Somethings are bigger than my to do list

There are so many things on my to do list tonight. I need to plan and promote my upcoming meal prep party. Need to send an email to my sister thank her for our card/presents. And if you know me AT ALL you know there is plenty of house work to be done!

But tonight my friend needed me to help out. And so I of course did help. You see my friend was diagnosed a little over a week ago with Mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma and she found out today her treatment path will be chemo. But she is yet to see the oncologist to find out the treatment schedule or the intensity of treatment. Still so many unknowns.

Ironically (really is it ironic or is it what I’m being called to do right now?) I sent an email to an old friend last night. A friend who survived 2 boughts of Cancer before I’d even met her. She had mentioned a website to me that helped coordinate help for those going through ‘this’ type of situation. And upon my request she gave me the name of the site.

And  since I was armed with the site name now, Lotsa Helping Hands, I placed a call to my friend to say I was thinking of her and that I was sending her a link later to a website that could help coordinate meals and child pickups drop offs, etc. Everyday life hings she’ll need help with while she is focusing on her fight and recovery.And ya know what her reaction was? She immediately said “you’re Hired! I trust you to set-up and coordinate this” ~ seeming not so ironic now is it. So tonight I created, Gloria’s Helping Hands, where we can build her support community and follow her instructions on how we can help with her every day things.

So I’ve set up the site and am hoping I can figure things out to coordinate help for her before chemo begins.

You can follow her Cancer story at

I’m hoping to look more into Canary Voice as well and set-up a way for friends and family to record some greetings, words of encouragement for her.

Here’s to her health (and yours!)


31 Responses to “Somethings are bigger than my to do list”

  1. lose fat Says:

    I couldnt think you are more right!!

  2. Judy Stone-Goldman Says:

    I’ve used this website with some different friends, although I was not the one coordinating care. It was an amazing help. People are so desperate both to know what’s going on and to help in some way, and this kind of central spot makes all the difference. What you are doing for your friend is a gift beyond words. You are definitely part of the healing team. And I know that your to do list will still be there for you when it’s time!

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

  3. Debbie Goldberg (@MBMomBlogger) Says:

    After my recent surgery, I’ve relearned that asking for help is a blessing to those around you. People really want to do something – but if they don’t know what to do or how, they can’t or don’t help. You and your friend have really made it easy for everyone to be involved and help her. What a blessing!! XO

  4. Jillian Says:

    You are a fabulous friend to have set that up for her; she most likely would never have asked outright for that kind of help. Asking through such a website makes it possible for the nurturers be nurtured.

    RE setting our own to-do list aside, I had a similar experience last year…I had SO much to do (herding my kids, laundry, getting my biz off the ground, dealing with wanting to poke my hubby in the eye with a spoon, dealing with what I call my “breakdown”) when suddenly, one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer…38 years old. Her surgery was scheduled almost immediately. I had no idea how to support her. I asked her, and after a LOT of prodding, she said she needed help at home. I dropped everything and drove the hour to her house.

    What did she need? We laughed about it! She needed a way to hide her daughter’s summer clothes so daddy wouldn’t dress her in them when it was only 50 degrees out! We got that done. I looked around and asked, ‘What else???” It turned out he didn’t finish a bookcase for the baby’s room. She had no idea how to do it. Being a distant relative of MacGuyver, I finished it for her. Next, we sorted toys, fixed up the garage and straightened the house. We had a great time, letting the diagnosis slip into the background. She was able to go into her surgery two days later and not think about HER to-do list. It felt so great to take those worries from her mind.

    I think the lesson I learned is sometimes it’s the things that seem so small that help the most.

    Jillian Todd Portrait Couture
    Portrait Couture is for every woman who has looked in the mirror and not seen how gorgeous she truly is.

  5. Wendee Neilson Says:

    What a beautiful friend you are. I know your friend will greatly appreciate the help you have offered. I hope your friend has a speedy recovery. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

  6. Bren Jones Says:

    This is so fabulous of you to do. We did something similar when my friend was going through her chemo treatments. She amazed us as she showed up to mommy & me dance classes with a chemo machine slung over her shoulder. And I think it’s so important that she be able to tell the support team the type of help she needs. What we may think she needs might not be it at all. For my friend Allie, what she needed most was for us to “Believe.” Best wishes to her on a speedy recovery and hugs to you for being there for her. You are right. The almighty to-do list just seems inconsequential when times like this hit home. I have another friend battling melanoma right now and while she wants to be SuperWoman like she usually is, she is admitting that she needs some help and we are so happy to have a strong support system standing by to help in any way she needs.

  7. Dina Colman Says:

    Yvonne, unfortunately it often takes sad life events to remind us of what is important in life. I think often of Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff chapter that is entitled, “Your inbox is never empty.” This is so true. No matter how productive we are in a day, the to-list still grows. It is so important to take time away to help each other. It would be great if we could do so not only when there is a tragedy, but also just in our daily lives. I think it’s great that you found Lotsa Helping Hands. By coordinating this effort, the time you are giving to your friend increases by so much because you are facilitating others to help her as well. Best to you and your friend.

  8. Susan Berland Says:

    I’m quite familiar with Lotsa Helping Hands as I coordinated care for a friend as he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It is really quite easy to use, although not always so easy to do, if you know what I mean! Part of what’s wonderful is that there is a place for people to leave messages for your friend right there on the site. You might also want to look into the Threshold Choir and see if there is one in your area. I just joined one up here and it’s an amazing group of women who sing beautiful songs at people’s bedsides as they are going through treatment or transitioning. Hopefully, she will only need it for treatment! It is quite healing. Blessings to you both as you embark on this journey together. She is lucky to have such as wonderful friend as you.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

  9. Maureena Bivins PhD, LAc Says:

    I wish the best for Gloria. She and her family are blessed to have you in her life. A poignant reminder of how precious and fragile life is and yet in times like this, when serious illness strikes, goodness emerges in countless ways.
    Maureena Bivins, PhD
    “Curious, committed, and compassionate. What do you look for in a health care provider?”

  10. Chris Arcucci Says:

    I almost always have an impossible to do list and there are definitely times when something else more important comes up that I need to handle. You implemented a powerful tool to help you friend and her community, good for you! At the same time make sure you tend to your own self care practice to refill the well from which you give from.
chris arcucci

    Who says a woman can’t cultivate her super powers in a dress?!

  11. Louise Edington Says:

    You are such a mum to the world Yvonne! Your friend is very lucky to have you. Make sure you delegate and organize though rather than end up doing it ALL yourself. I love you woman.
    Louise Edington
    Breaking Through Online Frontiers

  12. Donna Tetreault Says:

    Life is overwhelming sometimes, but I believe you have to be there for the people you love, no matter what. Even when it’s not so easy. This is a good example for all of us.

  13. Pat Zahn Says:

    Of course, I’m going to agree that you are doing what you need to do, probably called to do. In the end it’s our relationships that matter. My friend used when she went through double Mastectomy and reconstruction (almost 5 years ago!) It allowed her to tell everyone that all the news would be there (so that she wouldn’t be inundated with “How are you doing?” emails and phone calls – though she didn’t discourage one-one contact.) I don’t know if your friend is like that anyway, but I think it’s awesome that she is not only able to accept help but she asked for it – so many of us don’t even give people a chance to rise to the occasion.

    • Yvonne Elm Hall Says:

      I knew someone that used caringbridge as well … this friend is just blogging and using FB to update. I actually found out via FB! Social Media really is changing the way we communicate;)

      • Yvonne Elm Hall Says:

        OHHH and yes, I did tell her I was impressed that she asked for help and is accepting it so well. especially since she is the overbooker; doing everything for everyone. It is her turn to get some of it back .. just wish it was under better circumstances. Thanks Pat.

  14. cherylmcdonaldcreative Says:

    What a wonderful thing Yvonne, my Mom used to say people were important, housework was just busy work. You are doing a wonderful thing for your friend. The cool thing about a to do list is the important things will wait and the unimportant things will either disappear or get done by other means!

  15. Laurie Hurley Says:

    That is wonderful, Yvonne. I wish the best for your friend and will check out her site. Using Canary Voice would be an excellent idea. You are very giving and caring – I knew that the moment I met you. Housework can wait. A friend in need cannot. Bless you for all you are doing.

  16. KirkZacharda Says:

    What a blessing you are. Its amazing the help that is out there these days but it still takes someone like you to find it and offer the helping hand. Stuff like this brings smiles to my day. I understand the importance of a support network as I lost my Father to cancer when I was 14. I was amazed at all the outpouring of love and givingness that comes from tragedy. Your friend is very lucky to have you in her corner.

    • Yvonne Elm Hall Says:

      Oh Kirk! bless your heart;( I’m sure that made you grow up far too young. But so glad that you received outpourings of love and support in that time. Thanks for your heartfelt comment.

  17. VIcki Dello Joio Says:

    I am so moved by your blog and your heart, Yvonne. I took this role of coordinating for a beloved friend/student who developed lung cancer a couple of years ago. Single mom with a 7 year old. One of the things she said to me at one point was one of the gifts she felt she got when diagnosed was realizing how many people cared and wanted to be there for her. The value of this journey you are on is immeasurable and sending loving qi to you and Gloria.

  18. Julieanne Case Says:

    I hope she will consider alternative therapies as well. It can be a huge boost and in some cases healings occur if it’s right for her path. Her attitude will be a huge factor in all this. You are a loving caring giving friend. How lucky the world, your friend and many of us who know you are.

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!

    Reconnecting you to your essence, joy, vitality, youth.| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | AgeLoc Skin Care | Pharmanex Supplements

    • Yvonne Elm Hall Says:

      Thanks Julieanne! You made me blush;) Things are still so fresh, they have not spoken to the oncologist but I will ask about alternative treatments as well … I’ve heard great things about them helping ease some side effects of chemo as well. Would love for you to send along some info if you have it on hand.

  19. carolyn Says:

    You are such a doll…all heart.. thanks for reminding…what’s really important.. .a lot more than just a to do list!!! XO

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