to forget about). I've been having friends take me to my treatments so Rick can stay home and work (sorry dear, but someone's gotta do it). It usually starts out as a fun day until I fall asleep. Then, I don't know what happens.

Our friend Ann brought over dinner for tomorrow night since I probably won't feel like cooking. Actually, I won't be awake to luckily, the men can heat it up by themselves.

I was able to spend some quality time with both Amy and Angie today (tonight). Although you might think we're together all the time, alone time doesn't come very often for us. It isn't until I'm with them (one on one) that I realize how smart and beautiful they are. I really am grateful for who they've grown up to be.

Jake brought me a surprise today. He stopped by Hollywood Video and got the movie Wall-E (which is on my list of favorites) so I would have something to watch this week while I was recuperating. What a good boy!

I'd better get to bed and try to sleep. I have to be in Seattle by 8:00am which means we leave by 6:30...ugh!

Dreaming (actually tonight I'm hoping NOT to dream),

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sleepless in Stanwood

Due to a sleepless night last night there will be no blog. Oh wait, I need to mention that I had a great day at Megan's parents house today, I had some great conversations with friends at Costco, got lost in Seattle (a couple of times) then visited my neighbor and her family when I got home. Ok, now I'm done.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Dreaming Big,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How 'bout that Apple Cup?

Ok, I know yesterday I was whining about having to watch the Apple Cup...but in the end...the Cougs won in a barn burner.

Today was a very laid back day. I got up and made some soup. We watched the game. I worked on a scarf. Loaded my I-touch with our weekly appointments. Our friends Reid and Cathy came by and we visited until after 7:00. I ordered pizza for dinner and now it's time for bed. I feel a little embarrassed about being so lazy, but next week is a busy one again so it can't hurt to catch up on a little rest.

I must say that I notice a big difference in how I feel during my week off from chemo. I'm not near as tired and my joints haven't hurt since Tuesday. Truth is, if those are the only problems I have during my treatments...I'm a lucky girl.

Tomorrow I have a luncheon to attend for Megan. I need to get to bed now since I'll be starting my day early. It takes me a lot longer to get "beautiful" for special events. :)

Amy had another busy weekend in Tacoma with the Air Force, Angie is officiating a college basketball game at Linfield College in Oregon tonight, Jake is finally feeling better after a long week of feeling cruddy, and my Ricky boy...well, he's just cute.

Congratulations Coug Fans,
Keep Dreaming Big....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Apple Cup Weekend (yawn)

When I first starting posting blog messages, I promised that I would continue this journey with all of you no matter what. I'm sure times will be tough every once in a while, but if we're all in this together, it won't hurt half as bad.

You know how some days you can't recall doing anything really important....but after you give it some thought, it all turned out to be very important? Today was like that. I had coffee with two dear friends, went to the doctor with my father in law, grocery shopped and saw some people I hadn't seen in a long time, gave some important hugs, saw my friend Pam Pinkham who I thought had dropped off the face of Stanwood and instead was waiting to visit with me right outside the bookstore (though she didn't know it), went to my favorite little store Rustic Impressions with Pam, Pam, and Gail...and now I'm home. Some days, the people I see are more important than the stuff I do. Coffee, friendship and laughter. A perfect combination.

Although it's Apple Cup weekend...I would rather be eating a pear. Sorry Cougar and Husky fans. I hope we can all stay awake long enough to see the end of what should be a painfully boring game. I bought some goodies so it feels like we're celebrating but I might actually get more enjoyment out of knitting a scarf. Just for the sake of it....Go Cougs!

Rick and I are both feeling good. He's been a little tired but that's expected. This was my off week from chemo, so I tried to enjoy as much of a break as possible.

I'm loving the stormy weather (as long as I get to stay inside). Be safe, stay warm, and Dream Big.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lots on my mind

I've had a lot on my mind lately and I'm not sure how to handle it. When the kids came home from California after the Lung Cancer Gala, they were overwhelmed with hope, and a bright shiny light at the end of the tunnel. We all met on Monday night to discuss all they had to share, but I found that my "light" wasn't glowing, my "hope" meter wasn't jumping off the charts like theirs was. I couldn't imagine that with all this great news and my good attitude, I should be feeling nothing short of miraculous.

Then I started to put the puzzle pieces together. There is so much more than giving me a new pair of lungs. First. I have to be approved. Then the insurance has to say yes this is a medical necessity, then I'll need to move to California where this procedure will take place while I wait for a set of lungs to become available. Going to California means I will leave the things back home that give me my greatest sense of joy. My biggest reasons for living.

So, for now, I've done all I can. I signed all my release forms sending my records to Dr. Jablons in California. He will have his team of people look it over. Then on December 2nd he is coming to the Seattle area so I might have a chance to meet with him then (Bonnie might be joining him too).

I can not keep worrying about something so unknown, and wonderful as this opportunity. I will take each day as it comes and pray for an amazing outcome. If I end up not being a good candidate for a lung transplant, there will be something new down the road. So far, we have not been disappointed.

Jake has been feeling cruddy since he returned from California, so he is quarantined in his room, I spent a few hours at Angie's school today watching her teach...It is definitely on my list of favorite things to do, and Rick and I went to the college tonight to watch Amy play some rec basketball. It was really fun....Larry Libby and I were going to place a side bet until he saw that Amy's team was kicking his daughter's teams butt.

Keep dreaming Big,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quick Update

This was my week off from chemo, but it was Rick's week on. I love how this arrangement is working out. Honestly, I needed a flu shot (as did Rick), we had to talk to my nurses about gathering all the important stuff needed to send to San Francisco.

But now it's 8:30pm, we just pulled in from Seattle and I am beat. Rick is already under the covers but I wanted to say hello to all of you first. So, HELLO!

It was a long, busy, draining day and we're calling it a night. I'll write again tomorrow (when my eyes open back up :)

Dreaming Big,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Information Night

So much has happened these past few days that I don't even know where to begin. On Friday night we were pleasantly surprised to have guests from Spokane show up for the weekend. The Six Musketeers (Dave, Val, Dy, Bob, Rick and I) had a ton of fun (as usual).

We're taking dinner over to Angie's house tonight where we'll watch a little football and hear about all she learned about this weekend. I got an ear-full from Jake last night, but I want to hear Angie's version tonight. I can't wait to meet up with the doctor as well. I'm hoping he can answer my 4 pages of questions and assure me that there really can be life after cancer. The kids came back so motivated and charged...

I had another terrible night of sleep last night, so I'm afraid I might fall asleep earlier than usual tonight. If not, I'll write a little more later tonight. Perhaps I can add some photos of Cathy and I being handcuffed during lunch. Amy showed up and I wanted her to show Cathy how fast she can take down a perpetrator. I think she bruised my wrists. :(

Love you more than all turkeys at Jenni-O.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update from San Francisco

Greetings from San Francisco! Ok, I am going to get right to the point... my feet hurt! After dancing and wandering around socializing with hundreds of fellow lung cancer supporters last night I am paying for it today. The good news is that these amazing doctors and researchers have given us an abundance of hope when it comes to treatment plans for my mom. They spoke to us using phrases and terms that we were not familiar with but the passion and excitement in their voices was certainly something we related to whole-heartedly. They are doctors who continue to be leaps and bounds ahead of where cancer treatment currently stands today. Coming home to Washington we feel empowered and rejuvenated.

The Gala last night was filled with amazing speakers, generous donations and a few touching moments. I must say that the most emotional and touching moment came early in the evening when Jake and Megan were pulled up on the stage to present a card and check to Bonnie for her foundation. Instead of purchasing party favors for their wedding next month they made a decision to donate the money they would have used to Bonnie's lung cancer foundation instead. There was not a dry eye in the room when the announcement was made. It was touching to see a young couple so generous in their giving and so wise in their years.

Today we plan to squeeze the most out of our last few hours in San Francisco. Jake and Megan are planning to tour Alcatraz Island while Shannon and I attend the SF 49ers vs. St Louis Rams football game at Monster (Candlestick) Park. This will be a fun end to a great trip!

Dreaming BIGGER than EVER!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A great day!

I have the privilege of writing the blog today and I promise to keep it short and positive.
Today was an excellent day. Rick and Doreen enjoyed being with friends and doing things they like to do.
For Rick it was firing up the chain saw, cutting, splitting and stacking firewood, working in the yard on a beautiful day and watching some football.
For Dor, it was shopping, shopping and... a little more shopping. Thanks goodness she found some fantastic deals and great buys which made this tiring adventure worth while.
The night ended with everyone enjoying some Mexican food and a frosty cold and fruity margarita.
(That's why I'm writing the blog and Dor is in bed)

I have some fantastic news!!
Not sure if I'm supposed to say anything but I'll tell you what I heard.
Most of us know cancer patients are not eligible for transplants.
Most of us DON'T know there is an exception.
The exception (as I heard it) is: "If the cancer remains in the organ it originated from and doesn't spread to any other part of the body, that person could be eligible for an organ transplant." That's what I call great news because that's exactly the case for our Dor.
Her lung cancer has stayed in her lungs and not spread to any other part of her body.
She might be eligible for a couple new lungs!!!

Now before you start doing cart wheels and yelling "Yahoo", let's wait for Angie and Jacob to return from the Cancer Convention they are attending in San Francisco for a full report.
I'm sure there is a hundred different stipulations and honestly right now this information is nothing more than hear say, so stay tuned for the future blogs.

I will leave you with some words of wisdom that are guaranteed insure less stress and longer life.
They are the two main rules in life, so adopt the these rules in your everyday life today.
You thought it was going to be something really profound, didn't you?

Have a great weekend (or what's left of it) and stay tuned for more news.
The Mystery Blogger

P.S. Do not attempt discover the identity of the Mystery Blogger. Attempts will cause your computer will self destruct!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reach Out and Touch Someone

As I sit here alone in my warm, loving home I wonder how many lives have changed by entering it's doors. Today I had another mini meltdown (because of something good) and Amy reminded me how I touch people in ways that I have no idea. I hope that is true since I can't thank you all personally for all the Haggen Cards that keep filling my mailbox. Someone just paid for my new nebulizer and meds to help me breath better...If I keep this crying up, I might need to get a stronger dose of crazy pills :) Just kidding. I'm not crazy...just crazy about all of you. Some of you have given us permission to spend the cards any way we could use them best. So, Wednesday night I traded a couple of them in for gas cards. It's been a great help getting us to and from chemo twice a week.

My heart is kind of sad as I sit here tonight wishing I was in San Francisco celebrating Lung Cancer with Bonnie, Sheila, their family, Nancy, Kate, my kids, and all the people I've learned to love in the lung cancer world over the past 3 years. Best wishes on your most successful Gala ever. I promise to be there next year with a pretty new dress and a smile. I will also be hoping to show you the cure we've discovered....but I don't want to jinx anything.

This new anti-nausea medicine wipes me out. I literally sleep for 15-18 hours after I've taken it. If I do wake up during that duration, I couldn't tell you what I did, or who I did it with....Oh, I guess this could be dangerous if I'm left alone with the wrong people...or the right people :)

Rick is at a meeting in Monroe that doesn't start until 8:00pm, so I'm thinking about getting my jammies on and watching a movie on Lifetime with a bowl of freshly popped white popcorn (and a little salt and butter....yum). Ok, I just talked myself into saying good bye to all of you. You're welcome to come on over if you're not doing anything...the only thing required is you must be wearing your pj's and bring your favorite pillow and blanket.

Love you more than all the leaves in our yard that are now starting to annoy me. They no longer look like beautiful autumn decorations...they now look like slimy messy autumn storm debris. Oh well, one more big gust of wind, and they'll be in the fields (or the neighbors yard).

Dreaming Bigger than EVER,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All is Well

Mom is home sleeping. Her chemo went well but she is exhausted. I was at her house when she got home this afternoon. She walked in, layed on the couch, and immediately fell asleep in the middle of the conversation. Hours later, she is still there, cuddled up and sleeping peacefully. All is well in the Schmitt house.

I picked up a book at mom and dad's house this afternoon. I remember when she received it a few years ago from Mary Beth Sammons, the author. It is called "We Carry Each Other" and I would recommend it to anyone. I have always wanted to find time to read it and for some reason I picked it up today. I open the book to a random page and this is the quote I saw. I couldn't agree more.

"Faith in the future is not dead in our hearts.
Better still, it is this hope, deepened and purified,
which seems bound to save us".

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Goodnight my friends-


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blessed are we, who can see all the great things that tomorrow will bring

I try my best to "hold" it all together, but every once in a while (like tonight) I just fall apart. No good reason. Nothing new to set it off. Sometimes, it's because something good happens. Or I hear a song that touches my heart. Tonight was one of those nights.

The McCunes's stopped by with lasagna for tomorrow night's dinner, I'd just watched a publication about Bonnie on a San Francisco tv station and I realized how lucky and bless I was to have such incredible people in my life.

I've recuperated now and It's time to get to bed since I have to be on the road to Seattle by 7:30 am for chemo treatment number 4.

Have a wonderful day tomorrow and be thankful for all you've been blessed with.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've now been through 3 treatments so far and besides the first one, they really haven't been too bad. I must say however that I am so exhausted after each treatment that I'm almost lethargic and drunk feeling. Hopefully I haven't' made a fool of myself. Oh wait, it's probably too late for that.

Amy had the day off so she spent it with me, helping do some grocery shopping and dinner preparation. Angie stopped by after officiating a basketball game in Kirkland and had dinner with us. It's great to see the kids all the time, but I keep falling asleep while there here to visit. Hopefully, they'll forgive me.

Jake will be be home soon (he's had a busy day with Megan working on wedding stuff).

I'm looking forward to next week when I can start to recuperate from all the excitement of this week. Other than taking Rick to Seattle for his appointment on Tuesday, I think we have a pretty laid back week.

If I just was probably because I'm partially asleep. Good night...I'll talk to you tomorrow when my eyes open up. :)

Dreaming Drowsy,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snap...Crackle... Pop

We were very lucky, for a very long time when it came to mom's treatment. She took one chemo pill a day. Granted, the pill caused reactions in her body... which in-turn led to her taking 14 additional, non-cancer pills a day... but she took 1 chemo pill a day, nonetheless. This new chemo drip is much harder on her body.

I stopped by mom and dad's house tonight to check on mom and watch Monday Night Football with dad. Mom was extremely fatigued. She was asleep on the couch when I got there and remained that way most of the evening. The phone kept ringing and dad was putting wood in the fire right next to her but she never even budged. She was definately in la-la land. Toward the end of the evening she was waking up so I cuddled with her on the couch for a while. As soon as I got close to her I noticed a very distinct sound. Her lungs sound like Rice Krispies that just had milk poured on them. With each breath I heard snap, crackle, pop. We joked about it at first but when it doesn't stop, and she is clearly unable to take a normal breath, it's hard to joke about it. She thinks the "change" is due to the new chemo working. I tell myself she is right, just to make the sound more tolerable... for both of us.

Like I said, she slept most of the night but her spirits were up when she was awake. She said she wasn't in pain and she didn't feel sick. My dad looked good tonight and everyone ate a good meal (thanks Grandma). May tomorrow bring us a sunny forecast and a bit more energy.

Sweet Dreams-

Sunday, November 09, 2008

End of a long busy week

Vickie and I spent another busy day in Seattle. Today however, was for fun and games. We went to another bridal shower for Megan and met a bunch of her friends and family. Each event I attend, I am assured that Jake will be surrounded by love and laughter long after Rick and I are gone.

Instead of driving back to Stanwood just in time to wake up and come back to Seattle, we are spending the night in a hotel near the airport (about 20 minutes from SCCA). I'm exhausted tonight so we're heading back to the room to get a good nights rest. It will be another busy day tomorrow, but I'm starting to figure out the routine.

Have a terrific week and keep dreaming big!

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wedding Shower Saturday

Due to the hard work of my sister in laws, Dawn and Vickie as well as that of Amy and Angie, Mel and Shannon, today's bridal shower for Megan turned out very nice. Dawn opened her home to 25 of our friends and family members, served delicious soup, salad and desserts. Then we were on to game playing and gift giving. A great time was had by all.

It's a little early for jammies, but I'm ready to call it a day. The chemo was so much more tolerable than on Tuesday, but I still wear out a little faster than usual. Today my hips and shoulders felt achy, but that's starting to feel better tonight.

Tomorrow is another busy day. Vickie and I are going to Kent for another shower, then we're going to spend the night in Seattle so we don't have to drive all the way back on Monday for chemo. This week my routine is chemo on Monday and Thursday. Then next week, it's a break for me but chemo for Rick. This calendar of mine is a full time job!

Hope you all had a restful weekend. I'll write more if I remember to bring the laptop with me. If not, perhaps I'll write a blog from Seattle Cancer Care.

Loving you Big,

Treatment number 2 - Thumbs Up!

Though I've been sleeping since around 4:30pm (or maybe even before that) I'm feeling so much better than earlier this week. My joints are a little sore and I'm fatigued, but other than that...I feel fabulous.

This is another busy weekend with showers and such, then treatment again on Monday. I'm going to do my best to get some rest in between all the excitement.

When I got online just now to write a little update, it looks likes one of my children must have been playing with my blog page. I hardly recognized it. But I like it. Thanks "blog fairy".

Ok, it's a little after 2 and I only got up to go potty. It's back to bed for me for a few more hours.

Love you bunches,

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sleepy Thursday

I woke up this morning feeling very good. I was rested and in the mood to do a little cleaning, cooking and rearranging. My friend Kim came over and sat with me and my little nieces. Their momma went to a funeral, and I enjoy spending time with them whenever I can. It was nice to have Kim around. Apparently, fatigue can set in at anytime and I got it about a half an hour before Dawn came back to get the girls. It was great getting to visit with Kim and the girls, but I'm worn out now so I'm heading to bed for the night.

Pam is taking me for chemo treatment #2 tomorrow morning and I believe it's going to turn out really well. They're going to give me some different anti-nausea medicine, and after that everything will turn out fine.

If I wake up in the middle of the night because I've been sleeping too long, I'll write you another little note.

Until tomorrow,
Keep Dreaming Big~

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Calm after the Storm

Hi everyone. It's Doreen. Apparently, yesterday didn't go as planned, but today is much better. I'm feeling well. No headache. No trembling. No vivid memory of what happened last night (thank goodness). I'm still in Seattle awaiting a few more blood tests and I have to show my oncologists office that I'm alive and well. They've called a few times this morning and they are having a hard time believing that I am the same person who was in the hospital bed yesterday. Because of the headache, tremors, and abnormal EKG last night, they need as much evidence as they can gather to assure I'm ok to be able to stay on the trial.

My assessment of yesterday is this: I was anxious about the day. My husband was down the hall also having chemo. Once my chemo cocktail was done, I felt fine. I got out of bed, walked the halls, visited Rick...then had a meltdown. I think my body and mind were so thrilled that we made it through the day, that they just let go. Hence, the headache and my other out of body experiences. Today is a new day!

In all seriousness (which I rarely am), I don't know how I'll ever thank my amazing family and friends. I think last night was much harder for them than it was for me. I hardly remember a thing (except that the chemo made my pee purple). Amy and Cathy were our little angels. All day long they went from one appointment to another with us and never complained. I also feel blessed with our doctors and nurses. We really do have a TEAM of people fighting for us. Thanks to all of you.

In an e-mail I got this morning from a friend, he offered the best advice I've heard in a long time.
It went like this: Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, Just pee on it and walk away.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Worst Day of Cancer

Although I've been a part of many sad cancer days, today has been the worst I've experienced first hand. I met my parents at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at 8:30 this morning, and left after 9:00pm tonight. Cathy drove mom and dad to Seattle, and I'm very grateful that she did because I can't imagine my day without her there. Mom had her port accessed this morning, gave blood, and saw her clinical trial nurses. Dad had his port accessed, gave blood, and then saw his doctor. Everything was going as planned.

Mom's chemo was scheduled for 2:30 and dad's was scheduled for 3:30, but when we went to get them checked in, a receptionist they didn't know literally had tears in her eyes when she realized they were married. Dad's chemo was moved up to 3:00 and they put them in rooms as close together as they could. Cathy sat with mom and I sat with my dad. Again, everything was moving along well.

Throughout the 2 hours of chemo, I checked on mom and she looked fine. My dad handled his chemo alright, except for the bad foot cramps. I thought we were going to make it thru the day without any problems until Cathy walked down the hall to dad's room with a strange look on her face and said she wanted to switch with me. She said, "I think you should go rub your mom's back and sit with her". I immediately had a bad feeling in my stomach. When I walked down there I noticed that my mom was wrapped up in a bunch of blankets and had a towel on her head. She looked like a completely different person than she had 30 minutes before when I was in her room. She said she was cold but she was extremely sweaty and her right leg was constantly tremoring. She couldn't even open her eyes.

The nurse came in the room and started doing tests. At this point, it was about 6:00pm and she was supposed to be done at 6:30. She looked horrible. She has had migraine headaches in the past but this was unlike anything I could put into words. It broke my heart to see her that way, and clearly Cathy was having a tough time with it as well. When dad's chemo was over he came and sat with mom. They continued to do tests on her and she continued to shiver and have tremors. They told us she couldn't leave until she was stable so they postponed her departure to 7:30. When we saw that mom was getting sick I called Angie to let her know. She and my aunt Vickie came down to the hospital. Mom continued to sweat and lie there in misery. Her oncologist was notified of the problems and called at 7:30. He told us that he was going to give her until 8:30 to come around or he was going to admit her into the hospital.

At this point, we had the pharmacy fill her perscription for migraine medicine. Within 30 minutes of taking the pill she was a totally different person. Angie and I were able to take her home around 9:00pm. She has to go back to the hospital in the morning so she is staying in Seattle tonight. My dad went home to be with Jake and I am staying with mom because I have the most flexible work schedule for tomorrow. We are looking forward to getting some results tomorrow. They think her reaction was likely caused by the anti-nausea medicine they gave her before treatment, not from the treatment itself. Between the migraine, uncontrolable leg tremors, and irregular EKG, we aren't going to feel good until we know what is going on.

Mom is lying on the couch in her pajamas. She looks good, kept dinner down without getting sick, and even had a cup of ice cream for dessert. I think we are moving in the right direction. We are all completely worn out and in need of some sleep. I will tuck mom into bed in a few minutes and give her a goodnight kiss from each of you. I promise.

We will write more tomorrow-


Monday, November 03, 2008

Guardian Angels

I'm not sure who's behind the little scheme, but we were blessed with more gift cards today ;) We are humbled by your generosity to pay our co-pays. It's amazing to be showered with so much love. Thank you again...Guardian Angels.

After a fitful night of sleep (I finally dozed off around 5:00am) I spent the day with Cathy getting ready for the next couple of days in Seattle. Cathy and Amy are going to accompany us to our appointments since Rick and I will be in different places at different times of the day. We are so lucky to have friends and family willing to be our personal chauffeurs.

When I first got up today, I was greeted with two wonderful phone calls (not that my regular morning ones from my mom and kids aren't wonderful too) from my California buddies, Nancy Lee Grahn, and Bonnie Addario. I've decided that if I ever need a lift, they are like my own personal cranes. When I got off the phone with each of them, I felt like I could do anything. So, tomorrow...Watch Out CANCER... When you mess with a mess with our whole family... We're ready for a FIGHT!

It's time for me to get off the computer, pack the rest of our clothes and supplies, and get a good nights rest.

Dreaming Big (and a little nervous)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Reality Check

This weekend I've done my share (and probably your share too) of crying. As much as I think positively, do things that bring me joy, love with all my heart....Sometimes, I also have to "get real". For 2 and a half years I've been taking a pill to save my life. During that time, I watched my husband get diagnosed, have treatments every other week, saw improvements in his blood counts and the size of the tumors in his body. I also watched as our treatments stopped working and we had travel down a different path. Now our life is changing again. On Tuesday, we'll lay together on the infusion floor of Seattle Cancer Care and pray for changes in the right direction.

I started this blog around 9:00pm tonight and it is now 12:53. I can't sleep. I don't have answers. I don't have solutions. My heart hurts. My eyes are puffy. I believe this is another phase of a life threatening illness but honestly, I don't like it. This behavior of mine doesn't help a thing. I don't feel better after my weeping session. I get a headache if I cry too much. I don't have enough eye cream to take the puffiness away. I am an UGLY, blotchy crier. Mac and Cheese doesn't even sound good. I must be sick!

Jan Schemenauer had an amazing party today. She raised a lot of money for a great cause (Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation). Our local food bank will be pleasantly surprised by the generous donation from all her guests as well. Jan is an angel on Earth. Thank you my dear friend.

Rick is feeling a little better today, but he has terrible pain in his shoulder. The doctors say it's most likely pain radiating from his liver. He doesn't care where it's coming from...he just wants it to go away.

I guess I'm about done whining for tonight so I think I'll try to sleep.

I love you more than all the leaves in our yard. I'm pretending they are pretty so we don't have to rake them.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month

I woke this morning to my husband who wasn't feeling well. He was having a pain/ache in his belly and I needed to call someone. Anyone, who would listen to my concern. Rick agreed to let me call Seattle Cancer Care, they asked a bunch of questions, gave some good advice, told Rick to relieve the pain with some Vicodin. It wasn't what he wanted to do, but in order to get me to stop crying he finally agreed :) I decided that my emotions were a little raw because today we also helped Jake move into his apartment. Exit...last child from the home.

Jake and Megan's apartment is really cute and they'll have it feeling like their home in no time. Rick, my dad, my sister in law Vickie, Megan's mom and I all helped the kids for a few hours getting their apartment in order. Now all 3 of our kids have cuter homes than we do :(

Tonight when we returned home and checked our mail, we got some special cards from unknown senders with special little gift cards inside. You know who you are, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I promise to pay your generosity forward. Someday, sometime, someone will need our help, and we'll be there for them. Oh, by the way...the cards made me start crying again. Just what I needed.

I'm heading to bed for a good nights sleep. I have a fun day planned at Jan Schemenauer's house tomorrow. She's having a Southern Living open house party with proceeds going to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. She is also having us bring food items for our local food bank. 2 great causes in one day. If you're not doing anything and would love to join us for an afternoon of fun and prizes, stop by Jan's anytime between 1 and 5. Call me for directions.

Dreaming Big (with wet puffy eyes),