Monday, April 19, 2010


I didn't give genes or DNA much thought before I had children. I don't know if many prospective parents do. Once the baby is born, we are quick to notice her (I use "her" since mine are "hers") eyes are like yours or her toes are like her dad's. The outwardly physical things (and later personality traits) are easy to see. As the child gets older, other things come into play. Will the child inherit your poor eyesight or your teenage acne issues? Will she excel in math or be talented in art? With the cancer, I worry about the possibly I could have passed a gene on to my girls that would raise their chances of getting breast cancer. Guilt is something all parents deal with. Many times it can be warranted, but other times it is not. You blame yourself for things that are logically out of your control or or decisions made before additional factors were made known. It really tore me up to think I could cause this for my girls. I know that most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. And, I know that I didn't know I would get cancer when I decided to have children. That is beside the point. You want your child to have a perfect world, a perfect life regardless of how impossible that is. It hurt to think I could have messed that up for them. I decided to have the blood test for the BRCA 1 and 2 gene. If I had the gene, then they needed to know they too could have it and their risk increased. I am happy to say test came back negative. They are at a higher risk for getting the disease, since I have it and my mom and aunt had it. They will be screened more closely, as I had been. There could still be a gene we have that does increase the risk for cancer. At this time, there is no test for other breast cancer genes. I can live with that.


Lin said...

Oh, if only we could protect our children from everything! Even if we were perfectly healthy and nothing ever went wrong with our bodies, life would still find a way to throw us a zinger here and there to make us miserable every now and then.

Such is life, Merry. You roll the dice, you beat the odds, or you don't. Whether it be high blood pressure, heart disease, autism, thin hair, birth marks, big butts, straight eyelashes, or a higher risk of cancer--we don't know for the most part what our children will inherit. But if you did, would you really choose not to have them???

Not me. I take the gamble and the love every single time. And I know you would too. File the guilt away for something else--like the dorky clothes you made them wear for pictures when they were little.

Merry said...

You are right. I, too, would take the love and whatever life threw at us. Still, it is a bit scary when you think of it all. I guess I should stop thinking.