Thursday, August 18, 2011

Call 867-5309...

Ok, you're right...that number belongs to "Jenny" (from the 1982 Tommy Tutone song) not Doreen, but if you don't know Doreen's phone number, now is the time to learn it.  (360) 629-4398.  My mom has never turned away a visitor, even when she should.  There have been times when her white counts were low, she wasn't feeling well, or she was simply just too exhausted to talk yet she never tells any of you.  Now, that must change.  As our family transitions into this next phase of the cancer process there will be times when vistors simply won't be allowed in the house.  With that being said, if you are one of the people who stop by without calling ahead, you might see a "No Visitors" sign on the door.  It might be because she isn't feeling well, or it might be because she is out doing something fun, but nonetheless, when the sign is on the door please respect her wishes and come back a different day.

After meeting with her hospice team again today mom has agreed to make some changes to the way she has been doing things.  She has always shared her thoughts with us about end of life care and how she wants things to be handled.  The immediate family has known, but now mom understands that these types of messages need to be shared with all of you as well.  She doesn't want us to "look like the bad guy" when we stop allowing visitors or ask someone to leave the house who isn't creating a comforting environment for the family.  We know her wishes and by now you must know that we will do whatever she desires.

This message isn't meant to be dark and depressing.  Mom is fine.  Nothing is different in the past week.  Sure, her coughing is getting worse, but everything else is the same.  We are not discussing signs on the door to discourage you from seeing her... we just want you to call ahead to make sure the timing is good.  At this point, it's all about mom.  Lots of people want their "Dor time" but Dor only has so much energy.  So... the point of tonight's blog post is to say pick up the phone and call ahead between the hours of 10am and 8pm.  Ten seems to be her wake up time and unfortunately 2 or 3am seems to be her bedtime half of the time, but 8pm is "closing time" at the Schmitt house.

Thank you for understanding and respecting her wishes, and she looks forward to talking to you soon-

Be well-

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Changes

A lot has happened since the BBQ a few weeks ago.  We knew mom was scheduled to meet with Dr. Eaton on August 10th to determine if she would continue with her medical treatment.  A few days before her appointment she told us she had already made her decision to stop treatment.  She has explained to us that over the years she was usually holding her breath waiting for her scan results, hoping for good results.  Going into her appointments she never seemed to know what to expect.  She has admitted to everyone that recently, she didn't need a scan to tell her that her cancer had gotten worse.  She already knew because she felt so much worse.  Dr. Eaton was happy that mom agreed to stop treatment.  He said although he would like to tell her that her cancer was stable, he knows that it is growing and he thinks it would be "irresponsible" to continue treating her with chemotherapy options.  The chemotherapy is hurting her body, not helping it.  Once mom got past the idea that she was "giving up", she has seemed to be at peace with her decision to stop taking meds and start living life.

On August 10th, mom agreed to begin working with hospice.  As a family, we think that is the right choice.  We had a good, yet brief, experience with hospice last year with my dad.  We will certainly get to know our hospice team much more than we did when they were assisting my dad.  My dad was on hospice for 6 or 7 days.  Mom has told us repeatedly that she intends to stay on hospice for so long they kick her off the program because she isn't "sick enough".  I hope she is right.  In the mean time, we had our first family hospice meeting this past saturday to discuss options.  We feel comfortable with them and we look forward to welcoming them into our lives.

Mom has spent the past few days with Angie and Shannon at the Alderbrook Resort, getting massages and eating good food.  I have spoken with her a few times and it sounds like she is having a blast.  She gets home today and I'm sure she is going to be exhausted... in a good way.  That's what we like to see.

Dreaming Big-

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BBQ Update

So happy to tell you that the BBQ was a whopping success.  We had over 150 people stop by to say hello.  What a joy it was for me to see how many friends and loved ones we have surrounding us....even with a last minute invite.  I'll post photos of the event as I get some.  Thank you to everyone who attended and those who sent messages that you couldn't make it.  A special thanks to my high school buddies and my old boss, Piccolo, who stopped by a few days before the party to celebrate in private. 

I just had my deck railings, new decking (where it was needed) by my neighbors Larry and Mike.  What an awesome job they did.  Call me if you need any work done, they come highly recommended.  Now I just need a paint job an I'll be good to go.

I'm adjusting to the fact that my lung capacity sucks.  I've been using the scooter at the grocery store, a wheelchair to get into the Storm game, I try to avoid stairs unless I'm going down.  All these changes seem to be making my breathing easier.  It's hard to give up the freedom I used to have but if I didn't make these changes soon, my body would have done it for me.  I have so much help around me that I'm never without someone lending a hand to make a job easier for me.  Blessed, I tell you.. Blessed.

Wednesday is a big doctor appointment day.  We'll be deciding whether to continue with the Tarceva or not.  I'm ready to be done with it.  No changes. Nothing is improving.  Just more chemicals going into my body.  I think I'm ready to just let my body have a rest and follow the course that was meant for me.  Not giving up, just following a new path.  I want to feel as good as I can, for as long as I can and if that means living on hopes and prayers then that's the path I'll follow. 

I love you more than all the friends I have in my little green book,
Big Dreamer Dor