Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quiet Time...

Here's the deal.... Dor is in lockdown, of sorts.

She came to Seattle today to get her CT scan results and she ended up being admitted to UW Medical Center to get her pain under control.  She has been assigned a "pain specialist" who will monitor her, and adjust her meds as needed.

Before you grab the phone or your car keys, please know that she is not allowed any visitors or phone calls at this time.  Amy & I will be updating the blog and checking her email account on a regular basis to keep everyone in the loop.  When she is awake we promise to share your well wishes with her.  If you need to contact our family please call one of our cell phones.  We have helpers staying at the house, running errands, and keeping up with the daily chores... but be assured that we will contact people if we need help.

She may be here for a number of days in order to establish a plan but we are fine with that.  We want to ensure that her quality of life increases when she gets home.

Please continue to send happy thoughts our way.

Dream Big-

Friday, June 25, 2010

Things are looking up...

Today was a better day for mom.  For the most part, she was awake.  She had some visitors and took some naps but overall she was alert and interacting with people.  When I arrived around 5:00pm she asked for Mac-N-Cheese and Diet 7-Up.  She ate all of her food and rarely asked for her lolipop of meds.  She no longer looked over-medicated.  Now she just looks comfortable, and that has been the goal all along.

Hopefully her body is getting used to the new pain patch.  I am taking the night shift tonight so hopefully it goes a little better than the shift Angie had last night. 

Hoping for peaceful rest and happy dreams-


P.S. We would like to send our thoughts to the family of Jill Costello... the 22 year old college student in California who passed away from LUNG CANCER yesterday.  I had the opportunity to meet Jill at Bonnie's event in San Francisco last November.  She was an inspirational young woman with a bright future.  Rest in peace as we continue to fight your fight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guessing Game

I woke up this morning hearing mom in pain trying to roll over in bed. I was worried because the pain patch was supposed to be in full effect by 8:00 am and it was around 8:20 by that point. After a little problem-solving we figured out that the patch had been knocked loose in the middle of the night when her arm was romping around. No pain patch = No pain relief. After a bath and a new patch being applied (this time on her chest with tape around it to assure it would stay on firmly) we waited the 12 hours for the meds to kick in. I know that the doctors are participating in a "guessing game" to figure out exactly how strong her pain patch should be, so for the first few days we are keeping a close eye on her every move. I am a little bit worried because she seems really medicated but still complains of pain. She spent nearly every moment of the day in bed and that is the opposite of what we are hoping this new pain plan will do for her. We want her out in the world making memories, going to Taco Tuesdays, shopping at her favorite stores and going for beautiful drives. If tomorrow brings another day of laying in bed all drugged up on these new meds then I will be having a talk with her Oncologist about making a change. I had to call the Cancer Care Alliance just before midnight tonight because mom was showing multiple signs of the side effects that were labled "potentially fatal" and I was not going to take any chances with her shallowed breathing during the night. Here it is nearly 1:00 AM and I feel like I just want to sit here by her and "stand guard." I know that the beast I am prepared to fight is cancer but I will be damned if I am going to go down without a fight!

Sweet Dreams Friends...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pain, Pain... Go AWAY!

I got a call from Mom this morning telling me that the pain in her side was, "The worst pain I have ever had!" By the time she called me she had already contacted her Oncologist in Seattle by email and was waiting for a response about whether or not to come down for a visit. I called the Cancer Care Alliance too and  they told me to pack Mom an over-night bag and get her to Seattle. Our favorite caregiver (Kelly) got to Mom's house and had her bags packed and ready to go in minutes. The entire trip to Seattle Mom was a "10 out of 10" on the pain scale. I felt like I couldn't drive fast enough. After a wheelchair ride and a few doctors trying to get to the bottom of why her pain was so extreme Mom was introduced to her new friend the "pain killing lollipop". Within minutes she told us she was a "6 out of 10" and showed us how she could do side-bends without pain. It was crazy how fast her pain was eased. The final conclusion for the day was that she has not taken enough pain meds on a regular basis to stay on top of her pain. Therefore, she has had a poor quality of life lately and has gradually felt her pain increase. Her  new treatment plan for pain is a pain patch that distributes the medication for three straight days. This, along with her lollipop pain killers are supposed to keep her more comfortable. She will be having bloodwork and a CT scan next Tuesday afternoon (with results coming on Wednesday morning) to check on the cancer progression or lack there of. Unfortunatly we were reminded of the news that we are "At the bottom of the barrel for treatment options" so if the scan shows cancer progression then we will be talking about the possibility of starting with Hospice. As much as we loved and appreciated Dad's Hospice caregivers we don't eagerly await their return. As of now, let's pray that these new pain meds will do their job and get Mom's quality of life back. Then we can start the prayers for good scan results next week! Thank you for the numerous phone calls, cards and emails from friends and family. We greatly appreciate your support, even if we don't get back to you right away.

Dreaming of Painless nights (and days for that matter)-

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nancy's Birthday Wish

Our buddy Nancy had the opportunity to do a public service announcement for the American Cancer Society and she jumped on the opportunity (along with a few friends from her show).  She sent us a nice message telling us to watch for it because she did it in honor of Rick and Dor.  I googled the PSA and attached it above.

Thanks Nancy... we love you.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Morning... or is it night time?

On Monday my mom had chemo in Seattle. Vickie took her to the visit and returned her home to  get some rest about 3:00 pm or so. After I got out of school I went up to the house to check on her. She was sound asleep on the couch. I woke her and made her get into bed so she would be more comfortable. I stayed with her for a while, answered phone calls and eventually headed home. She was so exhausted that I was not sure that she would have remembered my visit so I left her a message telling her to call me later is she wanted. Later that evening around 8:30 pm she called. She started our conversation by saying, "I am such a dork." Apparently she was sleeping so peacefully that when she woke up she thought that she had slept all through the night and it was 8:30 AM on Tuesday. Because of that, she called my office at work and left her daily message saying, "Good morning Honey, I hope you have a good day at work. Call me at lunch time or whenever you get a break." She figured that her day-time caregiver would be arriving soon and that it was time to think about getting herself some breakfast. Then she realized that it was 8:30, but not in the morning. It was still Monday night and she was calling to tell me good morning. She had no way to erase the message so she called and warned me that it would be there when I got to school the next day. She apparently called Amy and did the same thing. She actually spoke to her on the phone and began their conversation by saying , "Good Morning Sweetie." The entire thing was really, really funny. The sweetest part of the entire thing is that even in times of extreme exhaustion or fatigue she still remembers to call and tell her children to have a good day or to let them know that she is thinking about them. That is love...real, unconditional LOVE.

The last two days she has been feeling a bit tired but is doing ok. My grandparents continue to stock the 'fridge with her favorite cherry yogurts because that is all that she ever craves to eat these days. They are great parents for her and I know she appreciates them so much. In case we don't tell you enough, thanks Grandpa Bob and Grandma Myrna for your support and errand running.

Living Strong-

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation Day

We've had a busy couple of weeks around the Schmitt household.  Jake and Megan, Angie and Shannon all bought houses.   Amy started her new full time job with the Air Force Counter Drug task force. ( She'll keep her job with the gambling's a great opportunity). 

This week I taste tested cupcakes for Morgan's wedding, attended Megan's final symposium for her doctorate (wow...she's smart), went to a retirement party (until I ran out of oxygen...I need to pay closer attention to details), then it's UW graduation today to watch Megan become a Dr. of Physical Therapy.  This afternoon and tomorrow I have 3 graduation parties to attend.  Monday is chemo.  Sounds odd that I need to have chemo just to slow down :)

I'd better get in the shower and start working on my beauty before we leave for Meg's graduation.

I've been feeling pretty good lately. A little more coughing than usual but I'm blaming that on all the action I've had lately.

Keep dreaming big,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Doreen? Doreen Who?

Sometimes in life, there are just no excuses.  Like now, for instance.  I have no legitimate reason for not writing a blog in the past 10 days....but I am sorry if I made any of you worry.

We spent memorial day (and the days around it) at Desert Aire.  Visited with friends and family.  I gave away a scholarship in Rick's name on Tuesday to a deserving young man who lives in our community (Joe Eidsness)  We've been friends with his family for many years, Rick went to school with his dad you could tell it was an honor for their son to receive it.

I celebrated my 52nd birthday on Sunday.  Who would have know the importance of having a birthday every year?  I sure love them.  When I got home on Sunday, Megan took me to a movie then out for lunch. We had a very nice time.

Jake and Megan have been house hunting lately...along with Angie and Shannon.  They're both looking in different directions, but it's always exciting to put your feelers out for that dream home you've been waiting for.

Amy started her new job with the Air Force on Tuesday.  She has has a lot of responsibility with this new endeavor, but she's very excited to get started on it.

I'm not sure what's been going on with me the this last round of chemo, but I've never been so fatigued in my life.  I could sleep all the time (and it seems that I do).  I've have a low grade fever for the past 5 days and I'm just sick of feeling cruddy all the time.  I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I'm sure in the next couple of weeks I'll feel like my old self again.

The next couple of weeks are busy ones for our family.  We have 5 graduation parties to attend, Megan gets her doctorate, she has to give a symposium in front of a big crowd at the UW on Thursday, Jake gets his Master's degree (he says it's not nearly important as Megan's...but I still think it took hard work and dedication and should mean something).  After graduation, Meg, Jake and her family are all taking a trip to Maui for 11 days...REALLY....I'M NOT JEALOUS.  Envious maybe :)

Summer is just around the corner.  Enjoy every minute of it.

Dream Big,