Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are You Aware?

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National Fragile X Awareness Day is Friday, July 22, 2011.  Please take a few moments to share Fragile X with someone who may not be aware.

Are you aware?

Unfortunately, the answer for so many is NO.  Today, I want to share with you some things that have been said to FX parents from family, friends, random people, and even some doctors.

Please note:  I've edited a few of the comments to keep some anonymity.

  • My ex-husband (when my son was diagnosed) "Of course it came from her side"
  • I was a Nazi Concentration Camp Guard in a previous life and my sons were Jewish prisoners. It is now my turn to reverse my Karma and take care of them...
  • ‎So it's genetic. Maybe it'll go away.
  • Are you sure they didn't get Fragile X from their immunization shots?
  • Your miscarriage was probably a tumor and not a baby. Maybe this had to do with a tumor, too.
  • This guy at church came up to me and my son and looks him in the eyes and says, " I know you can behave and be quiet, I've seen you do it. You need to stop all that noise you are making and be good for your mom." Thing is, my son, who was 5 yrs old at the time (2 yrs mentally), was being really, really good AND paying attention.  
  • It must of been something I ate when I was pregnant that made it mutate.
  • Oh...but he is still cute! 
  • Isn't there a pill for that?
  • Why don't you just give the kids some protein and that will cure the fx.
  • You just need to spank him more. Then he will behave like a proper little boy.
  • Can't you cure him like Jenny McCarthy did with her son??
  • Speech therapy for a boy who can't speak?
  • She doesn't have autism because she has such a beautiful smile..
  • Will he grow out of it??
  • Fragile X boys die in utero and usually are miscarried
  • When I called an Autism group around the time of our dual diagnosis - I was informed I didn't belong to their group because Fragile X is large testicles and all that ... (Last time I looked my daughter doesn't tick that box!)
  • He's suffering!
  • When I first read about FX and asked for my son to be tested and spoke to our pediatrician cause I'd just discovered I was pregnant again and was worried about it - he told me not to worry as FX wasn't passed on like that! You obviously catch it through sneezing!! 
  • You know, the geneticist told me that carriers are really difficult people to get along with.
  •  Don't worry, I've been praying, and God will make this go away
  • Aww... His poor/pitiful soul.
  • If only you would have baptised him he wouldnt be autistic and he would sleep better with God watching over him.
  • I had one guy tell me he could lay his hands on him and heal him.
  • Lab: "Mrs Mom, it doesn't appear that your son (my youngest, then 2 months old when my oldest had already been diagnosed) has Fragile X, but we want to test him again just to be sure". Later I found out that they had really lost the test and didn't want to admit it. 2 months later: "Mrs. Mom, your son does in fact have the full mutation".
  • I've had one doctor tell me I read to much on the internet because i was going in to get a blood test to see if i was in menopause.  It had been over 6 months of symptoms and I told he about FX, but he told me there was no way.   ((Later I went back and was able to say "I told you so!"))
  • You like your children being the way they are because they are dependent on you.
  • A comment from our (ex) pediatrician when I brought to him my concerns (again) about my son's development - "Oh, there's nothing wrong with him, he's just lazy!"
  • He doesn't walk because you carry him all the time but then again muscular dystrophy may be an option, hmm.
  • Genetics-Prof at Notre Dame- "Fragile X? That is so very rare- your son doesn't look like he has it. Chromosone testing is used to diagnose this- I wouldn't waste money on a DNA test!  ((This is where I take out the paperwork from Kimball Genetics that has the DNA test results.))
  • My son's first Pediatrician told us that he was just "lazy" because he had an older brother and sister.
  • Pediatric Neurologist - I know I have diagnosed your son with Hypotoinc CP- Fragile X is very unlikely- your son does not have any of the clinical features. Me- I have results from a DNA test- Doc reads the results- " I know the doctor that ordered the test- I didn't think about Fragile X" ((This is three years after the diagnosis of Hypotonic CP!))
  • The best developmental pediatrician in our state told me after evaluating my son that "there is nothing wrong with him, he's just a boy. He will be fine when he goes to kindergarten. One day you will look back on this and laugh at how you were unnecessarily worried".  ((One year later, my mom, a nurse, brought me info on Fragile X and my son was tested. When I met up with this Dr. a few years later, I said, "Oddly enough, I'm still not laughing."))
  • "There is no way we have Fragile X, we don't have that in Alabama."  Having already met several families from Al - I said, "Well, actually you do have Fragile X in Alabama"  Her reply - "They must not have been born here."
  • I was asked if Fragile X was caused by inbreeding!
  • When my daughter was diagnosed in 1995 the doctor told me "I guess she is just unlucky"
  • I was once at a FX conference in Wash. DC. I ran into a woman I had met earlier and she was sitting at a table with a group of people. She said to me, "Oh, tell them about your family" and I did - one with autism, one with FX, one typical and one with tri-21 and yes, they are all biologically mine and their father's. The woman then said, "Isn't that just amazing?! Mary, you're a geneticist...what would you tell her?" Mary looked at me, quite uncomfortable by how the first woman was behaving and said, "I'd tell her to move to Vegas - those odds are amazing!" ((I laughed until I funny
  • I was once told it was because I did not bond with my son while I was pregnant.
  • I was told by a woman from India that I just needed to go see a witch doctor because they can cure anything, even a "little thing like that chromosome thing you're talking about".
  • I was told that maybe it was something I ate...   
  • The school told me I was my son's problem....and I quote "It`s kind of like alcoholism...if you let him be dependent on you..he will" 
  • My daughter's second pediatrician. ....."She can't have FX, both parents need to be carriers and that is really rare" 
  • Upon hearing that both of my (adoptive) daughters lived with involved disabilities a woman asked if I had heard of generational sin... As I looked at her with shock, she went on to tell me how God had punished people in her husband's family.  
Now that I've shared a bunch of others', I will share ours.  I want to preface this by saying our pediatrician is awesome and so good with Ayden.  I would recommend her in a heartbeat, but unfortunately she just wasn't as knowledgeable in Fragile X as we could have hoped.  I'm not sure that is all her fault, as even some of the medical journals are not up to date.  Her comment after being asked if we should test him for FX (I knew I was a carrier) "He doesn't have any of the physical features, you can wait till around 8 or 9 to get him tested"

While I don't have the time or space to debunk most of these ignorant statements above, I do want to share a little about ours.  Most FXS kids do not show the physical features until around puberty.  This includes the prominent forehead and ears as well as the longer face and large testicles.  In Ayden's case, the fact he was unable to nurse and had no real sucking reflex should have clued us in right away.  Also the high palette and low tone.  If not then, definitely when he crawled and walked late, didn't pick up much of any language and had no desire to imitate (still doesn't).  The anxiety he experienced around 7 months was also a clue, though we just thought it was separation anxiety.  Finally the spinning and hand flapping should have also been an indicator.  It is very easy to look back and see these things now, but more knowledge before would have certainly been beneficial for us.  I hope that by sharing this information here I may be able to help some other parent who maybe never has heard of Fragile X, but has noticed these types of things and maybe will find some answers.

As you may notice, today is Wednesday and no Research post.  Not only did I not have time to get through research this week, but also I have much to share with FX Awareness week.  Fear not, more research topics are coming soon!


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