Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/02/05

Looking Forward To…

It’s been quite a week, my friends.  Chemo last Monday went MUCH better than the first go-’round of the now not-so-new Alimta treatment, thanks, I think, to a lot of proactive and preemptive measures, partnering with my doctors (see my last post), and some good old fashioned good luck.  This is not to say that the week was easy, because, well, it wasn’t.  I felt kinda lousy on Tuesday and Thursday, and by yesterday, pretty much all of my sense of taste and smell were total goners, and my belly is bloated and very goofy looking.  I also have had some weird break out of acne on my scalp, which is bizarre, but not wholly unlike what I experienced when I was on Tarceva.  No worries:  I’ve emailed Dr. Horn and I’m sure tomorrow, we’ll figure out what, if anything, needs to be done.  But today, I assure you I’m feeling a lot better, I have more energy than I’ve had all week, and I’m not nearly as nauseous as I was.  Definitely moving in the right direction, that’s for sure!

One thing about recovering from anything, including a chemo infusion:  you get a lot of time to consider a lot of stuff.  I’ve considered things to look forward to during this past week. Like the fact that I’ll turn 50 in June. (Yes, I’m looking forward to it!)  And like last year, when my oldest daughter, Emily, graduated from college, something a lot of us had looked forward to for a long time, her sister, Taylor, was in Italy on a school-related concert tour, something that she’d looked forward to for a long time, too.  Emily’s great friend, Natalie, attended not only Emily’s graduation, but 5 other graduations during that big University of Texas at Austin weekend.  In case you don’t know, UT is HUGE, so this is a BIG DEAL that Natalie would go to so many very long, sometimes boring, ceremonies.  I was so impressed that she’d done that, I promised her right then and there that Emily and I would come back to Austin in May of 2012 to attend her graduation for sure!  Just a couple of weeks ago, Emily and I made our arrangements to do so.  It’s something I’m really looking forward to.

It’s good to have good things to look forward to.  Without milestone events, life can be kinda dull and meaningless. You likely have looked forward to new jobs, new homes, new opportunities, dates, marriages, new babies, trips, graduations, honors, contests, and so forth, just as I have.  We need those things to bring us joy and help us appreciate all that is good and right in the world.  But it’s hard, too, when you live in the Land of Lung Junk, to do that.  For example, Joey will graduate from high school and Taylor will graduate from college in 2013.  Definitely stuff I’m looking forward to, but of course, you realize the rest of the sentence includes concerns about the fact that I have Lung Junk, and one never really knows how things will play out.  I don’t want to miss the graduations.  Heck, I don’t want to miss ANYthing.  But who knows?  Who knows?

When you’re a Flying Elephant in the Land of Lung Junk, and you’ve just had a chemo infusion, you look forward to getting through Chemo Week.  Each day, you say to yourself, “Tomorrow will be even better than today.  I can do this.  Every day, I’m getting closer.”  All I wanted to do last week was feel better.  And to justify my oxygen.  Lying like a sick lump, even with the good excuse of it being Chemo Week, isn’t my idea of productive living.  It’s depressing.  It’s degrading.  It sucks.  There’s not too terribly much to look forward to except the end of each day, hopefully one without barfing and constipation,  and the hope the next will be a little easier.  Which means, of course, that each day itself hasn’t been enjoyed at all.  And that’s kinda sad.

In addition, when one is contending with some sort of Junk, there are myriad things to have to “look forward to,” all with their own waiting periods.  Like a CT scan (my next one is on the 17th) which tells you how (please, God, let it be good!) your treatment is going, or a biopsy, which tells you what’s going on in your body, or a blood test.  Or a period of time when your medical team sends your information to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) so that you can be considered for a clinical drug trial.  Or when your team is considering your next treatment or surgery or procedure.  You don’t exactly look forward to these things with great joy, but rather with great anxiety.  At any time, any one of those waiting periods you’re in can result in having to deal with stuff you’d rather never have to deal with, and certainly nobody looks forward to those kinds of things. Yuck.

Of course, it’s also wise to consider not over-doing it with the looking forward to stuff thing, too.  If you do that, you run the risk of missing out of some amazing “ordinary” stuff that comes your way, too, like a hug from your kid for no reason,  or a pretty sunset, or the fact that you didn’t barf all week. Maybe balance is what’s needed here; a looking forward to good things in a hopeful future, with a dose of realism that we just can’t predict what the future holds, and the fact that the here and now, even if it’s post-chemo, is what we have to deal with, even if we’re just trying to get through.

Of course, I’m just offering up what ran through my warped mind this past week.  I’m interested in your take on my musings.  But I’ll close for now.  I understand there’s some sort of football game happening later that a lot of people have been looking forward to…..

I wish you great things to enjoy in the here and now, and stuff to look forward to,

Teri, the Flying Elephant, looking forward to continuing to feel better!



  1. Wishing you good outcomes!

  2. Hi,
    My name is Cheryl and am an in-law cousin of Susan. I just started reading your blog and will continue to read. I have my scans on Friday so I am having a stressful week. I also want to order your book. I hope you feel better soon and thank your for writing the book. I am anxious to order it.

  3. I SO agree with Judith! You are a true inspiration to so many people. I pray that you feel better each day !

  4. Hel-LO! On the baddest days, you’re doing more than “using oxygen”; you’re (as “they” say, and as you do so well) processing, and, later, sharing and inspiring.

    As for looking forward, I say: buy green bananas!!!

    Love, Judith

  5. All this not great feeling stuff going on and yet all the while helping a friend…u rock!


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