Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oh, Those Genetics

Four and a half decades or so ago, when Jerry and I started our family, we weren't worried much about genetics. We thought we had good genes to pass to our children. The only exceptions: we were both near-sighted (I was much more than Jerry) and we both had alcoholism in our families.

The alcohol thing was my biggest worry, and I made sure my kids understood that alcohol could be very dangerous for them.

Jerry and the Kids. They both
were very healthy.
Now, so many years later, both of our children are dealing with genetic illnesses. They both have neuro-cardiogenic syncope, which came from me. I only found out I had it after Anne Marie was diagnosed. The problems she had with this condition were more severe than mine, but when, after more than a decade of doctors misdiagnosing her or telling her it was all in her head, she was diagnosed, I knew immediately that was the explanation for a lot of what I had experienced throughout my life. It also explained problems her brother was having. Taking a beta-blocker helps us all.

Both my children have celiac disease and must be very careful to consume no gluten. They didn't get that from me, but it explains problems their father sometimes had. He just didn't have such a severe reaction as they do.

Because my son is very nearsighted like me, we warned him to have his eye doctor check him for glaucoma and myopic degeneration, both of which I have and both of which can be linked to nearsightedness. Unfortunately, my son was recently diagnosed with glaucoma. His was caught at an earlier stage than mine was, but he still has some vision loss. His doctor is being very proactive in his treatment to save his eyesight.

While I feel like Jerry and I passed on some very good qualities to our children, it seems like they both inherited the genetic negatives from both parents. Our daughter, I am happy to say, did not inherit the nearsightedness. She has excellent eyesight and very good eye pressures. I am thankful for that. She has enough to deal with. For my son, I am grateful that his glaucoma was caught early. It can't be cured, but it can be managed to save his eyesight.

Genetics is a fascinating study. But when we have children we just have no guarantees that they'll "pick" just the best things in the gene pool and none of the negatives.

They are bright, hard-working, good-hearted, and honorable people. And I can't ask for much better than that.

1 comment:

  1. It certainly could have been much worse. Now, tells us more about all the good traits they got from their parents.