Dominance Games…

If there are any readers left who have not figured out that I have a twisted sense of humor, the cat is out of the bag on this one. That title is my own bizarre joke.

I’ve cooked like crazy this weekend, and baked some bread today, as well. It’s therapeutic.

This morning, Maddie needed help with her Genetics assignment. When I was in high school, our sole content in Biology when it came to genetics was hair and eye color. We touched on dominant/recessive genes, but I freely admit that we basically glossed over it and I do not understand the finer points. So, Maddie needed help researching three health conditions (Sickle Cell anemia, hypercholesterolemia, and Tay-Sachs) to determine if they were the result of dominant or recessive genes. We worked through the assignment together, and then I had a bright idea.

Me: “Hey, I don’t know if BRCA1 is a dominant or recessive gene. I should look that up!”
Maddie: “Uh, Mom – you know if it’s dominant that means I have the gene, right?”
Me: (not thinking, still) “No, it’s still a 50/50 shot, right?” (Entering info into the medical research website.)
Maddie: “Well, Mom, you know, with dominant genes…they’re, well, you know you get those genes passed down.”
Me: (reading information) “Oh. So, if it’s dominant you’re saying that means you and your brother will definitely have the gene?”
Maddie: “Basically, yeah. I mean, we could just be carriers or something. It doesn’t mean we will have cancer.”
Me: “Okay.”
Maddie: “So?! Dominant or recessive?”


It amazes me that I have managed to blithely carry on, without really doing anything other than my Pollyanna routine about my genetic makeup. I now, finally, understand why so many women can fall into a depression when they learn they have the BRCA1 mutation.

Although, as Lara pointed out (contrary to my own beliefs): “Knowledge can be poison.” I have always believed that knowledge is power, but in this case, she may be right. I already do EVERYTHING I can to give Maddie and Moses the best odds against this disease. Short of donating some of my blood to a genetics study (which I am totally willing to do), there’s really nothing left.

So, it took me a while today to mentally bounce back from all of this. I played with the kids, had a book discussion with Maddie, was adorned with bracelets made by Moses, and really perceived my New Normal a little bit differently.

Any geneticists who happen to read this are more than welcome to weigh in here – because I do realize you can fill a thimble with my knowledge in this field. 🙂

Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better. As Scarlett O’Hara always said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Blessings to you all…

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