Friday, January 29, 2010

Today was "Doreen Day"

I have to say, Dor looked really good today.  When I got to the house to check on her I knew right away that my heart would get a break today... so would my tear ducts.  She had a house full of visitors throughout the day and numerous times I heard people comment on how popular she was today.  I asked who had stopped by and I was happy to hear the list of people continue to grow and grow.  She was greeted this morning by Jim Piccolo and Tom Wilfong, friends from the Athletic Department at Stanwood High School.  Then Larry Libby stopped by to show his support.  My dad's aunt Fran and uncle Chuck stopped by... and then Cathy for a quick hug... Pam and Shelly after school, and then my grandparents, Kelly and Morgan, Ann McCune, and a nice long visit from her sister Debby who she doesn't see as often as they would like.  Having so many visitors probably sounds overwhelming to most people, but it seems to be exactly what mom loves.  Sure, she gets tired throughout the day... some from the company and some from the basic effects of cancer... but being surrounded by smiling faces and laughter keeps her spirits up.

When I called Kelly this morning to check on mom's fever she said, "your mom is awake and looks pretty good today, compared to yesterday."  That wasn't saying much since yesterday was a very tough day for her, to say the least.  She told me that mom was talking a lot and said she wanted some make-up... specifically "smokey eyes".... and to do something with her hair.  Of course I said, "Smokey eyes?  Please take her temperature because I've never heard her talk like that."  Her temp was 100.4 so although she looked good and talked a lot, she was on the border between the comfortable couch and the freeway to UW medical center.  As the day went on her temp only dropped so she dodged a bullet today.  After I stopped by, I teased her about her make-up comment.  Morgan Osborne was with us so Morgan followed thru with mom's desire and gave her a make-over.  She took off her oxygen and posed for this picture with Chuck and Fran as soon as the make-up was finished.  Anyone who has seen her in the last few days wouldn't believe this was even the same person.

She ate a good breakfast, requested Chatterbox (a local asian restaurant) for lunch and Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner.  Of course she got whatever she wanted.  As long as either of them are craving a certain food, we will make it happen.  Shannon even showed up with Rick's favorite DQ Blizzard.  That put a smile on his face and helped him to forget about his bruised stomach, if only for a few minutes.

As I left the house this evening, all of the crowd from "Doreen Day" had cleared out.  Mom and Dad both looked better than they have in a while.  Mom had good color and was getting around the house on her own.  Dad was soaking his sore feet in the epsom salt solution his oncologist has recommended for this new chemo cocktail.  I think the best medicine for my dad today was seeing the old Doreen back for the day.  I could see in his eyes that his heart needed a day off as well.

Thank you to all of the visitors today.  If anyone is in the area and wants to stop by for a quick visit, please don't hesitate.  The company is good for mom's spirits and if she wants to rest she's not afraid to let you know.

Goodnight, Sleep Tight-

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Morning

Although we probably don't need to apologize for not keeping the blog up to date lately, I am still going to say that we're sorry.  This blog was designed to keep people in the loop about mom and dad so we will continue to try and find time to do that.

We've had a couple of busy days.  The days of feeling like we are on a roller-coaster are back.  The last time I updated the blog dad was heading to chemo and mom was heading out for a day of fun with friends.  Since then, dad's CEA count is up to 150 from 122 and they have changed up his chemo cocktail.  He also has to give himself a shot in the stomach each morning to help thin his blood.  He had to do this a few years back and it might be his least favorite part of cancer so far.  Mom got home from a day of playing on Tuesday and hasn't really gotten out of bed since.  She had a slight fever of 99.6 Tuesday night and into Wednesday.  At some point yesterday, her temperature hit 100.5 which is the magic number for a call to Seattle Cancer Care.  They instructed her to get a blood draw immediately and then pick up some new antibiotics at the pharmacy.  If she has an infection in her lungs, we need to stay on top of it.

She returned home from the doctor's office around 3pm yesterday and fell into a deep sleep.  I called the house a few times in the evening but every time I called they said she was still sleeping.  Hopefully the antibiotics and sleep with help her fight whatever is going on.  We were all on pins and needles waiting for her blood work to come back this morning.  Bad numbers meant we packed up the car and headed straight to UW medical center in Seattle.  Ok numbers meant she could continue to rest at home and try to fight this thing on her own.  While writing this blog entry, Angie just called me with an update.  All of mom's numbers were within normal range so it appears she dodged a bullet this time.  She is still sleeping for a few hours so she is yet to find out the good news.

The past few weeks have been more difficult than before.  As situations change, we all have to change along with them.  We really couldn't do this without everyone's help.  It takes a village to raise a child but it takes a community to support a fight with cancer.  You guys are proving that every day.  My mom is rarely alone. Whenever I stop by the house there are numerous cars in the driveway and she is always in good hands.  My dad has had drivers volunteer for his chemo trips long before we have had to ask the question "can anyone get Tuesday off from work?"  We can't say enough about the help we have received lately from Mel & Jessie taking care of the Desert Aire houses, to Gayle at the doctor's office yesterday who dropped everything to ensure mom was the first priority the second she walked in the door, and Kelly Lloyd who has arrived at mom and dad's house just before mom wakes up and cares for her until 3pm each day so we can go to work and not fall further behind.  There are a lot of people who have lightened our load and for that, we say thank you.

Hoping for a boring day with nothing new to worry about-

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time for an Update

This is Amy.  I just wanted to jump online for a quick little update.  Since last week's blog not much is new at the Schmitt house.  My parents had house guests this weekend and they were just what the doctor ordered.  Everyone had a good time and there were more laughs than tears.

My dad has been feeling pretty well, for the most part.  He has chemo today in Seattle.  Val and Shannon are taking him so mom can stay home and rest.  It will be a long day for them in Seattle because his chemo is in the middle of the afternoon.  We sure appreciate their help with the driving.

Mom has stayed home quite a bit but their house never seems to be empty.  I was there for most of the day yesterday and there were a number of visitors who stopped by to help out around the house, cook dinner, and just visit with mom.  You guys have been amazing and I hope you know how much you are appreciated.  I think Dor is planning to get out of the house today to visit a friend and pick up a few medical items.  She has someone else to drive so she can relax and try to get some rest.

Hoepfully Dor will feel well enough to post a little update soon with details about dad's chemo and his stubborn CEA counts.  Let's hope for small numbers today.

Hoping all is well with you and yours-

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cancer is following a new path

Ann and I arrived at my appointments this morning to hear some less than good news.  The CT scan showed that only have about 50 percent of my lung capacity left which is why I have such a hard time breathing.  The left lung is a total mess.  Though I wasn't excited about what he had to show me, it was the second set of news that really took my breath away.  The brain MRI shows that I have 4 spots of cancer in my brain.  We are going to watch and wait on the brain mets by agressively starting a new chemo.  So today I started Alimta which is a drug that is given once every 3 weeks.  It's a quick process but it has some powerful components.

So here's the plan....chemo today, 2 week break, then chemo again.  After 6 weeks, I'll  have another brain and lung scan/mri.  If there are any changes for the worse when it comes to the brain, we'll look into doing radiation.  But I believe we're going to see some changes for the good and just keep doing this chemo routine for another 3 years :)

Keep dreaming big,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Busy couple of days ahead

This morning Ann McCune picked me up for a day of scans and a brain MRI.  I am so thankful that she was with me (not only because she's my friend) but because she is a nurse.   Now that Oxygen is in my life, I can't go anywhere alone.  It's a job packing my tank around and if you know know that I'm also carting around a purse full of junk (and carrying that is a job of it's own). 

Tomorrow is another busy day.  We have our first appointment of the day at 7:20am.  My new chemo starts at 9:30.  I'm always anxious on that day because you never know how your body will react to the new chemicals.

After the tests  today Ann and I went out and  had an early dinner (really just happy hour appetizers) then off to see the movie "Precious".  It was a very deep and sad movie but I'm glad we went.

Bob and Dy are coming to visit this weekend.  We're looking forward to their company.  Dave and Val are staying on this side of the mountain this weekend as well.  I hope my new chemo doesn't get the better of me.  It's the pits when you're not feeling well and you have a house full of company.

I'll write more tomorrow to let you know how it all worked out.

Dreaming Big,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Exciting Weekend

On Friday night at the boys basketball game, Rick and I were the guest hosts of the  coaches vs. cancer event.  We got to join the team in their room and listen to their pre-game and half-time talks.  The boys were all so kind to us and I think they really understood that there are lots more important things in life than game playing.

I woke up this morning to a bunch of house guests.  I kept asking what they were doing at our house but no one reallly had a good answer.  Then, before you knew it, there must have been 30 people in our yards and flower beds workng their tails off.  Every tree was pruned, every flower bed was cleaned out and filled with beauty bark or red rock. It looks beautiful.  Thank you EVERYONE for all your hard work.  We are so grateful for the hours of work you put in to turn our wild forest into a lovely garden.

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Long day with the doctor

Both Rick and I had appointments today.  He had chemo and I met with Dr. Eaton. His CEA counts are still on the rise so plans have changed for his next round of drugs.   I've felt in limbo ever since I switched from Seatle Cancer Care to Swedish.  During my time at Swedish I tried new meds, clinical trials, and never quite felt like I was making progress. 

Today at Seattle Cancer Care, when I got to my appointment, I shared all my anxieties and concerns with Dr. Eaton and he calmed my nerves by assuring me that evverything is going to be ok.  The first thing he did was check my oxygen level and we learned that my biggest problem right now is that I'm not ggetting enough oxygen which is why I  cough uncontrolably, can't catch my breath and have been so tried lately.

Once they hooked me up to an oxygen tank, I felt like a new person.  My brain felt like it worked more clearly, I wasn't gasping for air.  Tonight a company came to the house and brought me an oxygen machine and all the equipment that goes with it.

The longer I breathe this fresh air, the better I feel.  Next week, I will be having a a CT scan, brain MRI, bloodwork, then starting a new chemotheraphy called Alimta.  Things are going to get better soon..  I can feel it!

I'm exhausted after the long day, so I'm going to call it a night.  Talk to you tomorrow :)

Keep dreaming big,

Friday, January 8, 2010

Imagine No More Cancer

I got a call from my doctor's office today and we're moving my appointment up to January 12. Hopefully we'll make sure that I don't have a little case of pneumonia.
Tomorrow night Rick and I are going out for dinner with Dave and Val. A little extra fun never hurt anyone. I think we're going to La Connor.
I still have a bunch of work to do on this hang in there. I'll try to make it worth your while.
Dreaming Big,


Thursday, January 7, 2010

It seems to be working...

My next doctor's appointment is towards the end of this month.  Until then, my body is just going to take a break.  I thought I would be feeling great by now, but instead I've been feeling more and more fatigued.  I'm not sure if it's because of the coughing ( which is by far the worst it's ever been) or maybe just the weather in general.  I don't go out of town alone anymore, because I'm afraid I'm going to get stuck in a parking lot, unable to load my bags into the car.  Some days I just want to sit in my car and cry because I'm so winded. 

Rick hasn't been feel all that well either (which is why we think the weather may have something to do with our overall health).  He's still working everyday which I think keeps him sane. 

 I'll write more tomorrow and add some photos and other cute items to my page :)

Dreaming Big,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Post in our new blog :)

It looks like it's up and running.  I've been trying for days to switch the blog over (with fear that I might lose some of my old postings).  After much frustration and a little patience, it's done.  Please write this address down someplace safe.  If I'm the only one with the lock and key to the rest of the story, we could be in big trouble:)

Happy New Year ~ Keep Dancing  

Dreaming Big,