Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/05/27

Giving and Sacrificing

My friends, it is again that time of year when we consider the sacrifices made by those men and women who served in the various branches of our Armed Forces.  The ultimate sacrifice, the giving of life, in the name of what is good and sacred and virtuous about our country, is in these days of snippets of news, flashes on Facebook, announcements caught while channel-surfing on TV, often underplayed and diminished.  Granted, those of us who have grown up as television and internet have grown up are victims of desensitization of grand scale, so the tears, well, they don’t come unless the loss is, well, personal.

I’m not a fan of war.  Never have been.  When my son was little, he vexed me constantly by talking about how he wanted to be “a army guy.” He, of course, meant, in his 4-year-old way, that he wanted to be a good guy, to protect his homestead, mommy included, as best he could, even if it meant shooting the bad guys.  I admired and appreciated his loving affection. At any rate, it was hard to try and applaud his sweet efforts at protection, and explain the inherent badness of war.  Fortunately, he had the attention span of a gnat, and more philosophical conversations could wait a few years until we both were more ready for them.  Like now.

No, I’m no fan of war.  No fan of killing, of needing to be superior, of destroying things to gain…whatever.  And now, now there’s a different war in my life, that personal war on Lung Junk, and I don’t like that, either.  Of course, when there are physical wars over territories or oil or “principles” or whatever, a bunch of people on either side line up and try to shoot their way into convincing the other side they’re right, and lots of people, well, they lose their homes, or they get hurt, or they die in the way.  When the war is on cancer, people line up on sides and everyone has a take on how to get the enemy to retreat or be destroyed or at least be beaten back for a while.  On land or in your body, one truth is for sure:  War is Hell.

I admire those who choose to fight wars, whichever kinds they are, believing they can make a difference, believing they can be part of a solution that will ultimately lead to peace.  Not much of a fan for the methods of ground or air or sea battles, because the cost is so high, I do still respect those who feel compelled to fight for what they think is right.  There’s something to be said for that kind of drive.

But even more, I respect those who fight internal wars, wars on cancer, and here’s why:

There is no Memorial Day for them.  And by “them,” I mean more than those who had cancer, fought, and died.  By “them,” I mean those who volunteer for Phase I Clinical Drug Trials.   Now, I realize, i have to consider the animals that are sacrificed prior to Phase I trials, and believe me, my friends, those considerations of mine are very great.  It is a personal challenge of mine that some of my survival thus far is due to the life sacrifice of mice, rats, and monkeys.  How do I reconcile my pacifist, kindness to all God’s creatures side with my I really want to live side?

Well, one of the things I did was act as a clinical trial subject.  Twice.  (well, two and a half times)  It is not easy, let me tell you, to participate in something that A) might not help you; B) might hurt you; C) might kill you; D) but ultimately might help someone else.  It seemed like a no-brainer to me at the time that would participate.  After all, I have a lot of hope that I can continue to survive this Lung Junk, but if I could help someone else at the same time, bonus!

I’m confessing to you that I’m not so gung-ho about it anymore.  I don’t like the idea of plowing the field right now.  I don’t like the notion of guessing at what might make me feel better after a treatment.   I don’t want to be in that cage, that petri dish, under that microscope for a little while.  I want and need a break.  And because of all who have come before me, on every front where giving and sacrifices can and must be made, I am in a position where I can have that break.  We all can.

So I take today’s blog space to say thank you to everyone, all of you, who are givers in the world.  If you shared a cab with someone to help them out, I salute you.  If you shared your lunch so someone else could eat,  I salute you.  For your gift of song, humor, kindness, intelligence, expertise, friendship, I salute you.  For going an extra mile when you felt like quitting so that someone else could be comfortable, I salute you.  For letting someone do something for you when it was hard to let ’em do so, I salute you.  For small and medium sized sacrifices and gestures and giving, you are hereby saluted by a Flying Elephant.

And for those who have made the greatest of sacrifices for the causes you held most dear and important, may your memories be for a blessing, your stories forever be told, and love forever be your legacies.


Teri, The Flying Elephant, remembering



  1. Amen to those participating in clinical trials. And prayers to you, our Flying Elephant, for being such a fighter.

  2. Teri, You are not only to be saluted, but applauded and praised,admired and revered, loved and admired, and deeply respected. Ok, so there are not enough words in my vocabulary to express my admiration for you, suffice it to say……you’re awesome!

  3. Didn’t get to go to Texas; one of Emily’s friends went in my place. Also will miss my nephew’s graduation in Texas next weekend (sigh), but I think a couple of the kids will be able to go! Love to you, too, my friend!

  4. You are such a wonderful writer. I admire your thought process. Hang in there my friend. Did you make it to Texas with Emily? Here’s some hope, prayers and love coming your way.


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