Thursday, May 8, 2008

YOU are the best fisherman that I have ever seen

Listening to NPR on the way to work this morning I heard a story that made me cry. They were talking about how sometimes new uses are found for old drugs and the example the story focused on was how a blood pressure medication has recently been found to help treat a rare genetic disease called marfan syndrome. This genetic disorder makes you tall and skinny with really long limbs and not much muscle mass or fat. They think Abraham Lincoln might have had this disease.

In the story they interviewed this mom whose son has this disease. One of the terrible symptoms of this disease is that you can get an enlarged aorta and need to have a heart transplant. So this mom's son was only three years old and his aorta was rapidly getting bigger. And the parents were just devastated and were worried that he would have to have a heart transplant (see the tears welling up in my eyes). Then this researcher doctor dude found a possible cause for the aorta problem from this disorder having to do with an overproduction of some protein (hey, if you want the freaking details listen to the damn story yourself. I'm trying to get to my point here!). So this doctor dude typed this protein into google and found that a common blood pressure medication can limit the production of this protein. So he gave this mom's son this blood pressure medication and his aorta stopped growing, yay!!!

But here is the real tear jerker part from my point of view. The mom went on to say how it was still going to be hard for her son to grow up with Marfan's syndrome. One of the effects of the disease is that you get tired more easily and you can't run as fast or be as physical (your limbs aren't as strong). So one day her son comes home from school and says, "Mom, do you think we could get some new sneakers so that I can run as fast as the other kids?" And the mom doesn't know what to say and spends the rest of the afternoon (after the son goes to the park) crying. But then the next day, the son gets in the car after school and says, "Mom, can we go get new sneakers. I want to run as fast as the other kids." And the mom says,

"Well Shane (or whatever his name was), you probably won't be able to run as fast as the other kids. Even with new sneakers. You're not as fast as other kids because of your Marfan's syndrome. But you know what? You are the best fisherman I have ever seen."

And her son goes, "Really?? Yeah, I guess I am."

And that's when I really cried. That was a true stroke of parenting genius.

Everyone's got their fishing. And whatever it is, I hope you all remember it.

So I say, to all my friends and relations,

"YOU are the best fishermen that I have ever seen."

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