June 11, 2008

Hunting for Huntington's

If you had a fatal disease lurking in your genes, would you want to know?

Read this devastating, amazing piece from New York Magazine by Kevin Baker. With his mother tipping into oblivion from Huntingdon's Disease, he is faced with just this. And he does face it, full on and loaded for bear.

I don't know that I'd be that brave. Not much scares me, but nor do I have a pressing urge to know the future, good or bad. I told a friend the other day that if offered a crystal ball, I wouldn't even hesitate in not taking it.

I think you should live every day like you're going to get flattened by a bus tomorrow. That means hugging your kids, finishing that damned piece you're writing, starting that book or that painting, getting your will in order (I know, guilty on that count - working on it), taking piano lessons, cleaning out your closets and letting more people take your picture. And most importantly, keep telling the people you love that you love them. With words. Oh, how powerful are our words.

Something is going to get all of us; unless I was desperate not to pass along a gene to unborn children, I think I'd prefer the mystery of it all. Wonderful things come from damaged people, and I hate to think we'd lose any of that brilliance to fear.

Thanks to Baker for his eloquence on this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine. It changes your life. I had the bad news of cancer five years ago this July. Chances where slime, but I am still here. A catastrophic event? It has to happen directly too you, and it will change your look at life and for the better. I have never looked at a day in a bad light. There is always something positive about everything, no matter how bleak the outlook....I am happy to be alive.

I get up, and my two feet hit the floor, I am happy. I take nothing for granted anymore. We all think it will never happen to us. Guess what? It does!!! It is totally out of your control but you can be pro-active. You can limit the risks.

June 11, 2008 2:44 PM  
Blogger DJW said...

On my Mother's side of the family, half of my relatives have died of various cancers, the other half of heart disease.

ALS or Lou Gerhig's Disease runs on my Father's side.

If I worried about that kind of stuff, I'd get hit by a truck while standing in the road.

You gotta live your life, not your ancestors.


June 11, 2008 2:59 PM  

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