After my father died, I wrote to the Science editor at the New York Times to inquire about a follow-up story to the one I did last year. Click here to re-read that piece.
I received a response last night:
I would be interested, I think, in something about how his death affects you and this notion that you’re next up. But I’m not sure where the essay goes from there — and it does seem like it needs to take a couple of steps from there. Thoughts?
I wrote him back, and here’s what I said:
I think your question is the crux of the issue, and therein lies my answer.
Since my father died, I keep asking myself, “what now?”
I don’t mean how to live without him, but rather how to live within my gene pool.
Should I try to stave off AD, just as he did? Sadly, there really is no new information since my father gave it his best shot. He did all the things researchers recommend these days, long before the ideas were in vogue.
So now, every time I see a piece about how doing Sudoku, or taking vitamin E or getting exercise will stave off the disease, I want to scream out, “Not for those of us who are destined to get it!”
In my mind—perhaps a degenerating one already—these recommendations are akin to telling two blue-eyed parents to eat carrots in the hopes that their baby won’t have blue eyes. In rare instances, these kids may inherit green or brown eyes, but it has nothing to do with the carrots of course.
Maybe my time is better spent just living large and letting the AD chips fall where they may. Perhaps fear and depression lead Bercaws into Alzheimer’s as much as genetics. What if I’m happy and fearless from here on out? Won’t that be better than being a slave to antioxidants and dread? At least I’ll have fun before I forget.
Gal <—– (Please note that I did not sign my email to the Times’ editor this way, or with the “always love.”)