The Story Begins

As you know, Libby’s T-cell mandibular lymphoma first diagnosed and treated since last November 2017 is being stubborn. Her Pet scan was clear after chemo in February but immediately after 17 rounds of radiation has unfortunately returned. She has started a new treatment that is working to eradicate the disease. This website has been created to not only share her updates but also to be a support for others going through cancer battles and for all of those that want to share in her life journey. Based on her resilient parents Betty and Bill, the mantra of her brother Bill, who died of ALS at 43, and her cancer surviving sister’s Sheri and Lisa, the Sims Family philosophy is to “never give up,” always have hope and laugh a lot! Faith, Hope, and Love to all of you! In this life adventure, in the face of adversity, you must always try to see the bright side! We invite you to follow here and post your story but please do not post this website on social media. Thank you…




100 thoughts on “The Story Begins

  1. You are strong, your are courageous, you are coordinated, you are LIBBY!! loving and praying for you from Birmingham:)


  2. Libby and Caroline, I don’t know 2 stronger, more positive people than the two of you!! I am with you in this journey in any way I can be and know my love is with you both!!


  3. Libby told me today about this site that means so much to her and to others. I am first cousin to Libby’s Carl and I was honored to teach Alex and watch him grow into a confident, talented young man. In 2006, I had ALL and really appreciated family and friend support. I might have recovered in part because I am a terrible mathematician. A good-looking doctor (opinion of Libby and me) told me sadly that he was able to save 1 out of 3 with my kind of leukemia. I said, “Hey, that’s better than 50/50!” Twelve later I am still here and feel great even as a septuagenarian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carolyn,
      Thank you for sharing a little of your story! I have not been keeping up with the comments on this blog site like I hope to later after I am admitted to Emory on February 20. You are such an inspiration to me Carl and Alex and all of those who know you! I’m sending love and hugs and happy that you are blessed to be 1 out of 3!! Xo Libby

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dearest Libby, thank you for sharing your journey with us in NY. We will keep you ever constant in our prayers and I have you on our church group prayer list as well!
    Your prayer warriors are raising you up for the fight! He’s got you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Libby, I am so glad you are journaling and sharing this journey with your many friends, and of course in Libby style …..encouraging everyone else along the way! You are such an inspiration and yes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Prayers abound for you and everyone involved !!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Ann!! I am preparing for the “big adventure” starting on Feb 20th. I hope your retirement is going well and that you are enjoying your new life! I’m sure it is as busy but hope you are enjoying yourself!! Xoxo, Libby

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops, my original response was for my friend Ann Hillis that recently retired! Lol I’m working on getting the hang of this blog thing!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Dear Libby,
    I’m so glad to have a way to stay in touch with you in spirit while you’re out of touch in body! I’m going to send poems to you. And blessings. And prayers. All in hope that you will know I’m thinking of you every day and loving you always. Here’s the prayer for today:

    Gentle me,
    Holy One,
    into an unclenched moment,
    a deep breath,
    a letting go
    of heavy experiences,
    of shriveling anxieties
    of dead certainties,
    that, softened by the silence,
    surrounded by the light,
    and open to the mystery,
    I may be found by wholeness,
    upheld by the unfathomable,
    entranced by the simple,
    and filled with the joy
    that is you.
    —–Ted Loder

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Lib

    Here’s a poem:

    As swimmers dare
    to lie face to the sky
    and water bears them,
    as hawks rest upon air
    and air sustains them,
    so would I learn to attain
    freefall, and float
    into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
    knowing no effort earns
    that all-surrounding grace,

    Denise Levertov

    Thinking about you all day. Love you, Ann



    Liked by 1 person

  9. For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid

    There is a country to cross you will
    find in the corner of your eye, in
    the quick slip of your foot – air far
    down, a snap that might have caught.
    And maybe for you, for me, a high passing
    voice that finds its way by being
    afraid. That country is there, for us,
    carried as it is crossed. What you fear
    will not go away: it will take you into
    yourself and bless you and keep you.
    That’s the world, and we all live there.

    William Stafford, The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems


  10. Good morning Libby,

    I know you love the ocean, so here’s a thought:

    New Religion

    This morning no sound but the loud
    breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
    all that salt water lived the god
    that humans have spent ten thousand years
    trawling the heavens for.
    We caught the wrong metaphor.
    Real space is wet and underneath,
    the church of shark and whale and cod.
    The noise of those vast lungs
    exhaling: the plain chanting of monk fish choirs.
    Heaven’s not up but down, and hell
    is to evaporate in the air. Salvation
    is to drown and breathe
    forever with the sea.

    Bill Holm, The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Truth in Advertising

    If we’d moved her,
    she’d still have ’em

    the ad for Acme
    Moving says, with a photo

    of Venus de Milo.
    But who, intact,

    would Venus be?
    Some standard-issue

    ingenue. Give me
    a woman who’s lived

    a little, who’s wrapped
    her arms around the ages

    and come up lacking; that’s
    the stone that can move me.

    Andrea Cohen, from Kentucky Derby

    Love you, Lib

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Howdy

    Wondering how you’re doing. Been a long 3 days out here. Bet it’s been longer for you.

    The Business of Crows

    One of them has a discarded
    half-pint milk carton
    by its pinched top

    and is banging it on the sidewalk.
    Hopping with it dragging it along,
    he hefts it with his beak.

    and swings it against the concrete.
    Then he pauses to inspect his work,
    to adjust his grip before

    picking up the carton
    and smacking it down again.
    Every time he hits the sidewalk

    with the empty box
    it makes a flat, satisfying plop.
    Perhaps that’s all the crow wants,

    the hollow report
    he gets for his labor
    confirming its emptiness.

    As for me, I have stopped
    on the way back to my office
    to watch the crow’s involvement

    with a milk carton. Sunlight,
    filtering through bare trees,
    stains the bird a dark blue

    that slips to black
    like secret ink and makes sense
    only as his feathers move.

    What could possibly be
    more important than this?
    I have no further excuses.

    Joseph Green, from What Water Does at a Time Like This

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Wishing all your cells well this morning. Sending love, too.

    Watching Sand Hill Cranes

    Spirits among us have departed – friends,
    relatives, neighbors: we can’t find them.
    If we search and call, the sky merely waits.
    Then some day here come the cranes
    planing in from cloud or mist – sharp,
    lonely spears, awkwardly graceful.
    They reach for the land; they stalk
    the ploughed fields, not letting us near,
    not quite our own, not quite the world’s.

    People go by and pull over to watch. They
    peer and point and wonder. It is because
    these travelers, these far wanderers
    plane down and yearn in a reaching
    flight. They extend our life,
    piercing through space to reappear
    quietly, undeniably, where we are.

    William Stafford, from Even in Quiet Places

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hey Libby
    Big day tomorrow. Hope everything is set up and ready to go. You have many fans pulling for you. Especially me.

    Walking Beside a Creek

    Walking beside a creek
    in December, the black ice
    windy with leaves,
    you can feel the great joy
    of the trees, their coats
    thrown open like drunken men,
    the lifeblood thudding
    in their tight, wet boots.

    Ted Kooser, from Flying at Night


  15. Today – all day – on my mind and in my heart, dear Libby.

    …Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;
    They are like rainbows.

    …All is yours already.
    Don’t search any further.

    Don’t go into the inextricable jungle looking for the elephant
    who is already quietly at home.

    Nothing to do,
    nothing to force,
    nothing to want,
    —-and everything happens by itself.

    Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche


  16. Libby,
    I have been sending positive thoughts and prayers your way! You are such an amazing woman and a role model for me! Know that I am pulling for your speedy recovery!
    Donna Childs


  17. Oh, my sweet, sweet dear Libby! I am just today learning about all of this and am sending so much love and positive thoughts your way. You are one amazing and brave woman and I am so glad to call you my friend. I am raising my cup of tea to you right now and know you will get through this tribulation with grace and strength. Love you tons, my friend. Jane


  18. I just received a text from you and man! does that make me happy! I hope you just feel better and better every day, my friend.


    What was I looking for today?
    All that poking under the rugs,
    peering under the lamps and chairs,
    or going from room to room that way,
    forever up and down the stairs
    like someone stupid with sleep or drugs

    everywhere I turned was wrong.
    I started turning the drawers out, then
    I was staring in at the icebox door
    wondering what I was looking for.
    Later on, I think I went back again.

    Where did the rest of the time go?
    Was I down in the cellar? I can’t recall
    finding the light switch, or the last
    place I’ve had it or how I’d know
    I didn’t look at it and go past.
    Or whether it’s what I wanted, at all.

    W. D. Snodgrass, from Selected Poems: 1957-1987


  19. Good Morning, Missy Libby. This poem reminds me of you.


    More and more I have come to admire resilience.
    Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam returns
    over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous tenacity of a tree:
    finding the light newly blocked on one side,
    it turns in another.
    A blind intelligence true.
    But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
    mitochondria, figs –
    all this resinous unretractable earth.

    Jane Hirshfield, from Given Sugar, Given Salt


  20. Libby, I am overwhelmed by your courage and beauty, now more than ever. Our paths have not crossed recently but I’m glad to be here following your progress (Carl will be glad too since I’m sure he’s getting so many inquiring messages). You are an inspiration and I’m keeping you in my prayers daily. I have a wonderful Sunday School class that are prayer warriors and they will whisper your name to God too. Every Cell is Well, I believe it!!


    1. Thank you sweet Darlene! I appreciate you keeping me in your prayers! Yes, God is fighting this fight for me and I believe that every cell is well! Hope to see you soon! Xo


  21. Bird conversations are beginning to hold forth in the mornings and all day and into the evenings. So here:

    I Pray to the Birds

    I pray to the birds.
    I pray to the birds because I believe
    they will carry the messages of my heart upward.
    I pray to them because I believe in their existence,
    the way their songs begin and end each day –
    the invocations and benedictions of earth.
    I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love
    rather than what I fear.
    And at the end of my prayers,
    they teach me how to listen.

    Terry Tempest Williams


    1. I miss hearing the birds outside. Thanks for bringing them in to me. My brother Bill talks to me through many different types of birds. Cardinals, yellow finches, the Pileated woodpecker, the great horned owl, the Golden Eagle and the Hawk. I miss him!


  22. Weathering

    My face catches the wind
    From the snow line
    And flushes with a flush
    That will never wholly settle.
    Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,
    Wanting to pass.
    I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
    And only pretty enough to be seen
    With a man who wanted to be seen
    With a passable woman.

    But now that I am in love
    With a place that doesn’t care
    How I look and if I am happy,
    Happy is how I look and that’s all.
    My hair will grow grey in any case,
    My nails chip and flake,
    My waist thicken, and the years
    Work all their usual changes.

    If my face is to be weather beaten as well
    It’s little enough lost
    For a year among the lakes and vales
    Where simply to look out my window at the high pass
    Makes me indifferent to mirrors
    And to what my soul may wear
    Over its new complexion.

    Fleur Adcock


  23. Thinking of you on this Sunday morning. Hope you’re feeling stronger every day. Love you always and forever, dear Lib

    The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is smeared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell; the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


  24. Here’s a poem for your brother Bill, and my sister Donna, and all those who pass through our lives but never leave us:

    For What Binds Us

    There are names for what binds us:
    strong forces, weak forces.
    Look around, you can see them:
    the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,

    nails rusting into the places they join,
    joints dovetailed on their own weight.
    The way things stay so solidly
    wherever they’ve been set down –
    and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

    And see how the flesh grows back
    across a wound, with a great vehemence,
    more strong than the simple, untested surface before.
    There’s a name for it on horses,
    when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

    as all flesh is proud of its wounds, wears them
    as honors given out after battle,
    small triumphs pinned to the chest –
    and when two people have loved each other

    see how it is like a scar between their bodies,
    stronger, darker, and proud;
    how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
    that nothing can tear or mend.

    Jane Hirshfield, from Of Gravity and Angels


  25. Hope yer cells ‘re gettin’ well! Becky Butler gave me this poem a loooonng time ago.


    The river is famous to the fish.

    The loud voice is famous to silence,
    which knew it would inherit the earth
    before anybody said so.

    The cat on the fence is famous to the bird
    watching him from the birdhouse.

    The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

    The idea you carry close to your bosom
    is famous to your bosom.

    The boot is famous to the earth,
    more famous than the dress shoe,
    which is famous only to floors.

    The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
    and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

    I want to be famous to shuffling men
    who smile while crossing streets,
    sticky children in grocery lines,
    famous as the one who smiled back.

    I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
    or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
    but because it never forgot what it could do.

    I don’t know the author, but it’s a good poem…


  26. Good morning, Friend Libby. To look outside, you’d think it was spring – but it’s 29 degrees! Brrrrr!

    The Real Work

    It may be that when we no longer know what to do
    we have come to our real work,

    and that when we no longer know which way to go
    we have come to our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

    The impeded stream is the one that sings.

    Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words


  27. The Real Work

    It may be that when we no longer know what to do
    we have come to our real work,

    and that when we no longer know which way to go
    we have come to our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

    The impeded stream is the one that sings.

    Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words


  28. Places I Have Heard the Ocean

    In a cat’s throat, in a shell I hold
    to my ear, though I’m told
    this is the sound of my own
    blood. I have heard the ocean
    in the city: cars against
    the beach of our street. Or in
    the subway, waiting for a train
    that carries me like a current.
    In my bed: place of high and low
    tide or in my daughter’s skates,
    rolling over the sidewalk.
    Ocean in the trees when they
    fill their heads with wind.
    Ocean in the rise and fall:
    lungs of everyone I love.

    Faith Shearin, from Moving the Piano

    Thinking of you every 20 minutes, Love


  29. Oz and I were so happy to get your progress update. How in the world are you riding 13 miles on a stationary bike?! Makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it!

    Keep the faith, Lib!♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️


  30. Libby, I always was and still am in awe of your talents, wit, grace and beauty. God has a plan for you once this cancer is beaten. And you will beat it! Never give up, which I know is not on your DNA!
    Continued prayers lifting you up every day and always. Xoxo
    Wendy McGee


  31. Dogs are the best people!


    The way the dog trots out the front door
    every morning
    without a hat or an umbrella,
    without any money
    or the keys to her dog house
    never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
    with silky admiration.

    Who provides a finer example
    of a life without encumbrance –
    Thoreau in his curtainless hut
    with a single plate, a single spoon?
    Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

    Off she goes into the material world
    with nothing but her brown coat
    and her modest blue collar,
    following only her wet nose,
    the twin portals of her steady breathing,
    followed only by the plume of her tail.

    If only she did not shove the cat aside
    every morning and eat all of his food
    what a model of self-containment she would be,
    what a paragon of earthly detachment.
    If only she were not so eager
    for a rub behind the ears,
    so acrobatic in her welcomes,
    if only I were not her god.

    Billy Collins, from Sailing Alone Around the Room

    I hope this is a good day for you, good Friend!


  32. My Lib; my role model; my pal; Oz’s Decorator,

    Here is another poem that calls to mind your resilient spirit:

    The Thing Is

    to love life, to love it even
    when you have no stomach for it
    and everything you’ve held dear
    crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
    your throat filled with the silt of it.
    When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
    thickening the air, heavy as water
    more fit for gills than lungs;
    when grief weights you like your own flesh
    only more of it, an obesity of grief,
    you think, How can a body withstand this?
    Then you hold life like a face,
    no charming smile no violet eyes,
    and you say, yes, I will take you
    I will love you, again.

    Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love


  33. A Short Testament

    Whatever harm I may have done
    In all my life in all your wide creation
    If I cannot repair it
    I beg you to repair it.

    And then there are all the wounded
    The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
    Whom I have roughly dismissed
    As if I were not one of them.

    Where I have wronged them by it
    And cannot make
    Amends I ask you
    To comfort them to overflowing.

    And where there are lives I may have withered around me,
    Or lives of strangers far and near
    That I’ve destroyed in blind complicity,
    And if I cannot find them
    Or have no way to serve them,

    Remember them. I beg you to remember them
    When winter is over
    And all your unimaginable promises
    Burst into song on death’s bare branches.


  34. Your latest journal entry indicates the road may be getting rough over there; as if it were a picnic in the first place…I’m so sorry to hear about fainting and nausea and headaches and other worries. I think you must feel pretty awful. Hopefully this week will move things along with that graft business. I do hope for better days ahead, dear one. Meanwhile:

    Say It

    Say that it is the continuous life
    you desire, that one day might stretch into
    the next without a seam, without seeming
    to move one minute away from the past
    or that in passing through whatever comes

    you keep coming to the faces you love,
    never leaving them entirely behind.

    Say that it is simply a wish to waste
    time forever, lingering with the friends
    you’ve gathered together, a gradual
    illumination traveling the spine,
    eyes brimming with the moment that is now.

    Say that it is the impulse of the soul
    to endure forever. Say it again.


  35. What Followed Your Birth

    You might not like being reminded
    of your birthday, Father said,
    but your mother and I do. Your
    birth was a happy occasion.
    What followed was both good
    and bad. That was to be expected,
    but what we didn’t expect was
    that you’d be the last of your friends
    to get a job, which you still haven’t
    gotten yet. It just took you longer
    to get started. You had to go back
    to school. That wouldn’t have been so bad
    if you were learning something, but
    after all these years to still not know
    what you want for a present doesn’t
    speak well for education.

    Hal Sirowitz, from Father Said



  36. The Peace of Wild Things

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Wendell Berry



  37. Psalm 23

    The Lord to me a shepherd is,
    want therefore shall not I:
    He in the folds of tender grass,
    doth cause me down to lie:
    To waters calm me gently leads
    restore my soul doth he:
    He doth in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake lead me.
    Yea, though in valley of death’s shade
    I walk, none ill I’ll fear:
    Because thou art with me, they rod,
    and staff my comfort are.
    For me a table thou hast spread,
    in presence of my foes:
    Thou dost anoint my head with oil;
    my cup it overflows.
    Goodness and mercy surely shall
    all my days follow me:
    And in the Lord’s house I shall dwell
    so long as days shall be.

    from The Bay Psalm Book


  38. This is It
    and I am It
    and You are It
    and so is
    and He is It
    and She is It
    and It is It
    and That is That

    O It is This
    and It is Thus
    and It is Them
    And It is Us
    and It is Now
    and here It is
    and here We are
    so This is It.

    James Broughton

    We’re so happy for you Libby!


  39. Libby, I just heard of your cancer challenge. From one survivor to another, keep positive and let your mantra be “courage every day”. Prayers and positive thoughts coming your way.


  40. Libby, I did not know of your about your fight. I think the world of you! You have always exhibited such grace. I send healing, positive energy your way and a big ole HUG! You are now on my positive energy thought list! If you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


  41. Hello Libby Libby,
    Here is poem from an anthology entitled Dancing with Joy:

    The Summer Day

    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper, I mean –
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
    I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

    Mary Oliver

    I hope your transition period back to your own home is going as happily as possible. How fortunate to have your Aunt and Uncle to hide you out for a while! Blessings on all of you every day and every minute! Love


  42. Ecstasy

    For years it was in sex and I thought
    This was the most of it
    so brief
    a moment
    or two of transport out of oneself
    in music which lasted longer and filled me
    with the exquisite wrenching agony
    of the blues
    and now it is equally
    transitory and obscure as I sit in my broken
    chair that cats have shredded
    by the stove on a winter night with wind and snow
    howling outside and I imagine
    the whole world at peace
    at peace
    and everyone comfortable and warm
    the great pain assuaged
    a moment
    of the most shining and singular gratification.

    Hayden Carruth

    Wishing you peace and rest and comfort. Love you Ann


  43. Here you go Turtle Head Patrick: One of my all time favorite poems; it makes me laugh as well as tear up every time I read it.


    Who would be a turtle who could help it?
    A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
    she can ill afford the chances she must take
    in rowing toward the grasses she eats.
    Her track is graceless, like dragging
    a packing case places, and almost any slope
    defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
    she’s often stuck up to the axle on her way
    to something edible. With everything optimal,
    she skirts the ditch which would convert
    her shell into a serving dish. She lives
    below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
    will change her load of pottery to wings.
    Her only levity is patience,
    the sport of truly chastened things.

    Kay Ryan, from The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s