By Masha Gessen
Read or Download Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene PDF
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Extra info for Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene
I have talked to older women who are wracked with guilt over having passed on the mutation. I have talked to a woman who hates her eighty-four-year-old mother for being cancer-free while she and all her sisters, who inherited the mutation, have developed cancer. They focused their anger on the mother’s refusal to be tested for the mutation—as though it would have made a difference—and when she finally relented, and tested positive, they rejoiced in the chance to lay blame. With a disease as unpredictable as cancer, the opportunity to blame an actual person is an unexpected temptation.
Our concept of the stuff we are made of will have undergone fundamental changes. I got a glimpse of that when I was looking around that room at my fellow mutants, and again and again in the process of writing this book, as I looked at myself, my biological daughter, and my adopted son. I was transported to a new era, a future that will rest on a different understanding not only of what causes things to go wrong in human beings but of what makes a human being in the first place, and what connects any one of us to any other.
My mother is holding me, her lips buried in the black down on my head, and she has that look of being desperately tired and profoundly in love, a look—or, rather, a state—I recognize. This is the last evidence that we had this connection. ” She sounded like she was saying something one said in such situations. I mumbled something noncommittal, which is to say, unfeeling: I felt nothing. Fourteen years later, I sat at a large table with women who carried my mutation. The hospital where my mother had her mastectomy and where I now went for my breast MRIs was across the street.