May 15, 2018
I sat in the waiting room at the ENT- Ears Nose and Throat specialist. I’d been experiencing massive congestion and sinus headaches. I was a new patient and had to complete a “New Patient Packet.” When I got to the “PATIENT MEDICAL HISTORY” portion of the packet, I realized that I didn’t actually know my family’s medical history since my DNA discovery. I stared at the form for a minute. I didn’t know how to answer the questions. Not only that, I didn’t know the family members on the form. My eyes began to water. Who would have thought that a medical form could make me tear up? I was frustrated, and a burning sensation started to build in my belly.
All my life, my parents told me that poor vision, eczema, hay fever, asthma, and heart problems ran in my family, my “forever family”. I remember that a few people in my “forever family” had some of these conditions; however, I now know that my “forever family’s” medical history didn’t pertain to me!
October 31, 2012
My girlfriend Deanna and her son Xavier joined Tyson and me for an early evening of trick-or-treating. It was a warm 70 degrees that day, and I was wearing a Goddess costume. Tired and hot, I was determined to take Ty out because it would be my last Mommy and Ty event before the birth of baby Phoenix. As I waddled down the street behind Ty, I became extraordinarily winded, and my lungs felt hot. Deanna asked me numerous times if I was okay. I assured her that I was fine and that the baby was probably sitting high on me, causing me to be breathless. After an hour of trick-or-treating, I couldn’t go on anymore. I was nearly wiped out and swollen. I started to get a little nervous because I knew heart problems and strokes ran on my dad’s side of the family.
The following day I called my high-risk OBGYN (I had 2 OBGYNs because I was over 35 y.o.) and explained my symptoms. Because of my family’s medical history, my OB saw me right away and sent me to a heart center to give me and the fetus an ultrasound on our hearts. As I laid on the examination table in the cold room, silent tears rolled down my face. I was scared. The technician tried to comfort me but it was apparent that he’d never had a pregnant patient before. He patted me on my head like a puppy and looked nervous when he put gel on my belly.
After what seemed like hours of scans, ultrasounds, and whispers from other hospital staff, I was cleared to go home. My OB called me later to let me know that our hearts were in perfect condition; however, I had hypothyroidism. I cried again. How did I get this condition? I called my mother and asked her about her pregnancy history. She had never experienced hypothyroidism herself. <<
I left the Medical History form blank and gave the doctor a quick story about my adoption discovery. He suggested that if I could, that I should reach out to my biological parents to get medical history information. Great…, I said to myself. “Another thing to add to my bio-discovery “To Do” list. When I got home, I wrote an email to Sam and Jeannie.
Janeen Jackson <******@gmail.com>
To: Jeannie Brooks, Sam Maren
Sam and Jeannie,
I think we’ve spoken about this but could you refresh my memory? Is there a history of medical conditions I should be aware of? I’ll be getting a checkup soon and will need to update my medical info.
They both reply quickly. Between my two “new” families, there is a history of diabetes, breast cancer, macular degeneration, asthma, high blood pressure, and you guessed it, hypothyroidism during pregnancy.
I’m grateful that I didn’t have to deal with too many medical complications for the most part of my life—except for my “bad” eyes. That issue stems from my birthfather’s side of the family. However, I am still trying to heal from the blanket of deception I grew under my whole life. Reflecting back on my second pregnancy, if I had known about my real medical history, I wonder if I would I have been at ease during my pregnancy—it was a difficult pregnancy. I also wonder if my OBGYN had been able to do something to prevent me from having hypothyroidism? This condition can cause a miscarriage (which I experienced eight months after giving birth to Tyson).
Had I known about my biological family’s medical history; my “forever” family could’ve been watchful for possible conditions. Fortunately, I grew up, “okay.”