As I Was Saying…

Chatter, memories and rants. Please, don't stop me if you've heard this one before.

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Confessions from the new New Frontier

Here’s why English teachers are actually judging you

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 5:50 pm - It’s holiday party time, which means teachers are thrust into social situations with non-teachers and are reminded of how much the public at large misunderstands what we do and why we do it. Actually, teaching high school English is neither adorable nor terrifying. And you really don’t have to worry that I’m evaluating your grammar [...]

Artemis: a few years (not quite millenia) late

Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 4:38 am - I found this poem tucked in the diary I kept during my sophomore and junior year of college. I’m not sure when exactly I wrote it; in fact, I have no clear memory of writing, only of having written it. But it is definitely from sometime during those years. It owes a lot to Billy [...]

Seeing Red

Monday, July 8, 2013 - 8:42 pm - At the end of every school year, I spend a week or two at my parents’ in Portland as a reboot, and to that end, my mother and I got our nails done yesterday. It’s not the kind of thing I do often, since I never like to give the impression that I fuss over [...]

Accidents Will Happen

Monday, June 24, 2013 - 3:18 am - From: gregory hunter <> To: Elizabeth Sampson <> Sent: Friday, February 2, 2007 1:31 AM Subject: Re: God Only Knows sorry for the jaunty note. i (for some reason) figured the note would be returned to me. you were gone, i surmised, off writing some arresting novel elsewhere. teaching, studying… away. a different address. i [...]

Facing the C Word

September 23, 2008

“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,” sings Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster. It’s a cute song and an engaging character, especially as re-imagined by Stephen Colbert. The problem is that C stands for a lot of other things, too.

Cancer, for example.

Last Friday, Marge and I sat listening to Marge’s newest doctor, a gynecologic oncologist, while he let us know as gently as he could that Marge has ovarian cancer. I felt as if I’d been slapped. In fact, I actually tried to get a look at the name on the case file the doctor had open while he was talking to us because I was convinced there was some mistake. Surely the message he was giving us was intended for someone else. But no luck on that one.

The cancer is apparently already advanced, and there may be several tumors. The next step is surgery, perhaps on September 30th, a week from today, but we don’t have a confirmed date for it. We’ll meet with the doctor again on Friday for more information about the surgery and the overall treatment strategy. I do know that the surgery will be both treatment and diagnostic tool. We have little specific information now, but there will be a mountain of it following the surgery.

The last four days have been long and difficult. I don’t know of a harder job than this waiting and waiting and waiting to learn how bad the bad news really is. The outpouring of love and support we have received and continue to receive from family and friends, however, is wonderful. I mentioned this to a friend yesterday, and her tone was matter-of-fact as she said, “Of course. You’re wonderful people. Everybody loves you.” I’m braced for bad news, but kindness can make me cry. I cried when she said that.

Today I’m in the process of setting up a CaringBridge site to record our journey through this. The URL is although not much is there just yet. I’ll post treatment and recovery information over there so that it doesn’t take over this blog.

And so, friends, if you’re familiar with prayer, please pray for us now. If you don’t know how to pray, it’s time you learned. We need everybody here.

5 Responses to “Facing the C Word”

  1. Mike Nichols Says:

    Pete, Marge and you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thought I’d let you know!

    Sorry I didn’t send this earlier — just checking my newsreader tonight.

  2. gerry rosser Says:

    I can only send my hopeful thoughts to you.

    Our son-in-law survived two bouts with cancer, and every day is a gift.

    Do not despair.

  3. donna Says:

    h, crap, that sucks.

    Just found out I have to go in for another surgery for high dysplasia cells in my colon (pre-cancerous, so far..). Sigh. I haven’t even managed to call the surgeon yet to schedule.

    Lots of thoughts and prayers for her…

  4. Anne Says:

    My thoughts and good wishes for a positive outcome are with you as well. I wish you courage and perseverance for the hard times, and may they be few and far between.

  5. tamar Says:

    My thoughts are with you both on this journey. I don’t know how to pray yet I do know how to have hope, which usually trumps my fears, despondency, or despair.

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