Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Final pill taken, first round DONE

That clinical trial flew right by. This morning I took my 28th pill and now I take the next 2 weeks off to recuperate. The nausea is under control but I'm still a little more fatigued than usual.

This morning my parents went with me to my doctor's appointment in Fremont. I saw a specialist regarding my "throat/windpipe problem". My problem isn't so much in swallowing, but rather breathing deeply, coughing and gasping for air. I feel like my windpipe has been crushed or injured. The gastroenterologist suggested that we wait and look at the CT scan on the 9th of November to see if the problem is my lymph nodes pressing on my trachea. If that's not the problem, he has suggested doing a new bronchoscopy to see if they can see any problem in the windpipe or entrances into my lungs. If that doesn't give us any solutions, we'll switch to plan B. I don't know what plan B is, but I'm sure they're drawing up the plans as I type this.

When we were done at my appointment, I took Mom and Dad out for Mom's birthday lunch. I asked her where she wanted to go, then I hinted we could eat at her favorite casino so she could play a little. She assured me they had good prime rib dips so going to the casino would be "JUST FINE". We all played the slot machines for a few minutes before we ate, then again after lunch. I ended up going home with 15 dollars more than I started with....Yahoo, that's what I call a winner.

Now that we've been gone most of the day, I'm ready for a nap. Luckily, Megan started dinner before she left for work today (she doesn't start until 1:00pm on Wednesdays) so I don't have to worry about that tonight. I haven't been sleeping well lately, so by 4:00pm I'm usually wiped out.

Rick has been feeling pretty good lately too. So far, they are sticking with the same plan he has been on since December 30th of last year. As long as the cancer stays relatively stable, he will most likely just continue with the same plan.

Heading off for a little afternoon nap,
Dreaming Big~

Monday, October 26, 2009

Soup for a Cure

As we come to the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month let me remind you that another important month is right around the corner. November is National Lung Cancer Awareness month. You wont find special yogurt lids to send in or see the NFL players/coaches/ officials wearing uniquely colored gear to celebrate this upcoming month. However, that shouldn't stop us from bringing awareness to this disease that plagues someone new every three minutes!

I have decided to start a new tradition this November and I am looking for volunteers to join me in this quest. Beginning next week I will be holding the first annual "Soup for a Cure" at my school in Marysville. Throughout the month I will be providing soup lunches (with bread and dessert) for my staff at lunch time with all donations benefiting the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. This will be a great opportunity to supply my co-workers with a fresh, warm lunch and fund a cause that is dear to my heart. I have created a flier that I would be happy to send to anyone interested in hosting "Soup for a Cure" at their place of employment or church. You may choose to host this event on a weekly basis throughout the month or simply pick a single day to host your "Soup for a Cure."

In addition to hosting the "Soup for a Cure" events in November I would also like to see how many businesses we can convince to displaying "November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month" on their reader-boards. I would like photographs of all such reader-boards to post on the blog.

If you are interested in hosting a "Soup for a Cure" event, would like to donate to our November fundraising goals or would like to donate your culinary skills by making a pot of soup for our events, please email me at

Thanks again for your continued support!

Dreaming Big-


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fatigue is a dirty word

Be watching for a new blog site. With less than 20 entries left until I've filled my quota, I need to start thinking of a new name....I could use your help. Who would have known that "" would have lasted almost 4 years? I need something catchy, easy to remember and pass on.

As you can tell it's 6:30am and I'm up. I've been awake for about an hour (hoping it was just a dream that I was already awake) but no such luck. The only things bothering me right now are my constant state of being nauseous (I have meds to control that) and the overwhelming state of fatigue. I want to read but my eyes won't stay open. I want to knit, but I can't get my hands to move in the right direction. After brief little naps, I take full advantage of doing the things I can, starting dinner, unloading the dishwasher, a little knitting, doing laundry....then it hits me again and I lay down on my bed for what I think is going to be a couple of minutes....and it's 2 hours later when I wake up. The good part? I only have 6 pills left to take for this cycle of chemo then I have 2 weeks off. I've got an appointment with a doc from Swedish to do an endoscope of my esophagus to see what's going on down there. I can only describe the pain as though I have a bone caught in my throat when I cough, swallow too hard, or breathe too deep. I know my body all too well and this is definitely something different. I'm hoping that once I'm done with this cycle of chemo pills that my body will start to feel like it's old self again.

Rick's chemo went well again on Tuesday. As for now, he is just scheduled for his regular routine of chemo drugs every other Tuesday until December. After that, we'll re access our plans.

Megan has been coming down with a respiratory infection of some kind, so she spends every moment she's home down in their basement apartment. If she does have to come upstairs for anything, she wears a blue protective mask with a duck face printed on the front. We're all hoping she gets better soon.

Dave and Val's house is nearing it's final stages. I know they're anxious to get all moved in and start their new life over near Leavenworth, but I'm already missing them.

Shannon had another spot of melanoma removed from her chest on Monday. Angie and I stayed in the room while they cut it out (oh my goodness they take a lot of skin for just a tiny mole). I know it's uncomfortable to have to go through this, but she's much happier to do it now while the cancer is in it's early stages rather than wait until it's out of control.

Amy stopped by last night while I was just laying down for a quick little rest. Poor thing, didn't get much time to visit with me since I was so out of it, but I got to snuggle with her until it was time for her to leave. I love that time with my kids.

Ok, I think it's time for me to head back to bed for a little early morning nap. I'm hoping to go to lunch today with some old friends...I hope I wake up in time.

Dreaming Big,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dor's Side Effect Update

I took mom to the doctor's office in Seattle this afternoon to see why her skin is looking yellowish...or "tan" as we like to call it. Also, there were concerns about her thyroid levels being elevated. Dr. West cleared up any concerns we had about the thyroid levels, telling us that he has seen much higher levels from users of this drug. He told us not to be worried. As far as the skin color, he pretty much said..."things could be worse so embrace that it's just a tan". He doesn't have concerns about any of the new changes.

Mom mentioned the feeling in her chest that has been causing her discomfort. She describes it as the "I think I swallowed a wishbone" feeling. Dr. West is taking that discomfort seriously and has scheduled a few appointments for mom. Nothing will change until her last nine days of this trial are over, but after that she will be getting a CT scan to see what's going on inside her chest, and an endoscopy to see what is going on inside her throat. If the new discomfort is being caused by swollen lymph nodes, she will likely start radiation to attack those spots and lessen the discomfort. In the mean time, he told her not to eat any chicken bones. :)

Overall, I guess the appointment went well. Hearing the word "radiation" was something new, but it wasn't scary. Knowing that her thyroid is within reasonable limits and her new tan is nothing to be frightened about gives us hope.

Another day in paradise-

Early Morning

Rick has been unable to sleep for the past couple of hours and since he can't sleep, I guess my body doesn't want to sleep either. I attempted to knit (but I needed to concentrate too much) so I gave that up. Now I'm just watching the news which is sad so I'm thinking about putting my ipod on and just listen to music instead.

This afternoon I have an appointment with Dr. West at Swedish. I've spent way too much time in a state of fatigue lately and my thyroid counts were way off on Wednesday so they want to check me out again just to make sure everything is ok. I only have about 10 days of pills left in this cycle then I have 2 weeks off. I'm looking forward to that!

I guess I'd better try and get a little shut eye before it's time to wake up again. I'll let you know how my appointment goes this afternoon.

Dreaming Big with my eyes wide open at 4:30am... ugh!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Take my breath away....

When I used to say "wow, that took my breath away", it was a good thing. I had seen something beautiful, heard a speech or song that was unforgettable, but means I probably walked from one end of the house to the other, made my bed, or unpacked groceries. Cancer has been attempting to kick my butt lately, but I won't cave in to it's evil ways.

This new trial drug is building up in my body a little more each day. It's now 12:30 am, I went to bed before 10 and I'm already up because I'm having problems sleeping. I talked to the oncologist today and my thyroid tests were off the chart on Wednesday and I'm looking a little yellow (tan) so we're going to head back to Seattle on Monday to see what's really happening inside my body. I feel like I have something caught in my throat all the time so we might be doing another bronchoscopy soon to check it out.

My eyes are starting to get heavy right now, so I'll try to head back to bed. I promise to write more in the morning (or whenever I get up).

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dr.'s Visit

I had a list of things to ask Dr. West during my visit today (Wednesday) all of which he said were pretty normal side effects of this drug. He is changing my anti-nausea drug in hopes that I can get a little extra relief from always feeling like I need to throw up. :) That will be nice. I was just going to go the appointment by myself until my friend Pam heard I was doing it alone...and jumped on the band wagon. I kept telling her I was fine and didn't need a helper, but now I'm so happy she went. I like and extra set of ears listening to what the doc has to say. I now just need to finish my bottle of pills, take a couple of weeks off then get a new scan. We'll know within the next month if this stuff is working.

I've really been experiencing shortness of breath, the usual cough (but not a very deep one), some kind of blockage in the middle of my chest (that seems to come and go), and a great deal of fatigue along with a few other new symptoms. Nothing a Big Dreamer can't overcome. :)

Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm not always sleeping well which is why I'm writing this blog at 1:00am. Oops. I need to get back to bed.

Rick says he's feeling "pretty good" but he seemed a little under the weather tonight when he came home. Hopefully the cabbage patch soup I fixed for dinner was just what he needed.

I'd better try and get a little sleep before morning arrives and I'm still up working on the blog.

Love you more than the blustery weather we had today....

Keep Dreaming Big,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Seahawk Sunday :)

This weekend was a busy one. We delivered frozen beef to Spokane to Bob and Dy which gave us a great chance to visit. We haven't been over to see them in way too long. Every time we go over to see them they've done something beautiful to their house, like painted a wall, built a bar, made a fence. I'm always envious, but I'll get over it. Way too much work to try and keep up :)We had a wonderful time but I already miss them.

After leaving Spokane yesterday afternoon, we went to Desert Aire to do a little winterizing before the bad weather sets in. I think we made it just in time. It was 19 degrees in Spokane, and 31 degrees at DA. While we were there we got to see Susie, Pat, Eric and Joe as well as Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel. We've made our visiting rounds for at least the next couple of weeks.

We've got a fire built (upstairs and down), Megan is making a pot of chili for dinner, the Seahawks were on fire today (theywon 41 - 0). All in all, I think today's a WINNER.

Besides battling nausea, leaving my cell phone at home, forgetting my sleeping pills, and not bringing a coat everything else this weekend was great. I have my first follow-up appointment with Dr. West on Wednesday. I'm anxious to see how he feels things are going.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Beautiful Day :)

Since I'm home alone, I thought what a better time than now to take a self-portrait of myself with my new hairdo. I'm wearing one of my newest green scarves (that I knitted) and squatting by my front porch greenery in hopes that you would not notice how "green" I'm feeling inside. This is me on Sutent. Yesterday while I was suppose to be the good wife who was caring for her husband while he was having chemo...I had to go to my doc for some anti-nausea meds so I could make it through the day. I've now loaded my purse with all the appropriate medications needed for coughing, feeling queasy and fatigued. I'm set to go.

Chemo went well for Rick yesterday, but boy...was it a long day. We left for Seattle around 12:00 and got home at 8:30 last night. Ugh. While we were wasting time between appointments, we both got a flu shot. I'd forgotten about it until I raised my arm this morning. It's much better this afternoon. If you haven't had yours yet, don't forget. Once the swine flu vaccine comes out, you can get that one too. The needles aren't very long and the bleeding stops once they put a band aid on. Just kidding...I barely felt a thing!

We'll find out in the next few days if they are going to try to do another angiogram/chemo embolization on Rick's liver or if that option is off the table. Either way, chemo will continue and our attitudes will be great!

Hope this beautiful weather is finding you healthy and happy.

Lots of LOVE from the Schmitt House,


Monday, October 05, 2009

33 blogs left

As I write blog number 966 I can hardly remember all the things I've shared with you. I never imagined that 3 1/2 years later I would still be here to send updates of life in the Schmitt House :) How thankful I am that I was mistaken. When I get to number 1,000 I'll tell you the name of my new blog site in case you want to stay in touch. Here is a little more...about our life.

Tomorrow is another chemo day for Rick. He's been feeling pretty good lately and that makes me happy. He's been well enough to be outside cutting wood and doing some of the things that make him feel like his old self. He came inside after working this weekend and sort of plopped on his chair. He isn't very good at determining when he's done too much.

I've been faithfully taking my new drug Sutent. It's caused a little nauseousness and extra fatigue, but it's all manageable. My cough however, is driving me a little crazy. I've been using the nebulizer more frequently to try and stop a coughing episode before it starts along with a cough suppressant. It seems to be working.

We'll be getting our flu shots tomorrow...don't forget to get yours. Just a reminder, if you rub it out after the injection, it won't hurt as bad the next day :)

Halloween is just around the corner, I wonder what my kids are going to dress like? Clowns?

Dreaming Big,

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Updates

I'm not sure if it's the change in weather or just what, but my coughing spells have been happening more often and more intense. Although I don't feel fatigued yet, I find myself sleeping every afternoon for no apparent reason. I think it must just be a side effect.

I'm up writing this blog right now because I'm feeling too nauseous to lay down. Once all the side effects show up, I'll be able to manage them with breathing, or meds or a cold rag on my head (my mom always did that...I think it works for everything).

Rick has been feeling great this week. I'm so happy about that. I feel like I have my old Ricky back. Let's hope he stays that way. Quality of Life is so important :)

I'm going to go lie back down again. Hope I'm feeling better by morning.

Dreaming Big,