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Archive for July, 2006

As of today, we have been in our house exactly 20 years. It’s the longest we have ever lived anyplace, including both our childhoods. We’ve done a lot to the place, put in double-paned windows and new siding, remodeled the kitchen (which was original to the house!), and revamped a lot of the plumbing, not to mention the usual paint-and-paper cheapie remodels of all the rooms.

Twenty years. It’s hard to believe. Our daughter was 11 and our son was 7 when we moved here. Now she is 31 and expecting her second child, and he is 27 and just yesterday, passed his practical test for his Transportation license, which means he can now haul freight and passengers with a diesel locomotive. The last hurdle is another 200 hours on a steam engine; then he will be licensed to do the same thing with steam, which is important on a tourist railroad (New Hope and Ivyland is both tourist and short-line freight). He’s extremely nervous. That’s a good thing, it will keep him from doing anything stupid.

*****

In other news, yesterday I went to the hospital for an intake interview prior to having a hysterectomy. Why do hospitals treat their patients like a product?!?! The machinery kicks into gear and churns out yards and yards of labels with your name on them, reams and reams of forms asking the most phenomenally personal questions (“What in life makes you happy?” “What is important to you in life?” The answers to both would be enough to get me committed!). The thing that got me the most, I think, was being told that when I went to the hospital on Wednesday (the surgery is Friday), a red label would be attached to my wrist that isn’t supposed to come off until I leave the hospital — oh, and “don’t get it wet.” That’s two days of walking around in public with the Scarlet Letter!! Not to mention two days of wearing plastic to shower and wash dishes?! “That’s not gonna happen,” I said firmly, and she changed the date of my lab test (it’s to identify my blood type) to Thursday. “Don’t get it wet”?!?! I will come home, snip that puppy off, go about my business, and reattach it with tape on Friday morning. “Don’t get it wet,” give me a break!!!

And I look back over the past 20 years and so help me — and I never thought I’d say this — I want my old life back. It had its drawbacks, believe me — for one thing, my son’s 12 years in school were unmitigated misery — but the four of us were happy together, and healthy, my husband wasn’t commuting six hours a day to and from work, and we had our own house, our very own house, something that had seemed so unreachable back in the days of 18% interest.

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Feeling at loose ends today, and slightly masochistic, I guess, I got into my Xanga account and from there went over to Chris’s ex-girlfriend’s blog, just to see what was up with her. I’m still reeling.

Out of curiosity, I paged back through her blog, back two years ago, when they were together. And nearly all of it is gone.

All but one photo of him.
All the references to the week she spent with us.
All the references of the trip they took together into northern New Hampshire.
Nearly every reference to his first winter in PA — she had a cute blog up about how much fun they’d had while shoveling out the driveway. Gone.
All the references to what it was like to have a railroader for a boyfriend — she liked trains, too, and those were very cute. All gone.
The post she had written about her first Pascha as an Orthodox Christian, gone. (Interestingly, the post about her baptism is still up.)

He loved her so much. For their first (and last) Christmas together, he walked twelve miles to buy her a present — he was a bus driver at the time, and had driven a charter to Atlantic City. Having several hours at his disposal, but no transportation other than his bus, he walked six miles to the nearest mall, and six miles back, to buy her a DVD she’d been wanting. No reference to that. No reference to their Christmas together at all.

I guess I’m having a hard time believing that someone who loved her so much that he left home for her, has ceased to exist in her mind. And why? Because once he moved closer to his railroad job, she felt “abandoned.” He told us that that was why she dumped him — she didn’t feel as if she “mattered” in his life anymore, probably because he wasn’t driving an hour and a half to her house every single evening.

I just can’t conceive of such cold-bloodedness.

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Just heard from the oncologist — his lab confirms that it looks enough like early-stage cancer that they are recommending surgery. So he will call me on Friday to set that up.

Thanks, everyone, for your support in this matter. I was never of a mind to fool around with hormones, I’ve wanted it out. Now I don’t have to argue with this character.

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Yesterday was my name day — apparently, Margaret is another name for St. Marina of Antioch. St. Marina/Margaret used to be a saint on the Western calendar, too, until the Catholic Church threw her and several others off in 1969, noting that they were “probably myths brought back by the Crusaders from the East” — since those “myths” include St. Christopher, St. Barbara, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, we will say no more about that, except to note that icons are not made of “myths.” In other words, :-P~~~~~~~~~

However, sometime last year, this article came into my inbox, a translation from a newspaper article that appeared in a Greek newspaper. I was thinking of it recently, during my recent surgery. You draw your own conclusions.

*****
A few years ago, a family from Lemessos, Cyprus, named Vassiliou received the following miracle. In Greece they are well known from the televised requests they made in order to find a donor for their young boy Andrea, who suffered from leukemia. The donor was indeed found and the parents began preparing for their trip to Texas, U.S.A where the bone marrow transplant was going to be performed. Meanwhile, they also prayed and begged Jesus Christ to save their boy. Before they left for the U.S.A the parents heard of St. Marina’s miracles and they called the monastery of St. Marina located on the island of Andros in Greece to ask for her blessing. The Elder of the monastery, Archimandrite Fr. Cyprianos promised that he would pray to St. Marina. He also wished the parents for St. Marina to be with Andrea in the operating room, to help him. With Elder Cyprianos’ blessing and with strong faith that St. Marina would help indeed, the Vassiliou family went to the U.S.A.
After the necessary pre-operation tests that Andrea had to undergo, he was taken to the operating room. A short time before the operation was to begin, a woman came to see the surgeon who would be operating on Andrea. She said that she was Andrea’s doctor and asked to be allowed to observe the operation. The conversation that ensued proved that the woman was indeed a doctor. However, the surgeon replied that ‘outside’ doctors were not permitted to be present in the operating room and that his medical teams’ policy was that no doctor other than those on the team be involved in such delicate operations. The persistence of the woman however, convinced the surgeon to allow her in the operating room. But before, he asked her to leave her coordinates [presumably, credentials] at the administration desk. The unknown doctor did as told and then entered the operating room with the surgeon. During the operation, she gave several directions regarding the progress of the procedure. The operation went well and in the end the surgeon thanked the woman and exited the operating room.
Andrea’s parents immediately went to inquire about the outcome of the surgery and the surgeon replied that all had gone very well, adding that he could not understand why they had brought Andrea to him when they had such a fine doctor. The parents were surprised and responded that they had not brought any doctor with them. The surgeon insisted, however. He also told them that when he came out of the operating room Andrea’s doctor had remained there for a little longer with the rest of the operating team and therefore, she would probably still be around. He recommended that they look for her. The search, however, proved pointless, as the ‘woman doctor’ was nowhere around. The Vassiliou couple then concluded that it must have been a doctor from Greece or Cyprus who had decided to travel to the U.S.A and contribute to the delicate operation. They expressed the wish to know who she was so that they may be able to thank her, and at the surgeon’s recommendation they then went to the administration desk to ask for her coordinates.
It was with utter surprise that they read that the unknown woman had signed with the name “Marina from Andros”. Tears of gratefulness and joy filled their eyes as they recalled that the Elder at the monastery had said to them that he wished Andrea to have St. Marina in the operating room to help him. Andrea’s parents shared with the media their joy both for the successful operation and Andrea’s recovered health and for the miracle they received. The Vassiliou family made the vow that the entire family will be present at the saint’s monastery every year on the saint’s feast day (July 17) and Elder Cyprianos reports that the family has been making the annual trip from Lemessos to Andros every summer to thank Saint Marina for saving Andrea.
Miracles performed by the saints have never ceased to take place in the Orthodox Church. With these miracles, may our Lord Jesus Christ help us build our faith.

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Ayuh.

A young lady whose chrismation I was privileged to attend on Holy Saturday, has written the most beautiful description I have ever read of why folks live in this neck of the woods — click on the title to access the link. I should explain that she is not a New Hampshirite; she lives just over the border, in Maine, maybe about 15-20 miles from my home. I should also explain that “Ayuh” is how people in Maine say, “Yes” — accent on the first syllable, pronounced with a long “a,” barely vocalizing the “yuh.” Try to pronounce it in the back of the throat with a slightly nasal twang, and you’ve got it.

But the geography is all pretty much the same, and in fact we were in Maine yesterday to attend church. Saco is much farther, 40 miles, about an hour’s drive, but I go to confession to the priest of that parish, and the people have gradually opened up to me in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. Every time we go to Saco, I think, “If I ever had to leave NH, I’d want to move here,” and Emily Michelle’s post says why.

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I just had to post this, mostly for the benefit of any offspring who may (or probably not) read this blog, both of whom think I am the absolutely most controlling mother on the planet:

Blogthings – Are You A Control Freak?: ”

You Are 24% Control Freak

You have achieved the perfect balance of control and letting go.
You tend to roll with whatever life brings, but you never get complacent.
I should probably take the test, “Are you addicted to Blogthings?” Yep! 😉

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Update

Well, I don’t know what to make of this.

I saw an oncologist today, who read over all the paperwork — and there was a lot of it — then said the pathology report was “inconclusive,” and he wanted to send the tissue samples to a lab he preferred in the middle of the state. (NH is not all that big a state.) As I was leaving the oncology unit (the most horrible place I’ve ever been), he rode down in the elevator with me and said that he had called the path. lab, and they had admitted to “hedging.”

Meanwhile, I have a friend who’s a nurse, who had offered to interpret the pathology report for me. Having acquired a copy of said report, I scanned it and sent it on to her. Her opinion: This does not look good, have the thing out.

Yes, I’m a trifle upset, to put it mildly. Those of you who are on the OrthWomen’s list may remember my posting, last year, about my lack of trust in doctors generally. I was thrilled to have found a gynecologist whom I thought I could talk to. But she’s the one who called in this oncologist, and I’m not sure now if she will abide by his opinion, or if she will listen to me (and my friend), and take the thing out. Let me make this as plain as possible: I do not want to mess around with even the suspicion of cancer.

But how hard do I push???

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