Monday, December 28, 2009

Special Gift today from Shannon's Brother Kevin

This morning I got a phone call from Angie and Shannon who were out celebrating Shannon's birthday. They called with some really special news from Shannon's brother in Oregon. Kevin works for a company who was looking for an organization to invest their yearly charity money on. Kevin immediately spoke up and said I know of one. One that is close to the hearts of people I love. With that being said, he gave a brief description of the Bonnie J. Addario association and the company agreed to give their generous donation to Bonnie and company in the amount of 12 thousand dollars. I can't begin to tell them how thankful and grateful we are as a family and an organization for their generosity. Mostly, I'm so proud of Kevin for speaking up and believing in a cause that is so close to his sister and her "other family".

Now that I've shared the great news, I must share my dilemma....I have 3 blogs left with this name attached. I really need the help of all my followers. Amy and I have been working on names tonight (problem is, most of them require a swear word and that's not a good thing). Some ideas: I pee my pants every time I, somebody make that cough go, cancer sucks (already taken), continue to follow the We would love to hear your ideas so enter them under the comment section....that way, everyone can give us their input.

If I haven't said it lately, thank you EVERYONE for your continued support. We are BLESSED and not a day goes by that we take that for granted.

Dreaming Bigger than ever,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT

Spending Christmas eve with my parents and all the kids was a great time. Mom and Dad were having a houseful at 6:00pm so we started our evening around 4:00pm so they could get home in time for their guests. After dinner and laughter we opened gifts and felt guilty about how lucky we really are.

The kids all left the house by 9:30 this morning (or last night) and we headed over to Jeff and Dawns for Christmas breakfast. The food was wonderful and the the little kids had so much fun waiting for their gifts left by Santa.

When Rick and I got home today my mom and dad came by and spent the afternoon with us. When they left, we both took a nap and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the day.

Nothing scheduled for tomorrow, but we'll have something worked out by the time we get up.

We're both feeling well tonight, hope you are too!

Dreaming Big,
Rick and Doreen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pre-Holiday excitement

The past few days have been filled with Christmas shopping, birthday parties, Lights of Christmas, scans and doctors appointments.

I'm attaching some photos from the my nephews birthday bowling party and a little bit of silliness from the lights of Christmas.

I think I'm just about done shopping. Ok, I AM done. If I've forgotten anything, it's too late and I'm sorry.....I'll remember to put you on the top of next years list. :)

Yesterday, Rick had a CT scan and today we got the results. As nervous and antsy as we were to hear what they had to say today, it ended up not too bad after all. Some of the tumors have grown but there are no new tumors (which is fabulous news). The plan is to keep Rick on the routine he's been on for at least one more month. If things are still growing and his numbers keep rising, they have a new game plan with the drug they injected into his liver in September. They will add a few extra toxins and see how that plan works. In the meantime, they will watch for some clinical trials that might fit his needs. The best part of the day is that we still have options and that is a GOOD THING. :)

I'm exhausted after a day of shopping and doctor's visits so I think I'm going to call it a night. Sleep well and don't be naughty.....

Love you more,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best Christmas Present Ever!

I woke up early on Thursday morning with the intent to help Megan make as I sat around with my hair in a fuzz ball (literally), my jammies still on, wearing my chef Doreen jacket...the door bell rang. Much to my GREAT SURPRISE, standing on the front porch was "my Bonnie " Addario and her daughters Andrea and Danielle wearing Santa hats and smiles, carrying Starbucks mochas and presents. They chartered a plane to come to Stanwood for the DAY so we could spend some quality time together. Amy helped instigate the whole thing because she stood behind them at the door wearing her pearly white grin asking "are you surprised?"

In the short while we spent together, we visited, shopped around Stanwood and Camano, ate lunch at the Chatterbox, came home and talked, rested, then finished our evening out with Rick and I, all the kids and Bonnie's clan at Anthony's Homeport in Everett where laughter was our appetizer, main dish and dessert. I can't stop smiling as I write this because the day couldn't have been more perfect.

It's amazing to receive a gift that wasn't on your list, but you later learn you couldn't have lived without it.

A BIG thank you to everyone who was in on the surprise. My day could not have been more perfect~except for the tears as we had to say our good byes tonight :(

Dreaming Big and VERY ,VERY, HAPPY,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Day to Reflect

Today isn't just another day. Today is December 15th, 2009... the 18th Anniversary of my Grandma Darlene passing away from her battle with cancer. I never knew cancer until she was diagnosed. Every year, December 15th makes me stop and reflect. When I hear her name, I immediately think of her last few years battling the disease. Although I was only 14 when she died, I still have plenty of positive memories of her from my childhood... yet I think about the difficult days filled with chemotherapy and her uncomfortable wigs. It bothers me that I don't automatically think of the good times. It makes me sad to think that I could someday hear someone speak of my parents and my mind would take me back to cancer, yet again.

This week I found myself day-dreaming about my Grandma and comparing her battle to that of my parents. I think about her external port that hung outside of her chest and how difficult it was for her to keep it clean. She often needed the help of others to ensure it was functioning properly and kept clean so she wouldn't get an infection. Medicine has come a long way in the past 18 years. Both of my parents have internal ports that don't require cleaning, and certainly don't hang out of their chest as yet another reminder of their daily battle with cancer.

My Grandma experienced extreme nausea from her chemotherapy and from what I remember, very few drugs were available to help keep her sickness under control. In 3 1/2 years, I have never seen either of my parents vomit from their nausea. They experience discomfort, but medicine has advanced and there are numerous drugs that help them live a normal life.

I don't remember seeing my Grandma without a wig on once she began to lose her hair. I guess it's possible that I did, but I certainly don't remember it. Back then, nobody seemed to talk about cancer. You didn't have the pink ribbons on everything at the grocery store and you didn't hear about cancer walks or other fundraising events. Whether it was because she was self-conscious about losing her hair, or because it wasn't especially encouraged by society to walk around with a bald head, she always took the time to style a wig before leaving the house. When my mom started losing her hair, we got out the video camera, opened a bottle of wine, and had a head shaving party. My mom had professional pictures taken with her beautiful bald head exposed to the world for all to see. Although it was no doubt a shock for her to see her hair falling out, she embraced the moment and viewed it as a stepping stone to recovery. As medicine has changed, so has societies view of the disease.

My dad had chemo today and he learned that his CEA count has risen to 93. That means his cancer is active. He looked exhausted tonight and he seemed a little down. My mom was scheduled to have a procedure on Friday to help resolve her acid reflux problem and help her to control her cough, but it has been cancelled. She has decided to give her body some time to react to the new drugs before she chooses to operate. Everyone seems to agree with her choice to lay low and relax for the next few weeks so she can enjoy the holidays.

As my dad and I drove to the cemetery this evening to put roses on my Grandma's grave I thought about my dad and how he must be feeling. I quickly did the math in my head and realized that he wasn't much older than me when he lost his mom back in 1991. He watched her fight for her life with grace and strength and rarely complain about a thing. I wonder if he is scared. I wonder if he thinks of her everyday and wishes he could just pick up the phone and call her. I watch both of my parents going through this difficult time and I am so proud of them for not giving up and continuing to truly live. I have no doubt that they inspire people every day.

So, as we reflect on the past and think of the loved ones who we've lost, it's also the time to appreciate the present and be grateful for the advances in medicine and the advances in society as a whole. We have come a long way in 18 years but we still have a long way to go.

Wishing on the big bright star in the sky,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great Dr. Appointment

Sorry about the delay in the blog report but we had some sort of malfunction on

Here's what we learned yesterday. After an upper GI and a breathing test, they discovered that acid reflux is making it's way up my esophagus and back into my lungs. (That's not a good thing). The good thing is, we are going to approach my cough from a different angle. Instead of just treating the cough for "lung cancer", we are going to work on reducing or repairing the acid reflux problem and see if that makes a difference with the cough.

I felt a great deal of relief when I left my appointment yesterday because it's the first time in over 3 years that we weren't blaming the cough on lung cancer alone.

I need to make some serious adjustments to when I eat, not laying down flat, taking meds before meals, limit things that produce acid. It's only been one day, but so far, so good.

I'm hopefully optimistic that some great changes are coming my way. My fortune cookie said so tonight as well. :)

Dreaming Big,

Monday, December 07, 2009

990th Blog...the countdown begins

If I spread my blogging out just right, I'll be able to start the new year and a new blog at the same time. We'll see how that works out (I think it involves that could be my first problem).

I'm looking forward to a day in Seattle at the Swedish Cancer Institute on Thursday (Val is going with me...we'll make a fun day of it). I hope to know some answers when I leave my final appointment. The day will be starting with some kind of test that they will perform while I'm swallowing to make sure my esophagus is working correctly, then I'll have a breathing function test to see if my windpipe and the surrounding areas are working (we already know the lungs are shot so I'm not expecting miracles when it comes to those). My final meeting of the day is with the pumnologist, Dr. Gordon who is going to explain why things haven't been working up to par for me.

Saturday night, Dave, Val, Rick and I went to a Yule fest at Tazer farm. It was a fundraiser for the Senior Center. As usual, lots of laughter took place (and not always at the most appropriate times) but we had a lot of fun. We'll have to put it on next years "to do list". After we left the Yule fest, we drove all around the neighborhood checking out the Christmas lights. The holiday is nearing...very quickly so you'd better not shout, you'd better not know why?

I spent the majority of the day wrapping gifts (it's such a relief to get the gifts stacked up out of one room and stack them into another) I say it every year, but I really am cutting back this year. None of need a thing and if we want it, we usually just go buy it. It actually feels so much better to give than to receive so we'll be doing that as well. Lot's of families need help this year I hope we can make a difference for their holiday too!

It's time for me to take a little afternoon nap (hopefully someone will wake me so I can work on dinner when Val gets back from the grocery store).

The winter freeze is upon us, so wear your hats, scarves and gloves when you go outside, drink some spiced cider and sit by the fire when you get home from work. The day doesn't get much better than that :)

Dreaming Cold and Big,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Specalist

Today I had a busy (but pleasant day with my parents by my side) at the office of a pulmonary specialist trying to figure out my problem (besides having lung cancer). First and foremost, he might have been the most attentive doctor I've ever seen. I think after reviewing my chart and looking at my CT scans he expected to see some withered, sickly woman who just seemed to cough a lot. Instead, he got me. We talked about all the ways coughing has ruined my body (through the violent coughing spells) and he said he would like to dig a little deeper into that problem instead of just covering it up with medicines to stop the cough. He also said, he wants to have all my tests run, a new pulmonary function test and the results back by next week so we can get a plan in motion so I can start feeling better for the holidays. I love that idea!

My mom has been to a few appointments with me but had never seen a CT scan result. He asked if we wanted to see my latest one and of course we said yes. As the doctor explained what it all meant, I could see my mom's eyes widen in dismay. My left lung is nearly fully of cancer so as you look at the CT scan it appears to be a white solid organ. In all actuality, the lung is suppose to show up black on the scan. My right lung shows signs of disease, but nothing like the left one. I've lived with this disease for nearly 4 years and I don't plan on letting it take over now. I'm just hoping with the help of Dr. Gordon we will find some other problem that is aggravating the cough besides the cancer.

When you know your body and something doesn't feel right, you have to keep fighting for yourself. The discomfort I've been feeling for the past few months is very different from how I felt at the time of my diagnosis. Come hell or high water....we're going to get to the bottom of the problem. Never give up....

Thanks for all your love and prayers!

Keep dreaming BIG,