Category Archives: The Genetic Code: One Woman’s Story on How Genetics Pave the Way For and Impact, Your Life, Forever

Two Plus Two, Equals Four


The Genetic Code: One Woman’s Story on How Genetics Pave the Way For and Impact Your Life Forever

 

Two Plus Two, Equals Four

 My mother worked for her father, until she was put on bed rest while pregnant with my brother.  Martin was constantly in and out of doctor’s office and hospitals-so, my mother really didn’t have the time to go back to work, after he was born.  Then, about seven months after Martin was born, my mother had a doctor’s appointment.  While at this appointment, as the doctor began to urge her to not get pregnant again just yet-she had to interrupt.  The facts were, she was already almost positive that she was already pregnant again.  So, they confirmed this.

And so the story of the LeBlanc family, plus Tiffani, has begun.  My mother and father both longed for two children -one boy and one girl.  When they found out that they were having a little girl, they were ecstatic-and relived.  The chances of them having a little girl with the same medical issues as Martin, was quite slim.

 

My mother’s pregnancy with me went a little smoother-aside of becoming very much larger, extremely fast (you see, I am currently 5’10” and my mother is merely 4’9”).  In March of 1987, here I came.  They tell me that I came out screaming and I was gorgeous from the beginning (their words, not mine).

 

As time went on, my parents got more and more comfortable with Martin’s medical conditions and I quickly but, healthily continued to grow.  My mother was able to go back to work in 1991.  And, while this worked out for a while, it only took about two years for them to realize that it may just be a little easier for my mom to be able to stay home and tend to the house and kids.  Susan loved being a stay at home mom and she very much enjoyed the time that it gave her with us (her children).  I can remember that on some days, she would build forts with us while she watched her ‘stories’ (A.K.A. soap operas).

When I was about 12, my parents got divorced.  It was then that my mother decided, she has a new commitment that she wanted to live up to.  As we grew up, she always tried her best to keep us in constructive extracurricular activities, thus she had to go back to work.  My mother wanted us to have our own place.   However, with a child like Martin and wanting to provide us with extras, that would have been awfully hard to do.  And so, we move in with my grandmother.

When I was in junior high and high school, we all three lived with my grandparents.  They managed to put us through the school clubs that we wanted to participate in.  My brother was even in the Explorer Scouts, working with the volunteer fire department in our small town.  I had dance team in junior high and soccer in high school.  And we were both very active in school club, such as, Diversity.  My brother and I were fairly good kids, in my humble opinion.

However, through all this time, unbeknownst to us all, my mother was suffering from bipolar disorder.  As more and more time went on, she got progressively less happy, and less stable.  Once she began going through menopause, it is almost as if (well, exactly as if) she completely lost control.  And, I honestly think, that, that is super understandable.  I can not even imagine living my life, with no control over my moods, on a regular basis.  I can only imagine the hurt, and hate you can develop for yourself.  After all, it’s so easy to be against something that we do not understand.  And, no one wants to feel like ‘something is wrong with them.‘  When, in all honesty, isn’t that exactly what makes a person, so real?  It’s their flaws.  ‘Realness’ is attractive.   And flaws are real.  The beautiful imperfections

 

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And Then There Were Three..


The Genetic Code: One Woman’s Story on How Genetics Pave the Way For and Impact, Your Life, Forever

And Then There Were Three..

 

Let’s do a mini-recap.  When we left off, Susan Landry, the first-born of 6 children; had just gotten married, went through her first (and only) miscarriage, and is now(a few years later) pregnant with her second child.  We will now go ahead in time a few months; to birth.

Now, let’s fast forward a few months, to my brother being born.  Martin was born in November of 1985.  When he was born, it was discovered that he had a number of medical issues, as a result of our genetic code.  Back then, after child-birth, you had to stay in the hospital a bit longer than you do now.  Susan’s stay was even more prolonged because, she came down with a terrible fever after labor, and had to be watched for a couple extra days.  Of course, due to Martin’s medical conditions and current state as of birth, he had to be moved to a specialty hospital..-without my mother.

While my mother was recovering, my father would go see Martin every single day.  Upon his return the first day, he had to present my mother with a Polaroid photo of Martin that was given to him by the nurses.  As my mother cheekily smiled and remarked about how sweet the gesture was; my father cried inside.  For, it was a nice gesture but, she was not yet clear as to why, obviously.  My father stood there for a moment, speechless.  Then, with a cracking in his voice, he had to explain to her that he was sent with this photograph because, the nurses were afraid that my mother would not be able to make it to see Martin before he left this Earth.  Martin’s condition was very poor.  She pleaded with them to be able to go see him but, she was in New Iberia and he had been rushed into Lafayette.  Sadly, she did not make it there before her release.  However, Martin did.

 

Martin stopped breathing at seven hours old.  He did not have oxygen going to his brain and his heart had stopped beating.  He was clinically dead.  Then, a miracle happened..he came back.  My mother was released from the hospital about five days later and finally got to go see her beautiful baby boy.  But, much to her dismay, this did not mean they would get to bring him home.

For the first seven and a half weeks of Martin’s life, he had to live in a hospital.  He died and came back, at least four different times.  Then, one day, as my grandmother and mother were driving home; my mother said she was overcome with a great feeling of peace.  She looked over to my grandmother and said, “Martin is coming home today.  I can just feel it.”

The doctors called not too much later..

Having a child like Martin was a struggle.  Despite that, I don’t think that either of my parents would change anything about him.  If there is one thing that Martin is, it is 100% himself.

Martin had what seemed like an endless list of medical issues including dwarfism, a sunken septum, and adrenal problems.  And, while my entire family were cautioned and knew that he probably would not live a life as long as most (he was not expected to live past the age of 18, if that), they all hoped for a bright and fulfilled future for him.

 

This is where we will leave off today!  When we return, I will be entering the story(:  STAY TUNED!

Once Upon A Time


The Genetic Code: One Woman’s Story on How Genetics Pave the Way For and Impact, Your Life,Forever

Once Upon A Time

Susan Landry was born in 1960.  She is now 54 years young and currently resides in rural Iberia Parish, down in South Louisiana, just off the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Susan is one of six children and a mother of 3.  She is now in the process of reestablishing her life and jump-starting a business with her daughter (and that would be me, hehe).

Susan was the first born of the six children that her mother and father bore.  Due to this, she often had to put her child-like urges and temptations to the side a lot, to help take care of her younger siblings.  My grandmother and grandfather are born and raised Catholics with great religious values.  In these times, you could not just simply take birth control.  They firmly believed against it thus, my granny got pregnant nearly six years after having her first four children.

My grandmother went through great struggles in her fifth and sixth pregnancy, running fatal risks, during labor, for both.  She was strongly urged to prevent herself of getting pregnant again in the future; for there was a possibility that neither her, nor her baby, may make it through alive.  As a result of this, she had to go to her priest and ask permission to start taking birth control.  He granted her permission and that about sums up that chapter of her life.  With all previously mentioned circumstances as they were, Susan was forced to take on even more adult duties, before her time.  Someone had to help her parents and help keep up with the other children and babies.

 

My mother was always smaller than the norm, due to the dwarfism that she carries.  Fully grown, she is now 4’9” (keep in mind that they carry dwarfism and are not full-fledged dwarves).  My father, Vance, (6’8”, same situation) also carries gigantism, which can result in almost all of the same issues and problems, aside of the fact that one can cause you to be abnormally large; and the other, abnormally small.  All of this information is crucial to how our family has become who they are today.

Due to these similar genetic conditions, they both let themselves become somewhat of loners in school.  Since my mom had two younger brothers, she was actually around my father frequently.  You see, my dad was very close friends with the two next-to-eldest brothers of my mom.

Inevitably, they got to know each other.  This gave the opportunities to begin identifying with one and other on many different levels.  And, we’ve all heard this story before; it led to a romance.

 

In April of 1981, Susan and Vance took the leap and finalized their decision to commit to each other and start a family.  And so, they were wed.  In January of 1982, they thought that their prayers had been answered when they found out that my mother was pregnant.  Unfortunately, she had a miscarriage.  This was, and still is, very hard for her to deal with.

After Susan’s miscarriage, they naturally had to collect the proper ‘evidence’ and head to the doctor.  However, this proposed a problem.  While investigating this issue, the doctors discovered that my mother actually had not passed the late baby.  They then had to surgically remove it, explaining that if she would not have come in, she probably would have not passed it.  And, as a result, would have bled to death.  That wasn’t all they learned though.  The doctors then brought to my mother’s attention, her blood type.  Susan’s blood type is O-.  Now, this sounds great, at first because, it’s universal.  That means that anyone who needs to be given blood, for any reason- can be given her blood, safely and effectively.  However, it just so happens that when you have this blood type, pregnancy problems can arise.  And, this is a case where just that happened.

 

You see, my father’s blood type is B+.  Therefore, when my mother became pregnant, with a baby whose blood type was also B+, her body recognized it as a sickness and began to fight it off, as if it were such.  The results of this ordeal, being that she lost her first baby.  She then learned that she would have to take a shot to help ensure that this could not happen again in the future.  When my mother became pregnant for the second time, she immediately went to get this shot (she also had to get the shot again, after birth.  This was to again, ensure the health and safety of future babies).

              Ok, ok, I’ve already shared more than I think I should have for my first post.  We haven’t even tipped the iceberg in the extraordinary woman’s life; stay tuned!