Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And Quiet Flows the Don No More

An interview with M.J. Fox on Oprah reminded me, how I freaked out when I at the first time learned that we had history of Parkinson in the family. My grandmother’s sister died from it, and for some reason I didn’t know about it till the very recent time. It’s not like anybody tried to hide it from me, it just never came up in a conversation. And after this discovery I had in the second time in my life a full-blown panic attack.

You see, before that I was one of that people who are arrogantly proud of their genes. If you look at it closely, these people who are blessed with good biological inheritance are the only real aristocracy of Earth, not those with titles and estates. They live twice longer, making three times more money; they don’t have too many problems with their kids and with their life in general. They are smart, strong and beautiful and other people look up to them. They have the strongest advantages in the world that can’t be taken away.

And I used to feel so secure in their camp with my good immune system and no knowledge about any predisposition to anything more serious then mild myopia. I peacefully looked down on the people who were boasting about their famous and noble ancestors. To their “my grandmother, the countess, did that” and “my great-uncle, the prime-minister, said that” I could always answer: “And my ancestors used to hang your ancestors by the ribs on butcher’s hooks” (they very likely did: I am Cossack girl after all).

My people didn’t have titles, but they lived to 100 the way they wanted and died it seemed from pure boredom, because they were torn from their normal life activities (like building houses and ruling small countries). So, knowing them, I was care-free; I thought that I will – the same way as they seemingly did – just choose when to die and from what. And now I suddenly learned that I potentially had this bomb in my brain that could blow up any moment without asking. I didn’t have a chose anymore. And I felt… humiliated.

Today I sort of used to the idea, and I do appreciate my husband’s comment, that the possibility that I will have the same condition that the woman who survived two wars and German concentration camp is pretty diminutive. But I lost something: invincibility. I feel like I am damaged. Not Natalya anymore, maybe Aksinia.

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