Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pill #1

About an hour ago, I got the call that I could take my first chemo pill for the trial. So, we've only just begun...but I'm feeling GREAT about it.

(They are not worried about my abnormal just throws an extra beat in every once in a while...I told them it's because my heart is so big it needs to beat more often).

Love to you all,

Extra long day

After a day of CT scans (Brain, chest, pelvis, abdomen), blood work, urine sample, EKG I was exhausted to say the least. I learned a great deal about this clinical trial. The medication is very expensive (we don't have to pay for it because I've joined the trial) so they aren't sure how long it will be available on a trial basis. I got to bring the medication home with me, but I can't start taking it until all my test results come back ok. I know when I left yesterday that my EKG was abnormal but they're not sure why. It could just be from coffee. Let's hope it's nothing major that disqualifies me from joining this clinical trial. I didn't get home until after 5:30pm. The oncologist will call me by 10:00am today to give me thumbs up on whether I'm a good candidate. I believe I we just have to wait and see what he says.

The side effects are the basic expected ones: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, FATIGUE, headaches, along with some other nasty things that only happen in 1% of the people. I never had problems with Tarceva so I have complete confidence this will work for me as well.

Both Rick and Amy went to my appointment with me, but neither of them came back home with me. Amy stayed in Seattle, and Rick went to the Mariner game with his friend Todd.
Rick and Todd got to sit in the Carl's Jr. Box Suite for the game, but before the game started, they were taken down on the field, shown places they didn't even know existed at Safeco Field , then had a wonderful dinner in their suite. They both had a wonderful time.

I'm writing this blog, half asleep so I'd better go get a little more rest before I start my day.

Love you more than all the raindrops that landed on the Pacific Northwest yesterday. It looks like summer is about over and fall has arrived.

Dream Big,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Busy House, Lots of Love

Our full house is working out great. We're still working on who's in charge (me). They've all decided not to argue with me because I'll probably win. Having our friends and family fill our house at a time when they need us most gives me a wonderful feeling. I'm so glad our house is big enough to hold us all. It's even big enough for the whole family to be here for football Sundays and anything else we might plan.

Amy and Mel spent this weekend over at Desert Aire with some family friends (Trevor and Lindsey). They worked on landscaping and any other job that needed a little TLC. I hope they had a great time (after all their hard work). I'm not sure how we'll make it up to them but something will come along when they need us and we'll be there for them. I think it's been good for us to have a houseful of love. Cancer doesn't seem to be in the forefront anymore. I'm liking that.

Rick's energy has been good this weekend. He was out mowing lawns, and cutting wood...all the things he loves to do but hasn't had the strength to do it. His sense of humor and smarty pants attitude have joined us as well. It makes my heart happy to have him "back".

I got a message on Friday from Dr. West's clinical coordinator and it looks like I'll start the clinical trial on Tuesday. I have to call her tomorrow for the schedule but I'm ready whenever they are.

Yesterday afternoon Pam and I joined Angie, Shannon and their friend Martha from Portland for lunch at the Conway Tavern. What a busy day it was (the beginning of the "Oyster Run"...whatever that means). Shannon and Martha hadn't seen each other in a while so they stayed up late on Friday night to visit and drink a little red wine. Needless to say, time and wine got away with them and they didn't have near as much fun as we did during lunch. I hope they're both feeling better today.

Tomorrow is Megan's 1st day of her internship. I'm sure it's a scary feeling but she'll do just fine. It seems like so long ago that Jake (and Angie) were doing their student teaching and the time flew by like a hurricane. Best of luck Megan, believe in yourself and're not suppose to know everything...yet :)

I'm back in the knitting mood again so be ready to get a scarf. Every time I finish one, I think....hey, I like the colors in that one...maybe I'll keep it. I'm addicted to them and I need to start giving them away. So, if you see me out someplace with a scarf on my neck and you like it, let me know...I might just give it away.

My hair is almost getting long enough to comb. I'm hoping this new chemo don't make my hair fall out. I'm starting to like my new "do".

Love you more than all the pumpkins in the pumpkin patches,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Late night with Doreen

After Rick's long day in Seattle, we've learned that he is still ineligible to have the chemo embolization in his liver again, at least for the next 6 weeks. It looks like a few of the lesions on his liver have gotten bigger, but he said that could be from the inflammation caused by the chemo. Let's pray it's nothing more than that. I'm still holding out for some good news, but until then...we'll keep looking for our own good news.

I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday. Still taking antibiotics and Tylenol to keep the fever away. I was so thankful to have Amy take Rick to his appointments today, and to have Megan here at the house with me. I was able to rest, and Amy did her best to harass her Dad every chance she got. He needed a little of that :)

It's almost 1:00am and I'm having trouble sleeping, so I'd better call it a night and try to catch a little shut eye.

Love you the MOST...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Early Morning Update

After a nice day with Megan (we stopped for a coffee drink, then went to Costco and the grocery store) I got home and within about an hour I was coughing like a maniac and my fever spiked to almost 102. I started taking Tylenol immediately. We got a hold of my doctor and he called in an antibiotic and by 8:00pm I was feeling better. I woke up this morning to another rough coughing spell but after taking my new cough syrup,I'm starting to feel better.

Today is chemo for Rick along with a follow up appointment with Dr. Kooy (his liver surgeon). I'm in no shape to take him, so Amy is filling in for me. We'll be getting the results of his latest CT scan as well. Let's hope all is well. Thanks Amy!

It's time for me to head back to bed and try to get some more rest. Have another wonderful sunny day :)

Dreaming Big,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spectacular Sunday with the Family

The house was full of Seahawk fans and the smell of Thanksgiving in the air. We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and corn on the cob. Dessert was non other than....pumpkin pie. Although the Seahawks lost, we all felt like winners with our tummies full.

Jake and Megan are all moved in. (who would have known that our basement made such a cute apartment?) It was great to see all the girls. With everyone so busy at their jobs we haven't seen much of each other. We talk nearly every day, but that's not the same as a hug and/or a snuggle.

I've got lots of phone calls to make and appointments to arrange for both Rick and I. So, first thing in the morning, I'll be playing secretary and getting our schedules all in order.

I'm pretty tired after such a busy day, so until tomorrow...sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

And...don't forget to DREAM BIG.

Love, Dor

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

I had a fun afternoon with Val yesterday. We ran some errands and shopped for new items for her house such as, light fixtures, faucets....all those fun things that finish off the project.

As soon as we arrived home, I put on some warmer clothes to go to the Stanwood Spartan football game with Rick. Angie and Shannon met us there, as did my dad and uncle Richard. It was a good game but we lost 17-21. Maybe next time :( It was nice to see some old friends who I haven't talked to in a while. My friend Sue was at the game from Lake Stevens (we were old athletic secretaries together). We could talk for hours, but I knew I was there to watch the game so we only chatted for 2 quarters. Oops!

Today, we moved Jake and Megan into our downstairs "apartment". With all the help from Megan's parents, and Dave and Val we got it done in no time. It's really starting to feel like "home" to them already.

Tomorrow is Football Sunday and all the kids are coming over. I've decided we're having turkey dinner (during halftime). It's only a couple of months early but I figured why not start getting ready for Thanksgiving? I'm looking forward to a houseful of my favorite people. Family, Football, and Food...does it get any better?

Sleep well and have a spectacular Sunday. I love you more than all the stars in the sky tonight...

Dream Big,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Appointment

Today, Megan and I met with Dr. Jack West, a lung cancer oncologist (he specializes in BAC) and he was excited for me to learn about my options. Currently, there is a clinical trial that is meant for people with Bronchioaveolar Carcinoma who never smoked....namely,ME. There is also a clinical trial that is closed but he anticipates it will be reopening sometime soon and that also has my name written on it.

So, between now and the next couple of weeks, I'll need a new scan, a brain MRI and and EKG. After they make sure I'm in good shape, I'll begin taking a daily pill for 4 weeks then have 2 weeks off. After the 6 weeks are up, we'll scan again and see how things are looking.

Megan and I both agreed that he is very knowledgeable and clearly has his patients best interests in mind. I feel really lucky to be a part of this new team of doctors.

I was so anxious about my appointment today that I drove half the way in the HOV lane and I was all by myself (I was meeting Megan in Seattle). Oops. I could have had a whopper of a ticket.

I'm very excited about starting on my next journey to survival. Glad you're all here to do it with me.

Keep dreaming big,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Be SMART... for only $100

As many of you know, the Schmitt family always tries to participate in fundraising events for Bonnie's foundation. When I saw the email this morning about the fundraiser for her November event, I knew I needed to post it on here. Many people have donated to the foundation over the years simply for the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to bring awareness to the disease. Now, there is a great opportunity to actually win something by donating to the cause. Bonnie is holding a raffle for a brand new Smart Car, and it is adorable! I've attached her email below. There are only 250 tickets being sold nationally so if you want to buy a ticket you better do it soon.

"Win a Brand New 2009 passion coupe Smart Car. The red passion coupe will be raffled off at Simply the Best Dinner Gala on November 21, 2009. To purchase tickets, please email or call 415.821.9693. Only 250 tickets will be sold at $100 each. You need not be present at the gala to win. This Mercedes Engine passion coupe is valued at $16,990. Bonnie won this at another charitable fundraiser and this is truly a gift that keeps on giving."

Good Luck!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So Hopeful...

After my doctor's visit today I'm finding myself more hopeful than I've been in a long time. I've always believed in Dr. Eaton's decisions so when he told me today that he was sending me to Swedish Medical Center to a BAC specialist, I had to believe that he had put a lot of thought behind it. As luck would have it, the specialist is Dr. Jack West (the doctor that my San Francisco Specialists thought I should go see). Currently, he has 3 different clinical trials going (2 that I'm eligible for). So, on Thursday I'll be heading to my first (of many) appointment with Dr. West to get my next clinical trial underway. I can't wait to share my visit with all of you on Thursday night. It's going to be a positive appointment...I can feel it already.

Rick's CT scan went as planned and we'll get the results from that next Tuesday when he has a return visit with his surgeon (along with another day of chemo).

When we got home from Seattle today, a friend of the family who is going through massage school dropped by and gave me a wonderful massage. The table was still up when Rick got home so he is out in the living room having a massage right now as I type this blog. What a treat we were given tonight. Thank you Krystal.

I just noticed the photo I posted yesterday. Ugh...I look terrible. Honestly, I look better than that on most days. I was just trying to show you my new hair.

I'd better go start dinner. It's getting late.

Keep dreaming HUGE,

Monday, September 14, 2009

The internet is finally working :)

Now I have no excuse not to post a blog more often than I have been. My computer is now fast and working like a charm.

Tomorrow is a busy day in Seattle. I have bloodwork and an appointment starting at 8:30, then Rick has a CT scheduled over at the University of Washington at 9:30. The timing will all work out. While I'm with the doc, Rick will be drinking that really good contrast stuff that tastes like berry flavored chalk. He's always so happy to do it :) When I'm done...I'll drive over to the U and pick him up.

I'm uncertain about my appointment tomorrow. I know it's just for bloodwork and a check up but I have to say I'm a little anxious about prolonging the scan for another month. I don't anticipate any changes but if there are some, at least I could make the decision to move forward with a treatment plan. The uncertainty comes from feeling so good. Besides the sore throat and ear ache I had last weekend, I really have been feeling refreshed. If I have a scan and they start a new batch of chemo, that feeling of well being may change in a hurry. I'll discuss all my options with Dr. Eaton and let you know what we've decided. I'm posting a photo of my newest hairdo (the eyelashes and eyebrows are still gone). My hair is so short I could join the military if I wasn't so old, sick and out of shape. I look a little bit like an older GI Jane :)

Rick is feeling and looking much better than he has lately. His sense of humor is returning and I was really missing that. Even his Urbitux rash is looking much better.
Dreaming Big and Wishing for great appointments tomorrow.
Love you more,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Swine Flu?

I'm sure you're getting tired of my complaining about the new internet service I signed up for....but let me say this just once more....what a bad idea this has been. They've promised me that it will all be fixed on Monday. Don't hold your breath. :)

I woke up yesterday with an earache and a sore throat. It's still bothering me tonight but I've been working hard to make it feel better by gargling with hot salt water and using antibiotic ear drops. Angie made me call the doctor today to make sure it wasn't the beginning of the swine flu. I assured her that I wasn't oinking and my tail hasn't curled, so I think we're ok. These kids...always worrying about their parents...we should all be so lucky :)

We're still enjoying our house guests Dave and Val. Next weekend, Jake and Megan will be moving in too. Megan starts her internship on the 27th so they want to get settled into our house before she starts. It will be a nice short trip for Jake every day. About 4 miles to work. The drive for Megan won't be too bad either. This winter she'll be working in Arlington which is less than 15 miles away. I'm looking forward to a houseful of people. Laughter and smiles will make the days much brighter.

Dream Big,

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chemo Tuesday

Rick's chemo went as planned today. He's a little tired tonight but otherwise he's feeling pretty good. He just finished a bowl of chicken noodle soup that Val made us for dinner.

During Rick's doctor's appointment today I had a little meltdown. I told the doctor how I was worried about Rick and the changes I was seeing in him. We explained how we were sad about the liver chemo embolization not working. After a much needed pep talk, Dr. Whiting reminded us about all the things that are still normal in our lives. He told us not to put so much power in the liver process (he said he has lots of patients with cancer that has spread to their liver and they don't even get to try the procedure). Rick was lucky enough to have it work at least once (and maybe more if we're lucky). He gave us some really great advice so by the time we left his office we were both feeling better about life in general.

Lately, I've allowed fear into my personal space. Today, I kicked it out.

Just keep dreaming big...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy Labor Day Weekend

After Rick was released from the hospital on Friday, we made the journey over to Desert Aire. If he needed a few days to recuperate, why not do it here? The weather has cooled off to a perfect 75 degrees. We had a little rain last night but we were inside so it never bothered us.

We spent a lot of time yesterday visiting with Rick's family. The Aunt's from Kansas are over here visiting so we got to spend a little extra time with them. Rick's cousin Lisa and her daughter who live in Walla Walla drove up and surprised us. Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel had us all down for dinner last night to celebrate. Thanks! All of our usual buddies/relatives were over here this weekend except our kids and the boys at Eric and Joe's. Missed you all!

Though Rick didn't have any chemo injected into him on Thursday, I can tell that he isn't feeling like himself. They still did lots of poking and prodding in his tummy so I can understand why he's not really perky. I'm sure he's also processing the possibility that he may no longer have this procedure as an option. When you live with cancer, you never want options to be removed from your plate. We're not giving up on this process, but we know it will be at least another month before they even try again. :(

We are heading back home today because Rick wants to work tomorrow (since he'll be gone on Tuesday for chemo). On the way home we've decided to take a detour and go check out Dave and Val's new house. We're so excited to see the progress. Last time we were there, they had a foundation poured. Now they're putting down real floors. Can't wait to see it!

Continue having a safe and happy holiday.

Love you more than all the traffic we'll encounter this weekend...ugh!

Dream Big,


Friday, September 04, 2009

Fresh new start

After a decent night's sleep (I laid on a chair/bed next to Rick all night long) we woke up this morning with bright new attitudes. We are going to spend a couple of days having fun in Eastern Washington then come back home to Rick starting back on his standard chemo. Whatever happens from this point forward is out of our hands anyway so we've just gotta believe that it's all going to work out. Rick has been fortunate to be able to try 2 unusual types of treatment on his liver. Even if those days are over, something new could come to our door and we'll be waiting to check it out.

When I sit back and think about how lucky we've been over these past few years, the support we've had from friends, family and strangers, and the success we've had with our treatments I believe we have a lot to be thankful for. You've just gotta keep Dreaming Big!

Thanks for all the love and prayers.
Rick and Doreen

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Blog Posting #950...

After a long exhausting day, we just got some discouraging news. Rick's liver has blocked all of its main vessels off and has made some small squiggly ones that they can't get the camera and tools though. So after hours in surgery, nothing was accomplished. Since his body is "repairing" itself, the specialist is hoping to go back in and do a CT angiogram in about 4 weeks to see if any of the new vessels are big enough to use. Currently, they can't get to either lobe of his liver.

I have high hopes that his body will heal itself again and we can go back in and do this surgery again. I'm sad for him because we all know that this is the procedure that has given him the greatest results.

Luckily, he's feeling well tonight, his coloring is great and he ate a good dinner. We're going to enjoy this weekend with friends and family and forget about cancer for a while.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Change of Plans

After a terrible night's sleep (my bed was comfy, but my mind was racing about Rick's surgery) we got up and left for Seattle around 6:30am. Rick got all prepped and then we waited for a surgical room to become available. Before we got to the operating room however, they checked out Rick's blood and found that it was too thin from the Coumidin. So, they cancelled his surgery and rescheduled it for Thursday once his blood has had a chance to thickened up a little.

Amy and Megan were at the hospital today to support us. Thank you girls for spending your free time with us. Sorry things didn't work out.

I'm overly tired today/tonight so I'm going to get to bed early and start tomorrow fresh and full of energy.

Shannon's brother had heart surgery today and everything went well. Here's wishing Kevin a speedy recovery.

Dreaming Big,