Saturday, April 27, 2013

X IS FOR X CHROMOSOME


by Kathy Cannon Wiechman

The X chromosome makes us female. XX is a girl; XY is a boy. That’s basically all I remembered from biology class about chromosomes.

But I learned a great deal more about that X after my grandson was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). It seems that a mutation of that X chromosome causes this syndrome, and it’s genetic.

FXS is a “spectrum” disorder that can cause speech problems, learning disabilities, extreme shyness, sensory issues, hand flapping, autism, and severe mental retardation. It can be detected with a blood test, and our family lined up to be tested after our grandson’s diagnosis.

I don’t carry it, but my husband does. Both my daughters carry it, but not my sons. (It can’t be passed father-to-son because it’s an X chromosome.) All three of my grandchildren have it, and they exhibit different degrees of “special needs.”
Kathy with her grandchildren

We have learned a great deal about genetics, but we’ve learned even more about love and “specialness” from our grandkids.

A nun friend once told me that “God gives special children to special people.” I am proud of the mothers my daughters have become, and I feel blessed to be part of this wonderful family.

To learn more about Fragile X, go here.

18 comments:

  1. A lovely and thoughtful post. Sending hugs to you and your family. The kids have a special grandma too.

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    1. Thank you, Ann. And I have special friends.

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  2. You are such an amazing woman, mother and grandmother! Love to you, special lady!

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    1. That comment from one of the most special mothers I know is a real compliment. Thank you for the compliment & the love.

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  3. Wonderful post by a great grandmother :)

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  4. those on the margins teach the rest of us a great deal. It works both ways

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    1. And we often have little say in the hand we are dealt. Might as well make the best of it & open our hearts to the possibilities. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. What an enlightening post and it is wonderful that a loving Grandma is spreading the knowledge so others can learn and be aware.

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

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    1. Thank you. I think it's important for people to be aware that there are often reasons for something like autism, & you or your child can be tested for it. That way you can make educated decisions about future children.

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  6. This is such a wonderful and brave post. I know a small about about FXS, mostly from my biology classes. I've never met someone in real life (is this real life if I still haven't exactly met you?) who has had loved ones affected by it.

    You seem like to perfect grandmother to some excellently special kids :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I think thre should be a real life category for people who have conversations on the blogosphere, even if they've never met face-to-face.

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  7. Be proud, your grandchildren look absolutely beautiful. God Bless.

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    1. I am proud. Thank you and God bless you, too.

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  8. What a beautiful post. I love the quote from your nun friend. It might not always hold true, but I've met my share of special children and their very special families--always an inspiration.

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    1. Thank you. I know several mothers of special-needs kids, & they inspire me every day.

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  9. Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you!

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    1. Thanks, my dear friend. I feel I'm the lucky one.

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