Monday, May 2, 2011

a rose by any other name

The Foliage and I were talking this past weekend about genetic diseases* and cultural heritage. After the wedding we're going to try to map out our family trees as best we can (we have NO time for this right now). His mom's side of the family is largely Irish, I've got some Irish in my family too, and we both have a lot of Polish, so it's kind of neat to be re-converging some cultures**.

The problem is in the details. We both have branches of our families that might as well be myth for all we know of them. After a couple of generations on my father's side, things get a little blurry. Heritage-wise, I know that people were either 100% Polish or Italian, but I don't know if I'll be able to find a lot of detail.

And it's hard to know what ailments are potential threats to us and our hypothetical spawn***. I'm aware of some of the diseases that have been really damaging in my family, but for the most part it just isn't discussed. Some skin cancer, some breast cancer, some heart issues (that last one on both sides). And what's in the genes as opposed to environmental? And how much should we care either way?

Bottom line: we're ditching "Tyler Pell" for "McPellsky" and studying up on our potato-and-cabbage cuisine. Galumpke, anyone?

*His [incredibly awesome] uncle has FINALLY had a serious medical issue diagnosed. The best news is that it's entirely treatable! Apparently it's hereditary and prevalent in the Irish, and it's very rare to actually manifest (others are just carriers). So, strange but great news!
**Although the culture I've been exposed to the most is Italian, which is nonexistent in his bloodline. Sigh*
***Would it be entirely damaging to raise children referring to them primarily as "spawn"? Because I would really like to do that. Sans visits from protective services.

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