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The 22nd day of February, 2010

One day during the last year of the first decade of the century I rushed around the house happy and energetic waiting for my friend Julee to pull up to the house for some quality time. Suddenly I need to find some lipstick. I headed out the door to look in the car. It had rained a little bit and the stairs were wet. as I romped down the first two steps my legs and feet sprawled out from under me and I fell straight backward and heard a stout crack where my back hit the staircase. I happened to have a phone in my hand and I promptly called 911, for myself. Four or five medical men found me on my bed, groaning in a genuinely painful state. They did not seem worried about me at all. They were cute I thought. They assured me I’d be okay. The next day at the Doctor’s office they determined that I had fractured my seventh vertebra and they set me up to have a clever kind of injection to cement the bones back together.  It really hurt for several weeks.  Pain is rough. Physical pain, hurts.  Still, if I had to make a choice I might resolve to endure physical pain rather than experience the inevitable pain of emotional heartbreak, fear and loss.

Losing love hurts, makes my face hurt makes my stomach hurt. These sudden waves of sadness reminding me the consequences of unrequited expectations helps itself articulate in the bottom of your heart. Shit. The highs and lows and what do you do? Today I snuggle in bed with the dogs, watching the Olympics trying to feel better. Things take Time said Nurse Emily during the nights in the hospital, that was so long ago.

Opening up the house with the doors and a window open makes a HUGE difference in my sense of breathing. It’s going to be time to start working in the yard. I am saving money, and yet, I feel broke. Then I’m helpfully reminded in my vision recorder (or Brain in old time language).

I’m dilly dallying around reading stuff I wrote and trying to learn what the computer grammar king means by “Fragmented Sentence”


it is just about time to practice yoga, wish me luck,

Today is the 22nd day of February in the year 2010. It is almost 9am. I wonder what today is going to be like. I wonder if I can get some shit done. put clothes away, yoga, guitar, walk, bank, cards, smiles.


Maybe This Will Be A Way

Having heard that my Doctor’s would like me to have a second transplant (assuming they can find a donor) I picked up a book given to me years ago by Shelly.  In addition to asking me to walk, unadulterated, every day for twenty minutes, it asks me to answer the following questions everyday. Today:

1. What’s happening with my body? My skin is peeling off. It feels like I’m sunburned. I can’t hear well out of my left ear. My skin is itchy. I feel fatigue. I put Vaseline all over my body including my face. I have no sense of smell or taste. I’m thirsty. I have not thrown up or had loose stool today.

2. How am I feeling emotionally? Sad. Scared. Happy. Lucky.

3. When I let my thoughts wander, what do I find myself thinking about? My last relationship with a man. The last three years and the fact that it isn’t over. The future and whether or not I will live as long as my dogs. What if I die and my mom has to live the rest of her life without me? Why can’t I die later when I’m ready? Maybe I will. What is the difference between denial and faith? How do I live these days? My past and what I did and did not accomplish.

4. Who did I connect with today? It is 4:07pm in the afternoon on Thursday. Thorne Ann hugged me for a long time. I cried. I called Gia and she picked up the phone to talk, I cried. I talked to Dave and we’re having lunch tomorrow and we talked for a minute and, I cried. I don’t think I really want to talk too much about this whole thing. Hence the blog. Maybe this will be a way for me to stay connected to the wonderful world of people I’ve come to know.

5. What gave me a sense of peace? Writing these answers and reading the newspaper including the story of two brothers who both died last night in an accident involving them running into each other, head on somewhere along Highway 30, the girlfriend of one of the brothers was killed. Needless to say, it helps to remember that it could be worse.

Written 7/18/2010



Why don’t I feel worse?

Why don’t I feel worse?

Is it denial that keeps me from feeling worse about my new and not so great circumstances? About life in general? After all, my country is on the brink of war.   Global warming is reaching critical mass.  The world is full of discord.  Full of sad news.  And what of my personal life.

I’m thirty-three years old, my favorite number.  An aspiring and by all accounts, very talented singer.  One part of a gifted band of musicians all full of dreams.  The only child of a warm hearted native Oregonian with the unflinching will to prove it.  A child of one of the summers of love.  The lasting legacy of a heartfelt but short lived interracial coupling that sprung from a time full of promise and potential.   A graduate of my state college.  An unlikely homecoming queen.  Popular then and now.  Friend to many.  Enemy to only the very deserving.  A gym rat.  A guilty yuppie.  A girl with many an old boyfriend most all of whom she still calls friend.  A traveler.  French speaker.  And the latest title, cancer patient.

Cancer patient? No cure? Chronic health issue? Does not compute.  You must be kidding.

Written 1/13/2003


Life in 2001

Teisha Helgerson

(living on SE Raymond, the muse for “You Belong to Me”)


“The name is Teisha Helgerson, she sings for a local group called Say Uncle, and it says here she’s going to be a star.  Knockout voice, exquisite sense of rhythm, plus a joyful presence…” Phil Stanford, Portland Tribune, August 2001

Background:  Soloist and choral experience throughout musical career with strong background in gospel, jazz, pop, R&B.

Professional experience:  During 2000 – 2001 performed with Randy Porter, Jazz Pianist; Bill Beach, Jass Pianist; Say Uncle, six piece band; Everyday Silver, four piece band.

Jazz performances:

  • Nike Corporate events in Vancouver, BC (December 2000), Seattle, WA    (April 2000), Newburg, OR (July 2000) September (2001)
  • Hayden’s Restaurant, Tualatin, OR  (January 2001)
  • River’s Restaurant SW Macadam


  • Say Uncle has played the following venues in the last year (2001):
  • The Bite of Portland
  • The Taste of Vancouver
  • The Taste of Beaverton
  • Ash Street Salon, SW Portland
  • Berbati’s Pan, SW Portland
  • Bitter End, W Portland
  • Buffalo Gap, SW Portland
  • Edgefield McMenamin’s, Troutdale
  • Hayden’s Grill, Tualatin
  • Kennedy School, NE Portland
  • Mt Tabor Theatre, SE Portland
  • White Eagle, NE Portland


  • Ringo Starr,   I wanna to be Santa Claus, Christmas 1999, back up vocal
  • Say Uncle, Self Titled Debut, Released April 28, 2001, Lead Vocals
  • Downstream Sound LLC, October 2001

Education:  University of Oregon: Bachelor of Arts, English Literature  


Centre Pompidou, Paris

November, 2010.


Special Showing of Teisha in Concert

“The members of Amelia hear sounds in their heads. They

wake up to voices that whisper in

their ears and rhythms that rattle through their

spines. Individually, they couldn’t tell you when they

first realized that they were soaking up this music.

Nor could they explain why the noises made by fingers

on keys and strings and wood make them feel the way

they do. They couldn’t tell you why they spend so much

time trying to get closer to the thing that makes the

most and the least sense to them.  But they would tell

you that together the four of them feel like they are

each other’s best chance of solving the puzzles they

keep scrambled on the inside.


Amelia sounds like a small jazz band that doesn’t play

jazz or a bossa band that doesn’t speak Portuguese.

They like to cry like Roy Orbison, brood like Tom

Waits… or persuade like Etta James… but they aren’t

pretending to be something they aren’t. They sound

like they mean it.  They feel young – but they know

they aren’t kids anymore.  They pay special attention

to the spaces between the notes, and are almost

reverential to the songs the notes create.


They might drive you across the desert in a

convertible or serenade you from beneath your window.

They might make you think of somebody you wish you

still talked to. They have had their hearts broken,

but they’re feeling better. Most of the time anyway.

You won’t regret letting them plant a few sounds in

your head.”

Written 7/12/02

On film the concert played for the recording of the Amelia Por Avion record.

Join us for a lovely evening to watch with friends. She’s funny and having fun at Mississippi Studios.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

7 – 9pm

Mississippi Studios

3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
(503) 288-3895

http://www.mississippistudios. com

A special blessing goes to Jim Brunberg for being the one to make this happen so easily.

Order a happy meal and refreshment from Bar Bar at 7:00pm and then settle in for the concert at 8.

I hope to see you there.

Deb, Teisha’s Mom



“I don’t want to die right now” I said with my head curled up in my mother’s arms “I’m not in the mood, I’ll do it later.”  I tearfully lamented this morning about the unknown future and the taxing task of going back into treatment. And then I took a deep breath and mom laughed and said “that sounds like a song, would you write that down.”

This morning I was having a not so teeny tiny cup of feeling sorry for myself. Despite reading in the Sunday paper about oil spills and immigration woes and a brief but studied walk with my eyes across the obituaries, I lay on my side, hands by my head in the cozy upstairs room of mom’s house and had a good solid cry. I let it all out.

Earlier today, I looked at one of the only blogs I’ve ever seen that belongs to a friend of a friend. She is remarkably talented, viciously productive, a charming writer who takes wonderful pictures, writes books and is happily married to a male nurse I’ve met in the hospital who is extremely kind and enjoys making movies about Keiko. I kid you not. Her blog is beautiful and well made and a happy read. I wondered as I sat in the bed with itchy red skin how my new blog about cancer land during early midlife would resound. Would it make people feel crummy maybe or depressed and/or sorry for me and my situation. Be that as it may, I just need to write things down as I brave (with the help of my family,friends and dogs), the path of the unknown that lies ahead.

Chemotherapy starts this week for two days, and then I have a month off before the next treatment. They can’t say how long I’ll be in this routine because it depends on how I respond. Word is that this is not a terribly hard round of chemo - that my hair most likely won’t fall out and it is administered to me as an outpatient so I won’t have to shack up at the hospital. Good news.

For today the plan includes playing the guitar for at least one full hour and going out into mom’s garden to see the number of slugs that climbed into the empty tuna cans of beer she left for them overnight. When I was a kid she used to take out slugs with salt but letting them slurp their way to a happy ending with a six pack of bad beer seems to make her happy. Yesterday for the first time in many years I helped pull some weeds in the garden with a mask on my face and gloves on my hand and it was fan-fuc&ingtastic. I had forgotten how centering it is to dig in the dirt, how good it feels to work in the yard.

If you want a little pick-me-up go see my friend’s friend’s really amazing work at:

Written 5/2/10

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