Friday, October 31, 2014

Genetics - Part 2 "Big Heads"

In order to find out if you have BRCA or any of the other 21 genes that will predispose you for breast cancer, they have to take your blood, but they also interview you for a long time about your family history and stuff. My mom, my dad, Kelly and I sat around a table while my mom answered a hundred questions. 

The Geneticist had this neato plastic template with squares and circles cut out of it and when my mom said she had one sister and five brothers, the Geneticist drew five squares and two circles in a row. She asked if any of those people were deceased and then asked how they died. She drew a line through the dead people and my mom talked about aunts, uncles, cousins, her own children, etc until the Geneticist had made this really awesome intricate "family tree" filled with circles and squares and stuff crossed out. 

Then she said, "this is very weird, but please trust me. I have a good reason, I promise. I need to measure your head."


Apparently, one of the 21 genes related to breast cancer causes "big heads". I was like, UH OH because we have always laughed about the gigantic heads in our family. Kelly can never find a hat that fits and all of the grandkids -- let's just say Skete had to get cut out after Kim tried valiantly for four days trying to push him out. 

Remember this Hal-ism?:
"At work they called me Black and Decker.  Powerhead.  And it wasn't because of my big head -- it was because of how my head acts."
Anyway, they measured my mom's head at 56.5 centimeters. "Big" is 57. Phew! 

The geneticist left the room to go and make copies or whatever and Kelly and I JUMPED across the table to grab the measuring tape.

DAD: 58 centimeters. Big. 
KELLY: 57 centimeters on the nuts. Big.
ME: 74 centimeters. (My dad draped the tape down around my shoulders for this measurement.)

I encourage you to stop what you're doing and measure your head. As it turns out, having a big head is pretty humbling.

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