Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/10/28

An Apology To My Body

bodyMy friends, I’m hoping you’ll indulge me today on two fronts:  first, I still can’t see for crap, a side effect of the Tarceva.  Dr. Bob Simon (a/k/a MFC–my favorite cousin–although we’re not related at all) prescribed me some fabulous eye drops, which make me feel a lot better, but I still can’t see for crap.  So please indulge me as I try to type, despite the blur!  Secondly, before I blog, I am making an appeal especially to those of you in the Middle Tennessee area for your participation in events that promote National Lung Cancer Awareness Month next month, and seek to raise funds for lung cancer research.  On Tuesday, November 13th, please join the new TN Chapter of the Lung Cancer Alliance at LP Field for the second annual Shine a Light On Lung Cancer Vigil.  At the end of the same week, on November 17th, if you’re so inclined to move your body for a good cause, join the second annual Breathe Deep Nashville, a 5k run/walk to benefit the LUNGevity Foundation, which will take place at Centennial Park, and managed by I Run for the Party. And if these events aren’t quite your cup of tea, find your passions and your charities and get involved!

Now, on to the blog: An Apology To My Body:

My dear Body,

I am imagining myself, my spirit, floating on the ceiling, looking down upon you.  I’m a little sorry that it’s past Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and I didn’t write this letter to you then,  You see, Body, I feel a great need to apologize to you for the years and years of abuse, neglect, disappointment, and dissatisfaction I’ve expressed to you and about you.

In my carefree childhood attitude, I constantly expected you to work as I wanted you to.  Many times, however, you did not meet my expectations.  I was a klutz.  I, as my mother often pointed out, “tripped over air.”  You were still developing your muscles and joints (and coordination), and I cursed you, a 10-year-old’s curses of never being good enough, strong enough, fast enough, able enough.  Your tender little Buddha belly rounded over your skinny legs, and I cursed you for being fat.  Even at those young ages, I wished and wished I could be skinny like my sister, or at least athletic like she was.  And if I couldn’t be skinny and coordinated, I cursed you, Body, because I wasn’t the better looking child in the family.  That honor went to my little brother.  Dang.

As time went on, my dissatisfaction with you only grew.  Magazines and television showed me daily how I was supposed to look, and you, Body, didn’t look anything like that!  My great-aunt called me “Fatso,” even as she was plying me with food.  We sure did (do) love food, didn’t we?  All kinds, any time.  Heavens, the way we went wild when we were in college!  Of course, it was New Orleans–never a bad meal to be found, but still.  A little self-control?  Nope.  Not us.

Of course, when we got to Nashville, everything changed, and I’d have to say for the best.  We got into shape, lost 30 pounds and kept it off through 3 pregnancies and beyond.  I discovered your coordination (finally) when we got involved in Taekwondo.  You weren’t so bad at that, but still, never quite as good as I wanted you to be.  (I compared you, Body, to Prianka all the time, as if you could ever measure up!)

Rarely, if ever, did I marvel at what you COULD do, Body.  How your legs walked at a quick clip, even when your arms were carrying a small, wiggly child, or a large load of groceries.  I didn’t give you enough credit for your strength and versatility.  The many things you could do at one time, the way your arms seemed to never tire, your back to stay strong.  Your fingers were always so nimble, ready to soothe a child, or sew a costume or bake something yummy.  And I took it all for granted.

I really regret that now, Body, now that I see what you’ve been reduced to, thanks to Lung Junk.  Hell, you can’t hardly even see right now!  Those quick-stepping legs?  They beg for rest periods now, and require wheeled walker or wheelchair for long distances.  The strong back needs frequent rests now, and the arms simply cannot manage more than this laptop without the lungs getting winded.  And let’s talk about your insides for a second, shall we?  Talk about taking stuff for granted!  Sure, I ate right and exercised, but it was always in terms of heart health.  Not a bad thing, but it never occurred to me that I needed to protect your inner organs from the catastrophe of cancer.  I admit to being quite short-sighted.

Which leaves us here, Body, in the Land of Lung Junk, struggling to make it day-by-day, even as cancer takes chunks of living away from us.  I marvel at the machine you still are!  On paper, we look pretty darned sick, you and I, but in reality, you’re lookin’ pretty good!  And there’s still so much you can do!  Your fingers are still nimble, even if your eyes aren’t working right right now.  Your legs can still support the rest of the gang, and your back, though weaker, isn’t broken!  You are a marvel and a wonder, Body, bombarded as you are by not only disease, but the poisonous antidotes for it!  Yes, you get down, and you get so very very tired, but you persevere.  I am in awe!

So please accept my apology, dear Body, for those years when I thought you were too fat, too clumsy, too uncoordinated.  I am so very sorry for all that I’ve done that abused or neglected you.  I promise as we slog through this Land of Lung Junk, you will be always at the top of my personal priority list.

With love and contrition,

Teri, the contrite Flying Elephant



  1. What a wonderful letter Teri. I understand how you feel. At 57 parts of me feel so much older, but yet I have moments when my body does what I want it to do.
    I guess at some point my body and I stopped working as one and I just took over and abused it. Time to change the thought pattern and work toward improving both mind and spirit.

  2. Gimme a shout on Thursday and we’ll see how I’m doing, OK? I’m supposed to get chemo tomorrow so ya never know!

  3. What an awesome letter. One of the best you ever wrote and so applicable to anyone having physical challenges. Are you up and moving around very much this week? We were out of town for about a week and a half and just got back last night. Trying to catch up with emails and stuff. Can I come over with some lunch for you Thursday if you are not up to going somewhere?


  4. God bless you and your precious wife! May you be safe from the storms; you’ve got enough to deal with!

  5. Dear Teri,

    I was alternatively sad for you but then inspired by your words, by your self-reflection. While my wife has reluctantly also entered this land of lung junk, I read your book and your blog and find hope. You are an inspiration, madam, and I find myself saying your name every day in prayer as I ask the Lord to bring healing, peace, and comfort to others whom I know are in need. I watch your journey and I wonder, how will my wife do with these challenging things? Well, I can read Teri’s materials and tell her how to do it! You are giving me answers where none else were to be found. Thank you, God bless you, and I will continue to pray for you. Grace to you,


    PS. Re: NLC awareness. We intend to participate in a southern New Jersey Lungevity event next weekend, the Heather Saler 9th Annual Lung Cancer Walk. (

  6. I. Love. This.

    The capacity your Body may lack, for now, is made up for by your Mind. It knows no limit of creativity, humor and kindness.

    Yasher Koach to you, and all your parts!


  7. Bless you, sweet Aviva! I am grateful!!!

  8. What a wonderful, poignant, tender, humorous, meaningful, insightful essay!! This is another gem to add to your vast collection of “keepers’–words to comfort, to sustain, to educate everyone! Whether your reader is a patient, caregiver, family member, visitor, friend, or just a fortunate reader, every single one of us has been enriched by your thoughts and musings.

    Thank you, dear Teri. I hope you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers always.

    Hugs, Aviva

  9. I know you know how it feels!

  10. This sucks so very much! I hate that neither you nor your body were given a choice in this! It just sucks!


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