Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sad health news from Anne Feeney ... can you help?

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 ...  (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...  ... (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:

Anne Feeney
2240 Milligan Ave
Pittsburgh  PA 15218

or you can send a donation via Paypal to  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.


David LaMotte said...

Hey Anne,

Thanks so much for allowing those of us who love you to share in this hard news and in bearing the burden. So often when a friend is in a tough spot it seems like there's nothing we can do to help. It's a gift to me to give me a small way to be involved and make my concern for you tangible. Holding you in the Light, sister.

David LaMotte

By the way, Mason loves his International Babyhood shirt and wears it often. ;-)

Cheyanne said...

Wow...This is sad news Anne. The People I associate with the Thomas Merton Center will be sad to receive this news also.

Here's hoping you make a full recovery. Godspeed to you and your music.

Unknown said...

Godspeed and get well, thank you so much for sharing your story it served as a powerful reminder of why we need friends and family!

barry crimmins said...

Anne- What do you do for a woman who has done something for everyone? Everything you can! And you bet we will.

You get well while the rest of us take the opportunity to demonstrate how much we love you!

Take very good care,


Jim Young said...

An' sure it'll be but a wee token of our vast esteem for you.

gerberdt said...

Prayers and good thoughts for your quick recovery. Look forward to more hellraising music from you, after a full recovery. A small gift from us to help you on the road to wellness is nothing compared to the wonderful joy your music has given us. Love from your union sister,
Dolores Gerber

Cg said...

Oh, Anne!

Sending love and hugs and prayers and good thoughts and anything else I can gather together. You are used to fighting injustice and bullies, and while (I know)it's weird when it's inside you, I have every confidence that you'll be victorious in this battle, too.

Love you SO much!

Anonymous said...

Anne, You are a strong,brave woman, and I know you will fight this , you have everyone of us behind you, cheering you on, holding you in our hearts.
big hugs

Anonymous said...

prayers for a fast and full recovery from mn! I will spread the word to our sisters up north. We are here for you anne!

Kate said...

Please .. somone at Shadyside hospital .. post an update on Anne's status now
Love and Strength .. Kate 732-519-6776

Rob Lytle said...


Thank you for sharing this. Thinking of you today.dicalt

Rob Lytle

Anonymous said...

My first thoughts are that you have a not so difficult time through this ordeal and that you come back strong, healthy and with a positive prognosis as well as that curly do still intact!

I look froward to your tales of the Swedish Health Care system as I am a 20 year veteran of medical claims processing and examining here in America. I have fought long and hard for a universal, cradle to grave, single payer health care plan for this country, but to no avail; I have seen, first hand, the abuses and greed of the current plan and industry. The fears that have been stirred up by certain political factions have caused great damage to the cause. All I ever wanted was to see that we were all cared for with the highest quality of care possible.

Wishing you strength, a speedy recovery and a swift return to spreading the tune!

Jess Grant said...

Anne, I'll never forget your kindness in taking me under your wing and showing me around Kerrville that night. Did you read Barry Crimins' article on counterpunch recently about his healthcare experience? Sad/funny. I'll do what I can here...

Anonymous said...

Get well Sister Anne. We need you.

Marie Monteux said...


I hardly think you'll remember me -- from the Regina Polk conference in 2005, I spoke on domestic violence and then we had some wicked good round table discussions, I was a mess back then and now I'm in Maine, not Illinois -- but you affected me a lot with your energy and music and smiling as we sang the songs. I found out through Helena this morning and I'm so sorry you're going through this! I shared it on my FB and I also have a cousin who is going thru this (he had brain cancer and also stage 4 lung cancer but he got rid of the brain cancer so yay) and there's an experimental program that he was in at Dartmouth Hitchcock in NH, FYI. Keep your chin up, Sistah, we're rooting for you!

Ramona said...

the short answer is Yes - get well soon, Anne! so many out here are holding your hand ~

Bend like the willow,

Todd Alan Price said...

hang in there, wish you well, Anne.

Roxanne J Munksgaard said...

Hi Sistah --
It has been a long time since we have seen each other....but every now and then I pop in your CDs during my long trips on the road, and think of the wonderful times at the Great Labor Arts Exchange! Your music has affected me so....and I enjoy it so much!

You are a strong, powerful woman. Everything about you says "fight." Put yourself first and it can be done. Si se puede!

Sending you healing thoughts and solidarity and strength,
Roxanne Munksgaard
Bangor, Maine

Neil said...

Solidarity from Sunderland... get well soon!

Anonymous said...

Last yr. my brother was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Today with the help of chemo and radiation, he is cancer free. God bless, Anne

Holly Figueroa O'Reilly said...

Oh, Anne. Not the news we were hoping to hear from you.

Most people don't know what to do or say when they hear this kind of news (including myself in the "most). Money never feels like the right thing, except when its the only thing you need.

I'm with David and is a gift to us to give to someone who has given something to everyone she meets.

Get better soon!



Unknown said...

Just wanted to send you a note of love, encouragement and DEEP GRATITUDE for all that you have given to the movement.

Much Love,
David Cobb

Cellocaster Paul said...

Hi Anne,
Great to meet you this Spring on the Dan Bern tour. I wish you a full and speedy recovery so we can jam again soon!
much love,
Paul Kuhn
Cellocaster, Violin, Vocals

Dave C said...

Sorry we never hooked up while I was in the burgh but as I said, YOU come first. I hope all keeps moving in a positive direction and we will soon see yuns out stirrin sheet again to keep them on their toes. Be well my sister.

Dave Cambest

Larry Long said...

Beloved Anne,
The first monarch caterpillar just arrived in my monarch garden, which I've been cultivating for two years. I simply couldn't stop looking at that caterpillar. So beautiful, so marvelous. . so miraculous! But as a friend said to me recently after I noted another similar miraculous occurrence, "That's not the miracle - the miracle is that you noticed." Like that monarch caterpillar-you're a gift to the world Anne. An opening to the other side where human kindness always finds a home. Two days back I was singing in Austin, Minnesota for the 25th anniversary of the Hormel Strike. Recalling stories on the picket line - long thought forgotten - arising from the belly of struggle that has aged into lifelong friendships of compassionate solidarity. From this deep well of strength that comes from the courage of the common people I now write to you -with all of the hope and love that I can possibly muster for a great healing to take place within your lovely body, so that the endless courageous spirit that you possess can get back out on the road again with a song in your heart and an intellect that challenges institutions of greed through that long memory of solidarity that resonates in the lifeblood of the people when we are united as one behind the common purpose of justice for all living creatures. Love always, Larry Long

Larry Long said...
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