What’s been going on


Last week, while the EP listening party was happening here on the blog, and I was steadily posting a new track each day, there was a lot happening in my life.  Like, A LOT a lot.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer – soft tissue sarcoma.  The doctors removed a mass from her hip socket; when they cut her open, it “bulged out like a zit”… or something.

I hope you’re enjoying your breakfast, by the way.

I don’t really know how to write about the phone call that I got on Tuesday night – my mom telling me that she had cancer.  I know that there were instant, uncontrollable tears on my part.  I know that I was suddenly confronted with the overwhelming fear of losing a parent – something that I have never really had to deal with before.  I know that after I hung up the phone with her, I told Greta the news, and then cried some more, because I was completely terrified and couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

But then, I stood up and blew my nose and made a grilled cheese for Julie who was coming home from work.  It was all very surreal.

On Wednesday afternoon, I found myself in a daze, throwing clothes in a bag, getting in my car and driving out of Nashville.  Have I mentioned that I do not do well with spontaneous decisions or chaotic situations?  About 30 miles out of town, I realized that I didn’t even pack a coat; my stress and anxiety levels were through the Honda roof.  But after driving 18 hours and 1200 miles, I was with my parents and all three of my siblings in Colorado Springs.

We arrived to the amazing news that her scans were clear, that the cancer had not spread.  There are no words to describe the relief – that even though the situation is serious, and cancer is evil embodied, the news was good.  I saw Mom’s 8-inch incision, and her Buzz Lightyear contraption around her hip.  We spent the weekend together as a family, stepping over the 4 dogs and eating a ton of food and talking about everything from life to death to the latest episode of “The Office.”

It was so good to be there.

Today, I point the wheel back toward Tennessee, and after an eternity of driving, will be in my own bed tonight.  I don’t really know what happens next – my parents will meet with the orthopedic oncologist this week to figure out the next steps.  There is still so much that is unknown.

But I know that I love my mom more than I could ever say.  And I know that this changes things.




  1. Laura on November 9, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    How scary! I’m glad that the scans were clean; it sounds like she has a good prognosis. We’ll be praying for the Parsons!

  2. Tim on November 9, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Praise the Lord! I’m glad to hear that things turned out well.

  3. Whitney on November 9, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    Praying for you as you journey through this. And your mom. And family. But, otherwise, there seems to be no other words.

  4. marisa on November 9, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    girl, i’m so there with you. my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and the process through it, above all else, showed me how much compassion and deep love i had for my sweet mom. thankfully, she’s in remission and doing well. i’m praying your mom makes it through as well, and that your hearts are knit more closely than ever before.

  5. erin, who dropped out of the blogosphere on November 9, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    you are not allowed to make me cry at work. ever. again.

    i’m praying for you and your precious family, AP. I miss you lots and hope i get to see you soon.

  6. Mandy on November 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    I’m on board with what Marisa said. My mom had breast cancer a few years ago and a few years before that my dad had prostate cancer so I do know that it was the most terrifying experience of my life to think about losing either one of them (or both of them). I’ll be praying for miraculous recovery for your mom and for your peace of mind.

  7. Sarah in OR on November 9, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    I’m sending a copy of your CD to a friend who I think will enjoy it :).

    Glad to hear the prognosis for your mom is good, though I’m now unable to get the initial image from this post out of my head :-/.

  8. Tad on November 9, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    We’re praying for you & your fam. Thank God for any victory, no matter how small.

  9. Katherine on November 9, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Annie, I am so glad the prognosis was positive! Praying for your Mama, you and the Parsons.

  10. The Bug on November 9, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    So sorry to hear about your Mom. Cancer is a scary beast – but it sounds like things are looking good.

    I got my EP today. Annie Blogs sent me your way & I’m glad she did! I’m saving the post-it note for when you get famous – I’m gonna make some money on that thing :)

  11. Laura on November 9, 2009 at 9:47 PM

    Wow, how overwhelming….

    Look for the good. Look for how God turns this suffering into joy.

  12. Mom on November 9, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    and now….everyone knows where you got your big head!!! I pray that someday you will have a daughter that you don’t deserve, who will fill you with such love and the good kind of pride that you almost explode.

  13. Greta on November 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    Love you Mama Parsons.

  14. Tom Parsons on November 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    We are so glad to hear that the news was good about your mom’s cancer. We’re praying for all of you and hope for a speedy recovery for you mom. We’re also praying for safe travels as you return to Nashville.


    The Virginia Parsons Family

  15. [not the] Best Blog Ever on November 10, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Annie, your mom is so cute in this picture. And, I must say your eyebrows are stunning. Very well groomed. Nicely done.

  16. Lyla on November 10, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    Almost 8 years ago, I had some crazy infection in my hip socket. Nobody knows exactly how it got there or even what exactly it was, but I shouldn’t have had it. Nurses and doctors kept saying, “How did you get a CHILD’s disease?” ( I guess because normally only small children and old people get crazy joint infections.)

    Anyway… one evening my “knee” hurt like I slept funny or something and the next day I couldn’t walk. I didn’t want to go to the doctor because the $50 or whatever would be better spent on food. I thought, “Maybe it’s a muscle thing” and decided to get in the bath. When I went to get out, though, I could not lift my leg up high enough to get my foot over. I have no idea how long I stood there and gritted my teeth until could finally get out of the tub and call my Grammy to come pick me up and take me to the doctor.

    What followed was THE hardest and most miserable part of my life…ever.

    It started with a doctor saying it was in my head and then charging me $80 for a phone consult when he called to say the labwork is in and I should go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. (Which sucked because getting out of the car to go into the house hurt so badly I screamed.)

    It included a radiologist calling me a baby and saying it was probably a muscle spasm when I couldn’t force myself to bend my leg a certain way after the initial x-rays didn’t turn out.

    The lab messed up on my arthrocentesis results and said everything was “normal” which led to an uneccesary bone scan where the injected me with glowy stuff and put me in a machine. I had an unecessary MRI in which I had to hold my feed together which made me cry and the radiologist got mad because we kept starting over.

    I couldn’t have any food or water because I “might” have surgery.

    Eventually, they did another arthrocentesis and my white blood cells were off the scales (after a day of heavy duty IV antibiotics).

    So then they wheeled me into surgery, made an 11 inch incision, dislocated my hip on purpose, removed the gross stuff and some damaged tissues, and sewed and stapled me back up.

    After a couple of days in bed, I cried when they put me in a wheelchair because it hurt so much. The therapist explained to me in detail how they dislocated my hip and how easy it would be to pop it back out of socket. “Don’t cross your legs, don’t sit on low chairs, don’t bend over to tie your shoe laces, and sleep with a wedge between your feet.”

    And that is the short version. There was other stuff during my stay in the hospital that sucked for sure.

    The pain drugs made me sick and didn’t even seem to help that much. After I got home, my dad would sleep on the floor in my room so that in the middle of the night when I started yelping in pain, he would know to go get me more drugs.

    For nearly 2 months afterwards, I had to inject antiboiotics into pic line which went into my arm and up near my heart. $500 a week!

    My dad had to use the rent money to make the first payment or the wouldn’t give me the drugs.

    Every week, I was going in for bloodwork to see if it was gone yet.

    In the end, the bill was around $40,000 and I had no insurance. It eventually led to me filing bankruptcy.

    For all of those reasons and more, I HATED my scar. Not only is an 11-inch scar not very pretty, but it was a reminder EVERY DAY of how much I hated that time of my life.

    I hated the scar so badly that I feared the day that my boyfriend saw it. I mean… who would want to stay with somebody with THAT?!?

    His reaction was, “That’s AWESOME!” I thoguht he was crazy. He went on to be like, “No,dude! It’s a battlescar! Every scar has a story and is a battlewound from your life. You made it through that and that’s proof.”

    That started to turn me around. One day at work, we were talking about scars and I said, “Oh man! I’ve got one to show you! Except… wait… that’d be a little inappropriate.”

    While I know that a septic hip is NOTHING compared to cancer, I hope that the scar is not just a reminder of the scary times but also something about which she can say, “Look what I made it through, Mofo!” Or something like that, anyway.

    I am very glad that the scans are clear and I am hopeful that they will remain that way. She’ll definitely stay in my prayers.


  17. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams on November 10, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    This made me well up. I’m so glad the scans are clear…but wow, it’s scary. I’ll be remembering your family. Hugs from Texas.

  18. Brooke on November 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

    So glad to hear that everything is clear! Thank God!

    Love the pic of you and your mom – gorgeous ladies!

  19. Rebs on November 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Oh wow, I’m so sorry I’m so behind on reading your blog. I didn’t even get to listen to any of your tracks (which is ultimately ok cos I’m ordering an EP). But please know I am praying for your momma and for you. My own mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer six years ago. What a weird time…but she’s been cancer free ever since.

    Well, just want you to know that I love you…and I love your momma. xo

  20. Rebs on November 11, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    Oh, and like Tim said above:

    Praise the LORD!! :)

  21. Ali Einfeld on December 16, 2009 at 3:37 AM

    my mom passed away 3 months ago from cancer after 4 years of battling lung cancer. She is a warrior and a hero…and it makes me smile even without knowing you (only through others) to think about you and your mom hanging out..doing the things you’ve always done together or maybe some new things… for the next “however long” that you’ll be in CO. Enjoy it!

    May each moment be cherished.
    I’ll pray for you..and more importantly, your mom.
    all the best.

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