It’s important, working in a scientifically exciting field like genetics, to remember that everything we do has a human impact. People dwell on the technology and economics. That’s why this article caught our attention. It’s a first-person account of motherhood in the shadow of chronic pain. It’s simultaneously inspiring and tragic.
PGXL pharmacogenetic testing, of course, can provide important information in treating pain — plotting genetic drug sensitivity so doctors and their patients can find the drugs most likely to work, the dosages that are sufficient without being crippling.
But all of it only has meaning because of stories like this:
My daughter is healthy and happy, but my own health has gotten much worse. The early months of changing diapers and clothes, nursing, and lifting her in and out of her crib caused irreparable damage to my wrist and shoulders. I can’t push her stroller much farther than the three blocks between home and day care. I can’t dress her by myself, or tie her shoes. I can’t make the appropriate hand motions to accompany “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” write out the alphabet, or brush her hair. But all that feels like mere window dressing for what I really can’t do: feel at all confident that I can take care of my child alone for more than an hour. On the few occasions that I’ve had to, the time passed in a blur that left me incapacitated and in tears.
It’s an emotional piece, the kind of story that animates our work.