Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No more tears

Amy shared my crying secrets with all of you on Monday so, I need to assure you that the crying has stopped.  For now :)  I never knew my heart could hurt so much after 8 months but I found that love has no time limits.  This first holiday season without my "Ricky" is going to be a rough one.  Lucky for me,  I have amazing kids surrounding me to help ease the pain. 
I got great news today from PEBB and it looks like I am going to qualify for retirement medical insurance.  I need to see a piece of paper that assures me of my eligibility but everyone I've talked to at the PEBB office has given me the thumbs up.  What a relief to know that my insurance will go on without any glitches.  A big thanks to all of you who helped make this happen. 

Tomorrow night I'm going to the 5th Avenue to see "The Christmas Story" (Ralphie, you can't have a BB gun... you'll shoot your eye out) with Amy and Melana and Melana's Mom.  The girls are taking us to dinner before the show at an amazing restaurant called Purple in downtown Seattle.  I'm really looking forward to a fun night out on the big town.

It's almost past my bedtime so, nighty night.

Dreaming Big,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Water Works

Today, mom cried.  And then she cried.  And then she cried some more.  Every time I talked to her on the phone she began to cry, and then she got frustrated with herself.  She was overwhelmed and simply couldn't control her tear ducts.  If you called mom today, odds are pretty good that you experienced the same thing I did.

I tried to remind her that it is ok to get emotional.  I also tried to remind her that she has been really strong for a really long time, and everyone is bound to break sometimes.  She told me that she wasn't frustrated with her situation, she is frustrated with herself for being emotional when she knows how blessed she is.

Our long couple of weeks dealing with insurance issues got even worse today when Angie called the PEBB people to check on the status of mom's insurance packet.  The lady said she didn't know anything about her packet, which was submitted last week.  After an hour on the phone with the lady who had no intention of showing empathy, let alone going out of her way to help, Angie found out that the form we submitted last week wasn't the form they wanted us to submit.  When Angie expressed the need to speed up the process, the woman told her to watch for the packet in approximately 7 days.  I can only imagine how frustrated Angie must have been.  Dor has 11 days to get this insurance problem finalized... but the lady was adamant that the packet needed to be mailed instead of emailed or picked up in person.  So, that's where we sit.  Another long, frustrating day for the Schmitt family.

With elevated anxiety-

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Here's what's happening...

Mom spent the night in Seattle last night with her friends Cathy and Kim (after a CT scan and a little Christmas shopping).  They got up early today for a doctor's appointment and chemo.  Her scan came back stable, so that's good news.  She will stay on the same chemo drug for the time being, and continue to focus on the day to day things that bring her happiness.

She came home from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance this afternoon and has been resting ever since.  She seems to be more exhausted than normal, but then again, she has a lot on her mind lately.  Hopefully she will get some rest and wake up feeling better tomorrow.

Dreaming Big-

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Concerns

We have been concerned with "medical" issues the past few years but luckily we haven't had to think about medical insurance... until now.  Mom has been on Cobra since dad passed away in April.  She can continue to stay on cobra, but there are some other issues that have come up now.  To make a long story short... we will have our hands full for the next few weeks to make sure she begins 2011 with adequate medical insurance.

I see stress in our very near future....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sharpen your Saw...

It has been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and write a blog.  It's not for lack of participation, I simply don't know what to say.  I know that as a family, we have transitioned from the daily blog entries into the occasional quick update... and we get emails about our lack of information being posted all the time.  Many of you wish we would write more, and to be honest, it can be a bit therapeutic so I am going to try to do a better job of sharing.

This week, I am in Las Vegas for work.  I am here observing an instructor teach the class "7 Habits of Highly Effective People."  I flew down here expecting to hear some touchy-feely information about how to live a better life... but I was wrong.  This was a fantastic course that made me open my eyes, and my heart. It was a wake up call for me.  I wasn't even one of the students in the class but I think I got more out of the class than most people did.  I won't get into the details of the course but I want to touch on the 7th habit.  After listening to all of the good points throughout the week, he presented the final habit as "sharpening the saw".  It is so true.  He was speaking to me.  He was speaking to my entire family.  The message is that sometimes we continue to work so hard at what we are doing and we become too focused on trying harder that we are no longer being efficient or effective.  When you do the same repetitive things for 4 years, and you become exhausted physically and mentally, stop and take care of the saw.  Take care of yourself.  We can't continue at the pace we are moving without expecting something to break.

Not a day goes by when we aren't reminded of how loved we are.  And, not a day goes by when we aren't stopped in the grocery store or the bank, to get a hug and words of affirmation.  Unfortunately, for those of us who have lost loved ones to this disease, words can't take away the loss of the ones we miss. They also can't slow down the cancer cells that are working hard to take other people that you hold so close to your heart.  We continue to experience a genuine sense of helplessness.  I would do anything to take the physical pain away from my mom.  But just as importantly, I would do anything to take the pain away from my Grandparents eyes.  I wish I could provide Angie with the missing pieces that she needs to fully grasp what she missed during the last two days of my father's life.  I know that she struggles with not being there for it.  I wish I could take some of the expectations off of my brother.  There is a fine line between wanting to be like my dad, and feeling as though he needs to replace my dad.  I'm not sure where my brother is mentally or emotionally, but I think he carries a bigger load than he has to sometimes and I think it's because he is trying to fill my dad's shoes.  All he needs to do is focus on being the healthiest Jake he can be.

As for mom, she hasn't written lately because there isn't much to say.  We all learned a long time ago, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".  I think that's where she is.  She doesn't have anything upbeat or happy to talk about so she focuses on the little things that bring her happiness each day, not the blog.  We can't blame her for that.  She has been coughing much more lately.  She has been in more pain.  She gets over-heated quickly, which has caused her bedroom to become her own private snow cave.  Her sliding glass door to the deck is open, her windows are open, and her fan is blowing cold air in her face.  As much as we try to be upbeat, and optimistic, I've got to tell you.... this is a miserable disease that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

Yesterday was national Pay it Forward day... or so I read on google.  With that being said, I think we can all do more to make everyday pay it forward day.  We all have so much negativity and get caught up in the small things.  If we focus on the things that matter most in this world, and view every situation as a win-win instead of a competition where someone has to win and someone has to lose.... we will all be in a much better place.  If we aren't working to make everyone's life a better place, we are missing our calling folks.  Rake the leaves of the elderly couple next door.  Bring your secretary coffee in the morning, and don't judge other people because you have no idea what their life is like.  Always say please and thank you.  Smile more often, and always give more than you take.

The Schmitt family is fine.  We are going to get back to the basics.  We are going to stop and sharpen our saw for a little while so we can take care of the things that matter most in this world.  In the mean time, go do something nice and unexpected for someone else.  You never know, you might just start a positive ripple effect in the life of many people.

 Sending warm holiday wishes from our family to yours-