Little did Tara “Lynn” Trickle know how much her life would change after she received a phone call in late August from a member of the Housecall Providers Advanced Illness Care (AIC) team. At the time, she was awaiting more test results after an initial cancer diagnosis.
“All of a sudden, I had all these advocates calling me and talking to me and asking what I needed and how they could help. It was as if angels had fallen out of the sky,” says Lynn, a 54-year old Portland native.
Since being estranged from her family, and because of limited and inconsistent income, Lynn had been living in a shed in her friend’s backyard for the last five years. She bathed and got indoors a little each night at a friend’s hair salon, while also cleaning it each time she visited to bring in a little income.
The AIC team started working on housing for her, however, they had to wait until a confirmed diagnosis and prognosis of one year or less in order to get Lynn on the priority housing waiting list.
In her recent past, Lynn had had a thriving cleaning business built only by referrals until some “overwhelming grief, miscommunications and a few bad decisions” as she puts it, brought her to where she is now. A woman of faith, Lynn found community and peace in being of service to others. Until COVID-19 struck Portland, she had been putting food boxes together and helping with the Sunday breakfast at Highland Christian Center for over a year.
When test results from the MRI and PET scan came back in early September and confirmed lung cancer with metastasis to the bone, the request for housing was submitted. AIC team members also made a referral to BEST at Central City Concern to help her fill out the necessary paperwork to get Social Security Disability since she had little to no income.
Once the priority housing paperwork was submitted, a request was made to the CareOregon housing team for a hotel voucher.
“Lynn had already been struggling, but when the smoke from the fires hit the Portland area her shortness of breath increased so we moved quickly to get her into a hotel,” says (AIC) Licensed Clinical Social Worker Melodie Kelly.
The plan was for Lynn to start chemotherapy in a couple of weeks so what was planned as a short stay, has turned out to be more than two months at the hotel.
“CareOregon has been really amazing. We had asked for a couple of weeks but with her condition and the air quality issues they granted her two extensions,” says Melodie. “They really do take care of their members and this is just one of many examples.”
Despite all she is currently facing, Melodie says that Lynn’s positive outlook has remained. At the end of every call or visit, she always says how grateful she is for all the support. Like many of our AIC patients, Lynn expressed to the team that she has never had this kind of support in her life or felt this cared for.
“I get to exhale, and the opportunity to be me again,” says Lynn. “I feel very blessed and really appreciate everything they have done. Their kindness and caring have helped me in ways they can never know.”
My silly poem for all of the people at
By Lynn Trickle
I have no way to tell you how blessed I feel
for each one of you.
I thought how could I
show them or what can I do.
So, I wrote a silly little poem for all of you,
Please take it to heart because each one is true.
I am so very grateful for each one of you,
For the caring, the compassion and all that you do.
I have no idea how you can do what you do,
But now I have hope because of each one of you.
You gave me the strength and the hope that I couldn’t
find on my own.
You took me out of the cold and gave me
a place to call home.