Journal entry by Barb Ward Smith

Hello to everyone!!! Many thanks for all the love and help!! 

This morning Gayle is scheduled to have a port placed. Having a well functioning port for chemo, or blood draws, is amazingly helpful. It is an important tool for management of treatment and overall comfort.  She will also have an iv iron treatment sometime this week. Chemo #3 next Monday and then later, a CT scan to evaluate how the chemo is working. 

At this point, Home Health nurses and PT still come to the house. When ever you are with Gayle encourage her the complete breathing exercises and walking. 

It is truly awesome how so many are wanting to help. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  The hope is, of course, that Gayle will be able to manage mostly on her own, down the road. She has always been extremely independent and it is humbling for her to witness how friends and family are pitching in to help. There are definitely things we all can help with, and will need to continue to monitor in the weeks ahead..., and there are things that are more complicated and personal.  You’ll have to decide with Gayle what works best for you.

Coordinating everyone’s efforts is the key. If you can think of one area you are most able to monitor and keep up with, then collectively this team of friends and family will be able to buoy up Gayle and Pete for the long haul. We posted a white board on the service porch wall that might be helpful, so everyone can see what is being coordinated. And then there is the planner that is part of this site. 

One thing that could be someone’s chore... for instance...  would be monitoring how long food is left in the frig. Another..., sharing vacuuming. Andrea is interested in managing the yard as best she has available time for. Jess has tried to organize Gayles meds. Someone can oversee that the O2 tanks are in good supply. Pete takes Gayle to appointments. Someone can regularly review appointments that are scheduled with Gayle. That aspect can get confusing and overwhelming, especially when you don’t feel good. Holly and Carol straighten and organize, and Holly brings kindling for the wood stove. Myla takes Lucy to the dog park. You all bring food, visit and help. It’s all so amazing.  

Ongoing efforts to control critters with bug eyes and cute ears will be important. So if you are visiting, and Gayle is up for it, pick a spot that needs organizing and give it a go. Eliminate the hiding places where you can. This chore will be ongoing. 

Right now, Gayle is really bummed about her hair. Having been through this hair loss I know how stressful it is. She seems to be apposed to a wig, opting for hats and scarfs. But I will tell you from personal experience that putting on a wig that mimics what you had is kind of magical and really helps you feel more yourself. My hope is that Gayle will explore the wig idea, if anyone can get with the local Cancer Society on this, and see what they can provide. 

Again, everyone’s help is so appreciated. The long haul will be a roller coaster and having such great support will be priceless. It takes a village. I will be back down in April, for a couple days. Then probably a week in May. Sadly, living twelve hours driving time away does have disadvantages, especially right now. Making those of you that have a hour here and there, that are local, so wonderful.  Blessings on you all!! 

That’s it for now! All my love!  Barb
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