How much one conversation with a doctor can change your life!
This time last week I thought the next time I'd be writing to you would be with my exciting September news and Labor Day special...
This time last week I thought I'd be in Sweden tonight packing to go to Ireland to meet up with all my wonderful tourmates.
Instead, here I am in Pittsburgh packing to go Shadyside Hospital. On August 3rd, in Sweden, a lung specialist advised me that I have an 11 cm tumor on my lung that is stressing both my heart and lungs in dangerous ways. As terrifying as this diagnosis is, it is in many ways a relief to get an explanation for the several mysterious and troubling symptoms I've had for the past few months... including increasing fatigue, shortness of breath, terrible coughing, and bizarre heart rhythms.
I could have stayed in Sweden for the bronchoscopy, biopsy and surgery ... my health insurance would have covered everything in Sweden that it covers here. But even the best case scenario here will involve a protracted recovery period and probably at least six months out of work. It was also hard to think about being so seriously ill so far away from my children, and my lifelong network of friends in Pittsburgh.
So here I am, at home in Pittsburgh, surrounded by friends and family.
Luckily, Tom Pigott and I have been able to arrange full and wonderful coverage for both the Ireland tours in August. The wonderful Charlie King will be joining the August 10-19th tour, and Tom will be hosting the August 22-31st tour with some of my favorite folks in Ireland. Both tours will continue uninterrupted, but, alas, without me this year.
My friend Jan Boyd has set up a Caring Bridge page for those of you who want regular medical updates on my condition. The URL is http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/annefeeney ... (The only reason you have to log in to the site is to keep spam robots from posting stupid messages...)
I hope to be posting updates on Facebook as well as soon as I feel up to it.
I'm pretty sure it will be difficult for me to talk on the phone for a while. I would love it if you'd post get well wishes, stories & jokes for me on my guestbook... http://annefeeney.com/guestbook.html ... (It's a moderated guestbook, so what you write won't appear on the guestbook until I read it and approve it--- otherwise I'm pretty sure the guestbook would be nothing but ads for viagra and such..)
This diagnosis has wiped out most of my meager folksinger's savings. I've had to cancel a lot of work that I was counting on, and incurred a lot of unexpected travel expenses. Although most of my medical bills will be covered (now that I've come up with the $6000 in deductibles and copay), it seems unlikely that I'll be able to return to my hectic tour schedule, or any full time work, for several months.
If you want to help me out with what are going to be fairly staggering expenses by folksinger's standards... I'm hoping to find 1000 folks who'll pony up $50 ... I really *don't* want any larger donations ... I don't want anyone to dig deep for this... and if $50 is hard for you to come by, PLEASE don't think about sending me a cent. I know I have enough dear friends who are doing okay that those of you who are struggling shouldn't spend a second worrying about my finances.
You could send a check to me:
2240 Milligan Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15218
or you can send a donation via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're not sure how to do that... there's also a "donate" button you can click about 4 inches down on the right hand side of this page.. clicking on that "donate" button will also allow you to make a safely encrypted online donation.
I'll have a lot more to say and share about health care... especially the amazing Swedish health care system, when I'm not so tired.
I hope that you'll spread the word to any of our friends that may not subscribe to the Fellow Travelers' Advisory.
As I'm wandering around the sweet little house I get to spend so little time in, I keep finding boxes and boxes of thank you cards that I have purchased and never mailed. So many of you reading this are on my list of people to write and thank ... You're a generous group and there are no words to thank you for the countless things you do to make this a better world for all of us. My heart overflows with gratitude to all of you for your daily work for justice, art and truth - for your steadfast support of the many projects I've brought to you in the past... I am so honored to call you my friend.
Many of my oldest and dearest friends are gathering here with me at the house to help me prepare for the coming ordeal. I cherish them, and you, and hope to be in touch with all of you soon.