Recently I read a very good memoir by a former colleague, Amy Boesky, called What We Have. It's about her family's struggle with breast and ovarian cancer -- lots of these folks had one or both, and some, like Amy, took steps against getting them (read: prophylactic surgeries).
Amy and I have a lot in common. And the title of her book makes me think about what WE have.
We, readers, are the POSTER FAMILY for disability and illness. I feel like I should get a book contract simply for being who I am. (I guess I'd have to write the book at some point, but still). We should be the stars of a Lifetime movie ("A family ravaged by disease and death, but bound by love." Ugh).
So, are you ready? Here's what our families (Anna's and Lars's) have, all mushed together and in no particular order:
Breast Cancer -- on Anna's side brought to you by the letters "BRCA" and the number "1" (the dreaded BRCA1 gene mutation); on Lars's by age and menopause and who the hell knows what else.
Prostate Cancer (again, courtesy of that incorrigible gene)
Sensory Processing disorder
High Blood Pressure
Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
Uh...what else? Oh yeah, dementia, possibly of the Alzheimer's variety
Polycethemia Vera (rare cancer of the blood)
Acute Pleva (that skin disease I warned you not to google in a previous post)
Possible Lupus (okay, we can't take credit for that one yet)
Too much smoking (is this a disease? maybe not but it might become one)
Possibly some tippling
Generalized weirdness and chronic studentitis (if you guessed that one's on Lars's side you'd be right)
I know there's some more stuff but I can't think of it right now.
In the spirit of full honesty, I'd like to inform you that a slight majority of these ailments come from my side -- at least, the traceable ones. The mental health issues are more nebulous, but I think they come more from the Teutonic half than the Jewish half. Lars might disagree with me there.
All four of us in the nuclear Delaunay family have things gone wrong with us. And so do our extended families. Dr. Boesky, we put you guys to SHAME.
What I like to think about us is that we're INTERESTING. We're not your average vanilla family. We've got stuff going ON. And I've got an endless supply of fodder for my writing.