Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yesterday would have been my dad's 54th birthday. To celebrate his memories we spent the afternoon on our friend Shelley's boat. Pam Erickson also joined the Schmitt family for this birthday celebration at sea. It is so comforting to have friends who want to see smiles on our faces again. They cooked us a great dinner, played music and topped the night off with a fabulous berry pie! Thank you. We also want to thank Shannon for delivering the birthday balloons to the boat...good thinking.  The weather was beautiful, the fishing was terrible and the stories about dad were ... PRICELESS!

Remembering him with a smile,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Now that chemo has been removed from my daily diet, I really do feel better.  Since I woke up this morning, I've been fighting a headache.  I would like that to go away because I've got other things to do. :)

Good news....I have a potential buyer for the Desert Aire house (I say potential because I don't want to jinx it)  We're just waiting for the inspection.  The people want it ASAP and I couldn't be happier to hand it over. 

I'm going to go take some tylenol to see if I can get rid of this headache.  I'll try to write more later.

Dream Big,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life really is GOOD

I know it's been a while since you've heard from me, but now that I'm feeling so good I can't wait to share my life again.

I've decided that "pain" is not my friend.  Now that it's under control, I realized just how terrible I was feeling.  I told Dr. Eaton on Monday that I was feeling better that I have in a year so can I stop taking the pain medicine?  He reminded me that I was feeling so good because I was taking a combination of pain medicine that was finally working.  Oh, I get it.  Don't change anything if what you're doing is working.

Since I've been feeling so good, I've been doing my best to get out of the house and do fun things.  Tomorrow I'm going to spend the day with my neighbor Lynell then tomorrow night I'll get to see Amy (she's in Iowa with the Air Force).  Yesterday I went to Angie and Shannon's house in Edmonds.  It has so much potential and a back yard that looks like a park.  It's going to be beautiful.  Jake and Megan are all moved into their house and it's darling.  Every time I've stopped by, it gets cuter and cuter.

I can hardly believe that it's been 2 1/2 months since Rick died. Just when I think I'm doing better another "first" happens.  His birthday is coming up the end of July and it makes me sad just thinking about him.  I miss him and his witty attitude, but I feel his presence all the time.

 I'd better go now and start thinking about dinner.  A friend dropped fresh salmon off so that's on tonight's menu along with green beans.  Yum.....

I'll continue to DREAM BIG,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Time for a Break...

I know that many people have been waiting to hear the results of Mom's appointment with Dr. Eaton today. According to Jake, they said, "You haven't looked this good in a long time!" They agreed that her quality of life is good right now and that she should "take a break" from chemotherapy and enjoy every minute of July. The plan is to go back for a Brain MRI and CT Scan in early August and re-assess at that time. If the symptoms change or her pain increases then she is supposed to contact their office. Those are the facts. Check the blog later for Mom's vision of where she will go from here.....


Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I am so glad to be home from the hospital, and I'm ready to see everything I've been missing out on.  My new pain medicine still makes me tired and gives me the feeling of being "drunk" for a few hours after taking it... but overall I feel much better.  It seems to be working for the most part but I know that I'm not always patient with this whole process because I want things to be back to the way it was a few weeks ago.  I think I am heading in that direction though, so that is promising.  

After my 2pm nap on Sunday, Amy and Melana took me out for a coffee and some fresh air.  I requested a quick detour to my favorite little store on Camano Island called "The Spare Room".  Although we had no intention of driving around we decided to keep driving around the island because it's always nice to see the view.

We stopped at Tom & Jana Shaughnessy's house because we knew they were having a little 4th of July party.  I was feeling pretty good so we stayed for a while.  I always have such a nice time with all of those guys.  It's easy to forget that you're sick when they keep you laughing.  I've added a photo of Jana and I just after a plate of fresh cooked crab.  Yummy :)

Hope you had a safe and happy 4th.  I'm glad to be back home in the swing of things.

Dreaming Big,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh, Dor... not the Benadryl...

Mom's status has continued to improve while remaining at the University of Washington Medical Center.  Her pain has decreased from a "9 out of 10" to a "3 out of 10".  That is a pretty big change from the Dor who checked into the hospital on Wednesday. 

Mom stopped taking pain meds via her port this evening, which meant she was able to get the bandage removed from her chest.  The only thing she has consistently complained about has been the bandage and how itchy it is.  The bandage has to remain 100% sterile so the same bandage has been on her chest since she checked into SCCA on Tuesday.  She is allergic to a few things... one of which is the cleaning solution they use on her chest prior to accessing the port.  She learned that a while back when she broke out in hives, and had a red, irritated chest.  She is wearing a wristband that lists her allergies. 

Tonight, after they removed the bandage mom took a shower.  When she came back into her hospital room her chest was red, inflamed, and clearly irritated.  A nurse asked mom what she had come into contact with.  They had talked about using hydrocortizone on her chest but there were mixed messages in her records about whether she was allergic to it.  When the nurse asked if she was allergic to it she said, "No, they tested me for it last year.  It came back that I wasn't allergic to hydrocortizone, just Benadryl".  HELLO... she has been complaining for three days about an itchy chest bandage and they have been giving her BENADRYL to relieve it.  None of us knew about the benadryl, and clearly she had forgotten about it until tonight.  SCCA was called and her records have been updated to reflect the allergy.  Between the heavy dosage of pain meds this week... and the multiple shots of Benadryl... she has been a little "coo-coo for coco puffs" (if you know what I mean).

It was nice to see the old Dor back today.  She was still tired but much more alert, feeding herself, and going for walks.  As of now, the plan is to take her home on Saturday if all goes well.  I think she is looking forward to sleeping in her own bed.  There really is, No Place Like Home...

Thanks again for all of your well wishes.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Newest Plan of Action

We have now been visited by multiple doctors and the plan has been established for the next 36 hours or so. The doctors are happy with her pain management so far. Mom's pain is significantly better than it was on the pain patch last week so we all agree that we are on to something good here. This early evening they are going to discontinue the IV medication that she is currently on and switch her over to a similar acting pain cocktail that comes in liquid form. If she can tolerate the medication and her pain is managed then that will be the medication that she continues at home. If not, they will be sending her home with the IV medication that she is currently on (since they know it works) and it will come in a fanny pack. Although it works well right now, mom wants to avoid that option because she said, "Nothing says 'Check Me Out' like an oxygen tank and a fanny pack."

The idea of doing the rib pain block has been put on hold for now because the doctor does not think that the risk (minor as it is) would be worth it right now if the new pain medications are significantly helping. He has gone ahead and reserved a spot for the procedure tomorrow at 3:00 PM just in case the plan changes. He explained that the pain block procedure is something that can be done as out patient surgery so it could be planned in the future if the pain is hard to manage again.

One thing that we failed to talk about in the blog yesterday is that Dr. Eaton , mom's Oncologist, has halted chemotherapy treatments at this time. Although her scan results came back "stable" with very minimal change, if any, he is concerned that she is too sick to undergo any other treatments at this time. His one and only goal at this time is to manage the pain. If things begin to improve and her strength and energy increase then we may discuss the idea of returning to chemotherapy in the future.

Thanks again for your care and concern for mom. I will continue to post updates to the blog as things change.


Changing of the Guards

I arrived at the hospital at 8:00 AM this morning to relieve Amy of her over-night stay with mom. When Shannon and I left the hospital last night mom was sleepy and sort of goofy from the Benadryl that they gave her to control her itchy skin (caused by her new pain medication.) It was nice to see her doing better this morning. She was sitting up and more coherent. Apparently, mom slept all night except for when the nurses woke her to receive pills or to nebulize with an inhaler. The new pain control plan seems to be more tolerable than the previous pain patch that they tried. She controls her pain by pushing a button and the pain specialists track her needed dosage. This should better help them establish a plan once she returns home.

Yesterday we were informed of a pain block procedure that is a possibility for her. The doctors all believe that this pain is caused from the pleura of her lungs being inflamed and irritated but they also realize that her pain feels fairly isolated to a spot near her ribs on the left side of her body. This proposed procedure would consist of basically numbing that rib and the rib above and below it. There is no guarantee that this will decrease the pain at all but it is the only option other than controlling the pain strictly by medication. We had no choice but to think of this in basketball terms... if this is an option and we chose not to do it because it might not work, it is like losing a close game with an un-used timeout. We just can't wrap our heads around it. So, we will take them up on this procedure if it is still a possibility when they return today.

At this time mom has finished breakfast and is sleeping soundly in bed. I am waiting patiently for the doctors to make their rounds and will be asking many questions when they come in. I plan to get mom up and out of bed as soon as I am given the green light to do so. I will update the blog later today when I know more.

Thanks for loving us from afar....