Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/02/20

Bummer, Dude

bummer dudeHi, Friends.  You know if there was a blog yesterday, and now there’s a blog today, and the blog today is titled, “Bummer, Dude,” the news is not spectacular.  So let’s just get right to it:  the Alimta chemotherapy has been dubbed “a fail.”  Not a huge fail, mind you, but last Friday’s CT scan showed the largest of both the liver and the lung tumors have grown by 25% each (and that means the largest liver tumor has grown by a total of 75% since I completed what I call My Big Chemo last August), so it is a fail nonetheless. And there are new tumors on my lumbar spine which explains the discomfort there that started last week.  Sigh.  I am not surprised, especially since I’m pretty in tune with my body and noticed a few symptoms in recent weeks.  I am not totally depressed by this news, either, having become better and better at rolling with the punches and changing course mid-stream.  And yes, I asked Leora Horn, my fabulous doctor, to once again confirm for me that this is, indeed, what my life is going to be like for the rest of it:  try something, use it until it works, change course.  I am not thrilled, but it could be way worse.  I’m rolling with the punch.

Today, I start on calcium and vitamin D.  Next Monday, I’ll start on shots to help protect my bones from fractures.  No, there will not be radiation to my bones at this point.  That’s reserved for when pain becomes an issue, and it is not an issue at this time.  Whew!  I’ve agreed to join another clinical drug trial to combat the Lung Junk, this time a Phase I trial for an immunotherapy that has cleared the IRB (Institutional Review Board) hurdle at Vanderbilt, and is awaiting finalization from its drug manufacturer, supposedly in the next 2 weeks.  Leora has never been a fan of immunotherapy for lung cancer because of its historically low success rate, but a previous trial at Vanderbilt for a similar treatment showed a 50% success rate among lung cancer patients, which is even better than other immotherapies for other cancers which average a 15-20% success rate.  I am first in line for this lung cancer protocol.  (I’m SOOOOOO special!)  I don’t have all the information about it, but when I do, I promise I’ll share.

Know this for now:  I’m kind of relieved that I’m off of treatment for a minute.  I’m delighted to not have to deal with vomiting or constipation this week.  I’m thrilled to not have to put my life on hold for one week of every three.  Likewise, I’m bummed that what was supposed to be a long-haul successful treatment turned out not to be.  I’m disappointed that this is my life.  I hate cancer.  Cancer sucks.  But again, there are other things to try, other treatments that may work, and all of you in my corner. And that doesn’t suck even a little bit.  Oh, and now that I have enough hair to actually style, I’m thinking of employing a little Personal Chemotherapy this afternoon:  I may just color my hair!

Will blog again on Sunday unless the tides turn unexpectedly!

Teri, the changes course again Flying Elephant in the Land of Lung Junk



  1. Teri my prayers are going out. All any of us have is right now. Take it a minute at a time. We wil get together soon. I love you.

  2. Dear Teri,
    I am so sorry, I don’t know what else to say. Still praying for you ever day & still struggling with the God i don’t believe in.
    with much love

  3. Bless your heart and your strength. I so admire your courage. You inspire me every week. Thanks

  4. I’d like nothing more than to be able to spend that kind of time with you, traveling down Memory Lane, my friend. Those were indeed the days! And I remember your mom teaching me how to crochet, and then me teaching my brother. And all the junior high drama. And how we clung to each other and survived it. Yes, my friend–let’s see how we can have that conversation and share those memories. I’d like nothing more!
    Oh–and congrats on being a 4-year survivor! Rock on and rock hard!!!!

  5. i hate this latest update. i will continue to hold you in my prayers. you are my incredible friend.
    with love,

  6. Bummer is right! I love you and I hate cancer. I am saying prayers that that the immunotherapy is a better choice and with fewer side effects. I hope you got to see a little sunshine and clear blue sky today. And at night, I hope you see Jupiter and Venus and the great winter sky. An artists delight.

  7. Teri I am very sad tonight after reading your blog. I am sad the chemo is not beating the tumors. I am sad you are having to deal with the unending side effects. But mostly, I am sad that it has taken us so many years to reconnect. I believe all things happen for a purpose, and I am holding my breath as to why now.

    As I had mentioned to you in the beginning of our new meeting, I am a 4 year survivor. And as cancer goes, I am forever fearful the disease will remind me, it is always lurking, always in control of my body.

    I am sad tonight, because I don’t know that I could face it with the strength and dignity you do every day.

    Teri, you are a spectacular woman!! You are a pillar in the cancer community!! You are an inspiration to everyone who reads your words!! And you rock!!

    I hope we have found one another now, so we can sit down and share a cup of coffee and some memories of young children and how we impacted each other so many years ago. I have thought of you and Sam so many times over the years. The Belle Stone class. Stephanie, Scott, Ina, Peggy, Joan, Terril, and so so many more. Having changes in our school system like ‘hot lunches’ in 4th grade instead of walking home; being the first 6th grade class to be the oldest kids in the school! The new Jr. High! And of course, should I be cool and smoke cigarettes? Ha!! Oh how Joan and I loved walking to school so we could smoke on the railroad tracks. Yeah, I was really cool, with goofy hair and pimples! But those early years, helped prepare me for my grown up life. And you my friend, impacted me so many years ago, and still doing so today.

    Let’s make a time machine, and go back to when life was so much simpler! I will let you drive 🙂

  8. When I was in high school and something upsetting happened, my friends and I, SO brazenly, would let loose with “Shitty-doody-cocky-farty”! Gasp! Stupid an expletive as it was…and is…that’s what I thought when I read your news. But, you didn’t stay with the bad for long, so neither can I. I’m just grateful your Dr. Horn is so resourceful and plugged-in. And I pray that whatever comes next is the treatment that will stop this disease in its tracks.

    On another issue (and maybe it’s too late)…I vote for keeping your hair au naturel! Your greying hair, gorgeous green eyes and young face are…a standout! Whatever: enjoy!!!

    Love and hugs,

  9. Hi, Teri,

    So sorry the Alimta didn’t work for you.
    So happy that you have the wonderful Dr. Horn to help you change course.

    Will be sending good Karma your way tonight, when I am employing my own Personal Chemotherapy of the kind you mentioned. Medium Amber Brown, I think.



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