Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009

As we sit here tonight celebrating 2009, it's important to let you know that 2008 was great to us. We're still here... laughing, living, and loving life.

As usual it was a laid back new year's eve. Amy and Melana showed up with pizza and salad. We played Wii Price is Right and Apples to Apples until the wee hours. Angie went with Shannon to Portland to watch the Trailblazers and Celtics and to celebrate the New Year. Jake and Megan are in Cancun celebrating Love and 2009. Rick stayed up long enough to ring in the New Year and give me a kiss. I think my year is terrific already and it's only 2:00am on New Year's Day.

New Year's Resolution suggestions:

Have a colonoscopy.
Get a mammogram.
Stop smoking.
Laugh more.
Complain less.
Live your life with a purpose.
Love with all your heart.

Dream Big in '09,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chemo Update

I knew today would be a long day...I just didn't realize how long. The new drug they've added to Rick's chemo cocktail is called Urbitux. It takes an additional 2 hours for that to drip into him. We were at SCCA from 9:00am until 4:15 this afternoon...just in time for afternoon Seattle/Everett traffic.

He is really fatigued tonight, but other than that he had a good dinner and hasn't felt sick at all. Let's hope this stuff is working already. Rick's tumor marker has continued to climb the charts so they know the cancer is active. I'm ready to see some change.

I'm pooped, so I'm heading off to bed. I'll write more tomorrow.

Dreaming Big,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where do I begin?

I feel like it's been months since I've written. I'm not sure I even remember how to do this blog thing....But, I'll try!

As you all know, we had a wedding planned just a few short days after Christmas. Just the thought of it was a little overwhelming, but then we added 2 feet of snow for a more dramatic effect. Finally, on Friday afternoon the rain came and by wedding time most people were able to make it out of their driveways to join us.

We were blessed to have the grandparents as well as all the wedding party, their guests, and a few friends join us for a wonderful rehearsal dinner on Friday night. We (all 38 of us) met at Lombardi's at the Everett Marina. Great food, better company...

On Saturday, we got to the lodge to help decorate but "Judi, the wedding planner" had everything under control. We checked into the hotel and I'd made arrangements for the girls and I to get our hair done. Our stylist came right to the room and "beautified" us. Our friend, Bev was with us every step of the way with her camera getting shots of us getting ready. She stayed all night long. Video-taped the ceremony, took lots of candid shots and special ones with our friends and loved ones. We can't wait to see all the photos she took.

When we got back to Floral Hall for photos, we were mesmerized by the way it turned out. It looked like a fairy tale. The ceremony was beautiful, the food was marvelous, the cake was decadent, the kids picked out great music, the bride looked amazing, and the groom couldn't quit looking at the bride. I think everyone had a great time.

Jake and Megan were supposed to leave on Sunday morning for their honeymoon in Cancun, but the fuel truck ran into the airplane and damaged it so they cancelled their flight. Needless to say, the kids were disappointed. Instead, they opened their gifts and tried to waste some time until midnight when they would finally get on another flight. We talked to them tonight and they are exhausted, but very happy :)

I'm attaching a few more photos for your enjoyment. If any of you took photos at the wedding and want to share them with me, please send them to my e-mail address at I'm not sure why they turned out so small, but I'll work on it.

Special thanks to all our friends and family who roughed the weather to help us celebrate, all of you who helped set up and clean up, Judi and her gang for putting all together, Shannon and Melana for helping keep the girls sane and happy, Bev and Grandpa Bob for your "special photography", Jake and Megan for letting us all be such an important part of your special day.

Tomorrow we go back to the old grind.... New chemo routine for Rick so it will be another long day in Seattle - hopefully we'll snuggle on his infusion bed and get some much needed rest. Let's pray this batch of chemicals does the job! We need to get his cancer stabilized.

Dreaming Big,

So much to share with you

I have so much joy to share with you from the past few days and I don't even know where to begin. I'm going to start by posting a few photos. I had a wonderful girl named Brittany come to our hotel room and do our hair. Amy and Angie were breathtaking by the time she finished with them. I'm posting a photo of them with their daddy.

I'm going to keep adding to this blog entry so keep coming back. But, for now.... here are a couple of photos.

Loving you bunches,


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day started out a little different than we had planned, or wanted. Rick and I ended up in a ditch. Well, I guess not literally in a ditch, but kind of. We were a mile from home, driving slowly on our way to my Brother and Sister-in-law's house for a nice breakfast with the family when all of a sudden the snow and slush on the side of the road sucked us in. A number of other cars made it into the ditch in the same area. We had a bunch of people stop and try to pull us out but there was no traction. We finally made it out of the ditch and made it to Jeff and Dawn's house, but an hour late and a little freaked out.

This snow can stop anytime. We have a wedding in a few days and the last thing we need is someone in an accident on Saturday. Angie didn't meet up with us today because she has been in Portland for a few days. She will come back into town tonight. After watching us in the ditch, Jake decided he should probably skip breakfast and head down south to make sure he has plenty of time to pick up his groomsman from the airport this evening. We will see all of the kids tomorrow at the rehearsal dinner.

It was nice to see all of the family this morning. Rick and I are very grateful for another wonderful year with all of you. Time flies when you're having fun and I think you know how much fun we have enjoying life to the fullest. We are exhausted this afternoon but we have friends flying into town tonight so I better get this posted and take a nap so I have some energy when they get here.

Dream Big-
Ho, Ho, Ho


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Always Something There to Remind Me

First of all, Happy Holidays. With the whirlwind of events that have consumed our family this month, it's sometimes easy to forget that today is Christmas Eve. The second I walked outside it suddenly became hard to forget that it's December, with all of the cold air and snow. I think a white Christmas sounds like a good thing... on paper. It looks good in the movies, and it makes for lovely photo opportunities. Reality kicked in when I got stuck trying to get out of my driveway in my 4-wheel drive SUV, and when Grandpa and I had to help my Grandma get out of the snow on Sunday night when she tried to take a step and was suddenly up to her knee in snow. Needless to say, I think the Schmitt family has had enough of the "winter wonder land". We have a wedding to attend in three days, in dresses and ballet flats. The snow... can go.

Occasionally, I scroll back and read different blog entries from the past 2 and a half years. It's amazing how quickly words can bring me back to a time or place when things were so different. I've had so many emotional moments. So many moments when my head and heart were overwhelmed. I mentioned to my mom the other day that I don't really remember my life without cancer in it. That might seem weird to you, but my mom just smiled because she understands exactly how I feel. The first 29 years of my life were wonderful but I took so many things for granted. That is no longer the case. With that being said, it can be very exhausting to live every day in the moment. Whoever said "ignorance is bliss" hit the nail on the head.

Looking at a calendar is so much different now than it used to be. There used to be days of the week, but now there are just "chemo days", "chemo off weeks", "scan days" and "result days". I see dates like April 19th or December 22nd and they now represent a cancer anniversary. They represent another year of life, for all of us. I'm grateful for those dates more than I am for most holidays. When I think of the past few years I literally picture a giant timeline of events. Having something to look forward to has been the key for everyone. Whether it was Jake's Graduation from WSU, last Christmas in the Bahamas, the wedding this weekend, etc., it is has been so important for us to look to the future. Setting goals... small goals... is the key to getting thru the week, the month, the year.

Please have a safe and happy holiday season. Take the time to stop and appreciate the things around you, and don't assume the person next to you knows how you feel about them. Share your love, and words of kindness.

Merry Christmas-

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowday Sleepover

Tonight Doreen is sleeping overnight closer to Seattle so that she can be assured of getting to her chemo treatment on time tomorrow. She will be under direct strict supervision for the remainder of this evening through her treatment tomorrow. Feel free to ask how the night went.
('s Doreen again...Cousin Joe wrote the blog tonight but he forgot to mention that I'll be under the care of Joe, Erik, Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel. With the weather still being scary they've offered to help me out. Rick was originally going to take me to Seattle but when they offered we couldn't help but take them up on the deal. With the Holiday week at hand, he has plenty of work to do before he has a few days off).
We had a wonderful night last night celebrating Christmas with my family. With all the excitement coming up in the next few days, it will be nice to have the next few days to just get ready for the wedding. Angie might be heading to Portland, and Amy might be heading to Seattle over the next few days. I hope they have a great time celebrating the rest of their Christmas vacations.
It's going to be really nice tomorrow showing Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel where Rick and I spend all our time getting treatment. I think it's healthy for them to see how nice we're treated and loved.
Dreaming Big, and hoping for the snow to melt.
Love you more,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's snowing again...

Friday turned out to be great day. Although I was stuck close to home, my neighbor Lynell was also stuck at home too and she was busy getting ready for her son and new daughter in law to arrive tonight (they are having a wedding celebration here since the wedding was in New York). I went down and gave her a hand making beds and tidying things up. The house looked great, it was just an excuse for us to get together. With all the snow coming down in New York, we're hoping the kids get home in time for their party.

This morning, Rick and I got up and agreed that we had to finish our Christmas shopping. When we got home tonight, I made dinner then we wrapped all the gifts we'd bought. Ok, I'm ready for the holiday to get here now. This next week is going to be a whirlwind. Chemo, Christmas, Wedding Rehearsal and dinner, then the wedding.

We had a long busy day today so I think I'm going to call it a night and get to bed.

We've got more snow coming down and the wind seems to be blowing it completely sideways.

Stay safe.

Dreaming Big

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mild Case of Cabin Fever

When I look out my windows, this is what I see. A blanket of beautiful, white, glistening snow. It's hard not to love it...except when you're thinking about the list of un-purchased Christmas gifts you still have in your purse.
As I was taking a nice warm bath this afternoon (I have a lot of time on my hands now that I don't leave the house), I realized that I haven't even tried driving in the snow for over 20 years. I could be good at it by now. I think I might give it a try tomorrow. If you talk to any of my family members, please don't mention this brilliant idea. They might not be as excited about it as I am.
Although I'm scheduled for chemo tomorrow, my team of doctors and nurses have agreed that it's not worth risking my life on the freeway to have my infusion. If the snow melts overnight, they said they would hold my spot for me but otherwise they'll see me on Tuesday. I think that sounds like a great plan. I was a little anxious about missing it tomorrow because I'm going to be skipping next Friday as well. Dr. Eaton said not to worry. So, I won't.
The wedding is only 8 days away. I can hardly believe it's here already. Let's hope the weather cooperates and the snow starts melting soon.

Please be careful when you're out playing in this weather. Remember...the trouble with that it usually starts out as fun.
Dreaming Big and Frozen,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I just looked outside to see if it had stopped snowing and no such luck. I think it's beautiful outside, but with all this snow comes road hazards (if I'm driving), going a little stir crazy (if you can't leave the house because you're a terrible driver), not finishing your Christmas shopping (if your husband takes away your keys because you scare other people on the road). I don't know if you noticed a pattern, but driving in the snow is not one of my better attributes. I'm attaching a photo that I just took and OOOOHHHH is it pretty.

So far, Rick and I are feeling great after yesterdays chemo. Now we need to hope the snow goes away so I can get to Seattle on Friday for my next treatment. My brother in law Tom has volunteered to take me (again anything to keep me from getting on the road in a car).

Love you more than all the snowflakes falling in Stanwood...

Dreaming Big White Flakes,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great news in Seattle Today

As most of you knew, Rick and I came to Seattle today for another round of chemo. What we also learned was that the gene they sent off to check Rick's DNA came back mutant. In order for Rick to be able to try this next kind of chemo, we had to know the results of the gene. Yahoo! Starting on December 30 Rick will begin his new regime of Urbitux and something else. (The urbitux is what we were waiting on)

I'm done with my treatment and appointments and I've been sleeping all morning. We came down do to Seattle last night for safety sake. No need in risking our lives in this terrible weather.

I just wanted to share our good news....

Drive safely and don't forget to bring along a safety pack.

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bright White in Washington

Yesterday was a fun filled day with all "my girls" at the bachelorette party. I was the designated driver, but due to the weather, we left Seattle a little earlier than we'd planned. When I picked Angie and Shannon up around 4:00 pm it was snowing hard but it wasn't sticking on the road. By the time we got to Mel's house to get her and Amy the snow had stopped. We kept checking the blackberry though out the night to see if the snow was building up. We left Seattle by 10:00pm (thankfully) because the snow was accumulating more than I was expecting. The worse part of my drive home was between Angie's house and ours. I just took my time and everything turned out great. Megan had a great time and that's what the night was all about.

Jake when up North to the Skagit Casino where about 7 of his close Friends and some dads (including his own) celebrated his bachelor party. The dad's came home last night but the boys stayed at the hotel attached to the casino. Jake is still talking about all the fun they had.

This morning we woke up to a beautiful white coating of snow everywhere. I love it. I've encouraged Jake to pack a few clothes so he can just stay here over the next couple of days and avoid the terrible morning weather.

This afternoon Rick and I picked up his sister Vickie and brother in law Tom and the 4 of us spent the day at our 3 year old nieces Pre-school Christmas program. She was adorable and so happy that we all made it to watch her sing. After the program, the 4 of us went out for lunch and had a really nice visit. We need to do that more often.

After we got home, I could hardly hold my eyes open, so I put my jammies on (at 4:00) and I took a nice 2 hour nap. How refreshing that felt. :)

I guess I'd better get up off the couch and think about dinner. I'm not hungry but I'm sure my boys are.

Have a safe and happy week. For all you school employees you've only got 5 more days until Christmas break. For those of you who don't work at the'll just have to keep working :)

Dreaming Big,

Friday, December 12, 2008

The week has come to an end

I've been doing a lousy job of keeping up with the blog lately. Not just because I've had a lot going on, but also because the internet was giving me some problems. You can only be as good as your internet service.

Yesterday I went with Angie to her knee doctor's appointment. He told her that her knee wasn't in good shape and that someday she would need a total knee replacement. At 31 those weren't the words she's planned to hear but she wasn't surprised to hear it. For now, she is going to re-hab the heck out of it...keep resting it and see what happens after the first of the year.

When I got back from Seattle, I joined the office ladies for our annual Christmas party at Gail's house. We do a little gift exchange, laugh and talk for hours, all the while eating great finger foods. I was nearly the last one to leave.

I had a bunch of little odd jobs to do today before Pam and her grandson came over to the house. They were meeting Darlena and I to decorate little car and truck Christmas cakes. We had a great time. Tonight we're having dinner at Jeff and Dawn's when we bring Darlena home.

Tomorrow is Megan's bachelorette party and Jakes bachelor party so Rick and I will be out celebrating with the kids. We're going to get plenty of rest so we're feeling well enough to celebrate all night long.

I'm feeling much better now that the chemo is out of my system.

Have a safe and happy weekend.
Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Chatty Tuesday

Yesterday wasn't one of my better days. Flu like syptoms, coughing spells, chills and sweats. I called the doctor to let him know (I always feel so dumb doing that but they say they need to know these things).

My day wasn't a complete waste. I made invitations for the rehearsal dinner and got them sent out today.

When I got online last night to tell you about my "exciting" day on the couch...the internet wasn't working. Sorry :(

Today I feel like a new woman. Not necessarily new and improved. Just new. I had plenty of errands to run, then Taco Tuesdaywith the girls, drug pick-up at Haggen, (thanks to one of you my 25 dollar co-pay was taken care of)

While I was at Haggen I talked to my friend Sandy for what seemed to be an hour. We were laughing and talking and laughing some more. I'm sure people had no idea that what we were talking about was a single event that changed our lives forever. Her husband was recently diagnosed with Melanoma (stage 3) and he is now in the process of figuring out what to do from here. I think they've got it figured out. The best way to survive this is to have your partner right next to you making those important quality of life decisions. He had a clean PET scan today and that was the best news they've heard. Have I mentioned lately that you should wear sunscreen? Even in the winter. The sun is always shooting down it's rays even if you can't see them.

Every Tuesday night I love to watch Biggest Loser. I've been wanting Vickie to get voted off each week...she's just a trouble maker. I generally lie on the couch or in bed and watch this show about losing weight and having a healthy lifestyle. What just dawned on me is the other great joy I have while watching this show is eating a bowl of popcorn with butter and a little salt. If I'm not mistaken, they don't encourage laying down eating food. They don't encourage butter on anything. Perhaps if I want to look like the biggest loser winners, I ought to watch the show from a treadmill with a bottle of water. Maybe I would see some results. Wow, what a bummer of a realization.

I've gotta go now. I just tivo'd the first hour of biggest loser and I'm going in to watch who wins it all.

Dreaming of Popcorn,

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Peaceful Sunday

What a great day today turned out to be. We finished decorating the tree (it stood bare in the corner for a week), wrapped presents, watched football and stayed close to home.

My joints have been pretty achy today so I'm looking forward to a restful week. I don't have anything planned this week and I'm hoping to keep it that way.

Love you more than all the Christmas trees chopped down this weekend.

Dreaming Big,

Saturday, December 06, 2008

All is well...

I told you earlier this week that it would be a busy one...and boy, was that an understatement.
I had a scan on Thursday that would determine if I could continue the clinical trial (because of blood work and other trial stuff, I was at SCCA for about 4 hours). Then, an appointment on Friday to get the results, have a doctors appointment, then chemo if all went well. Dr. Eaton (being the great guy that he is) called my cell phone and left a message on Thursday night saying the scan came out good and I would continue the trial. What he didn't realize was...his voice message was number 17 that I hadn't listened to. Oops. So when we got to the appointment on Friday, he said "so you got my message? The scan looked good!". Needless to say, Amy was not very pleased with me. Rick said he should take my phone away from me if I wasn't going to check my messages. Like I said. Oops! I was busy. I thought I had returned all the calls I had "missed", but apparently not. I'll try to get better. Please know if you have something REALLY important to tell should just keep trying my cell phone until I pick up.

Chemo went well again yesterday but I had lunch while my infusion was taking place. I think that helped me stay awake, because on the way home we stopped at the Alderwood Mall and shopped for a few hours. My body felt a little overwhelmed this morning when I woke up, but I'm feeling much better now.

Rick and I are going to Mt. Vernon today to get him "measured" for his tux, take his wedding ring to the jeweler to have it made smaller (since it keeps falling off), look for a few Christmas gifts, go to the beauty supply store, stop at Costco then head back home. We're hoping that doesn't take more than a few hours or I might be asleep in the car and he'll have to do all the rest of the stuff on his own. Oh, did I mention...Rick doesn't like to shop?

Rick and I never grew up with house pets, but for some reason, I can't get it out of my mind to find the perfect little doggy to love. We just need our little buddy to travel well so he can go to Desert Aire with us. I don't know if I have him sold on it yet, but I'll keep working it... I think we'll call him "Lucky".

Love you more than all the Christmas shoppers we'll run into today....

Dream Big,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Meeting with Dr. Jablons!

Chemo went well for both Rick and I yesterday, however it was a VERY LONG day. We stopped and picked up Chinese food for dinner and were blessed by all the kids showing up to see how we did (all by ourselves) and they joined us for a little supper.

I woke up this morning feeling very rested and without too many achy joints. I took a shower, headed to Angie's house for a few minutes to see how her rearranging is coming along (the house always looks adorable) then headed down to Jake and Megan's apartment to wait for the Comcast guy to set up their TV and Internet service.

Once I was done at the apartment, I met up with Dr. Jablons from San Francisco and we talked about lungs for an hour and a half. He is a very smart wonder the kids came back from California with a positive outlook. We've agreed that I need to take a trip to San Francisco and have another opinion by his team as well as the transplant team. He assured me that he'll be my doctor from afar so anytime I have a question, I'm suppose to call his cell phone. I think he really meant it. Amazing man. We'll never know if I'm a good candidate unless we check it out. After a nice visit with him, I headed back to Jake and Megan's apartment to spend the night since I have an appointment in Seattle again tomorrow.

It's time for me to start thinking about going to bed. I have another big day ahead of me tomorrow. Let's hope the scan goes well and I can continue this trial.

Dreaming Big,

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mellow Monday

After a good night's rest, I got up, took a shower and went for coffee with Cathy this morning. Although it's our normal Monday routine, we've been off schedule for the past few weeks. It felt nice to get back on track.

Jake has officially moved out. :( I know he's a big boy who is getting married in a month, but we're going to miss him. He makes life easier just by the things he does without asking.
Before he left yesterday, he and Rick rearranged the living room for me so I could start decorating for Christmas. Our tree is up (without any ornaments) and I kind of like it. It has 1,000 pre strung lights on it, so it's like turning on the sun each morning when I get up.

At our doctors suggestion, Rick and I went to see a counselor this afternoon. It turned out to be a wonderful visit. The doctor they suggested was very nice. Warm and insightful. Dr. Silvi gave us some great tools to use over the next couple of months. She said everyone dies at sometime or another so it's always nice to be prepared. We hope we can make life easier for our children when the time comes.

This is a big week for us. Appointment today, chemo (for both of us) tomorrow, nothing on Wednesday, Thursday is a CT scan for me, then Friday it's chemo again. Thank goodness next week is all free time.

I'd better go get my jammies on. Tomorrow morning will come early.

Love you more than all the lights on our neighbors house (it looks like something from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation)!

Dreaming Big,