Chapter 2-2 Family Members Medical History

This section of my life is being given for a specific reason.  We know that many medical conditions are hereditary.  We also know that gene manipulation is being developed.  The idea of making adjustments to DNA, both before and after birth is controversial.  But medical advancement is inevitable.  There may come a time when family medical history is crucial is making decisions to adjust DNA structures.  If a history of heart disease or type II diabetes, we will probably be able to make genetic adjustments to eliminate these problems.  Recent articles and studies indicate that we may someday be able to live healthy and extended life expectancies. Whether these adjustments are moral or not probably won’t matter.  I know that if a genetic adjustment could prevent a child from being mentally disabled, I wouldn’t hesitate.  

When my wife and I were dating, we talked about having children after we married.  Both of us were in favor of having a large family.  But we didn’t realize that my wife had a serious condition that might mean that we would not be able to have children, that adoption might be our only route.  She had ovarian cysts that prevented ovum moving to the uterus, thus making it impossible to get pregnant.  Her gynecologist at Quantico Marine Base said that an operation could be performed to remove the cysts.  This was done at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.  However, she was told that she would probably never become pregnant.  I left the Marines, and joined the Air Force.  Several years went by.  We were then stationed in England at RAF Chicksands.  One morning, she awoke very sick, went to the clinic on base and was informed that she was pregnant and that it was miracle and she would only have the one child.  She had the world’s worst case of morning sickness.  One day, we were waiting at the main gate.  We had just had breakfast and she vomited all over the MP’s shoes. How embarrassing!  We came back to the U.S to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas.  She gave birth at the local hospital to our first born, David.  The doctor said that he would be her only child.  Imagine his surprise when she give birth to a daughter, 12 months later.  Again, she was told she wouldn’t have any more children.  But they were wrong three more times!  Took us six years for the first, and then a total of five in a ten-year period. God’s plans reign supreme!

In the event medical science does reach the point where we can adjust DNA, I feel a list and brief mention of medical problems in our family is warranted.

My Great-Grandfather, John Price Penry developed melanoma skin cancer of the face.  He died from it at age 84.

My Grandfather, John Jones Penry died heart failure at age 86.

My Grandmother, Martha Ethel Latham Penry died of heart failure at age 83.

My Grandfather, Ross Lancaster Thomas died of heart failure at age 78.

My Grandmother, Helen Pearl Smith Thomas died of age related illness at age 85.  I was with her and she just stopped breathing.

My birth Father, Paul David Penry, died of cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism and heart failure following an unsuccessful valve replacement at age 75.

My Mother, Doris Luella Thomas Gilliam died of multiple systems failure connected with colon cancer at age 82.

My Wife, Mary Ann Smith Penry died of systems failure connected to breast cancer at age 69.  She was also type II diabetic and had gall bladder problems.

May parents, grandparents, me, my wife, most of our children and some of our grandchildren have eye problems and wear glasses.  Many have BHP.

I have the following medical conditions.  Prostate Cancer at age 63.  Type II Diabetes, Gerd, Irregular blood pressure, hearing loss, Thyroid problem, high cholesterol, and eye surgery twice for strabismus. 

My eldest son had urinary problems as an infant..

My eldest daughter had petite mall epilepsy as an infant, and kept falling, sometimes out of bed.

My next daughter was born with a unilateral cleft palate and needed surgery and speech therapy.

My next daughter was born with an extra kidney and suffered from repeated kidney infections, resulting in partial loss of kidney function.

My youngest son had a speech impediment and needed speech therapy.

I have a granddaughter who has a severe food allergy, especially nuts.

Several grandchildren are lactose sensitive and have other food allergies, One has autism, another epilepsy & tourette’s.

We have had several family members with mental health issues, some requiring hospitalization.


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