What Are the Chances?

lottery

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

BABY

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.”

Luke and Sadie Gamble
Luke and Sadie Gamble

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.

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18 thoughts on “What Are the Chances?

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:12 am
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    You have such a good attitude about things. It really is like playing the lotto, both my parents have some sort of mental health issues and anxiety has been a card dealt to me. Can’t change it, just need to keep moving forward. Like what you’re doing!

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:43 am
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    What a great dad Luke is and Sadie has such a wonderful attitude. Praise God. Thank you for sharing this, Amy. Happy New Year. 🙂

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:50 am
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    Sadie says, “I don’t mind that my eyes don’t work well. I want to be like my daddy.”

    Mission accomplished. Beautiful post Amy, love it.

  • January 5, 2016 at 4:00 am
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    Love your story!

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:55 pm
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    Thank you, Ashley.
    That’s right! Keep going forward!
    Thanks for taking time to comment.
    Amy

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm
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    Peter.
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment and taking time time to stop by!
    Amy

  • January 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm
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    Hi Barbara,
    Yes, Luke was honored on Good Morning, America. The whole family was featured. 🙂
    It was a pleasure to share a snippet of their story. You’re so welcome.
    Happy New Year!
    Amy

  • January 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm
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    Thank you so much!
    Amy

  • January 5, 2016 at 11:29 pm
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    I know two brothers who have a hereditary kidney disorder. Their mother says no one else in the family that she knows of has this. We do wonder where it came from, and if my son is at risk. So you just have to carry on with the cards you are dealt, as you point out.

  • January 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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    We play the lottery and apparently God laughs! We rarely get even ONE number correct. It’s a powerful reminder that we’re to continue forward, doing what we’re doing, and trusting that our needs will be provided for.

    I think we most often don’t get to know the whys and the hows of our lives. Not until this life on earth is over. In the meantime, all we can do is bluster along and do our best with what we have.

  • January 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm
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    Hi Alana,
    Yes, some things just don’t make sense when it comes to genes and the mystery of who and how we inherited them.We do have to carry on. We have only ONE life. So we need to make some kind of peace. 🙂
    Amy

  • January 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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    Melissa,
    Haha! You need to talk to my brother. He’s the lucky one in our family.
    I think you are right about the whys and hows of our life. Just keep moving forward and lovin’ it.
    We’ll be okay.
    Amy

  • January 7, 2016 at 5:28 am
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    While I don’t have the extreme challenges you do, I have also been one who tends to get those unusual or rare problems, with no specific reason or explanation. One vision problem is central serous retinopathy in one eye. I had reconstructive surgery last year on the base of my thumb because of severe arthritis.

  • January 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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    Hi K Lee,
    I remember about the arthritis! You were working on some quilts and it was so difficult. But you didn’t give up easily.
    And i don’t either. Retinopathy? I have heard of that, mostly in conjunction with Diabetes. Is that what is causing yours? Can something be done? Can it be reversed?
    I don’t have such extreme challenges. It could be so much worse. I feel a lot of gratitude. 🙂
    Thank you for taking time to comment and being such a positive part of my community.
    Amy

  • January 9, 2016 at 4:57 am
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    Hi Amy, what an amazing post. You are doing so much for the RP community and blindness in general. Keep it going. I’m curious, Have you had your book done by the Library of Congress? so it could be in the public library’s and the libraries for the blind and on BARD.

    I enjoy reading your post:) 🙂

  • January 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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    Thank you, Shiffon.
    That’s a good reminder. I’m in the process and must finish it.
    It’s wonderful to have you in my community of readers.
    Keep doing your Youtube videos!
    Amy

  • January 10, 2016 at 4:12 am
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    It’s funny, this post, with all the hype this weekend of that huge jackpot lotto going on.
    My mother doesn’t really believe in gambling and lotteries and I guess I got that from her.
    I also got somethng else from her. It’s not RP, but the blindness and kidney disease my brother and I were lucky to inherit from my parents, both carriers of the genes responsible for our condition. What a chance thing and we won this lot in life. I don’t think I would be lucky to win all that money, but someone did. I know, I know that you won’t win, for sure, if you don’t even play, but you are right. I already got chosen, such a rarity, so I just keep keeping on.
    Life is so full of all kinds of chance happenings.

  • January 18, 2016 at 4:13 am
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    Right. We already were the “winners” but I think in all things that happen in life, there are important lessons that come from our experiences and we can grow from them.
    Someone won the money lottery just a few days ago … was it in Tennessee?
    They also have a program in the United States called “Pace” and that is supplemental financing for medicines. That comes from people taking chances on the Lottery. Who would guess?
    My friend told me people in FL were going crazy standing in line for the lottery all last week. She even purchased a ticket! Crazy how so many people go overboard on that!
    Sorry, it took me some time to answer your comment.I was trying to meet some of my book deadlines.
    Take care!
    Amy

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