Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great Weekend then Disappointment

I just spent a great weekend at Desert Aire with my sister in law, Vickie.  We laughed and slept, then laughed and ate, then laughed some more.  It was just what I needed before I start the clinical trial.

At my doctor's visit I learned that I will begin the trial this Friday (at which time I will also learn which trial I will actually be on...with or without Tarceva)  The first day is a long process.  Blood work, appointment, take pills, play around for 3 or 4 hours, come back and do more blood work and EKG...then go home.  That process is only once a month.  Otherwise, it's pills only at home.  I'm looking forward to getting something started.  Although there was little growth in the tumors in my lymph nodes, there was lung capacity loss in both lungs and more signs of cancer in the middle right lobe, and bottom lobes of both lungs.  I'm ready for that kind of growth to stop.

Today I'm babysitting my grand dog at Angie's.  Susie (the cutest granddog around) has an ear infection and she needed some extra lovin', so who better than me?  Actually, they've moved into a new neighborhood and when she doesn't feel good or gets anxious she tends to bark more.  The new neighbors don't like that so I told the girls I would stay at their house and keep her inside with me.

As I was writing this blog, I just got a call from Dr. Eaton in Seattle.  He informed me that they discovered during one of my trials (at another hospital), I took a drug that disqualifies me from this study.  I'm sitting here in shock.  I had it all figured out.  This was the trial that was going to do the trick.  I'm sick to my stomach just thinking about it.  He was disappointed too when he called.  Thursday is his day off from patients, so he is going to study my case all day with some of his colleagues and try to find a new game plan.  Sometimes we just don't get what we wish for.

I'll continue to DREAM BIG...
Love, Doreen

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good News

They were able to take the tissue from my last biopsy to use for this case study so I get to skip that portion of the trial.  On Friday, I have a full body CT, bloodwork and an EKG.  After the study group looks at all my information, I will begin the trial the first week of October.  I won't know until then which "arm" of the trial I will be on....with or without Tarceva. 

The house at Desert Aire is officially sold.  I'm so happy to have that responsibility off my back.  I'm looking forward to heading over to the Desert just to enjoy house number 2.  Yahoo!

Keep Dreaming Big,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tumor Growth :) :(

Sorry I didn't let you know the outcome sooner...but here is what I know.  There is tumor growth in my lungs which qualifies me for the trial.  The next step is a new lung biopsy (they are deciding which kind to perform), then a few more tests just to make sure I'm still a good patient.  I'll keep you posted on what the next step is after that, so for now...let's just think positive thoughts and BELIEVE.  My emotions are still mixed but I'm happy to know I'm moving in some direction and they have a plan.

Getting ready to watch the Storm game again tonight.  Let's hope they win tonight and sweep Atlanta in the finals.  :)  Go Storm!

Dreaming Gigantic,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mixed emotions

My doctors visit started out fairly routine.  "Blood pressure, fine, temp fine, by the way the clinical trial you've been waiting for finally opened up yesterday....."  I was so excited to hear the great news.  This is the trial that is suppose to work well on people who had success with Tarceva, and we all know that Tarceva was my middle name for 2 and a half years.  All of this sounds so promising, so you ask "what's the problem?"  Although I've signed all the paperwork for the trial and everything looks good, if my cancer has not grown at all in the past couple of months, I can't be a candidate.  Only people with cancer growth can join the trial.  I know it will be awesome if the cancer has not grown at all (that's what we're always wishing for) but if I miss out on this trial now and the cancer starts growing in 2 months...the trial could be closed to new participants by then.  I now that sounded like a bunch of jibberish so in a few words it means....I need the cancer to have grown (JUST A LITTLE) so I don't miss this opportunity.  I can't believe I've even said those words but in the cancer world, timing is everything.  I'm scheduled for a new CT scan next Tuesday so they can make their decision about me.

I learned yesterday that Jordan Nursery (a local plant farm in my town) is naming one of their new varieties of fuchsias after me.  So, next year you can buy a "Doreen" and hang me on your porch if you'd like.  It is light pink with a white middle and  magenta pokie things in the center.  On the 25th and 26th of September they are having "Bloomfest" (or something like that) so people can see all their varieties of fuchsias and Martha Washington geraniums for next year.  Mine will be on display that day too :)

I'm fighting a  headache right now so I think I'll go put my jammies on and call it a night.  Thank you for all your love and prayers.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dr. Visit

I'm up earlier than usual today....couldn't sleep....I have a doctor's visit in Seattle this morning.  I'm not having any scans or tests so I won't learn anything new about what's going on inside my lungs, but I might find out a little more about the clinical trial that's coming up.  I have mixed emotions about it.  I know I need to get in on it when it becomes available, but after a summer of feeling so well, I hate to think about new side effects and not feeling like myself again.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed that I'm getting winded much easier.  It could be, because I'm going a mile a minute and I need to slow down.  The past week a new cough has joined the band wagon as well.  Perhaps I'm just getting my pre-winter cold?

Last night Angie came by for a visit after school and we had a nice snuggle...until I had a meltdown.  I hadn't had a good cry in a long time so it was nice to have her around while I did it. I'm sure I was just a little worried about today, I was missing my Ricky, and just doubting myself and decisions I've had to make by myself.  All normal kinds of grief I'm just glad Angie was here to walk me through it.

I'll keep you posted on today's doctor's visit.  I'm sure everything will go well.

Dreaming Big,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just another BUSY day

Today I'm getting my new propane gas stove for the living room.  I'm looking forward to the cleanliness of the propane vs. the wood we're always carrying through the house.  I think it will be better for me to just hit my remote control button and turn my heat on now that I'm wearing oxygen all the time.  I haven't been through a whole winter trying to build a fire with oxygen on my face.  I don't think that's a very good combination.

I'm so excited to go to the Storm game again.  Tonight they've got giveaways but I'm not sure we'll make it there in time to stand in line for a freebie.  Janeen will pick me up after school today and we'll be on our way.  The exciting part about tonight (besides the game) is that Lauren Jackson is the MVP of the WNBA and they are going to announce it tonight at the game.  Don't tell anyone you heard it hear first.... just kidding, it was on the news this morning.

I've been really winded lately even with my oxygen.  I've analyzed it and I think it's because I just rush too much when I'm feeling good.  I think it's time I slow things down a little bit.

My mom broke her foot and is going to see a specialist today.  She has a hard enough time walking with 2 healthy feet, I can't imagine how terrible it will be for her in a cast or whatever they have planned for her.  I think she may be stuck at home for a while in a wheelchair.  Sorry Mom, but that's what happens when you kick my Dad (just kidding...that's how he told me it happened).

I'd better go get dressed before my stove crew gets here.  This green bathrobe is pretty but let's face it, it's not THAT PRETTY.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's become "chronic"

The readers of this blog have been spoiled over the years with Mom writing messages on a regular basis and keeping us on the edge of our seats while on this roller coaster ride of a life she is living. We've had times when "the blog" was the first thing we read in the mornings or the last thing we checked before going to bed. Often times I learned about what was happening with my parents from a person who had just read the blog and then ran into me at the grocery store or at a sporting event. I always laughed when someone would give me a thumbs up and say, "Great news today!" I would return their thumbs up and then call Mom to see what she wrote. The blog was a huge part of our everyday life.

As of late, the blog entries are showing up less frequently and seem to have less depth. They have become more of a chore than a desire to write. Mom may not say that but we know it is true. I am writing this entry to remind our loyal readers that cancer has not gone away. Cancer has not stopped interfering with our daily lives. It continues to make its presence known when we see Mom dragging her oxygen tubing around the house or when she has a coughing spell that last only a minute but wipes her out for an hour. Cancer exists but we are becoming experts at ignoring it and living through it.

Mom will be joining me, along with her friend Janeen, at the Seattle Storm playoff game tomorrow night against Phoenix. She has been to quite a few games with me now and we have established a pretty good routine. We take breaks when we need them. We slow our pace to a point where we are not busy hurrying from place to place or thing to thing. Instead, we tell stories. We laugh. We get excited to show our team spirit. We have learned to live with cancer as a chronic illness, rather than a death sentence. That is a line that my Mom wrote in a speech that she gave for the American Cancer Society several years ago. She said, "I look forward to the day when we can treat cancer like a chronic illness rather than a death sentence." I think we are there...

I want to remind our family supporters that life after Dad's death has taken it's toll on our family. Not only on an emotional level but also on a physical level. We had been racing around, going from treatment option to treatment option, never stopping long enough to really deal with the severity of the disease. Now that the storm has passed, we are sitting in a quiet world wondering how it all happened so fast. I know that is true of my Mom as well as us kids. We miss my Dad. We miss his laugh. We miss him giving us a hard time. But I know that doesn't begin to touch on the "miss" that my mom is experiencing.

Thank you friends for your patience while the blog produces entries that are few and far between. Just know that the Schmitt family is still here, still fighting this battle and making memories along the way.

With much love,