Thursday, September 2, 2010

Genetics

Today, I got two fillings replaced because there was some tooth decay underneath. This is frustrating for me, because I tend to get multiple fillings done every six months, like clockwork. I go in for my cleaning, make a second appointment on my way out, and plan to have an aching head and jaw for a couple of days afterwards. The screwed-up part? It's been years since I've had a cleaning that was less than exemplary, and I always get sincere compliments on the care of my teeth. As in, the cleaner goes in my mouth, pokes around a little bit, polishes it up, and send me out - usually in about five minutes. So, what's the cause?

(I'm discounting my coffee habit as a cause. I know coffee's acidic. Maybe the reduced amounts I'm drinking now will help next time. We'll see.)

Genetics, I guess. My mother's father had awful teeth, and spent the last 20 years of his life with many false teeth. I don't know how my mother's were; better dental care helped, and she passed away earlier than old. My father's teeth seem to be good, but I've never actually had a discussion with him about it. Genetics seem to be the answer behind the tooth thing.

So, where did The Boy get cancer, considering that - to our research - pediatric cancer rates are no higher in Scotch Plains, NJ, than anywhere else? (Other thought: our pediatrician, Dr. Kint, has diagnosed a half dozen cases of Wilms Tumor. His career is not that long - maybe 20 years. Maybe, ironically, something in his office?) Is it genetics? Do we play a blame game?

Unfortunately, there's plenty of blame to go around. Without getting too deeply into our medical history, between the two of us, we check off most boxes in the medical history section. 3 of our 4 parents have had cancer (2 won). There's plenty of odd medical issues on both sides. Again, ironically enough, no history of kidney issues at all from either side, including (knock of wood) no instances of recurring kidney stones.

So, what's the reason? Why did we win the genetic lottery? Why did those kidney cells (or cell) take a left turn into tumor instead of kidney? We'll never know.

I kind of hope we never know. I don't want to find out that it was caused by (pick one): high tension power lines; cell phone radiation; high fructose corn syrup; the Republicans controlling the government; the Red Sox winning two World Series; not enough broccoli in Mommy's pregnancy diet. Is that strange? Is it weird that I'm not particularly interested in finding the cause?

I would wonder how many people would agree with me. The cancer has changed every single aspect of our lives: our relationships with family have forever changed; our jobs and careers have been lost; our credit rating is likely shot; we've moved 350 miles away from our last home; and all the other bitchy, whiny stuff that we can think of.

Hopefully, the boys inherited their mother's teeth. They'll need braces (yay! More money!), but that's not the worst thing in the world. She doesn't get cavities like I do.

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