Alright, I suffered a bit of a setback with that latest bit of genetic news. But I think I’ve managed to process it a bit and get on with my life.
Most of the people in the world will never be genetically tested, and so would never know what secrets lie within. I’m saying no to angry, and I choose to be thankful for what the genetic lottery had given me. I have to be thankful for the body that houses me, with four strong limbs and twenty digits. A body that has been strong and able enough to play sports (badly), hike across mountain tops and dive into deep oceans. I’m thankful for these eyes that have read thousands of books, this voice that can shout, whisper and lift up in song. I’m thankful for all of these organs which have quietly and painlessly done their work and got me through day after day of 35 years of life. (Liver, I do apologize to you, though, you have had a rough go!) I’m thankful that when I wanted a baby I got pregnant instantly and bore my baby to term with only a few hiccups on the road. I apologize to my body for ever nit-picking about its shortcomings. I take it all back.
I’m thankful that I never had a malignant brain tumour. That I’d only ever had to spend 3 nights in hospital, once at 18 months old and once for Gavin’s birth. I’m thankful that my genes gave me Gavin.
Last week, Gav and I went to an appointment with his osteopath. As we left, we bumped into another mum and her child in the hall and shuffled around each other. He was in a wheelchair, and needed oxygen, and we exchanged smiles and went on our way. I didn’t want to give her a pitying smile. This is a smile I have got used to receiving, and I have to say I don’t like it. I can tell when people sympathize, and I can tell when they are horrified and pitying. I don’t pity that woman, but I know she has been dealt a hard hand. So have I, just not that hard. I want to tell people who stare, and do a double-take at Gavin, and don’t bother to answer their children’s questions about him, to save their pity for someone who needs it.
Gavin has been through a lot, but he is lucky and we know it. He is lucky that he is not neurologically impaired so as to be wheelchair-bound. He was not partially paralyzed from his surgery. We are lucky that his organs weren’t damaged beyond functioning by the chemo. We were astronomically lucky that he never lost his hearing. He can still walk, and is learning to run. He can still talk, and not just talk, but express his creativity and imagination. He knows the words cannula, BP cuff, heparin and syringe.
I don’t know if I have tumour, or if I will get one. However. Neither do any of us.