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Coincidence – really spooky!

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Boz Find out more about Boz
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  • Coincidence – really spooky!

    My mother had a sister who died young. I have a photograph of mom as a toddler, standing in the snow next to what appears to be a perfectly healthy looking teenager. I remember being told that her name was Florence, she was the eldest of the 4 children, and she died shortly after this picture was taken of Rheumatic Fever. I’ve recently read where the symptoms of Rheumatic Heart – a heart valve disease - are actually very similar to HCM (breathlessness, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, and fainting attacks). I mentioned this recently to a Dr. at Tufts NEMC where I was undergoing tests and being asked about family history. He told me that this would only be significant as potential genetic evidence if I was to discover that hers was a sudden death. However, if I was to learn that she died of a lingering illness we could probably rule out HCM and assume her death was not misdiagnosed.

    I decided to start my own little investigation yesterday. I have no surviving family members, at least no one from earlier generations on that side of the family that could help me with first hand knowledge, so I thought I’d begin by searching for an obituary. I don’t have a date of death – not even the year, and I’m not even sure what town in Pennsylvania Florence was residing in. The family finally settled in the middle of the state, but had various earlier addresses in western PA.

    I, along with a sister and brother, were raised several hours away in Northeastern PA and I remember visiting my grandmother’s grave as a young boy. It was on top of a hill in Lock Haven. My first call was to the downtown funeral home which was at the top of the list in a Yahoo search of Lock Haven. The gentleman I spoke with told me there were four cemeteries in town – all non-profit, managed by volunteers. I was able to eliminate the two catholic cemeteries and the one Jewish cemetery as this part of the family were all devout Protestants.

    My second call, probably no more than 5 minutes later, was to the volunteer whose home number I was given for the Highland Cemetery. Dave was eager to help and within minutes located Florence in cemetery records – died 1934 at the age of 15. Dave actually located more names. Some I have in my records, and some I don’t. Two more that died before the age of 21 however, so maybe this project is going to expand in scope.

    Start the Twlight Zone music here-

    I didn’t want to wander too far from my initial objective and started to wrap up the call. Dave wasn't finished though. He mentioned how he has always wanted to visit Boston, and in fact he recently traveled to Maine with some friends and was hoping to make a side trip to Boston. He went on: one of these buddies “…has this rare heart disease called HOCM and is planning on checking in to a hospital up there.”

    As it turns out, his friend is the same “Heartman” who subscribes to messages on this board. How bizarre is this? The reason I called in the first place is because I have just been diagnosed with HCM myself and I’m trying to track down evidence of the disease in earlier generations of my family.

    It doesn’t end here. In talking further I mention my uncle’s name. Jack died at the age of 81 just a couple years ago. Well Dave knew Uncle Jack personally – he’s buried up top - and in fact Jack’s son also volunteers at the cemetery and he had a phone conversation with him no more than an hour before my call.

    Small world –uhhh? Kinda gives me the chills.

    Just had a long talk with Heartman and Heartman’s wife. We’re going to get together when they head back up this way. Sound like great people!
    • 1995: Brigham & Women’s Hospital - diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation
    • 2004: Falkner Hospital – diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure
    • 2004: Tufts NEMC– diagnosed with “End Stage” Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
    • 2005: Genetic Test – Laboratory for Molecular Medicine. HCM confirmed – missense mutation detected in TNNT2 gene
    • 2009: Brigham & Women’s - Third cardioversion begin Amiodarone for AFib
    • 2011: Brigham & Women’s - Medtronic ICD implant

  • #2
    Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

    Wow , how bizarre is all that? Does make you wonder doesn't it . It truly is a small world that we all live in. Rod Serling sit up and listen.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I have wondered when someone of us would connect by way of the fickled finger of fate........and so Boz it has happened.
    Pam
    Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
    Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
    Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
    SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
    [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
    Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
    Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
    Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

      Hey Boz,
      Since you now live in Quincy – would you consider all this a great big Quincy-dense?

      I had an aunt who traced my family back as far as records existed. My father, her brother, was born in Russia and came to the US with his family at the age of seven to escape the Tsar’s edicts. Grandpa (who died long before I was born) was a wheat dealer in Russia and had permission to travel everywhere (Most Jews were restricted to living in the part of Russia that was in Europe - called the ‘Pale of Settlement.’) Every year he would return to Russia during the wheat harvest, buy from the farmers, and sell to the large manufacturers. He was scrupulously honest, and was able to do business with farmers who would trust nobody else.

      Anyway, the family went to Russia from Spain at the time of the Spanish expulsion order – effective September 1, 1492. By the way, many sailors in Christopher Columbus’ crew were expelled Jews who had no other means of getting out of the country. They boarded the ships and stayed aboard until they sailed – some ten or twelve days later. Most of the property of the Jews that could not be carried off with them was sold to locals at ridiculous bargain prices. Most of the Jewish houses of worship were sacked and destroyed. Since that was where all the Jewish records were kept, my Aunt could trace the family back no further.

      A couple of interesting (I think) side issues – Columbus’ navigator on his first and second trip to the new world was a Jew who brought back to Europe a plant the American natives used to dry and smoke. Today it’s known as tobacco.

      There is a famous painting of Christopher Columbus wearing a Masonic apron. Since the Mason’s have secrete rites, no practicing Catholic could join as they are supposed to reveal everything to their Priests. This gave rise to the story that Christopher Columbus himself was a secrete Jew, and the fact that many of his crew were Jewish lent credence to the story. (Like it really mattered – as seen threw today’s eyes. Most of the world prays to the same G-d in any case.)

      Finally when my Grandfather came to this country he picked the family name Borrok, and everybody who carries that name – spelled that way – is a relative. I met a second cousin from Missouri because our last name was the same. She searched me down when we both were working for Max Factor in Hollywood, with the same story about our last name. She led me to a long lost aunt who lived in Hollywood also. I hadn’t seen or heard of either family since the beginning of World War II. (We think the name was originally Barouche – Hebrew Blessed or Barak – Hebrew Lightening.) Last names only go back a few generations anyway. It was a devise to aid the sensors.) Before that it was ‘son of’ or ‘daughter of.’ You still see remnants of this in such names as Aaronson (son of Aaron) and many others. - - But I’ve rambled long enough, and that’s a whole ‘nother subject.
      Burt

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

        Originally posted by Burton Borrok
        Hey Boz,
        Since you now live in Quincy – would you consider all this a great big Quincy-dense?
        Good one - I love it!

        Anyway, the family went to Russia from Spain at the time of the Spanish expulsion order – effective September 1, 1492.
        WOW - I was impressed because my Aunt (Father's side) has the tree back to 1700's. I always thought that's about as good as anyone can do.

        By the way Burton - you have my vote to keep on posting here!!

        -boz
        • 1995: Brigham & Women’s Hospital - diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation
        • 2004: Falkner Hospital – diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure
        • 2004: Tufts NEMC– diagnosed with “End Stage” Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
        • 2005: Genetic Test – Laboratory for Molecular Medicine. HCM confirmed – missense mutation detected in TNNT2 gene
        • 2009: Brigham & Women’s - Third cardioversion begin Amiodarone for AFib
        • 2011: Brigham & Women’s - Medtronic ICD implant

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

          Burt , that was a great story. Thanks.

          My name is like that (even though it was my married name). Son Of Alex that's exactly what my childrens family did. In this country , Alexopoulos was too much for tradesman and crafters to deal with, so it was necessary for them to shorten it. Family histories are so interesting aren't they?
          Pam
          Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
          Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
          Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
          SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
          [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
          Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
          Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
          Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

            BOZ - I have chills! That is a VERY odd yet VERY COOL STORY! What a small world we live in!!

            I am stunned at this story - yet somehow not very suprised - I for one found an HCM person in an airport in FLA just passing the time waiting for my family on a late flight -

            Ya never know!

            Take care,
            Lisa
            Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
            YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

            Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
            lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
            Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
            Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
            Currently not obstructed
            Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

              Pam, my mother's family name was Poulos. They dropped the first part of it. They nearly disowned my grandfather for marrying a Hatfield instead of a "nice Greek girl." Anyone ever see My Big Fat Greek Wedding???

              Small world.

              Reenie
              Reenie

              ****************
              Husband has HCM.
              3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

                Oh yeah Reenie,
                Great movie. Before marrying greek I attended and was a part of quite a few traditional greek ceremonies, including weddings. I was like the adopted outsider. I was very comfy around my greek friends but I was french and irish and a few other things.

                It was hard to not be accepted by a full blooded greek family when I married. I suppose sixteen years was not a lot for them to have to suffer. Unfortunately though my kids are not all greek and they have never had a welcomed relationship with their greek relatives. Now I know that this is unusual as I still have several greek friends who keep me in their tight circle. I think my ex's family has been on the losing side because they have not ever bonded with three great kids who happen to have their name . Family's are funny . My children are proud of their mixed heritage and they are fortunate their father has never shut them out.

                I have always thought it unfortunate that his family changed their name as they were so steeped in tradition , how did they let go of it? Who knows Reenie maybe my kids are from a similar ancestry as yours. Never know do we?

                Thanks for sharing your story.
                Pam
                Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

                  Hi Pam. I have no idea what my family's name was before they shortened it. I've never heard Mama say. And although I did meet some of my grandfather's family, I never knew him. He died before I was born. My mom was always in touch with her family, although I'm not sure how close they really were. She doesn't look the least bit Greek, but both her brother and sister do. My mom had blonde hair as a kid, never got too dark, and she has green eyes and white skin. Her siblings are much darker, skin, hair, and eyes. Who knows, I might be your children's cousin.

                  Reenie
                  Reenie

                  ****************
                  Husband has HCM.
                  3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

                    Interesting,
                    it would be great if you were their cousin. One final observation, I learned from my connections that there are the light greeks and then there are the dark greeks. My ex's mom was from the lighter group and his father from the dark. My ex said it depended on what part of Greece you were from. So your mom does fit in there.
                    Have a great day possible cousin. Pam
                    Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                    Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                    Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                    SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                    [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                    Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                    Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                    Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coincidence – really spooky!

                      You know, along the Mediterranean shore Greece is not all that far from Israel and many of our comfort foods are quite similar. (I’ve always been a gastronomic Greek anyway.) One of my favorite winter foods is stuffed grape leaves, (just a short hop over to stuffed cabbage), then there’s lemon soup (Yummy) and let us not forget Baklava – to die for, -and all the rest.

                      When we lived in the San Fernando Valley we were just a couple of miles from the Greek Church that every year put on a great celebration. We would always go, enjoy ourselves immensely, enthusiastically watch (but couldn’t quite participate in) the dancing, and eat ourselves into a near coma. What we couldn’t eat they happily packed up for us to take home. I still have a Greek sailor’s hat I bought there to remind me of all the fun we had. The celebration was so popular they used to close the street to accommodate all the additional parking necessary for the crowds that showed up. (I think they financed the church’s operation for a whole year on the proceeds of that one event.) What a great people.
                      Burt

                      Comment

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