Friday, December 21, 2007
Discovering the Genetic Pattern in my Family
In March of 2006, we had a team of researchers spend the day with us at my house. One of my cousins came up from Missouri and my parents came in from Michigan. All of my siblings and some nieces and nephews were there as well. The researchers spent the day talking with each of us individually and gathering blood samples. Before they left, we sat down to a huge dinner. My mom never lets anyone leave on an empty stomach.
A few months ago, we received a letter identifying the gene with a bunch of numbers and letters. The gene at this point is rare--just two other families have been identified with this gene so far.
I posted more about this gene here: The Genetic Puzzle.
The implications of genetic research are not to be taken lightly. We knew, going into this research project, that we likely would discover information that would impact future generations in our family.
My daughter has the gene and there's nearly a hundred percent guarantee that she will pass this gene on to her children. My sons will not.
My husband and I knew that we would likely have deaf and hard of hearing kids when we got married. That didn't factor into our decision whether or not to have kids simply because there was a deaf gene present. We wanted kids and if they happened to be deaf, hard of hearing or hearing-- it didn't matter. Sure, we talked about how it might be easier to have kids with hearing in the normal range. And we grieved a bit when each of our kids lost their hearing, mostly because we knew that society was going to give them a rough time here and there.
In the end, it comes down to attitude. I happen to think that this world is much more interesting because my deaf and hard of hearing kids are in it. I like hanging around people who feel the same way. I avoid toxic people who think that my family, my kids are less human because our genes are a little skewed.
And I look forward to embracing my deaf, hard of hearing and hearing grandchildren someday.