All hail the redhead


So, remember why I moved to Denver?  Because my mom has cancer?

Well, as she put it this weekend, “I’m not sure that I have cancer.  But I KNOW that I have chemotherapy.”

It’s true.  In the last 2 months since the initial diagnosis, cancer has felt like a joke, a deception.  This woman is a hoss.  I mean, when I was a little girl, she once climbed a neighbor’s fence in her nightgown at 11pm to free our cat from a trap he had baited with tuna fish (long story).  She has had three surgeries, and bounced back like nobody’s business.  After the tumor was removed in early November, and even after she had a significant amount of muscle and tissue removed from her hip and thigh a month later, she has been walking without a limp, relatively painless – kicking ass and taking names, basically.  Even after the diagnosis, nothing about her outward health indicated that wicked, sinful cells were present in her body.

But then she started chemo.

Let me tell you something, friends – if you have never seen anyone experience the horrors of chemotherapy, then there is no way to understand what this poison does to the body.  I didn’t know – not really.  But last week, I learned really quickly.  And it’s terrible.

Round 1 of infusion is over, and the next 13 days will consist of her body rebounding, only to be taken down again during round 2.  It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down to the bottom.  Second verse, the same as the first – a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Apparently, 89% of people who experience chemo lose their hair.  In my mom’s case, it would happen 14 days after her first infusion – which is a week from today.  We’ll see.

For those of you who don’t know, my mom has gorgeous red hair.

Oh, you’ve never seen?  ALLOW ME TO SHOW YOU.


(angels singing)  Have you ever seen hair CASCADE like that?

And for one more recent, here are my parents today.


If you are a man, you should probably ask me to marry you RIGHT NOW.  These are my genes, people.  It’s only going to get better.

A lot of you have asked how my mom is doing, so I wanted to give you an update.  I might have taken the opportunity to petition for a man, too – but don’t worry, Mom surely approves.

(Right, Mom?)



  1. Allie, Dearest on January 11, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Your mom IS gorgeous!
    I’m so sorry that she is going through this–that any of you are faced with this horror.

    Looking at your mom and dad in that picture, all I can say is “life is so beautiful.”

  2. marisa on January 11, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    watching my mom lose her hair during her chemo was one of the hardest parts…we don’t realize how much of our identity is wrapped up in our HAIR as women…it’s crazy! praying for strength and truth to reign for you and your mom in the coming weeks. you are both BEAUTIFUL!!!
    p.s. miss your face.

  3. Casey Evans on January 11, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Your mom is a babe. Sweet tribute to her. If she does lose her hair, I think you should go all Cameron Diaz and shave yours in solidarity:) But then again, it’s winter in CO, brrr. Do you know anyone who knits cute beanies?

  4. Alissa on January 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Praying that the horrors of chemo are SO MUCH WORSE for those cancer cells that have been trying to take residence in your moms resilient bocy.

  5. Emily on January 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    I love you and your family Annie.

    Susan, you really are a beautiful woman!

  6. The Bug on January 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    I was just thinking about this the other day – that you get to a point where you wonder if the cancer could possibly be worse than the cure (the answer, I believe is YES).

    Your mom is gorgeous! Then & now… I agree, you should have guys pushing each other out of the way to get to you…

  7. Tim on January 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    GREAT picture of your parents

  8. Mom on January 11, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    okay, so I’m laughing out loud. People: I’m sorry – it was 1973, my mom cut my hair with her sewing sheers once a year, whether I needed it or not. We slept on orange juice cans with a vinyl cap hair dryer at night, and used prell shampoo – no cream rinse, thank you. But my “one beauty” became my identity – along with piano playing, which would be a great topic for another blog, Annie. And having your identity in your hair is pretty silly, I think. Also having your identity based in how you fare with chemo compared to how OTHERS fare. I don’t think anyone on the face of the earth has this particular sarcoma, in this place, with these chemo drugs in this protocol. They pretty much confirmed that at the cancer center today – much more rigorous than other chemo’s. And promised me MORPHINE for next round’s headache! Yessss! It’s a solo journey, to be sure. It also can be a sacred one. And even when those who come alongside can’t do a darn thing for me, small things done with great love mean the world!
    ( I don’t know how any single man can’t look at this hootenannie post and not ask for her ring size!)

  9. Brooke on January 11, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    Annie, from everything you’ve told us (in this post and others) I can tell your mom is a woman of strength and wisdom. And she’s stunning!
    Praying for you all!

  10. mackenzie on January 11, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    When my mom lost her hair during chemo, I thought she looked like an Egyptian queen (she’s Caucasian, but she still had that regal quality about her with a bald head). Cancer sucks, but it also brings out an incredible strength in people that rarely has a chance to show itself otherwise. Praying for you!

  11. I think my new “name” says it all. Annie, i dont have the words to make anything better, but i have my prayers and there’s a big one for you and your family every day. While i may disagree that “having your identity in your hair is silly…” I will respect the woman. We must now brainstorm a new qualifier for the blogroll. I love you, and mom.

  12. Mom on January 11, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    oh, and Erin, just to be clear…I may say it’s silly, but the shaving will most likely turn into a sacrament and there will be tears shed! Enjoy your fabulous hair! Mine will be back, and in the meantime, with my wig…Posh Spice with a 50-something face….frightening!!!

  13. [not the] Best Blog Ever on January 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Thoughts and prayers and with you, Mrs. P, and your whole family! And – p.s. – gorgeous pictures, then and now. :-)

  14. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams on January 12, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Annie, your mom is gorgeous – then and now. (And I love her smart, savvy comments!) And I will offer to knit cute beanies for BOTH of you. I am not kidding. What colors do you both like? :)

  15. annie on January 12, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Your beautiful mom and whole family have my prayers, Annie. And I also extend an offer of cute beanies. (Crocheted, not knitted.) You can never have too many. Just email me an address!

  16. Tad on January 12, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I’m guessing you are about a 3? Maybe 3.5? ;)

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