What Are the Chances?
Many Pennsylvanians take their chances on Lottery in hopes of striking it rich. One time my brother won a thousand dollars and another time five hundred. I have known lots of people to gamble, and to win enough money to help them over a financial hump. But sometimes when they take their chances, they lose. Actually, often.
I don’t do the Pennsylvania Lottery but I’m the winner of different type of lottery
A Look at How Genetics Affect Our Children
My parents didn’t even know when they pooled their genes together that my genetic mix of chromosomes would string together in the winning combination of LOTTO balls. I was born with a hereditary eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP, for short)but wasn’t diagnosed until many years later.
As it is explained today by the National Human Genome Research Institute , “Autosomal recessive RP occurs when both parents are unaffected carriers of the same defective gene. The chances of a child being affected is one in four. This means the affected child must inherit the defective gene from each parent. The chances of a parent having an unaffected child who would be a carrier of the defective gene is one in two.”
I was the one-in-four gamble and came out the winner. Apparently both my parents carried it as a recessive gene and didn’t even know it.
This is the excerpt when I was diagnosed from my work in progress, Fading Light.
“Okay, say I do have it. Is there any cure?”
The specialist cleared his throat. “Not at this time. Oh, there have been attempts, and one country boasts of an operation. But the truth is nothing has been substantiated. RP is in the genes. The good news is that it’s 1988. We’re learning more every day, and we continue to conduct research. But no, it’s not possible now.”
“I see.” I didn’t see at all. That, apparently, was the problem.
He continued to drone on in his cold, matter-of-fact manner. The terminology he used went over my head. Finally, I got a word in, “But Doctor, my parents don’t have this. How can I get it?”
“That’s just it. They would both have to have the recessive gene in order for it to surfaces as the dominant gene in you. In other words, they have to be carriers.”
“Both are carriers? Oh. What are the chances of that?”
“One in a hundred-thousand.”
“I hit the jackpot.” I tried to smile at the irony.
My diagnosis at age twenty-eight flabbergasted my parents. “There is no history of anyone in either of our families with eye problems like this.” Mom sounded certain.
Who knows? There is a lot more information out about it today than in the 80s when I was diagnosed. I could have been one of the fifty percentile whose family had no history of it whatsoever. I don’t remember any of the retinal specialists doing any tests on my parents to find out if they were carriers. I’m not sure why not. There must have been more supposition back then.
In today’s society with genetic research being so advanced, there’s a lot that can be learned through genetics. Those affected by it are urged to talk to a geneticist to find out what the chances are of passing this chromosome onto a child. It sounds like it’s still a lottery but at least there are doctors to explain the psychological implications and aspects of it that were unexplored in my generation.
Those affected by RP are sharing their fears and debating the pros and cons in vision support groups around the world. It’s so refreshing to hear thoughts on this topic. In the past, a couple was so alone.
Nowadays, everyone seems to have an opinion. They range from ‘how could I knowingly pass on this disease to a child of mine?’ to ‘My love is strong enough to cope with the fallout and reassure my child.’
Healthy debate goes on all the time. Discussions like this are one of the best aspects of support groups. Ultimately, a couple has to make their own choice.
I like the way one of my colleagues expressed it.
Luke Gamble (yes, that’s his real name, and how apt it is in this piece!) was one of my Friday Friends. He spoke out on his RP and his relationship with his eight-year-old daughter, who also inherited the disease.
“Sure life with RP is not easy, but it’s not a death sentence either. So with my daughter, I encourage her to just be herself. We act silly together, we laugh together, the father-daughter ball is a big deal for us. I try to enjoy every aspect of life from owning pets to listening to birds. We started a garden for the first time this year. Again, plants are living things. Then I try to take this appreciation for life and nature and bring them all back to God’s creation. It’s a “look how good God is to us” thing.
Then I also try to let her know that she is also God’s creation. “And he don’t make no junk even if your eyes are bad.”
Luke is such a good role model that daughter Sadie says, “I don’t mind that my eyes don’t work well. I want to be like my daddy.”
I’d say The Gambles have a fabulous jackpot of love!
Life is filled with wins and losses. We choose some odds and play random numbers. That happens with our chromosomes, too. I think it’s how we respond to the outcome that makes us wealthy.
How do you feel about the Lottery? Do you ever play the numbers? What conscious or unconscious chances have you taken in your professional life? Love life? Personal Life?
You have just read, “What Are the Chances?” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright January 4, 2015. Please take a moment to make my day and leave a comment.