This morning I met with Dr. Sneakers, his nurse practitioner, two genetic counrsellors and an electrophysiologist. It was something of a surprise and very good of them, actually. Dr. Sneakers, who continues to rise in my estimation (especially after he used the word "homies" this morning), thought I'd appreciate a chance to sit everybody down and ask as many questions as I liked.
Of course, it ended up being more about how much they don't know than about anything really concrete, but that isn't anybody's fault.
Towards the end, Dr. Sneakers told me he wanted to ask a strange question. I figured he'd ask whether I'd experienced some oddball symptom or other. Instead, he asked me whether, when I decide to have a family, I would want to know which of my eggs carried my genetic mutation so that I could choose to have the "healthy" one implanted.
I said I didn't know, and I don't. I have no idea. It's not a decision I'll have to make for a few years, but I think it will be a very difficult one.
What if my parents had had that choice? What if they'd decided not to implant the egg that turned into me? I've learned a lot from illness. But then again, I've been luckier than my uncle and the thousands of other people who die suddenly from inherited arrhythmias.
(Also, if I do choose to have "healthy" eggs fertilized and implanted, the expense is currently not covered under our healthcare system. One round of implantation would cost about $2,000. The genetic counsellor argued - persuasively, I thought - that the government might do well to realize that paying for women to implant healthy eggs would actually save them a lot of money down the line.)
Anyway. As Dr. Sneakers said, "it really messes with your head."
I knew pregnancy would be hard, but I thought most of the big decisions would involve choosing to accept a risk or a burden myself, not choosing whether to pass one on to a child.
I guess it's a good thing I'm starting to like Dr. Sneakers. I think I'm going to need him.