Yesterday a dear friend of mine discovered via genetic testing that he does NOT have the gene for a rare disorder that runs in his family. He and his family participated in some clinical studies down in California to help researchers find a cure. As part of the study, he and his wife fought for the right to know if he had the gene or not. He had a 50-50 chance of having the faulty gene. IF he did not have it, there is no chance that he could develop it at a later date, he was 100% safe. If he DID have the faulty gene, there was 100% chance that it would turn into the full blown disease. There was no in-between. The gene always turns on if you have it. If he had the gene, this disease WOULD be a part of his life.
While we have all waited for the results to come in, I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not I would want to find out. The doctors and nurses tried their best to convince him NOT to find out. There is no cure. Finding out that he had this gene would be agonizing, as they spent the rest of their lives waiting for the day, the moment when it would turn on and turn into disease. It also would mean that they would have the chance to prepare, to push for more research, to get involved in studies, to live each day to the absolute fullest, never knowing when beautiful moments would be taken from them. On the other hand, finding out that he did not have it would bring a relief that I can’t fully comprehend. There would be no waiting for the other shoe to drop. It would mean no wasted energy and worry for a lifetime about something that was never, ever going to happen.
What about you? Would you find out your test results? Would you want to know if this disease was going to be a part of your future? Would you long for the incomprehensible sweet relief that would come with knowing that you weren’t going to be affected by this disease? Or, would you rather never know, either way? Would you rather let fate dole out life and death as it will do anyway?
What would you do?
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