Barbara Sullivan and her husband Wayne are currently residents of the 20th Century Club’s Lodge in Little Rock while Wayne receives cancer treatment at UAMS. The lodge provides complimentary accommodation for those needing treatment here but living too far away to go home, and for some, it is their only chance of safe, warm accommodation in the face of costly medical bills. Barbara, always by her husband’s side, shares with us a “typical” day in their fight against cancer.

5-7 a.m.

Time to get up, depending on what time Wayne’s first appointment is. Usually we have breakfast in the room — I’m getting pretty good at microwave eggs. This morning’s first appointment is not until later. Wayne is craving IHOP, and if he wants IHOP, that is what we have. He usually catches a few extra winks while I try to put myself together.

8-9 a.m. 

Enjoy our breakfast just like normal people that are on a vacation together.

9 a.m.-3 p.m. or later 

Depending on how many chemos he takes that day, we are in the hospital. Having been to chemo since October here in Little Rock, you learn faces and names at the infusion center; that helps to pass the day. I also pretty much have a pull cart of entertainment options downloaded and ready to go at any given moment! The Outlaw Josey Wales rates at the top of the movies Wayne likes. My go-to methods of distraction though would be my laptop, various books and of course my adult coloring book with my colored pencils and sharpener that my sister bought for me.

Chemo or any other treatments at the infusion center are seven days a week. If we do have a day off, we enjoy driving around Little Rock, exploring and finding different places to eat out like “normal” people. It is nice for Wayne to be able to wander around without being attached to anything. When we are not at the hospital, Wayne loves to enjoy lunch with his friends of 50 years or just talk to them on the phone.

5:30 p.m. 

Today is Thursday: one of the three days a week that 20th Century’s Lodge serves supper. That is such a blessing after a day at the infusion center. We enjoy supper, greet the other people staying here who are in the same boat that we are. It is really comforting to exchange stories.

Wayne is a retired ironworker. I am retired from the Clerk of Court office in Baton Rouge. I told him I did not retire for this!! Thank goodness we are both retired — I cannot imagine doing this otherwise. If we are not in Little Rock for treatment, we would be ideally spending time with our grandchildren. Or maybe on a beach somewhere! Wayne really enjoyed sitting back and watching the grandkids at Christmas. We have seven!

8 p.m. 

Start getting ready for bed and watch a little television. Tomorrow starts another day of more or less the same thing. I tell Wayne each day is one step closer to healing. Between the fantastic people at UAMS and all of our friends and our prayers, we know a cure is on the way.

The 20th Century Club’s 2017 Hope Ball will take place on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Statehouse Convention Center. For tickets, visit their website.