A Personal Decision

This seems like the wrong place to talk about why I choose not to pursue genetic testing, but for me it’s a rational option given my own predilections. I’m not a religious person, but a phrase from the Sermon on the Mount has stuck in my head since I was a kid: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  If I let myself, I could be consumed by worry—health issues being just one subject. The environment, the presidency, the judiciary—there’s a lot to worry about in today’s world. I have to contain it somehow and giving myself a specific genetic diagnosis would simply add to the pile. Plus, I know from working at the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Association that a genetic diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a fix for the problem. In the case of CMT, there isn’t, though our researchers are aggressively searching for one. I think that if my family history pointed to a specific disease, I might feel differently. But there’s not a lot of cancer in my family history, except for my dad, a long-time cigarette and cigar smoker. My mom has Parkinson’s but I think that’s generally thought to be caused environmentally. I dodged the genetic bullet that gave both my sisters congenital kidney problems. There may be something lurking in my genes, but for now, I don’t want to know it. Once gene therapy gets better, I could change my mind. But I probably won’t deal with it until I have to. Would I step out of the way of a speeding train? Definitely. Would I step out of the way of a train miles down the tracks? Probably not.