Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/06/10

Gratitude, Friendship, Appreciation, Life

My sweet friends, I blog to you this evening coming off of a high that only comes from A) feeling a TON better, B) knowing my kids have been having an awesome time at the music festival, Bonnaroo, C) having my exceptional brother here taking care of me, and D) having had a visit from two exceptional friends from my childhood, Anne and Jane (my late, great Aunt Barbara’s daughters) this weekend.  I am truly feeling the very blessings of life and it feels good!  Please let me elaborate.

First of all, A)  Feeling a TON better.  Last weekend, well, it was a rough patch for sure.  It scared me and has scarred me and left me an emotional mess.  I was NOT WELL, and was also reeling from learning of the deaths of some precious people, and some challenges in the lives of a few others.  And feeling so lousy that I thought I’d be among the gone.  I can’t say that every setback is easily bounced-back from; most are not easy at all.  The biggest problem is that every time there’s a treatment or a setback or something, you don’t get to bounce back to wherever your high point was; you bounce back to a little bit less of who and what you were before.  The line gets shorter.  It’s frightening.

BUT, I’m on a good page with both my oncologist and radiation oncologist, and we agree that I need to continue to heal from the radiation I had to my hips, and the damage it did to my gut, for a little while before I’ll be able to manage the specialized MRI I need to see if there are any more than the 1 occipital tumor that was found on the MRI in the hospital last week, let alone the treatment that would go along with it.  Brain metastases are serious things, but if I can’t even manage the testing, how would I consider recovering from the treatment?  Besides, since the immunotherapy trial was a fail for me, it’s time to do chemo, and that seems to me to be a little more urgent than radiation.  What’s awesome is that I get to be a partner in my care, and I can talk to these exceptional medical professionals and work WITH THEM to make good choices about how I manage my disease.  That, my friends, is the way medicine should work-in tandem, in partnership, with everyone listening and taking stock and doing what really is in the patient’s best interest.  That I have that going is indeed a great blessing, and part and parcel of why I’m feeling so very much better.  When I told Leora that I thought I should come in regularly for fluids so that I don’t get so messed up like I did before and so that I could start to recover and break the cycle of being so sick, she was all about getting that done.  It’s been a good move:  I haven’t thrown up in over a week (well, not counting the attempt at the specialized MRI last week), and am back on a steroid that is helping me NEED to eat regularly and start to get some of this weight back on me.  And I feel a TON better–did I mention that?

B) My kids have been at Bonnaroo this weekend, enjoying the music and mayhem that comes with a festival of this sort.  I’m really proud of them, young adults recognizing that as they continue on their young adult journeys of life, this might be a unique opportunity for them to kind of vacation together.  I’ve asked them only text me daily to let me know they’re still alive, and they’ve been great about that, and also letting me know they’ve been having a blast.  There’s something so cool about knowing your kids are friends and can have fun together and WANT to spend time with each other doing stuff like Bonnaroo.  My heart is really full knowing they planned it and did it and it was fun.  Very cool stuff!

C) My brother has been here since last Thursday (when the kids went to Bonnaroo) to take care of me.  Y’all, he did my laundry for me.  ALL of it.  Well, after the washer repair dude had to come out and fix the broken washer (easy and cheap fix, thank goodness).  Then he re-organized my linen closets.  Oh, and while here?  Poor dude had a serious vertigo attack.  LIKE REALLY SERIOUS!  Which was when I found out for sure (like I didn’t know before) two things:  adrenaline is amazing and motivating and even when you’re feeling lousy and have to have people help you, you can rally for someone who needs you when they need you; and I have exceptional friends who come when summoned.  When my brother’s attack hit, I called my friend, neighbor, and massage therapist, Aryia, and simply said, “I need you.”  She was over in 5 minutes.  She ministered to my brother, went out and got him meds that were recommended by my friend, Tina, who was texting with one of HER friends who suffered these attacks, and stayed for 4 hours to keep vigil and help.  I asked the Facebook friends to fire up the prayer chain, and they did.  I went up and down my steps about 5 times that night and I COULD DO IT, because my brother needed me.  We camped out in the living room all night, and at daybreak, were both able to go upstairs to bed and continue to recover from the night.  It was astounding and amazing and awful and in a weird way, really healing for me.  To know that I could rally for my beloved brother when he needed me, AND know that people who say they’ll be there if you need them actually show up and mean it when they say it?  Geez.  Kind of cool.  Thank goodness, he’s been fine since then, continuing his exceptional care of me and my home, making me so grateful to be related…..

D)  Anne and Jane came to visit me!  They brought with them a celebration of my up-coming 50th birthday.  I haven’t seen them since last August when Anne’s youngest son had his bar mitzvah, and they just wanted to have a sister weekend and come see me, so they did, Anne from Ohio, and Jane from South Carolina.  Whirlwind trip, they buzzed in yesterday morning (early) and are heading back just now.  And I was well for the visit!  I’ve spent two of my best days with them in my living room, visiting, remembering, laughing, crying, being, celebrating.  I don’t think they’d seen my brother in like a decade or more, and BFFAEAEAE Lisa came over today and got to meet them, too, which made my heart sing.  Like I said in part A, I’m still scarred and emotional from last week and such, so I’ve been a bit up and down, but mostly up and amazed that there is so very much love in the world, and I get so much of it and get share so much of it.  People amaze me daily with their generous hearts and goodness and kindness.  My next door neighbor on one side cuts my grass for me.  My neighbor on the other side, a minister, finds great translations of special prayers to hold me up.  My friends come flying when needed. Little things come in the mail (like gifts from Pat A. and Anne S.), or in the email, or on Facebook, gifts of encouragement and inspiration and hope and help and love.  It overwhelms me every time, and I just don’t know what to do except to tell you once again that I am without a doubt the very most blessed person on the face of the planet!  Y’all are the wind beneath my flying elephant wings, and there’s no doing this life without you.  Thank goodness I have you all!!!!!!!

I am still emotional.  I am still recovering.  I am still concerned and a little scared.  I am scarred.  I still have Lung Junk.  It still sucks.  But I’m here.  I’m blessed.  And I’m grateful.

All I got is a ton of love for y’all tonight,




  1. And a ton of love is going back to you, dear Teri.

  2. and thru it all I see God shining through you. Everyday!

  3. Thank you. More than you can imagine.

  4. Dear Teri,
    First let me introduce myself. I am a good friend of Erin Lowell whom you also know. I thank you first off for being such an inspiration to the both of them. Sadly, Todd’s time came sooner than we all would have liked. But not only did you inspire the Lowell family with your unique approach to this dreadful disease, but you are also inspiring so many others out there. Do you fully fathom the ripple effect your blogs create? You so easily could play the “poor me game”, but instead you focus on your blessings. I thank you for being the woman you are. I pray God gives you the strength to get through each day, and the peace in knowing you are His child.


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