“Hello. Am I speaking to John?”
I made the decision…. I needed to take “the test” as I was about to become a dad.
My aunt, father and sister had all been diagnosed with Lynch’s – pretty much everyone who went for the test seemed to have it, so I was pretty sure I did too. I began to assume I did and felt the 50/50 rate was nonsense. As my wife was pregnant and I was in my early 30s, I knew it was something I needed to deal with. But I simply wanted the birth of our son not to be clouded with “you may have given him lynch’s” and other dark thoughts, so I made the decision to put off getting the test until he was at least 1 year old. Any parent knows the brilliance of those first few innocent months, and I wasn’t going to allow anything to ruin it for me.
Shortly after he was one year old, I picked up the phone and scheduled an appointment – I went and gave blood for the test. All the time managing my expectations by telling myself I did have it, but every now and again finding myself day dreaming about being told I didn’t have it! I did some googling around the time I had the test, and learned that the rate is indeed 50/50 and understood why it was so. I called 6 weeks later to see what the situation was, but was told the doctor was unavailable. About 20 minutes later a woman called back from the same number I had dialed and said those words, “Am I speaking to John?” and instantly I knew I was in the clear – the cheery nature of the question revealed the result instantly – you’d want to be a very strange to give bad news with such a happy manner! Three minutes later I had confirmation of the fact and I went back to eating my lunch with work colleges … not saying a word but simply smiling at whatever anyone said.
Best part, apart from the obvious, is my son will never need to take the test – he doesn’t have to worry about it, similar to the way I never had to worry about Huntington’s thanks to Dad taking the test. Being the type of family we are, I’m referred to as “not being in the club” in a mocking way – it is weird position to be in – you are on the outside, and won’t understand how things are on the “inside” – you help out where you can and it will always feel insufficient.
When I fantasized about not getting it, I imagined I would be walking on air for 2 weeks after etc, but later that day I was bitching about something spectacularly unimportant and it hit me, things would be exactly the same as they were before the test – just with one less thing to worry about for myself and my son.