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Archive for the ‘Grandchildren’ Category

Spring, Mitochondria, & New Life

As I crawl out from under a bout of influenza A, which was made dangerous for me by my anti-rejection drugs, I contemplate genetics, and how my family has been seriously impacted by auto-immune disease. Somehow aspects of my environment triggered my immune system to go into overdrive and attack the biliary mitochondria in my liver as though attacking a foreign body. My transplant has not eliminated my body’s tendency to do this; it was not a cure. It has given me some more years if I am fortunate, and I struggle to understand what has happened to me and to adjust to my new chimeric life.

 

While spending day after day in bed recovering from the flu, I read Carl Zimmer’s book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, about the history of heredity and the impact of science upon our understanding of it. The book ended with the author pondering about gene editing of human eggs and embryos (CRISPR), which is currently in the global news as scientists struggle with the ethics and wisdom of using this powerful technology. My head is spinning with all this: I am creeped out by it, and can envision disaster resulting from gene editing, but had the gene(s) responsible for my immune system’s unwarranted attack  been successfully edited away, my transplant would have been unnecessary, and I would not have passed such genes on to my children and grandchildren. That is a heavy burden. If, if, if.

 

Although I learned about mitochondria in science class in high school, it was Madeleine L’Engle’s science/fictional account of Charles Wallace’s illness in A Wind in the Door that first reawakened my curiosity about mitochondria when my children were young. At that time I had no idea how important mitochondria would become in my life. However, it was not L’Engle’s forces of cosmic evil which messed with my mitochondria, but genetics and environment. My love of science fiction is accompanied by my life-long love of science. After all, my father taught genetics at the university level. <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_in_the_Door”>

 

Myth, science, science fiction, religion, folklore, myth….I love it all. It is about trying to understand our place in the cosmos and on Earth. In a confusing, fast-paced, and precarious world, Spring brings me hope. Spring = new life. Today is my donor’s 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Robb! I would not be here without your extremely generous and miraculous gift of part of your liver. I am grateful every day.

Spring (cleaning)

The granddaughters left this morning after a whirlwind trip ~ and I’m recovering (sniffle) from the bug they left with me. Spring cleaning calls to me, despite my aches and pains.

Offspringing into the New Year

Two “children” were able to join us for the holidays, son and youngest daughter. Gratitude fills my heart for them, my eldest daughter, my two granddaughters, and my husband.

Happy New Year, from my family to yours!

Beach Play

Earth, air, fire and water today. Watching the little fishies, the granddaughters, splashing, swimming, playing, immersing themselves in coolness and fun. Soaking it in – the sky with wind-blown clouds, the sandy shore, the strong summer sun, and precious water. We are made of cycling earth, air, fire, water, constantly renewed. No wonder beach play feels so good!

Buddha Babies

The granddaughters have arrived. The “baby” (age 2) went to bed, but her big sister (age 5) was too excited to sleep. She and I put together some puzzles (remember those Laurie puzzles? made of bright-colored crepe rubber?), then she had a snack. During her snack she told me that she had a Buddha at home. I asked if she knew who the Buddha was, and when she said “no,” I launched into the tale of the prince who left his riches, discovered human suffering, and sat under a tree until he “awakened,” and taught others the eightfold path. Only afterward did I stop and think, Wow, I just had a conversation with a five-year old about suffering and awakening.

It’s going to be an interesting visit with these amazing little girls.  (OK, so I sound like a doting grandma…..)

The Grands!

Very soon my granddaughters will arrive with their mother for a visit. Most people will be celebrating Independence Day this weekend, while I will be preparing for a house full of Interdependence.

Grandparenting is indeed grand. To be able to share family traditions, form unique bonds, and experience the daily growth and boundless energy of little people is a profound reminder of the depth and wonder of this Third Age. I will be forced to take it slow for this visit because of my ankle injuries, so this visit may be less boisterous than usual.

This visit also may mean that I will not be able to find blogging time for a while. But who knows, I may be surprised.