Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/07/08

Attitude Really Does Affect Everything

positive attitudeHello, my friends!  It’s been quite a week for the Flying Elephant, what with starting my new chemotherapy regime and all.  And today is my son’s 18th birthday.  My baby.  Is 18.  A legal adult.  Technically, one could say my job as “mom” has reached its completion, and all my kids are grown.  I’m not much on technicality these days, though.  Joey is a senior in high school.  Taylor is a senior in college.  Emily is about to move to California to embark on her medical school training.  It still feels very much like there’s lots for me to do as mom:  help plan, advise, cheer them on, enjoy their richly deserved successes, be there if, heaven forbid, things don’t go their way.  No, for me the job is not over.

But both the milestone of starting another chemotherapy (taxotere, this time, given weekly for two weeks, then a week off, then weekly for two weeks, etc) with the hopes and prayers of it really kicking some cancer butt, and that of Joey turning 18 just kind of have me in a, well, grateful mood.  I’m so very grateful that there are yet still options for me to help me beat back this Lung Junk.  I’m grateful that I have a catheter in my side that gets drained of malignant fluid three times a week (a BIG departure from how I felt about the thing last month, when I resented the heck out of it.  I’m kinda sorry I felt like that now!), and a home health nurse who comes to me and does the draining.  I”m grateful I have a partnership with my doctors and with all of those who support my health and health care.  I’m grateful I have so many (SO MANY!) friends and family who support me in this journey, and provide me with rides to and fro, since I’m still not up to driving and am dependent on so many (especially my kids)!  I’m really grateful that my attitude is good:  I’m back to sanctifying my treatments, the medicines I take, the food I eat (which is much healthier and supportive of my body), the fact that I wake up in the morning and am here, the people who help me, my kids, I pray for all of you, I have hope and I’m not about to let go of it!  Attitude really DOES affect everything, my friends, it really does.  If you go into a treatment thinking it won’t work, all you’ll be is pleasantly surprised if it actually does, but your bad mojo could really put the brakes on something that might have been a good thing.  Your negativity can ruin an event for someone else (certainly won’t do anything for your experience that’s any good).  Your positive thoughts can pull a person through a crisis; positive energy is as infectious as a cold, and instead of doing harm, does a world of good!  Getting on board with positive energy can only do good.  Even if the outcome of the situation isn’t what was hoped for, the support is there and what’s bad about that?  People rally, hearts support one another.  Like I always say, I don’t know that there’s a reason for everything, but I do believe there can be reasonable outcomes to everything.  Attitude is a huge part of that.

Joey turning 18 has me in a grateful mood because, let’s face it, my attitude a little more than a month ago (and honestly for a few months before that) kinda sucked.  I really didn’t know if I’d be alive for my own milestone birthday last month, nor Taylor’s, let alone Joey’s.  That I have turned around my attitude is actually quite a milestone event in and of itself.  That I’m here to bear witness, to enjoy, to appreciate this special day for my son?  Icing on a very tasty cake, my friends.  Rich, delicious icing. So cool to see the grown-up versions of my babies, to see their rearing come to fruition, and to celebrate the amazing young adults they are!

These days, I have kind of reverted to something I did a couple of years ago, which was to recite a Hebrew prayer of thanksgiving.  Technically, it’s incorrect to recite this prayer daily; it’s really  just for the starts of new holidays and such, births of babies, events that happen infrequently, acquiring something new and significant (like a home), seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a long while, and stuff like that.  But again, these days I’m not so much on the technical.  It just helps me keep my attitude where it needs to be.  But you can judge for yourself.  The prayer is called Shehecheyanu, and it goes like this:

Blessed are you, O God, Ruler of the Universe, Who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Frankly, every day is a Shehecheyanu kinda thing for me.  (and yes, for those of you who have read my books, especially the first one, there was a whole blog entry in there about this very thing, so your deja vu is real!) There are prayers of gratitude in the Jewish tradition thanking God for waking up each day, and I say one of them every morning, but it just kind of doesn’t seem like enough.  My attitude took a dive before, and so did my health.  I cannot afford for that to happen again, so I’m bolstering it with as much good mojo as I can, and this prayer is part of the bolstering.

And yes, I realize life isn’t always a happy prospect. Bad and sad and mad stuff happens all the time, seriously taking dents in anything remotely resembling a positive attitude.  For example, last week, a long-time acquaintance, who was a very dear friend of a very dear friend of mine, passed away after an extremely long struggle with breast cancer.  The loss is excruciating for many many people. An elementary school chum’s wife suffered the sudden loss of a co-worker she’d worked side-by-side with for 30 years when the man’s car was hit in a head-on collision.  In the past month or so, so many among us have experienced these very kinds of losses.  Some people have just been diagnosed with some kind of junk.  Some have lost jobs, suffered accidents, gotten other bad news.  What role does attitude play then?  Here’s what I think, and bear in mind, it’s my blog and just my opinion:  In the face of loss, being real about how you feel is what’s important.  If you’re hurting, your attitude should honestly reflect that.  Seriously.  Masking your ache isn’t helpful.  Of course, lashing out at people isn’t awesome either, but you really should just be real. The trick is to allow enough of your wounded heart to be open to someone coming in to minister to you with compassion and a teensy bit of something that looks like hope.  Not too much, because that comes off as an edict for you to not feel bad when something bad happens, and one should feel how one feels for goodness sake.  But a little tiny light that says, “eventually.” And says, “I’m here.  Really. You’re not alone.”  That someone’s supportive attitude can really help your aching attitude, you know?  And aren’t we here to help one another?  It kinda looks like it to me. It isn’t always about having a positive attitude, but it is about it being possible to return to one at some point.

I am grateful that you and I have been granted this life in the first place.  That we have been sustained.  That we have been enabled to reach this day, this precious day.  And I’m really grateful for all of you in my life!  That’s my attitude and I’m stickin’ to it.  Peace to you all for the week!

Teri, The Better Attitude Flying Elephant




  1. Thanks for sharing this, Maria. Good to know what’s in the pipeline; helps keep my attitude in the right direction for sure! Thank you so much!

  2. I want to make sure you see this article:

  3. I pray you will be here for that and more!!!!!

  4. I am so happy to know you’ve been present for those milestones. I pray that I will be here to see my seven-year-old’s 18th birthday. I am delighted for you and for them.

  5. Teri, I am so proud to say you are my cousin. Your attitude is remarkable and you raise hope for so many. Much love, Elayne

  6. you are likewise in my prayers, my friend. i’m so sorry for all that’s happened, and admire your determination to move forward. i’m here for you anytime! love you!

  7. Teri, I love you and your blog was what I needed to hear. I am sad but I will overcome. Thanks for helping others to reflect a different way. Congrats to Joey. You are always in my prayers. Need to get with you soon my friend. Hugs and love sent your way.

  8. Thanks so much, Diane. So sorry for your diagnosis, but so glad your treatment is successful! So far I’ve had everything covered by my insurance, but I appreciate the offer! And I’d love to keep in touch with you. My email is
    Keep on flying!!!!!

  9. I really enjoy your blog. I think I was turned onto it by Cure Lung Cancer Now! on Facebook. I’m 43 yo with stage IV NSCLC, mets in my spine, HER-2+, currently on a breast cancer drug that is making a difference (thank God for genetic testing). I had a pluerx catheter for 5 months, and just had it removed last month. I’m hoping you can see my email address. Please contact me if you need to vent about the catheter, or have questions. I eventually sent the home nurses away, when I was able to take care of it myself – but it took 3 months for me to get up my confidence! Also, if you find your insurance is not covering your supplies, I have extras (unopened of course) that I could ship to you, no charge. I’d like to find them a new home where they are needed. Keep up the great work Teri! Diane

  10. How lucky I likewise feel about you, my friend!

  11. And how grateful am I that Teri and her three little ones walked into my life almost two decades ago! At every turn you have been true and honest, realistic while positive. And Teri, even when the positive is hard to pull off, you always work your way back to it in good time, leading with your strong heart and thoughtful head. You are a wonder. Is it any wonder I feel so lucky to call you my friend?
    Much love,

  12. Teri, this week’s blog is beautiful and helpful and just the wise attitude adjustment I need right now. I agree with you about Shehecheyanu really can be said as often as we need to say it. You are in our thoughts and prayers.


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