Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/06/24


Oh, my friends!  After the two months I’ve been through of ick (and apparently, I kind of minimize what “ick” really means, so yeah, keep in mind I’m still recovering from it), I can honestly and excitedly tell you that I just experienced an EXCEPTIONAL WEEK!

Most importantly, I continue to recover and am feeling pretty darned good most days.  That doesn’t mean I’m dancing the samba or anything.  I need to use a chair in my shower, and the shower itself wears me out.  I pretty much still keep to my house, maybe doing one short errand every couple of days, but I’m not in bed all day, but rather on the couch. I still have to have the catheter in my lung drained 3 days a week, but my home health nurse is awesome (comes to the house and gets it done in 15 minutes flat), and I no longer resent the thing.  It’s doing its job (draining malignant fluid from my lung so I can breathe easier), and I am GRATEFUL.  I go twice a week to Vanderbilt for IV fluids so that I don’t get behind the 8-ball again, and I’m still on a steroid once a day because A) it helps my appetite, B) it makes me feel like I’m avoiding any inflammation in my brain where that stinkin’ new tumor is on the occipital lobe, and C) Leora said I could only have it once a day for 30 days and then there could be side effects that would be bad, like muscle loss in my upper arms and legs.  Yeah, like I need that–I still have to hoist myself up off the commode, and I don’t have the stamina to walk much so I need a wheelchair wherever I go of any distance.  Like I said, still continuing to recover.  BUT I can happily report the return of my double chin, although my pants still fall off of me.  Still, progress!  I’ve got my piss & vinegar feisty back and I do not aim to lose it again!  (Y’all help me and spot me on this, OK?  Chemo is coming July 5th, and there can’t be a backslide!)

But my week, my friends, oh what a week!  I turned 50 on Tuesday, the day after my middle child turned 21.  My son turns 18 2 weeks from today; oldest daughter had her birthday in March.  Big stuff indeed!  IT WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. EVER!!!!!!  I was visited and called and emailed and mailed stuff and sent flowers and presented with a very special birthday video that a lot of you participated in, and surprised, and frankly, I pretty much spent the day in a state of overwhelmed.  Lots and lots of tears of sheer joy and disbelief that there are SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO LOVE ME SO MUCH!!!!!!!! Y’all are just the BEST! Truly, to reach this milestone and have to do it from the Land of Lung Junk, well, I’m so grateful that I made it!  But to do it with all of YOU at my side, in my corner, cheering me on?  Well, OF COURSE I made it!  Y’all made sure I did.  Where, oh where, are there enough words of gratitude?  Surely there must be more than thank you……

The day after my birthday, someone put something in my mailbox: an unmarked envelope, and inside, a lovely card, and printed in blue marker, this: “Dear Teri, Do you have any idea how much you are loved.”  Unsigned.  Sigh.  Well, lemme tell ya.  I kinda do.  I kinda have a clue that there’s boundless love bouncing around this planet and an exceptional amount of it finds its way to me!  What I hope and pray is that it doesn’t just stay there, but that I’m doing a good job of keeping the trend going, spreading the love, and sending from me to you and you and you and you, and you’re doing the same as it hits you.  Because that’s how we do, that’s how we keep on keeping on and get from challenge to challenge and good time to good time, and everything in between.  We share the love, we share the burden, we reach out, and others help us to reach inside.

My energy level continues to improve:  I’ve been able to do some laundry (rest periods included), a little cooking (again with rest periods), and I was blown-away honored to be able to give a lecture at Vanderbilt Medical School this past Friday, which was a true highlight to my summer and reminded me how very much I miss teaching……sigh……I really love teaching and public speaking and being a helper in the world.  I spoke to residents, 4th  years, distinguished doctors about the need to help their patients partner in their care, especially when they have chronic or debilitating diseases (yeah, like cancer). {Shout out to my daughter, Taylor’s, boyfriend, Jason, who is an awesome graphic artist and made the art for my talk! -spells out the word HOPE} hope from a flying elephant  And for you reading from the Lung Cancer Advocacy Angle, yes, I did the spiel about ending the stigmas and the smoking issue and the research disparity problem. Put a plug in about Gilda’s Club Nashville, too.  Girlfriend here don’t miss no opportunities! 🙂  It felt so daggum good to be “ME,” Professional Teri, Social Worker Teri, Educator Teri.  I miss those “me’s” sometimes, and as I process through dealing with cancer, it’s been too easy to feel like those pieces of me are gone.  Well, this week, they flooded back and it felt fantastic!

Truly, it was likely the best week I’ve had maybe ever.  Certainly was the best birthday I’ve ever had.  Just beyond explanation!  I am soooooooo grateful for it all!

Ahead, well, there’s another week of draining and fluids and getting ready for chemo.  I really am going to get started on the 5th of July.  I’m excited that I’m going into this with the same good attitude I did with the “big chemo” I did last summer; I think the attitude will help me make it a more successful experience.  Appreciate your prayers as I move forward; I really can’t do this without you.

And I wish you an exceptional week, one where something lovely surprises and delights you.  We all so deserve that!

Much love,

Teri, the 50 year old Flying Elephant




  1. So thrilled with this blog. I am so glad you had such an awesome birthday and feeling the spunk again. We continue to keep you in our prayers and glad you are building your strength and weight to roll with the next round of chemo. We love you so much. Keep it up!

  2. loving the photo….you look filled with hope and love! So happy for you!!!

  3. Well, I’m glad you got through brain surgery (!) well, but please never think mine is tougher than yours. Pain and trauma are pain and trauma. Good for you for getting through, and thanks so much for supporting me in my journey! Truly, I can’t do it without you! Thank you for that blessing!

  4. Teri, True Inspiration that you are in spite of all this junk (lung, et al), how exciting to hear of your exceptional week and happiest of birthdays! Keep celebrating it as long as you wish. In my case, it was brain surgery, which was a walk in the park contrasted to lung junk.
    Love, Peace, Prayers, Wondrously Healing Thoughts to you

  5. Teri, You are a true delight and I thank you for your blog! I’m one of your admirers that you don’t really know personally. Your attitude and goodness make me want to be a better person. Thanks for the uplift! I’m really glad you had such a lovely week.


%d bloggers like this: